Wednesday 22 November 2023

Lot 291

Philip Alexius de László, PRBA, Hungarian / British 1869-1937-  Portrait of William Richards...

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Lot 291

Philip Alexius de László, PRBA, 
Hungarian / British 1869-1937- 
Portrait of William Richards...

Price Realised: £8,528

Estimate: £7,000 - £10,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (31.2% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 291


Philip Alexius de László, PRBA, 
Hungarian / British 1869-1937- 

Portrait of William Richards Castle, Junior; 

oil on canvas, signed and dated 'd László 1921.' (lower left), bears old label inscribed 'Castle. Jr. - Mr Wm R  / 1818 P St., Washington DC' attached to the reverse of the frame, bears old printed label 'No. 11948' attached to the reverse of the frame, 91.5 x 62.3 cm. 

The sitter. 
Anon. sale, Bonhams, New York, 1 November 2012, lot 142. 
Private Collection, Spain. 

Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, 'Seven Portraits by Philip de László', 10-24 November 1921. 

Sitters’ Book II, opp. f. 22: William R. Castle, Jr July 3, 1921. 

Helen Wright, 'Philip A. de László, 'Art and Archaeology', Vol. XII, no.6, December 1921, p. 241. 
Philip de László, 1931 diary, 9 December entry, p.347. 
DLA109-0243, 'De Laszlo: Special Exhibition of His Portraits,' The Christian Science Monitor, Boston, 21 November 1921, p.19. 
The de László Archive Trust, 'The Catalogue Raisonné of Works by Philip de László (1869-1937) [online]', no.4035. 

De László made his second visit to America in April of 1921. Before his arrival, an exhibition of his work took place at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, which then travelled to Knoedler’s in New York. This led to a number of important commissions, including those of President Harding [de László Archive Trust catalogue no.5569] and General Pershing [no.6887]. The sittings for those works took place at the White House interlaced with those for the present portrait, which took place on 3 and 11 July. According to the artist’s appointment book, sittings had also been arranged for 4-6 July; however, these were cancelled. The artist presented Castle with a rejected portrait of Charles Evans Hughes [no.41], who was also sitting at this time, and who signed the artist’s Sitters’ Book 16 July. 

William Richards Castle, Junior was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on 19 June 1878, eldest son of William Richards Castle (1849-1935) and Ida Beatrice Lowrey (1854-1926). His father, a lawyer and politician in the independent Kingdom of Hawaii, was from a wealthy family that had founded the agricultural giant Castle & Cooke, and maintained extensive holdings there. The sitter married Margaret Farlow (1880-1970) of Boston on 3 June 1902 and they had one daughter, Rosamond (born 1904). Castle graduated from Harvard College in 1900 and served as English teacher and assistant dean from 1904 to 1913. At the outbreak of the First World War, he joined the executive staff of the Red Cross in Washington, D.C., where he became director of the Bureau of Communications. In 1919 he became a special assistant in the Department of State, and by 1921 was chief of the Division of Western European Affairs, the position he held at the time he was painted. At the pinnacle of his career Castle served as Under Secretary of State 1931-33. 

Castle’s interests outside of politics were diverse. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1932, belonged to the Somerset Club in Boston, the Harvard and Grolier Clubs in New York, and the Metropolitan Club in Washington. He served as an overseer of Harvard College from 1935 to 1941. He was also an author, publishing two novels, The Green Vase (1912) and The Pillar of Sand (1914), and two non-fiction works Hawaii Past and Present (1915) and Life of Samuel Northrup Castle (1960), a biography of his great-grandfather. Castle died in Washington on 14 October 1963. His diaries were donated to Harvard and his papers to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library upon his wife’s death in 1970. 

In this strikingly vivid portrait, he is presented half-length turned slightly to the right, full-face to the viewer, dressed in a dark suit and tie with a wing collar, his arms crossed, and a gold ring on his wedding finger. 

We are grateful to Katherine Field for writing the catalogue entry for this portrait, which is included in the Philip de László catalogue raisonné, currently presented in progress online: (no.4035). 

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over €1,000 as follows:
0 to €50,000 - 4%, €50,000.01 to €200,000 - 3%
€200,000.01 to €350,000 - 1%,
€350,000.01 to €500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding €500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at €12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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