Rare George Washington portrait goes on auction block in Scottsdale

One of the Southwest’s largest auction houses, J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, will host its first “J. Levine Art Auction” on Thurs., Feb. 26 in Scottsdale.

Gilbert Charles Stuart's rare portrait of George Washington is value dbetween $800,000 and $1.2 million.

Gilbert Charles Stuart’s rare portrait of George Washington is value dbetween $800,000 and $1.2 million.

The auction will include a diverse selection of high-caliber paintings and sculpture, including a rare Gilbert Stuart portrait painting of George Washington estimated to be worth $1 million.

The auction also includes an original 19th century portrait painting by Thomas Sully, who studied under Stuart, and paintings by the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America members Frank McCarthy (deceased), Herb Mignery, Melvin Warren (deceased), and Harley Brown.

“There’s a common misconception that rare fine art does not exist in Arizona. What people don’t realize is that Arizona is home to many affluent estates. Our consignors often have multiple homes around the country, and in some cases, they are heirs to estates in Europe,” said Josh Levine, owner of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal.

“The pieces in our February art auction represent the best of the best that we have held back specifically for this special auction.”

Fine art expected to cause a bidding frenzy include:

* Gilbert Charles Stuart (1755 – 1828) portrait of George Washington — estimated value between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

Gilbert Stuart, a listed Scottish artist, is considered one of America’s best known portrait painters. He painted numerous portraits of George Washington.

The engraving that appears on the U.S. one dollar bill was based on a Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington, America’s first president.

Although Mr. Stuart was a sought-after portrait painter, he lived well beyond his means and left his family in impoverished conditions. His travels to Europe were to better improve his artistic talents as well as to avoid creditors.

In 1792, he returned to America and was so highly regarded as a portrait painter, many of the most prominent individuals in government became his portrait subjects.

Gilbert was known for his erratic behavior, which many attributed to his artistic genius. Returning to America did not change his lifestyle as creditors continued to pursue him. Mr. Stuart is buried in Boston in an unmarked pauper’s grave.

*Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954) original ink drawing — stimated value between $60,000 and $80,000.

Henri Matisse is a highly-collected French artist known for his modernist paintings. This original oil on paper depicts a portrait of a young woman, who is wearing an embroidered dress with her face looking down.

This lot includes a certificate of authenticity. The sight size is 17 5/8″ x 14 1/2″ and is signed lower left with the date ’36.

The frame is simple, black with a tan linen liner and a gold fillet under glass with approximate dimensions of 28 5/8″ x 25 7/8″ x 1″. The approximate weight is 9 lbs.

* Frank McCarthy (1924-2002) “Dust Of Many Ponies,” estimated value between $25,000 and $35,000.

Frank McCarthy's "Dust Of Many Ponies" is valued between $25,000 and $35,000.

Frank McCarthy’s “Dust Of Many Ponies” is valued between $25,000 and $35,000.

Frank McCarthy is a listed, highly-regarded and collected artist who is known for his western-themed paintings. Frank was a member of the famous Cowboy Artists of America group.

“Dust Of Many Ponies” depicts a war party of Native American men on horseback. This oil painting on board is 22″ x 28″ and is signed lower left. The frame is ornate, antiqued gold with approximate dimensions of 32″ x 38″ x 3 3/4″.

* Thomas Sully (American 1783-1872) “Sleeping Mother and Child,” estimated value between $20,000 and $30,000.

David Wilkinson, J. Levine’s director of Specialty Auctions and Events, is drawing upon 26 years of fine art experience to coordinate the auction.  Wilkinson previously served as director of The Legacy Gallery, a nationally-renowned fine art gallery that showcases both representational and impressionistic art. Prior to that, he served as director of Trailside Galleries in Scottsdale.

“The way people buy art continues to change, and seasoned collectors understand the value of purchasing high-quality art at auction,” Wilkinson said. “Our art auction will rival similar sales at some of the nation’s most prestigious auction houses.”

The public can preview the “J. Levine Art Auction” items on Wed., Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and again starting at 9 a.m. on Thurs., Feb. 26 before the auction begins at 11 a.m. J. Levine is located at 10345 N. Scottsdale Road, in Scottsdale.

Auctions are subject to a 15 percent Buyers Premium (20 percent for Internet and phone bidders). Live online bidding can be accessed through www.jlevines.com or through www.invaluable.com.

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