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October 29 Fine Print Sale

William Bunch Auctions is proud to present a two-day sale of fine art and works on paper on October 29 and 30, 2018.

The first day of the sale will offer a single-owner collection of fine and rare prints, including woodcuts, wood engravings, etchings, copperplate engravings, drypoints, lithographs, and serigraphs. The collection was compiled by a serious patron and collector of the mid-20th century who made his fortune as a prominent attorney in Rittenhouse Square. He lived and bought bi-continentally in Philadelphia, New York, and Paris, and personally knew many of the artists he collected. The stately collection of over 1200 items has been finely preserved out of frames since purchase. Nearly every piece is delicately mounted in an acid-free passepartout, and all were carefully stored away from light and dust from the time they were acquired until now.

The Day 1 sale includes work by 128 artists and spans the 17th-20th centuries. The following is a selection of artists most prominently represented in the collection:

Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was one of Sweden’s most acclaimed and internationally regarded artists. He worked in painting, sculpture, and etching and specialized in nudes and portraiture. His simplistic approach to detailing the human form with short yet elegantly sloped lines and minimal background interference resulted in some of the most realistically rendered nude prints of their Continental heyday.

Lot 14043: Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920), drypoint etching on paper "The Pilot"

Lot 14046: Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920), drypoint etching on paper "On Hemso Island"

Joseph Pennell (1857-1926) was a Philadelphia native. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he honed his skills as an etcher and lithographer. He is best known for his depictions of Philadelphia landmarks and cityscapes, all rendered in stunning detail. Pennell was both a talented printmaker and a skilled marketer of his craft, and he published numerous monographs promoting the value of book illustration processes that are today considered integral in spurring the renaissance of print arts and collecting in the 20th century.

Lot 14048: Joseph Pennell (American, 1860-1926), etching on paper "The Stock Exchange, Philadelphia"

Lot 14063: Joseph Pennell (American, 1860-1926), etching on paper "The Forges"

Lot 14069: Joseph Pennell (American, 1860-1926), etching on paper "Steam and Power"

William Lee Hankey (1869-1952) was a British painter and illustrator who specialized in pastoral imagery and studies of mothers and children. He is reputed as one of the most gifted printmakers working in drypoint in the early 20th century. Using varying burin widths and pressure in his etching, he created the illusion of tone without any chemical aids and captured the softness of his subjects’ faces and clothing against dark, often brutal backdrops. Hankey’s depictions of simple domestic and rural life are sentimental and moving in a way that is typically only captured in photograph.

Lot 14113: William Lee Hankey (British, 1869-1952), drypoint etching on paper of two women

Lot 14110: William Lee Hankey (British, 1869-1952), drypoint etching on paper "Milkmaid"

Lot 14108: William Lee Hankey (British, 1869-1952), drypoint etching on paper "The Lesson"

William Walcot (1874-1943) has been praised as the best architectural draftsman in London during his life. A Russian-born Brit who traveled widely, he had no formal training as an etcher despite his obvious talent for the art. After settling in London in 1906, he found his niche in highly intricate and perspectival architectural renderings. His early works tended towards the larger format, but later in his career he was creating detailed plates as small as 2 inches square. He sketched the major forms in his plates using the drypoint technique but then often incorporated other etching media like aquatint and mezzotint rockers to create tone and dimension. While his work usually includes people, they are unfinished and clipped at the extremities because they only served in Walcot’s art to create liveliness and scale: his singular focus was the realistic depiction of buildings and monuments. The result is a brilliant corpus of Art Nouveau illustrations that marry abstract life forms and contextual elements with powerfully representational draftsmanship.

Lot 14167: William Walcot (English, 1874-1943), drypoint etching on paper "Lower Broadway, New York"

Lot 14182: William Walcot (English, 1874-1943), drypoint etching on paper "The Remains of the Forum of Minerva"

Lot 14195: William Walcot (English, 1874-1943), drypoint etching on paper "Royal Scottish Academy"

Auguste Brouet (1872-1941) was born to a poor family in the outskirts of Paris where he struggled to make a living as a printmaker’s apprentice. Early in the 20th century, he began making original designs characterized by graceful depictions of working class people. Despite the tendency of his modernist contemporaries towards bold, angular forms, his style retained the loose roundness of the classical, which made the prolific elements of drapery and vegetation in his work exceedingly realistic. Although his work enjoyed some degree of renown in the West, the Great Depression hit the print market hard, and Brouet died in poverty at the onset of World War II.

Lot 14227: Auguste Brouet (French, 1872-1941), etching on paper "Mender of Chairs"

Lot 14224: Auguste Brouet (French, 1872-1941), etching on paper "Fisherman"

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was a founding artist of the Regionalist movement. Born to a wealthy political family in the Midwest and educated in Europe, Benton settled in New York City and declared himself an “enemy of modernism”. As such, his work depicts gritty, folksy social realism. After relocating to Kansas in the 1930s, he tapped into what would come to be known as the hallmark of his artistic métier: melancholy, yet optimistic portrayals of the struggle of rural life. He sought to demonstrate the plight of small towns and farms in the dustbowl during a time of ultimate desperation. The corpus of his work has come to exemplify the American Dream in artistic form.

Lot 14263: Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975), lithograph on paper "The Boy"

Lot 14265: Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975), lithograph on paper "The Woodpile"

Lot 14260: Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975), lithograph on paper "Frisky Day"

The full catalog for Day 1 of this two-day sale is now live on our website and LiveAuctioneers. The sale can be previewed in person on the following days:

Friday, October 26, from 9am-5pm

Sunday, October 28, from 12pm-4pm

Monday, October 29 from 9am until start of sale

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