The Westport Historical Society is holding a fundraising auction of artworks from the 19th and 20th Centuries donated by BNY Mellon Wealth Management from its corporate collection. Among the pieces for sale is bucolic Hudson Valley landscape by pioneering 19th-century painter Fanny Palmer and 44 other works. The live auction, conducted by Christie’s, takes place Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Westport Country Playhouse.
The auction will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Westport Country Playhouse’s Lucille Lortel White Barn Center. The evening begins with a special reception, catered and co-hosted by BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and a silent auction of the artworks, followed by a live auction of the more valuable items at 6:15.
Six of the prints are by Palmer, an Englishwoman who came to the U.S. in the mid-1800s and painted more than 200 pieces for Currier & Ives. She was the first woman to work as a professional artist in America, and signed her pieces F.F. Palmer because painting was not then considered a suitable occupation for a woman.
“It is likely that during the latter half of the nineteenth century more pictures by Mrs. Fanny Palmer decorated the homes of ordinary Americans than those of any other artist, living or dead,” Currier & Ives expert Ewell L. Newman has written.
Palmer’s paintings depict an America of broad vistas, rugged mountains and picture-perfect country homes and reflect the nation’s optimistic spirit. Hudson Valley locales figure in many of the prints, whether it is the Palisades; cityscapes of Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Newburg and Albany; the old Italian Renaissance New York Life Insurance building at 346 Broadway; and, for cartography buffs, vintage maps of Yonkers and Mount Vernon. The auction piece with the highest valuation – $2,000 – is Palmer’s “American Express Train,” one of her iconic works. This piece is dominated by a locomotive rolling through the foreground of a Hudson Valley landscape, a plume of dark smoke trailing behind.
Also for auction are prints by Henry Salt, a 19th-Century English artist, traveler and diplomat. His pieces representing Europe depict English fox hunts, staghounds, an ancient abbey and a number of scenes of Italy, including prints of Nero’s tomb and the Arch of Titus, on which Paris’ Arc de Triomphe is modeled. Also included are Abyssinian and Indian landscapes.
All the artworks are professionally framed and ready to be hung in a home or office; and most range in value from $50 to several hundred dollars.
Reservations are required. RSVP by contacting Barbara Brauner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 222-1424.