An exceptionally appealing sketch of a cow was up for auction Friday on Skinner’s website. It was unattributed, but the less than completely legible signature and subject matter led us, and perhaps many others, to Anton Mauve. Estimated at $300-$500, the seemingly fluid bovine in a classy gilt frame brought $1,900 before premium.
This was my first encounter with a private internet auction and it was frustrating. If you’re used to using eBay, a countdown is a countdown. When an auction ends, it ends. You can even use Auction Sniper to swoop in at the last minute. I thought this item was closing at 9 a.m. I forgot and so rushed to log in. Ah, a few minutes left, so I placed a bid. Every few minutes, however, the time remaining would increase. At one point it appeared there were 23 seconds left, but that somehow increased to nine additional minutes. I forgot to note what time the lot actually closed and the time on my screenshot does not appear correct, but it must have been closer to 9:30 than 9:00.
I was not the winning bidder, but someone must have felt good about the attribution to the Dutch Hague School painter, cousin-in-law to Vincent Van Gogh. While the condition appeared to have some issues, I just thought it was a great cow sketch!
If you’re wondering about my title, Wikipedia says his paintings of sheep by Mauve were particularly popular in America and a price differential developed between scenes of sheep coming and sheep going.