Introducing: Jonathan Boos' Spring Catalogue

Dear Friends,

It is our hope that this note finds you safe and healthy.

In what would historically be the beginning of American Art Week, when we would be eagerly studying the auction catalogues and traveling to New York City to visit the galleries and attend the auctions, we instead find ourselves interacting with the art world in new, different and exciting ways! During this time, we have furthered our digital platforms and developed new lines of client communication, such as our sales newsletter. So, it is with this spirit that the team at the gallery has created our first digital Spring catalogue, which you can view below.

You will see that we have arrived at new asking prices for all of the beautiful works illustrated throughout. We want to be clear, we are open for business, albeit remotely and virtually. All of the works illustrated in the catalogue are available at our gallery and we are able to discuss by phone or live video chat.

We truly hope you enjoy our Spring catalogue and that you may see a work that catches your eye and causes you to reach out. We look forward to hearing from you, if for no other reason than to just catch up and know that you are well.

We wish you all the best,

Jonathan Boos
Valerie Stanos
Beth Hamilton

This work shows a woman from behind. She is walking on snow near a tree and wearing a green coat
Andrew Wyeth
American, 1917–2009
In the Orchard, 1982
Watercolor on paper
22 × 27 3⁄4 inches
Signed lower right

Andrew Wyeth’s most well-known and controversial series centered on his neighbor, Helga Testorf, from his hometown of Chadds Ford. Beginning in 1971 and executed over a fifteen-year period, Wyeth completed over 240 works depicting Helga in tempera, drybrush, watercolor, and pencil. The body of works remained unknown to the public until Wyeth sold nearly the entire group, subsequently exhibited as The Helga Pictures, to Leonard Andrews in 1986. That year, the National Gallery of Art organized an exhibition of the series, which traveled the United States from 1987-1989. Andrews subsequently sold the collection to a Japanese buyer in 1989. In 2005, the works returned to the U.S. market and have since been dispersed to numerous museum and private collections.

New asking price for "In the Orchard": $575,000

In the Orchard depicts a solitary figure in a snow-covered and barren orchard. Although modeled from behind, Helga’s identity is revealed by her characteristic blonde braids and green Prussian coat that alludes to her German heritage, qualities that first captured Wyeth’s fascination. The watercolors from the Helga series shows Wyeth’s influence of artist Winslow Homer’s works from the late 1870s, focusing on a lone, contemplative female figure in nature.

Image above: David Alan Harvey, "Photograph of Andrew Wyeth and Helga Testorf," 1994
A surrealist painting featuring a green door labelled 242.
John Atherton
American, 1900–1952
Untitled (Entrance 242), c. 1935
Tempera on renaissance panel
17 1∕8 × 21 inches
Signed lower left

John Atherton attained success as both a commercial and fine artist throughout his career and was an important figure in the American Surrealist movement. In 1943, Atherton exhibited twelve works in the landmark exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art organized by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., American Realists and Magic Realists, alongside notable contemporaries such as Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, Ivan Albright, Peter Blume, and Andrew Wyeth.

New asking price for "Untitled (Entrance 242)": $18,000

An early example of his surrealism, Untitled (Entrance 242) depicts a scene devoid of figures. In the darkened, cinematic composition is a building at right, and a strange, anthropomorphic structure at left. A white arrow painted on the building directs the viewer towards a green door, mysteriously numbered 242. Further evoking intrigue is the machine-like form at left, with its smooth, rounded torpedo-shaped body and snaking arms. The juxtaposition of the meticulously rendered architectural backdrop with the biomorphic machine make this a compelling early work by a master of American Surrealism.

Image on the left: photograph of John Atherton
The flatness and linearity of the composition by Charles Biederman is contrasted with bold and vivid hues
Charles Biederman
American, 1906-2004
Untitled, New York
November 1935
Oil on canvas
33 x 27 inches
Signed and dated lower left

Charles Biederman spent two intense years in New York City from September 1934 to September 1936. Working out of a studio in Washington Square, Biederman was inspired by the city and the art scene around him. Biederman made use of the most notable artistic resource of the neighborhood, Albert E. Gallatin’s Museum of Living Art. Installed in the reading room of the New York University’s downtown campus, this groundbreaking collection of the latest in modern art featured important works by Léger, Miró, and Mondrian.

New asking price for "Untitled, New York": $75,000

Untitled, New York was completed during this prolific period and would serve as a model of inspiration for American artists who followed Biederman. The flatness and linearity of the composition is contrasted with bold and vivid hues of red, orange, and yellow. While largely non-representational, the unusual shapes and forms recall Picasso’s early Surrealist-inspired works of the late 1920s, with their amorphous and abstract bodies.

Image above: detail of "Untitled, New York" (1935) by Charles Biederman
The presentation of the winner of a boxing match.
George Wesley Bellows
American, 1882-1925
Introducing the Champion, 1912
Black crayon, India ink wash, and collage on paper
24 ¾ x 20 inches
Signed upper left

George Bellows studied with Ashcan painter Robert Henri at William Merritt Chase’s New York School of Art, and was later associated with the “the Eight.” He became the youngest member of the Ashcan school, a group who advocated the depiction of contemporary American subjects in every form. His paintings of tenement conditions and of the poor, working classes addressed social, political and cultural issues of the early twentieth century. They were both realist in nature and modern through his bold use of color, gestural brushstrokes, and unconventional subject matter. Introducing the Champion is one of four that Bellows created in September 1912 for American Magazine illustrating a fictitious story about Tornado Black, the lightweight champion of the world. The theatrics of the ring are seen in the dramatic sweep of the announcer’s arm, and the audience eagerly applauding the victor. Bellows’ expertly rendered light and shadows emphasizes figures in the arena and audience and unifies the composition.

New asking price for "Introducing the Champion": $525,000

Image on the right: detail of "Introducing the Champion" (1912) by George Bellows
Alton Pickens image of an acrobat
Alton Pickens
American, 1917–1991
The Acrobat, 1947
Oil on canvas
49 3⁄4 × 34 inches
Signed and dated lower left

The 1940s were a prolific period for Alton Pickens, and he gained wider exposure in the New York art scene through major exhibitions. In 1943, the surreal and bizarre painting, The Blue Doll, was exhibited in the Romantic Painting in America exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and was purchased by the museum for its collection the following year. In 1946, the Museum of Modern Art included eight of Pickens’ works in the Fourteen Americans exhibition.

The Acrobat presents Pickens’ fascination with carnival and performance. A circus acrobat appears to walk a tightrope with his hands, however it is merely an illusion for the enjoyment of the audience. Wearing a sheet to conceal his head, a mask is placed between the man’s legs, and his feet are made to look like hands to convince viewers of his daring feat. The red eyed, blue mask further conveys a surreal scenario, drawing parallels to the titular figure of The Blue Doll, and suggests the artist’s influence of the Flemish grotesque style.

New asking price for "The Acrobat": $135,000

Image on the left: detail of "The Acrobat" (1947) by Alton Pickens
A close up of fall foliage on the forest floor, with a bronze penny sitting on a rock.
Thomas Hart Benton
American, 1889-1975
Lost Penny, 1939
Oil and tempera on board
26 ½ x 19 inches
Signed and dated lower right (painted in 1939; dated 1940)

Until the early 1920s, Thomas Hart Benton worked in a modern and abstract style. After a visit to his hometown in Missouri, Benton was compelled to break with modernism and paint the American scene, a movement that would later be called Regionalism. Benton primarily drew his subject matter for his paintings and murals from sketches of the people and places in America’s heartland that he had compiled on a number of sketching expeditions to the Midwest. Benton also painted beautiful still lifes of flowers, fruit, and vignettes from nature. These works showcase his mastery of texture, seen in the flora and fauna of the present work. In Lost Penny, expertly rendered stalks of ferns, fallen leaves, and dried weeds are staged against a backdrop of rocks and a tree. The golden hues of the leaves are echoed in the copper penny, hidden beneath a large rock.

New asking price for "Lost Penny": $325,000

Image above: detail of "Lost Penny" (1939) by Thomas Hart Benton
Painting of boaters and rowers passing under an iron bridge on a river.
Henry Koerner
American, 1915-1991
The River, 1949
Oil on masonite
30 x 36 inches

The River belongs to an important series of works painted by Henry Koerner between 1949-1950. Depicting what appears to be an everyday scene, several unrelated figure groups move across the river, passing beneath a footbridge overhead. A coxswain and coach shout orders into megaphones to a burly rowing team, a water bicyclist gazes down at an oblivious young couple in a rowboat, and at lower left a small dog circles a pair of ducklings in the water. Dr. Joseph Koerner, the artist’s son, states, “The painting’s interest is in the everyday, but an everyday that harbors mysteries, some comical, some deeper.” The unusual perspective and distortions of scale convey this sense of mystery and intrigue. This is especially evident in the large scale of the bicyclist at the center of the composition, juxtaposed with the diminutive scale of the coxswain. The River was first exhibited in 1950 at the Midtown Galleries along with others from this important series.

New asking price for "The River": $475,000

Image on the right: exhibition catalogue of Henry Koerner works at Midtown Galleries, 1950. "The River" is listed as number 5 in the exhibition
A figure ascending a staircase in an all white interior.
George C. Ault
American, 1891-1948
The Stairway, 1921
Oil on canvas
18 ¼ x 14 ¼ inches
Signed and dated lower left

George Ault embraced the Precisionist style that he learned of through the works of Charles Sheeler and Ralston Crawford. The subjects of his works from this period were geometric cityscapes observed from his studio window and the rumbling factory buildings that increasingly populated the congested city. He reduced the buildings and skyline of the city into basic shapes with flat areas of color, hallmark characteristics of the Precisionist style. However, he developed his own unique style by also combining elements of Surrealism into his paintings. The Stairway captures, in a single moment, the “almost” that shadows human experience. Ault is playing with the concept of “objective chance,” a key element of surrealist practice in which serendipitous encounters of incongruous everyday objects produce a sudden insight. Instead of objects, Ault juxtaposes figures in an everyday scenario in order to visualize what will not serendipitously happen.

New asking price for "The Stairway": $120,000

Image above: detail of "The Stairway" (1921) by George C. Ault
Jacob Lawrence's nativity scene with the holy family standing on the left and chickens in the foreground.
Jacob Lawrence
American, 1917-2000
Nativity, 1954
Egg tempera on board
9 x 12 inches
Signed and dated lower right

During the 1950s, Jacob Lawrence experimented with a new body of work that explored the theme of performance. As Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins states “The paintings on the theme of performance are highly decorative and more than any prior group display Lawrence’s mode of abstraction with a heightened sense of emotionalism that makes for riveting and beautifully unsettling imagery. These works were produced from his memories of performances at the Apollo Theater on Harlem’s 125th Street.” (Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, “The Critical Context of Jacob Lawrence’s Early Works, 1938-1952,” in Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence [Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001], p. 131)

New asking price for "Nativity": $350,000

Nativity may depict a dramatic, or musical performance of the biblical story, with its dramatic depiction of light and shadows cast by the figures and animals. Arranged in a stage-like setting, the holy family is surrounded by a group of blue chickens in a wooden manger, which are guarded by three oversized roosters, perhaps a reference to the three wise men. The exaggerated points of the roosters’ combs evoke the familiar crown on the Statue of Liberty, suggesting the promise of hope in the dawn of the civil rights movement.

Image above: detail of "Nativity" (1954) by Jacob Lawrence
Men diving off of a pier into the ocean.
George Tooker
American, 1920-2011
Divers, 1952
Egg tempera on gesso panel
12 x 18 inches
Signed upper right

George Tooker’s work often focused on his immediate surroundings in New York—storefronts, architectural details, colored lighting, and everyday encounters with people. In the late 1940s, he also began a small group of beach paintings, which largely draw from childhood memories spent on the south shore of Long Island near Bellport. Divers, painted in 1952, is the last of the beach paintings. The figure on the ladder is a self-portrait of Tooker as a teenager.

New asking price for "Divers": $575,000

While grounded in an actual experience, Divers reveals enduring mysteries that are as elusive as they are ever-present in everyday life. As Tooker explained, “I am after painting reality impressed on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream.” (George Tooker, quoted in Seldon Rodman, Conversations with Artists, [New York: Devin-Adair, 1957], p. 209) The ethereal backlighting of the rippling water and foreground figure, the ripples’ stylized repetition, and the self-conscious mirroring of the two figures closest to the picture plane with the two farthest away from it push this scene into the world of the artist’s “returned dream.”

Image on the left: George Platt Lynes, "Photograph of George Tooker," 1930–40s. Gelatin silver print, 9 ⁄1 × 7 ⁄1 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Detail of a work by Alfred Jensen using bright red, yellow and blue colors
Alfred Jensen
Guatemalan/American, 1903-1981
Doric Order, 1962
Oil on canvas
54 x 54 inches
Signed, titled, inscribed and dated on the reverse

Alfred Jensen settled in New York in the early 1950s, arriving at a critical moment of development for American art. Although he was nearly the same age as the established Abstract Expressionist artists Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, and Willem de Kooning, Jensen was only on the brink of his mature style. His outsider status allowed him to develop his own personal and unique style that remained separate from other art movements. While at times his work revealed stylistic similarities to Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop Art, and Conceptual Art, Jensen remained steadfast in his independence.

New asking price for "Doric Order": $300,000

Painted in 1962, Doric Order is a culmination of Jensen’s intellectual interests, its title referencing one of three ancient Greek and later Roman orders of architecture. In the tightly ordered, square canvas, Jensen painted his characteristic diagram of color and symbols, a variation of his checkerboard compositions. Thick impasto bands of vibrant color contain neatly rendered ancient numerical symbols that are squeezed directly onto the canvas. These symbols are intersected by three vertical bands of scroll-like flourishes that recall a Greek architectural device.

Image above: detail of "Doric Order" (1962) by Alfred Jensen
An abstract painting by Enrico Donati.
Enrico Donati
American, 1909-2008
Quetzacoatl, 1964
Gesso, sand, and oil on canvas
43 x 40 inches
Signed lower right; signed, titled, and dated on verso

Enrico Donati was part of a roster of important artists represented by Betty Parsons in the 1950s. He experimented with a number of styles and techniques, including the use of geometric abstractions, Constructivism, and Abstract Expressionism. He also worked in a richly textured effect, applying dust, sand, coffee grinds, and dirt from a vacuum to his paint and glue, which he mixed and thickly layered onto the canvas.

Quetzacoatl was painted in 1964 during Donati’s mature period. The title refers to a deity in Mesoamerican culture, which means “feathered serpent.” The sacred symbol was first documented in the first century BC, and it was later worshipped by many different cultural groups in Mesoamerican history. Layered and textured with sand, Donati has painted an abstracted interpretation of the plume of feathers from this symbol in muted earth tones. A background of vibrant shades of red contrasts with the repeated lines of the feathers. A thin, blue incised line intersects the composition near center, breaking the rhythm of the warm colors.

New asking price for "Quetzacoatl": $60,000

Image on the right: detail of "Quetzacoatl" (1964) by Enrico Donati
This detail shows blue, grey and pink shapes inspired by industrial designs
Charles Sheeler
American, 1883-1965
Meta-Mold, 1952
Oil on canvas
25 ¼ x 31 inches
Signed and dated lower right

Charles Sheeler first turned to American industry as subject matter in the late 1920s as part of the Precisionist movement. In the early 1950s, he received several important industrial commissions, the majority of which were arranged by the Downtown Gallery in New York. These included commissions to visit Meta-Mold Aluminum (now Amcast Industrial) Corporation in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Inland Steel, near Chicago, Illinois, and the General Motors Laboratory in Warren, Michigan.

New asking price for "Meta-Mold": $600,000

Sheeler received the commission from Meta-Mold upon the suggestion of the company’s chairman of the board Otto Spaeth, who formed a major collection of modernist American art. Meta-Mold Aluminum Corporation was a subsidiary of Spaeth’s company, the Dayton Malleable Iron Company. Meta-Mold is an outstanding example of Sheeler’s precisionist style through the reduction of forms to simple shapes and geometric structures depicting machine parts and factory complexes.

Image above: "Meta-Mold," 1952 was featured in Life Magazine, May 18, 1953, p. 154. The caption read: “In a Factory, Meta-Mold Aluminum Co. at Cedarburg, Wis., a display of parts inspired famous Artist Charles Sheeler to paint abstract picture (right), now part of factory’s fine art collection”
Bronze sculpture showing a leaping gazelle
Marshall Fredericks
American, 1908-1998
Leaping Gazelle, 1988
Bronze
37 inches high
Signed

Marshall Fredericks studied sculpture in Cleveland at the John Huntington Polytechnic Institute and the Cleveland School of Art. In 1930, he was awarded a scholarship to travel to Europe, where he studied with sculptor Carl Milles in Sweden. In 1932, Milles asked Fredericks to join the faculty at Cranbrook Academy, where he worked for 10 years.

In 1936, Fredericks received his first commission to design and sculpt the Levi L. Barbour Memorial Fountain in Belle Isle, a small island located between Detroit and Canada. Fredericks’ winning design, chosen among twenty-six entries, featured a large bronze wheeling gazelle, a position made when an animal quickly changes direction during a predatory hunt. Because the gazelle is not native to Michigan, Fredericks surrounded the graceful figure with an otter, grouse, rabbit, and hawk. Leaping Gazelle is among Fredericks’ most iconic designs, and has been duplicated by the artist in varying sizes. This important, early design helped launch Fredericks’ career.

New asking price for "Leaping Gazelle": $75,000

Image on the right: Marshall Fredericks with the plaster sketch model for "Leaping Gazelle" in 1936
A nurse in blue holds a baby dressed in white. The two sit next to the water.
Martha Walter
American, 1875-1976
English Nurse and Baby at Rocky Neck, Gloucester, c. 1914
Oil on canvas
32 x 40 inches
Signed upper left

In the retrospective exhibition catalogue Impressionist Jewels: The Paintings of Martha Walter, A Retrospective, the late and great scholar William H. Gerdts states of this important period, “It was in Gloucester that her work began to embody to the fullest the strategic qualities of Impressionism, though, as William Sterling has noted, her ‘brilliant splashes of intense color against cool grounds and almost recklessly bold brush work brought her work close to that of the Fauve painters such as Matisse and Derain.’”

New asking price for "English Nurse and Baby at Rocky Neck, Gloucester": $175,000

English Nurse and Baby at Rocky Neck, Gloucester was painted during an important period in Walter’s career, showcasing her talent for en plein air painting and a beautiful painterly palette. The painting depicts an anonymous English nurse caring for a rosy-cheeked baby. While the nurse’s back faces the viewer, the baby is painted at center with her fanciful white dress and clutching a delicate silver rattle. Bathed in sunlight, the two figures sit on a bench at the shore of Rocky Neck, an artists’ colony frequented by Walter as early as 1913. Walter exhibited this critically-acclaimed work at the 110th anual exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1915.

Image above: detail of "English Nurse and Baby at Rocky Neck, Gloucester" (c. 1914) by Martha Walter
A landscape with a lonely tree on the right and river on the left.
Charles H. Davis
American, 1856-1933
Evening, 1886
Oil on canvas
38 1/8 x 57 7/8 inches
Signed and dated lower right

Charles Harold Davis was one of the most renowned American landscape painters of his generation, receiving major awards, gallery representation, and being the subject of numerous solo exhibitions during his lifetime. He studied at the school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Académie Julian in Paris.

New asking price for "Evening": $150,000

Davis left Paris around 1881 and relocated to several small villages near Barbizon, including the town of Fleury, in order to focus on landscape painting. For inspiration, he strolled the forests of Fontainebleau and Saint-Léger in Normandy for his large, rural landscapes that he first began to show at the Paris Salon by 1881. Evening, is a major early painting by Davis that helped to establish his reputation as an accomplished landscape painter. Depicting a flat plain in subdued colors, a lone leafless tree stands at the right, with a winding brook in the foreground. The landscape was first exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1886, where it was purchased by American philanthropist and banker, George I. Seney, who donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1887.

Image on the left: detail of "Evening" (1886) by Charles H. Davis
Zoltan Sepeshy's painting of two men gutting freshly caught fish.
Zoltan Sepeshy
American, 1898-1974
Tonight’s Dinner, c. 1943
Tempera on masonite
22 x 30 inches
Signed lower right

By the 1930s, Zoltan Sepeshy had become a successful and innovative painter, and an influential educator. He had a number of solo exhibitions in New York, from 1932 to 1956, and was represented by Midtown Galleries. Sepeshy was the first Michigan artist to be elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters and he earned the Carnegie medal in 1947. He became an instructor at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1930, and held various roles there, ultimately becoming the Director in 1947, replacing the well-known architect Eliel Saarinen.

SOLD

Sepeshy was passionate about working with tempera, even though he called it a “stubborn medium.” He wrote a book on tempera technique in 1947. Most of Sepeshy’s paintings from the 1940s depict the people, seagulls, dock scenes, and landscape of the northern Lake Michigan resort town of Frankfort, where he spent many summers. In Tonight’s Dinner two local fishermen clean the catch of the day aboard their own vessel. Other boats that have docked at days’ end are seen in the background against the brightly colored buildings of the harbor. Sepeshy is portraying one of the highlights of life in Frankfort – the fresh fish caught daily and sold off the boats to the townspeople.

Image above: detail of "Tonight’s Dinner" (c. 1943) by Zoltan Sepeshy