For decades one of Philadelphia's most colorful artistic figures was Reginald Beauchamp, a native of England who migrated with his family to the United States at age 2, settled here around 1917, and was active in public relations, mostly with the old Philadelphia Bulletin, until his death in 2000 at age 90.
Beauchamp derived his fame from his dozens of artistic works, the most famous of which was "Penny Franklin," a bust of Ben Franklin done in 1971 that was covered with 80,000 pennies collected from local schoolchildren and that stood on Arch Street in Old City until 1996. He also worked in other media; one of his major efforts, a monumental canvas titled Philadelphia Then and Now, will be a highlight of Alderfer's quarterly fine art sale next Friday at the Alderfer Auction Center in Hatfield.
Commissioned by the Bulletin in 1947 to commemorate its 100th anniversary, the 53-by-68-inch canvas depicts the city as it appeared in 1847 while the 1947 Philadelphia skyline seems to float in the clouds above it. It was exhibited at the Newman Gallery and for 25 years hung in the former Poor Richard Club, of which Beauchamp was a longtime member. It most recently was in private hands.
One of more than 270 paintings in the auction, which begins at 4 p.m. next week, it has a presale estimate of $3,000 to $5,000, according to Alderfer's new online catalog accessible at www.alderferauction.com. The top presale estimates are for two of the auction's many works by Pennsylvania impressionists, traditionally a strong suit at Alderfer's.
George W. Sotter's Mill Road at Night is expected to sell for $75,000 to $100,000, and Edward W. Redfield's snow scene of Center Bridge, Pa., should bring $100,000 to $150,000. Other top items include William Langson Lathrop's oil-on-canvas August Sky ($25,000 to $35,000); Ben Shahn's tempera on board Leviathan ($18,000 to $22,000); Walter Baum's Road to Ridge Valley ($10,000 to $15,000), one of almost a dozen Baums in the sale; Arthur Meltzer's Bucks County Sleigh Ride (also $10,000 to $15,000), one of the sale's 10 Meltzers; and Aldro Thompson Hibbard's Hillside, ($12,000 to $16,000).
Other artists represented include Alice Kent Stoddard, Dorothy van Loan, Ranulph Bye, Earl Horter, Edmund D. Lewis, and contemporary area sculptor Richard Weiner.
Alderfer's fine art sale will be preceded on Thursday by a 500-lot sale of ephemera, accessories, fine furniture, and rugs beginning at 9 a.m., with 80 lots of baseball cards, autographs and photographs, followed by porcelains, ceramics and Orientalia. Among top items are a five-piece Stieff sterling Baltimore Rose coffee and tea service ($3,000 to $5,000), one of more than a dozen lots of sterling; a platinum and diamond reproduction necklace with 44 diamonds ($15,000 to $18,000); a Pennsylvania Dutch cupboard ($2,000 to $4,000), and, perhaps most unusual, an 18th-century four-card, watercolor-and-ink "metamorphosis" evidently showing man's change from the Garden of Eden to now. It has a presale estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
Preview is from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to noon tomorrow; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Friday at the gallery at 501 Fairgrounds Rd. For more information, call 215-393-3023.
Chinese export at Chadds Ford. On Monday and Tuesday at its gallery in Chadds Ford, William H. Bunch Auctions/Appraisals will conduct a two-day sale featuring the personal collection of James Galley, a well-known area dealer and collector of Chinese export porcelain, as well as fine art, furniture, and decorative accessories. The auction also will offer selected additions from various local estates and private collections.
The 650 lots to be offered Monday, beginning at 10 a.m., include tureens, punch bowls, garden seats, and other serving pieces in Canton, Nanking, blue, orange, and green Fitzhugh styles; enameled roosters and other animals; Rose medallion, Celadon, enameled and scenic pieces, and Arita and other Japanese ware. There also is a small collection of about 100 snuff bottles, some fine ivory carvings, a bronze Buddha, and other metal deity sculptures.
Most of the items have modest presale estimates, beginning as low as $50 to $75 for a Chinese export saucer made around 1780 and bearing an unidentified coat of arms, and rarely exceeding $500. Among the dozen or so exceptions are a 12-inch, large armorial punch bowl decorated with European coats of arms ($3,000 to $5,000); a Chinese powdered blue and enameled vase decorated with a carp ($2,000 to $3,000); a Chinese export porcelain Mandarin octagonal garden seat ($2,200 to $2,800), and a two-piece Chinese Imari tureen and lid ($4,000 to $6,000).
The big-ticket items will be offered at Tuesday's 400-lot session beginning at noon and capped by an oil-on-canvas by turn-of-the-20th-century American John Sanderson-Wells titled Church Parade, Hyde Park and expected to sell for $15,000 to $25,000.
A carved inlaid and ebonized walnut Victorian Renaissance Revival pedestal cabinet in the styles of the Herter Brothers has a presale estimate of $6,000 to $9,000; an inlaid mahogany Hepplewhite sideboard made in the late 18th century in the mid-Atlantic region and a 16-foot-tall bronze sculpture by the Lithuanian-American William Zorach titled Go and Gather the Elders of Israel are each expected to sell for $4,000 to $6,000. The bronze was created as part of a Holocaust memorial that was never completed.
Previews are from 1 to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at the gallery at 1 Hillman Drive just off Route 202, a quarter mile south of its intersection with Route 1. For more information, call 610-558-1800 or go to www.williambunchauctions.com