Grandma Moses Stars in American Art at Swann September 17

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Grandma Moses, Happy Days, oil on masonite, 1961. Estimate $50,000 to $80,000.
Grandma Moses, Happy Days, oil on masonite, 1961. Estimate $50,000 to $80,000.

New York—Swann Galleries will open the fall 2020 auction season with a sale of American Art on September 17. The sale encompasses the visions of Impressionism, Regionalism and early Modernism, with seaside portraits showcasing various coastal destinations featuring prominently throughout the sale.

A top highlight of the auction is a work by Anna Mary Robertson (Grandma) Moses. Completed at 101 years of age, Happy Days is a 1961 oil-on-masonite painting depicting a typical scene of Moses’s, a rural family working happily on their farm. The work is set to come across the block estimated at $50,000 to $80,000. The painting, with exhibition and publication history, last appeared on the market more than 40 years ago.

Works from the nineteenth century include a run of circa-1880 coastal scenes by Alfred Thompson Bricher with the oil-on-canvas works Low Tide, South Head, Grand Manan Island ($20,000-30,000), and Schooner off the Coast, Bishop’s Rock, Grand Manon Island ($15,000-20,000), as well as the watercolor A Coastal Scene ($2,000-3,000). Also of note are still life scenes with fruit, including an 1850s oil-on-wood panel by Severin Roesen ($15,000-20,000), and a circa-1860 oil by William Mason Brown.

Childe Hassam, A Shady Spot (Appledore, Isle of Shoals), watercolor, 1892. Estimate $80,000 to $120,000.
Childe Hassam, A Shady Spot (Appledore, Isle of Shoals), watercolor, 1892. Estimate $80,000 to $120,000.

Impressionist scenes lead the sale with coastal watercolors by Childe Hassam: A Shady Spot (Appledore, Isle of Shoals), 1892 ($80,000-120,000), and Sailboat off the Coast, Isle of Shoals, 1894 ($30,000-50,000). Also depicting the Isle of Shoals is John Appleton Brown’s circa-1890 color pastel Celia Thaxter’s Garden and View of the Sea, Isle of Shoals ($7,000-10,000). Further Impressionist works of note include Alice Mary (Beach) Winter’s circa-1915 oil-on-canvas View of Gloucester ($5,000-8,000), Edward Potthast’s oil-on-canvas New England Harbor Scene, circa 1900–10 ($5,000-8,000), and a small run of works by Gertrude Fiske including the oil board Boston Waterfront, circa 1919–22 ($2,000-3,000).

Marsden Hartley’s 1922–23 color crayon and pastel drawing Seated Male Nude stands out in an offering of early Modernism ($30,000-50,000). Charles Burchfield is present with Untitled (Harmony in Nature) gouache over pencil, circa 1915–16 ($7,000-10,000), and Frozen House in Winter, watercolor and gouache, circa 1918 ($10,000-15,000). Joseph Stella’s oil-on-canvas Still Life with Chrysanthemums and Goldfish, circa 1911–12 makes an appearance ($12,000-18,000). Additional highlights include works by Nils Gren, Walt Kuhn and Jerome Myers.

Scenes of New York City throughout the seasons include Guy Wiggins’s circa-1940 oil-on-canvas Snow Scene, depicting a busy winter day as people make their way to their destinations in a snowstorm ($20,000-30,000). Reginald Marsh’s circa-1930 oil-on-canvas Manhattan, Waterfront, which depicts the Manhattan skyline on a clear day ($15,000-20,000), and John Marin’s 1953 watercolor View of Central Park, New York, showing a loose rendering of the park’s trees and the city skyline ($15,000-20,000), are also available.

Paintings from the collection of Betty and Douglas Duffy, of The Bethesda Art Gallery, include modern works by Sophie Harpe and Nils Gren.

Limited previewing (by appointment only) will be available from through September 16, to be scheduled directly with a specialist in advance and conforming to strict safety guidelines. Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Advance order bids can be placed with a specialist for the sale or on Swann’s website, and phone bidding will be available. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available and on the Swann Galleries App.

Additional highlights can be found here.


Lot 205: Grandma Moses, Happy Days, oil on masonite, 1961. Estimate $50,000 to $80,000.

Lot 21: Childe Hassam, A Shady Spot (Appledore, Isle of Shoals), watercolor, 1892. Estimate $80,000 to $120,000.

Auction date: Thursday, September 17, at 10:30 am

Specialist: Todd Weyman • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 32

Communications Director: Alexandra Nelson • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 19

Public Relations Associate: Kelsie Jankowski • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 23

Social media: @swanngalleries

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Swann Auction Galleries is a third-generation family business as well as the world’s largest auction house for works on paper. In the last 75 years, Swann has repeatedly revolutionized the trade with such innovations as the first U.S. auction dedicated to photographs and the world’s only department of African-American Fine Art. More than 30 auctions and previews are held annually in Swann Galleries’ two-floor exhibition space in Midtown Manhattan, and online worldwide. Visit for more information.

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