Sublime Painting by John F. Kensett (American, 1816-1872) Soars to $1.08 Million at Cottone Auctions

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Summary

The auction featured roughly 170 quality lots from private institutions, estates and individuals.

Press Release

Geneseo, NY, USA, October 11, 2021 — A truly sublime painting titled Singing Beach & Eagle Rock, Magnolia, Massachusetts by American landscape artist John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872), was the top lot in Cottone Auctions’ Fine Art, Antiques and Clock auction held on Saturday, September 18th. The painting saw trade competition into the high six figures, and easily surpassed its estimate, selling to a private collector by phone for $1.08 million. Overall, the sale grossed $3.7 million.

The Kensett painting was purchased in 1955 by Mrs. Adrian Smith (formerly Lusyd Wright Keating) of Buffalo, New York, from Victor D. Spark of New York, and bequested to her daughter Cynthia Doolittle in 1971. It was previously twice exhibited at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, first in 1958 and again in 1983.

“It has been a privilege to market the painting,” said Matt Cottone of Cottone Auctions. “I was pleased for our consignor – the Doolittles – who could have sent their things anywhere but gave us the opportunity.”

Catalog notes included quotes regarding the painting, including a letter by John K. Howat, assistant curator of American paintings and sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Mrs. Adrian W. Smith, on May 25, 1965, stating, “The Kensett strikes me as being a very fine one. The arrangement and colors are very clear and forceful — a good sign in Kensett’s work. The silence of these spare Kensetts is very impressive.”

More recently, Susan Crane, associate curator Albright Knox Art Gallery, in a letter to Mr. & Mrs. Doolittle on March 24, 1983, said, “Your Kensett was an important element in the success of the show — it really made the room glow. Several art historians, in fact, commented on its excellence. It really does rank with the most magnificent of his works, and we are grateful to have been able to show it in the context of his ‘peers’.”

There were also many outstanding lamps in the auction. These were led by a rare Tiffany Studios elaborate Peony lamp on a telescopic library base with a 22-inch shade ($390,000); a fine Tiffany Studios Dragonfly table lamp on a reticulated Indian base with a 20-inch shade ($153,600); a Tiffany Studios, Lily Pad table lamp on a twisted vine base with a 20-inch shade ($127,200); a Tiffany Studios Bamboo table lamp with a 16-inch shade ($136,800); and a rare Duffner and Kimberly Poppy floor lamp on a renaissance floor base ($98,400).For more information about Cottone Auctions and the firm’s calendar of upcoming auction events, please visit www.cottoneauctions.com; or, call (585) 243-1000.