THOMASTON — Kaja Veilleux has been an art and collection auctioneer for over 40 years. As the owner of the Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, he frequently visits his home to research his personal collection, so it’s rarely surprising anymore.
He was amazed at the Gary Haynes collection. Wherever he looked, there were masterpieces from American realists in the 19th and 20th centuries. Winslow Homer, Norman Rockwell, 3 generations of the first artists in Maine, Weiss and more. Many of these, if sold, could get six numbers.
“I knew he was a collector, but I didn’t really know what he had until I went through those doors,” Veilleux said.
Haynes, who lived in Tennessee but had close ties to Maine (he opened a gallery here in 2010), died in January 2021 of a complication of COVID-19. He was 75 years old.
Starting Friday, Thomaston Place’s summer auction will be held on two weekends, July 8th to 10th and August 26th to 28th, with a selection from his extensive collection. The auction is open to the public, but registration is required to participate by phone or online.
At the end of last month, every corner of the auction house’s showroom was filled with more than 1,500 items to be auctioned this weekend. Not all of them are from the Haynes collection, and not all of them are paintings or drawings. There are ancient Chinese bowls and plates, large and small furniture, sculptures and jewelry. What really is for all collectors, even those who may not have more than $ 50,000 to bid on some of the more valuable works.
But Haynes’ artwork will be the biggest attraction.
Haynes’ stepchild, Jay Sheridan, said the auctioned work was only part of the collection. The rest are with his family for now.
Sheridan, who lives in Tennessee but has spent many summers in Maine and is planning, said, “As a family, I think the best reflection of some of what he loved, as well as other works. I chose a work that I want people to enjoy. ” He will visit this weekend with his family for an auction.
Jamie Weiss is still making art at the age of 75 and continues the family heritage. Last month he visited Thomaston Place to see what was auctioned. Recalling the works of his late father Andrew and his grandfather North Carolina, which were owned by Haynes, he chatted with Weil and marveled at the various artworks on display.
“It’s a pretty collection,” Wyeth said, tapping Veilleux’s back as he walked through the showroom.
Thanks for art
Haynes is a resident of Franklin, Tennessee and a longtime advertising executive in Nashville.
However, he is an artist in nature, and after launching and selling an advertising business in 1999, he returned to his first love. At that point, he was already quietly collecting a collection of artwork comparable to museums.
His interest grew, and he later launched a series of galleries dedicated to American realism in the 19th and 20th centuries, not only in Franklin and Nashville, but also in Thomaston.
Haynes also began painting again after a 25-year hiatus. At art school, she studied under Karl Sablet, a well-known watercolor painter in Tennessee. Karl Sablet knew and painted Andrew Wyeth in Maine, one of Hanes’ artistic idols since high school.
It was Sublet’s story and encouragement that Haynes eventually came to visit Maine.
“For years he set his brush aside and focused on business, but as a recreation, he was still very interested in art and American realism and the Weiss family.” Sheridan said. “He started going to Maine in the 80’s. He always wanted to see where Weiss painted, so he visited, and with Maine it would shape his later career. Started a long relationship. “
Andrew Wyeth divided the time between Pennsylvania and the town of Cushing, just south of Thomaston.
Jamie Weiss, who worked more in Newyork and Monhegan, said he met Haynes from time to time but didn’t know him very well.
“He was a very nice person,” Wyeth said. “And he was certainly grateful for art.”
Thomaston’s Haynes Gallery has not only become a showcase of American realism, but also a place for fast-growing artists.
“My dad was, of course, an individual, so his passion wasn’t shared with many until he opened the gallery and helped the next artist,” Sheridan said.
Maine has long been synonymous with art, especially the style that Haynes was interested in, but that didn’t always apply to Nashville, his stepchild said.
“There were a lot of cultural things that Nashville didn’t have, and I think he played a role in bringing them here,” Sheridan said.
Meanwhile, Haynes continued to create his own collection. Veilleux described visiting his home after his death last year as an almost religious experience. He has also been an avid collector since he started collecting coins as a kid.
According to her son, 43-year-old Haynes’ wife, Joan, was just as collector.
“She was there when he bought all those paintings,” Sheridan said. “She had the same love and gratitude as him.”
Fragment of history
As Weiss and Weil stroll through the showroom, they exchange stories like old friends. Weiss seemed to spend the morning in his studio. He wore a knickerbockers studded with paint and knee-highs, and a dark vest over a linen shirt.
Shortly before the tour, Weiss stopped by one of his paintings, “Kyle and Influence,” since 2000. It depicts a boy standing in the grass, with a pumpkin on his head and an old house in the background. This took place on Monhegan Island, a colony of legendary artists in Maine.
“I haven’t seen this for years,” he said.
Neither Wyeth nor Veilleux knew how the painting would be included in Haynes’ collection. It was auctioned by Christie’s in New York for just under $ 100,000 in 2006, but the auction did not identify a general buyer.
To be honest, Mr. Weiss said he wasn’t paying much attention to ownership of past works.
“I’m only interested in what I’m working on right now,” he said. “I spend myself on each painting, but then I get something like” Get this out of here. ” “
As they spoke, his eyes caught another picture.
“It’s a wonderful thing from my father,” Wyeth said, referring to the watercolor “pantry” of the late 1960s. “It took place at Olson House.”
Olson House, an old farmhouse in Cushing, was a familiar place for Elder Weiss. In particular, “Christina’s World” is his most famous work and one of the American works of art of the last century. The house is now owned by the Farnsworth Museum. The painting is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Weiss tells a story to Weil when they arrive at another auctioned work by Jamie Wyeth, a painting by Arnold Schwarzenegger at the factory of New York City pop artist Andy Warhol in 1977. I was pleased.
Weiss and Warhol were close friends of the same era, and Weiss spent a considerable amount of time in Warhol’s studio, often painting portraits. At the time, Schwarzenegger was an internationally well-decorated bodybuilder, but he was still learning English, Weiss said.
“Of course, he was interested in all these women around,” he said. “But he didn’t know how many of them were the men being dragged in.”
Schwarzenegger’s portrait of Weiss, with charcoal on a large sheet of cardboard, could make tens of thousands of dollars, according to auction house estimates.
Weiss said he had lost track of who owned the painting for years.
“I don’t know how Gary did it,” he said.
Also for sale
Perhaps the most valuable piece at the Thomaston Place auction this summer is one of the 10 serigraphs from Warhol’s portfolio Marilyn Monroe, published in 1967. This was not part of the Haynes collection.
Veilleux set the quote between $ 70,000 and $ 90,000, but acknowledged that it could be much higher.
One of the set’s serigraphs sold at the auction this spring sold for $ 350,000. The other is part of the MOMA collection.
There are also older pieces that Veilleux is auctioning on behalf of various sellers. For example, there are some paintings by the 19th century Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky (estimated $ 100,000) and paintings by old masters such as “Madonna and the Child”. “With St. John of the Baptist” by 16th century elder Lucas Cranach.
In addition to many realistic paintings and drawings from the Haynes collection, his mansion is a survivor of the Armenian genocide who emigrated to Canada and is considered one of the most famous portrait photographers of the 20th century. We sell 13 black and white portraits by Yousuf Karsh. ..
Among the auctioned portraits are Winston Churchill, Jacques Cousteau, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein and Casius Clay (before he changed his name to Muhammad Ali).
Veilleux and his auction house staff have spent hours cataloging items and setting price quotes. For 3 days in each auction, the auctioneer goes straight for 8-10 hours without meals or bathroom breaks.
Veilleux first started an auction at his home in Skowhegan over 40 years ago, but has been in Thomaston for the past seven years. He estimates that he promoted the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of art and collectibles in his time.
He hopes this summer’s auction will be ranked among the best auctions.
“It’s amazing to think that you can collect and store all this great stuff for about 90 days … and it’s gone,” he said. “But then someone else will enjoy it.”
All lots for sale at the Thomaston Place Summer Auction can be viewed online at Thomastonauction.com.
The auction starts at 11am daily, but prospective buyers can preview items daily from 9am to 11am. Bids are placed directly by phone and online.