A Cut Above

Nov 09,2017 | 09:24 EST By Rago Auctions

Discover highlights from Ragos 19th/20th C. Fine Art Auction as they take a closer look at some the works crossing their auction block on November 11th. 

Lot 95, Franklin C. "Watty" Watkins, Vista, Oil on canvas, 1963; Estimate $5,000 - $7,000

Franklin C. “Watty” Watkins received formal artistic training at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, but soon found himself drawn to the more avant-garde manipulations of color and form used by Post-Impressionists like Gauguin and Cezanne. In this later work, we see some of these early inspirations come to fruition: bright, playful colors, altered perspectives and varied brushstrokes. Vista was included in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 1964 retrospective on Franklin Watkins’ work.

Lot 47, Samuel Margolies, Men of Steel, Drypoint on paper, ca. 1940: Estimate $3,000 - $5,000

A master of intaglio printing, Samuel Margolies is best known for his depictions of New York’s skyscrapers and high-rise construction workers. Margolies’ 1940 Men of Steel is a prime example of this sought-after subject matter. This piece was created soon after his four year stint with the Federal Works Progress Administration had ended.

Lot 69, Yousuf Karsh, The Roaring Lion, Gelatin silver print drymounted to board, 1941; Estimate $5,000 - $7,000

​​The story behind this famous photo of the larger-than-life Winston Churchill was one Yousuf Karsh often recounted. Karsh was granted only two minutes with the notoriously moody Prime Minister to capture this shot. Try as he might, the increasingly nervous photographer could not properly frame the image around Churchill’s ever present cigar. In a moment of bravery, Karsh stepped forward and plucked the cigar from Churchill’s mouth. The resulting glare was captured for eternity in this photograph titled The Roaring Lion.

“You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed.” –Yousuf Karsh

Lot 29, Fernand Léger, Honoria Shelton, India ink and watercolor on paper, 1943; Estimate $6,000 - $8,000

​Honoria Shelton Donnelly was the only surviving child of famed American expatriates, Gerald and Sara Murphy. The Murphys famously entertained artists and writers while living in France in the 1920s, including Pablo Picasso, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway and Man Ray, among others. They were the models for the main characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night; forever memorialized among the Lost Generation. The Murphys were particularly close with Fernand Leger and his wife. It is noted that Leger once stated that Gerald, a talented but unknown artist, was, “the only American painter in Paris.” Leger created this work for Honoria in 1943, the same year she married her first husband, English Naval Officer, John Shelton.

This work will appear in the forthcoming catalogue raisonne on Fernand Leger’s works on paper.

Lot 155, Hale Aspacio Woodruff, Marisa In Vogue, Acrylic on canvas, 1973; Estimate $8,000 - $12,000

Hale Woodruff was an American artist well-known for depicting the African-American experience. His work was heavily influenced by African and 20th century Modern Art, as well as the Abstract Expressionist movement. In this piece we see the amalgamation of these diverse influences. Painted seven years before his death, Marisa in Vogue is a strong example Woodruff’s late figurative work.

Click here to browse the full Rago Auctions, 19th/20th C. American/European Art sale on November 11th. 

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