View of Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy of Rachel Davis Fine Arts
CLEVELAND, OHIO – The competition for a portrait of Berniece Singer by her husband, Clyde Singer (Ohio, 1908-1999) was tough. Two online bidders battled two bidders over the phone and several people in the auction house, one from Medina, Ohio, who possessed a portrait of the artist he hoped to find with the portrait. In the end, a phone auction collector and friend of the artist from Detroit, Michigan, spent more than everyone else and paid $ 30,750, more than tripling his high estimate. It was the first batch of the Rachel Davis Fine Art sale on October 23.
“I was hoping it would sell somewhere in the estimate,” Rachel Davis said after the sale. “I didn’t expect him to hit the price he hit. While Clyde Singer’s works have steadily climbed in recent years, the ones that have always cost the most money have been the New York street scenes, it was a portrait of his wife. She noted that Singer left the job to her dentist, Richard Robinson, who often accepted paintings as payment. The portrait of Singer’s wife had descended into Robinson’s family and was sold by her daughter.
Eight other works by Singer were on sale: three more were delivered by Robinson’s daughter and four by the family of Sara Schneider, who had helped launch the Canton Institute of Art (later the Canton Museum of Art).
Another collection of Robinson family works by Singer included “McSorley’s Group,” a 1965 oil on cardboard measuring 20 by 24 inches and depicting the interior of one of New York’s venerable taverns, McSorley’s Old Ale House. The bar was a popular subject for American painter John Sloan, whom Singer knew and emulated during his time at the Art Students League in New York. It grossed $ 8,610, nearly three times its high estimate, and sold to a private collector in Ohio. “Pedestrian Corner”, which had been recorded by the Schneider family, was made in 1975 and sold for $ 6,150, also to a buyer in Ohio.
Davis noted that all of Singer’s works would remain in Ohio. “He’s always been very popular here. He was born in Malvern, a small town, and studied at the Art Students League with (Reginald) Marsh and (Thomas Hart) Benton. He hated New York and returned to Ohio, where he lived in Youngstown. He never got modern and always painted small local scenes. His works slowly arrive on the market and grow; the bigger ones have always sold privately. The Butler Institute of American Art and the Canton Museum have dedicated retrospectives to him. There are many great paintings in the private collections of Ohio. The people of central Ohio actively pursue his paintings. He was a well-made boy from his hometown!
Another local artist in the sale was William Sommer (1867-1949), who was represented by nine lots. Her oil on board titled “Pigs” fetched the highest price, $ 17,220, which came as a pleasant surprise to Davis, who said she “was not sure how the subject would affect them. pigs (the price) “. It was purchased by a collector from Medina, who had been the underbidder on Singer’s portrait of his wife. Made in 1923, it was one of the earliest works of an artist born in Detroit but having studied in Germany and worked as a lithographer in New York City before moving to Cleveland. He befriends William Zorach, whose portrait of Sommer is included in the sale and brings in $ 4,613. Sommer was particularly prolific in watercolors; six were in the sale and fetched prices of $ 984 to $ 1,968.
Davis has been selling ceramic works by Cleveland potter Claude Conover (Ohio, 1907–1994) since the early 1980s, when his vases, or “bottles” as he called them, fetched $ 100 at auction. She noted that her market had grown recently, with many works now going to buyers in New York and Italy. She offered three of her pieces in her sale, all of which were purchased by a professional buyer on the East Coast, for prices ranging from $ 8,610 to $ 5,535. All prices exceeded their presale expectations.
Viktor Schreckengost, born 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, was both a ceramic artist and watercolor artist; the sale had three of his plates and two of his watercolors. At the top of the offerings was a ceramic “Modern Dance” plate from his “Jazz” series, which had a flaw in its glaze that kept the price low; it was sold to a Cleveland collector for $ 4,613.
“He did very well, his castings are incredible. We’ve had him every now and then and his stuff sometimes comes up at wildlife auctions, ”said Davis, referring to Cleveland-raised Walter Matia (b.1953), who grew up watching birds. and duck hunting and spent summers working in the exhibits department at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Four works were offered for sale, led by a bronze sculpture of a blue heron, made in 1999 from an edition of 36, measuring 18 inches high and sourced from the Vixseboxse Gallery in Cleveland. A buyer in Florida bagged it for $ 6,150. A pair of bronze curlews, made in 1988 and managed by Galerie Vixseboxse, sold within estimate for $ 2,829.
The sale witnessed a new artist record for Massilon, Ohio, born Charles Coe (born 1902), when “December” was sold to a Chicago collector, for $ 4,613, now the highest price. never recorded high for the artist. The oil on canvas depicted a snowy landscape and had been painted in 1932; it was exhibited a year after being painted at the “15th Exhibition of the Work of Artists and Craftsmen of Cleveland Cleveland Museum of Art” and in 1939 at the Academy’s “134th Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition” of Fine Arts of Pennsylvania. Davis knew Coe, who exhibited regularly at the Cleveland Museum, but with only one previous auction record, she had few comparable examples on which to base an estimate. She valued it at $ 1 / 2,000 and said she was “surprised at the interest.” I liked the painting; it was one of my favorites. We got interest from everywhere; it was sold to an online auction Chicago collector.
The sale of 382 lots sold over 88% and reached $ 380,000.
“I was very happy with it overall,” said Davis. “I had been a little concerned with the traditional works of the 19th and early 20th centuries, but they held up. “
The next Rachel Davis Fine Art sale is tentatively scheduled for December 3-4.
Prices shown include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For more information, 216-939-1190 or www.racheldavisfinearts.com.