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  • American Paintings, Drawings and Scupture at Sotheby's
    November 21, 2004 NEW YORK.

    George Washington at Princeton by Charles Peale Polk painted circa 1790-93.

    On December 1st, immediately following the sale of the Collection of Rita and Daniel Fraad, Sotheby's will offer a strong selection of American works from various owners. Included in this offering will be Property from the CIGNA Museum and Art Collection, as well as American paintings from the Collection of Pierre Berge from his pied-a-terre at the Pierre Hotel in New York. Together with Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Berge launched the haute couture house in 1961 and remains today the CEO Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture.

    Among the highlights from Mr. Berge's Collection is a luminous painting by George de Forest Brush entitled The Indian and the Lily. In 1881, George de Forest Brush and his brother spent several years in the American West documenting all aspects of Indian life and culture. The Indian and the Lily is one of the artist's most renowned Indian paintings and is an iconic blend of stylistic classicism and ideological romanticism. Brush's Indian subjects are limited in number, and in 1890 he turned his attention to domestic portraits of mothers and children. This oil on canvas is estimated to sell for $2/3 million.

    Sotheby's is very pleased to offer Property from the CIGNA Museum and Art Collection including a lovely selection of Bucks County Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings. Among the highlights is a wonderful pastoral landscape by Daniel Garber entitled Down in Pennsylvania and painted circa 1935. In this expansive oil on canvas, Garber achieves a tapestry-like effect by dispersing interwoven strands of brilliant pigment in the widely varied colors of fall foliage and cultivated farmland in precise and intricate brushwork. Unlike his fellow Bucks County artists who often depicted the Pennsylvania landscape in winter, Garber preferred to paint the more temperate seasons. This painting is estimated to sell for $500/700,000.

    Other important landscapes in this Collection include Jasper Cropsey's Mounts Adam and Eve, an oil on canvas from 1884 (est. $250/350,000), Edward W. Redfield's snowy scene from 1913 entitled At the Crossroads (est. $250/350,000), and Marsden Hartley's oil on canvas entitled Winding Road, circa 1924-25, which is estimated to bring $300/500,000. Also of note from the CIGNA Museum and Art Collection is a portrait of George Washington at Princeton by Charles Peale Polk painted circa 1790-93, based on the original Charles Wilson Peale portrait of George Washington painted in 1787 (est. $250/350,000).

    Highlights from other owners to be offered on December 1st include a wonderful example of American Impressionism in Theodore Robinson's Normandy Farm (est. $700/900,000). Of the many American artists drawn to the village of Giverny, Robinson developed perhaps the most significant relationship with the reclusive master of French Impressionism, Claude Monet. Robinson's paintings of the early 1890s, including Normandy Farm, exhibit his Impressionistic style at its freest and most spontaneous. This work, executed circa 1891, depicts a rustic farmhouse partially obscured by a dense cluster of flowering bushes. Painted with short, precise strokes of green, white and pink pigment, the canvas is filled with light and color, vividly evoking the peace and beauty of the French countryside.

    Also featured is Dennis Miller Bunker's monumental and elegant Portrait of Anne Page, who the daughter of a prominent Boston couple, painted in 1887. A driven perfectionist, Bunker was passionate about his subject and meticulous about every detail. Here, he uses a subtle palette of grays, blacks and pinks, and his precise, refined brushwork imbues the sitter with a loveliness mixed with a quiet resolve. Bunker was admired as an extraordinary talent by such contemporaries as John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase and Isabella Stewart Gardner, yet it is only in the past thirty years that collectors, historians and critics have rediscovered his work. Only about 100 of the 225 pictures Bunker painted are known to have survived and many are included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Portrait of Anne Page is estimated to sell for $1/1.5 million.

    From a Private Philadelphia Collection comes Mary Cassatt's Head of Simone in a Large Plumed Hat, Looking Left. Estimated to sell for $800,000/1 million, this pastel on paper demonstrates the artist's solid command of the pastel medium, employing opulent hues of blue and green to frame the soft pink of the child's face. Like her friend Edgar Degas, Cassatt became increasingly obsessed with the pastel medium and by the 1890s it became her primary means of expression.

    From the Estate of William Yerrington Dear, Jr. and Thelma Tipson Dear comes William Merritt Chase's On the Lake, Prospect Park (est. $250/350,000). Painted circa 1886, this oil on panel depicts the lovely park near the Brooklyn, New York home Chase shared with his wife, and unites the inspiration of an earlier generation of European artists with the taste and sensibility of turn-of-the-century America.

    Also on offer is Winslow Homer's Boys in a Boat, a watercolor from 1880 that belongs to a celebrated series of watercolors painted during a period of time that Homer spent in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Estimated to sell for $600/800,000, this work reflects Homer's increased preoccupation with technical concerns and experimental methods, and clearly reflects his command of the medium.

    Over 40 years later, Edward Hopper also chose Gloucester as his summer home before building a house in South Truro, Massachusetts. It was here in 1923 that Hopper began to use watercolor, a medium he had not used regularly since his days as an illustrator. As it required a quick and spontaneous execution, it became the perfect vehicle for exploring the pictorial use of light which pervades much of Hopper's work, especially House on the Shore from 1924 (est. $500/700,000). This work, along with ten other of his Gloucester paintings, was included in a one-man show at the Frank K.M. Rehm Gallery in New York that same year. All of the works sold and the landmark show launched Hopper's career.

    From the Estate of Gretchen Swanson Velde of Omaha, Nebraska comes Georgia O'Keeffe's majestic Ghost Ranch Cliffs. The artist first visited New Mexico in 1929 and was captivated by the stark simplicity of the desert landscape. In the present work, painted circa 1940-42, O'Keeffe depicts the rugged and colorful hills and cliffs as seen from her summer home at Ghost Ranch. This oil on canvas is estimated to sell for $1/1.5 million.