Sep 28, 2017 - Sale 2455

Sale 2455 - Lot 34

Price Realized: $ 4,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
AMUNDSEN DEPARTING FOR THE NORTH POLE--BY AN EYEWITNESS (ARCTIC.) Stokes, Frank Wilbert. The Departure of the Norge for the North Pole from King's Bay, Spitsbergen, 80th North Lat. Oil on board, 12 x 16 inches, initialed in lower left; a bit worn at lower corners. Np, May 1926

Additional Details

Roald Amundsen and his crew, facing off against Richard Byrd's competing expedition, crossed over the North Pole in the airship Norge, and are often regarded as the first to reach the pole. Frank Wilbert Stokes (1858-1955) was an American artist who accompanied the expedition. Stokes saw the Norge off from the island of Spitsbergen on 11 May 1926 as it made the final dash for the pole. This painting was done from his original Spitsbergen sketches, as explained in a note on the verso of the painting: "Composition sketch . . . made from studies painted in the open at Spitsbergen, member of Amundsen Ellsworth Ex., 1926." The final painting (for which this is a preliminary study) remains one of Stokes's best-known works.
with--a small group of related papers, including: an exhibition guide, "Arctic and Antarctic Paintings by Frank Wilbert Stokes, 1925 Letter Signed from Richard E. Byrd to Stokes: "Many, many thanks for your letter and good wishes. I am deeply grateful for it." Roosevelt Field, NY, 22 June 1927 Retained draft of a longer letter from Stokes to Byrd, encouraging Byrd to sell paintings to help outfit his expedition. New York, 29 September 1933 Two 8 x 10-inch photographs of an artist (apparently Stokes) at work late in life, uncaptioned and undated 21 early photostat copies of letters to Stokes (including some duplicates), many of them from Byrd or Adolphus Greely, from originals dated 1917-34. Of particular interest is a copy of a 22 November 1926 letter from Byrd reading in part "I will certainly drop in and see the 'Departure of the Norge for the Pole.' Mr. Ellsworth should see it, and I am sure will be keenly interested in it."