This painting, a rare landscape of Prouts Neck by Boston-based artist Joseph DeCamp, will be featured at an auction by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries on Feb. 27. The painting was recently discovered hanging over a mantel in a home in Scarborough. Contributed / Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

THOMASTON — A rare painting featuring a view of Prouts Neck in Scarborough is going up for auction later this month and is expected to sell for at least six figures.

“View of the Sprague House, Prouts Neck, Maine,” was painted in 1905 by the Boston-based artist Joseph DeCamp. Decamp didn’t live or work in Scarborough but did have friends among the Sprague family, who have lived on Prouts Neck for more than 100 years, according to Kaja Veilleux, owner of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.

“It’s very exciting,” Veilleux said. “I happen to like his work.”

The painting depicts what was then the view from the Sprague family’s front yard, Veilleux said. Upon completing the work, DeCamp signed it and gave it to the Spragues as a gift.

During a recent visit to the home to appraise antiques, Veilleux saw the painting and recognized it immediately.

“The painting was over the mantel where it’s been since 1905,” Veilleux said.


Members of the Sprague family declined to comment about the painting.

DeCamp is known for his works in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He had studios in Boston and Camden and is one of the more notable American impressionist painters, according to Michael Komanecky, chief curator at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland.

DeCamp, Komanecky said, was part of an influential group of artists known as the “Boston School,” which often served as instructors to art students in Massachusetts.

“They had an impact on a subsequent generation of artists,” he said.

DeCamp and the other Boston School artists became known for their portraits and landscapes. Komanecky said the Farnworth has five of DeCamp’s works in its collection, including a portrait DeCamp did in Camden in 1905 of Albert Hayden Chatfield, then a known public figure in Rockland.

Unfortunately, Komanecky said, fires at both DeCamp’s studios in Boston and Camden destroyed a number of his works, and there is no definitive catalog showing just how many of his pieces remain. Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, in a press release announcing the auction, suggested that fewer than 100 of DeCamp’s works exist.


Komanecky said he was excited to hear that another of DeCamp’s paintings had been discovered. While he couldn’t guess at its value, he noted that “American impressionist painting in general is highly regarded.”

Veilleux, who has traveled throughout New England looking for antiques for the last 50 years, said he discovered another DeCamp painting in a home in Vermont in 2013. That piece, he said, was thought to be worth $30,000-$50,000, but sold at auction for $605,000.

But the Vermont painting, Veilleux said, had no frame, and the piece going for auction on Feb. 27 includes a 22-carat gold frame. The gallery is estimating the work’s value at $100,000-$200,000, but it’s not inconceivable that it could sell for much more.

“It should be very exciting to sell this piece,” he said. “They hardly ever come on the market.”

The gallery will open for previews Feb. 15-25 from 9-5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The virtual three-day auction will be held Feb. 26-28, with the auctions opening at 11 a.m. each day. The DeCamp piece will be presented for bidding on Feb. 27. The gallery will allow telephone, absentee and internet bidding. For more information on the auction, including viewing lots online, visit the gallery at

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