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Lot 72: Christopher Huntington
28 October 2016
Portland, ME, USALive Auction
Description: Christopher Huntington Am. b. 1938 The Wood Lot, Gray's Hallow, Cape North, 1981 Titled as above, dated 1981, and signed "C. Huntington" verso and stamped "Property of Christopher Huntington" verso Oil on board 8 x 10 in. 20.3 x 25.4 cm Provenance: Tom Veilleux Gallery (label verso with the title and date "The Wood Lot, 1981")
Condition Report: Good condition, good appearance, no apparent restoration.
Notes: When Barridoff Galleries first opened its doors in the late 1970?s, it was a gallery for antiques and art. We had never met Chris Huntington, but the mere mention of his name within the art world of Maine inspired, if not exactly awe, then certainly something akin to it. Huntington?s taste and knowledge would continue to grow and, even now, years later, his reputation still simmers, perhaps now by choice a bit less commercially. But that a significant number of Huntington?s oils found their way to Fr. Plante, also a painter and collector, is not surprising. Huntington, whose parents were both artists, took up painting when he was 19 and his work was first exhibited at Graham Galleries, New York in an exhibition called ?East Coast Arts? in the early 60s. Huntington was probably the first significant collector in Maine of Marsden Hartley?s work and, over a period of time acquired twelve Hartley paintings and half a dozen drawings. But, like Plante, with whom he had become friends, he collected the work of many artists, starting when he was the first curator at Colby College Art Museum in the 1960?s, today among the very finest museums, college or otherwise, in America. His collection boasted or would boast seven Bellows, three Hassams and many others, a collection shown at the Portland Museum of Art in 1974. After Colby, Chris plunged into the antiques business with his then wife Ellen, not at first knowing, he says, much of anything about antiques. After eight years in the business at Ezra Peters antiques, Sam Pennington, founder of the Maine Antique Digest, called him ?The most influential dealer in Maine in his era.? In 1969 Huntington told Bob Vose of Vose Galleries, Boston that during the last year he had sold 600 paintings by various artists. Vose replied that it was almost as many as Vose Galleries had sold. The Frost Gully Gallery handled his work for eighteen months 1988-9 and sold 88 of Huntington?s paintings, 30 of which went to Fr. Plante. After Frost Gully, Huntington went with art dealer Tom Veilleux in Farmington. On the Friday afternoon at the opening of his first show with Veilleux, Tom met Huntington at the top of the front stairs and told him that 17 paintings had already been sold. Obviously, Huntington had become among the most widely admired and collected artists living in Maine. By choice no longer exhibiting in galleries, Huntington is represented in several of Maine?s highly regarded museums. He is still painting at the age of 78 near his home south of Patten, Maine where he can see the whole Katahdin range from his windows 16 miles to the west, a subject that had been of supreme interest to Hartley. Carl Sprinchorn and Marsden Hartley were also close friends. As an extension to his interest in Hartley, Huntington and wife Charlotte McGill founded the Carl Sprinchorn Admiration Society and are a prime source of information about Sprinchorn?s career and life www.sprinchorn.com. They have also done extensive research into Marsden Hartley and are currently working on a film about Hartley?s time in Nova Scotia.
Provenance: Tom Veilleux Gallery (label verso with the title and date "The Wood Lot, 1981")
Artist or Maker: Christopher Huntington
Literature: Oil on board