vaudeville performers. From 1941 to 1948, the artist was granted a press pass to Madison Square Garden, which allowed him to view performers not only on stage but behind the scenes as they prepared for their acts. Kuhn created a series of drawings during this time, some of which were developed into finished portraits such as this depiction of The White Rider, which presents his subject outside of the circus spectacle and grants the viewer access to the human character beneath the performer’s public persona. Thomas Hart Benton’s Sea Phantasy I (est. $400/600,000) was painted for a sports den commissioned around 1925 by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Briggs. Briggs was an avid fisherman, and recruited Benton to create a room filled with sea motifs to compliment his trophy fish. Sea Phantasy I was one of four large wall panels the artist created, in addition to a three-part rug and a decorative folding screen. The abstracted forms and brightly colored compositions from this commission are a reflection of Benton’s continued interest in the structure and composition of Japanese prints as well as the Synchromist movement, which was based on the belief that the colors in a painting can be orchestrated in the same harmonious way that a composer arranges notes in a symphony. Sotheby’s will offer a variety of works by American Impressionists. In 1906, John Singer Sargent painted Mrs. George Rosenthal, the wife of a wealthy merchant with a vast empire in South Africa (est. $900,000/1.2 million). Though Mrs.
Mosenthal did not commission this portrait – she was most likely invited to sit for Sargent after the two met at a dinner party – a portrait by the esteemed artist would have been an ideal asset to her well-appointed home and a mark of her place in the upper echelons of British society. The elegant trappings of her portrait, such as the fashionable evening gown, jeweled ring and diamond hairpin, reveal the artist’s interest in presenting his affluent subjects as reflections of the rarefied world of London’s elite. Childe Hassam’s Newport (est. $500/700,000) is one of only seven paintings he did of this
affluent New England town, most of which are in public collections. Each spring, Hassam made plans to leave his New York studio and spend the summer months visiting resorts along the New England coast. Despite his regular travels, Hassam had only one extended stay in Newport, Rhode Island, in September and October 1901. Newport was, at the time, at the height of its Golden Age, with wealthy American families flocking there in the summer. Like many of Hassam’s New England works, the church steeple is featured on the horizon, echoed by the tall masts of the boats in the foreground. Sotheby’s will offer five works by Winslow Homer, including his 1886 watercolor Spanish Moss at Tampa (est. $600/800,000). Between 1884 and 1905, Homer made several trips from Maine to the tropics, visiting the Bahamas, Florida, Cuba and Bermuda. In these new climates, Homer found both new challenges