Toomey & Co. Auctioneers Sells Painting To Help Resale Shop/Charities

Impressionist Work By Charles Courtney Curran Brings $35,000

August 9, 2019

On June 9, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers held its second successful Art and Design Sale of the calendar year. One of the highlights of the auction was an oil-on-canvas painting by American Impressionist Charles Courtney Curran, “Three Women on Hilltop,” 1919, which had a $10,000-$15,000 estimate. With active competition, the lot achieved $35,000 (including buyer’s premium). This Curran painting was originally donated to the Economy Shop, a charity reseller in Oak Park, Ill., which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Given Toomey & Co.’s impressive result for the Curran, the Economy Shop, which consigned the work to the sale, will be able to offer additional bonuses to each of its six partner agencies in the area: Animal Care League, Children's Clinic of Infant Welfare Society, Oak Park River Forest Day Nursery, Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, Senior Citizens' Center, and Thrive Counseling Center.
“We currently guarantee each of the partner agencies a grant of $15,000 per year and normally award small bonuses in the fall of $2,000 to $3,000 after we see how our previous year ended. This year we gave each of the six a bonus of $10,000 at our 100th celebration in May and thought that would be it for this calendar year. Now we should be able to give them another healthy bonus, which will be very unexpected,” said the Economy Shop’s president of the board Nancy Hines.
In 1919, a group of women led by Mrs. Caroline McCready opened the Economy Shop to sell donated furnishings, clothing, and other items to benefit local charities. To celebrate the shop’s centennial, the Historical Society’s Oak Park River Forest Museum held a recent exhibition, “Donations Through the Decades, Shopping Through the Century,” which featured the Curran painting prior to consigning to Toomey & Co.’s Art and Design auction.
Charles Courtney Curran was born in 1861 in Hartford, Ky., and raised in Sandusky, Ohio. After training in New York City and Paris, Curran and his family split time between New York and Ohio until he passed away in 1942. Combining elements of impressionism, naturalism, and tonalism, Curran became known for painting female subjects in various milieus. “Three Women on Hilltop” was executed in 1919, likely at the Cragsmoor Art Colony in New York’s Hudson River Valley, where the Curran family summered for 40 years.
Somewhat underappreciated, Curran’s works are nonetheless part of the collections of various significant institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Terra Foundation for American Art in Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Toomey & Co. was honored to auction one of Curran’s paintings to support the Economy Shop’s important mission.
The company’s next Art and Design Auction is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 15.
Toomey & Co. Auctioneers is located at 818 North Boulevard, Oak Park, Ill.
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