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2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 1)

Sat, Jan 27, 2024 09:00AM EST
Lot 535

Theo Koeth O/C Civil War Painting, Middle Bridge at Antietam, 1862, after Gardner

Estimate: $12,000 - $14,000

Bid Increments

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$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Theodore Koeth (NY/District of Columbia, 1843-1919) oil on canvas laid to board Civil War scene, Middle Bridge at Antietam, 1862, depicting a panoramic Maryland landscape with armed soldiers following covered hospital wagons across an arched stone bridge. The road winds past log structures and trees line the sides. Signed and dated lower right, "Theo. Koeth, 1862". Board: 39 1/2" H x 59 1/2" W. Sight: 35 1/2" W x 59 1/2" H. Framed: 40 1/2" H x 64 1/2" W.

Note: This painting's composition is identical to that of Alexander Gardner's 1862 photograph "Antietam Bridge, Maryland," included in "Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War." Text accompanying the photographs reads: "This structure crosses Antietam Creek on the turnpike leading from Boonesboro to Sharpsburg, and is one of the memorable spots in the history of the war, although but little suggestive in its present sunny repose, of the strife which took place near it, on the day of the battle of Antietam. Traces of the engagement are evident in the overturned stone wall, the shattered fences, and down-trodden appearance of the adjacent ground. On the night of the 16th of September, the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac captured this bridge after a sharp fight, holding it until the infantry came up. The fire of our artillery, planted on the ridges near the bridge, was terrible, and at one time no doubt contributed principally to the success of our partially disordered lines in checking the headlong assaults of the enemy."

Literature: This painting is illustrated in the American Folk Paintings sale catalog for the late Horace W. Davis, Parke-Bernet Galleries, February 28, 1946, lot 29, page 10. The catalog notes the painting was acquired in Richmond, Virginia. An additional note from the Davis catalog reads: "The red trefoil insignia designates the Second Division of the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac under General Hooker."


Overall very good condition, with scattered retouching, largest area to water under bridge, 3 1/4" L.

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Private South Carolina Collection; Sotheby's, January 20, 2017, lot 4305; Peter Lindimood, NY; Parke-Bernet Galleries, February 28, 1946, lot 29; Horace W. Davis, Pittsfield, MA; Acquired in Richmond, VA.