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Auction Results in the News

De Blaas painting tops $2.1M Clars auction Nov. 9-10

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:53

One of the finest works by Eugène de Blaas (Austrian/Italian, 1843-1932), ‘The Proposal’ sold for $166,600. Clars Auction Gallery image.

OAKLAND, Calif. – On Nov. 9-10 Clars Auction Gallery hosted what was anticipated to be a very strong sale and indeed it was. Realizing $2.1 million for the two-day event, this was the strongest November auction in the firm’s history and the second largest overall.

“Everything did very well, across the board and, currently, for 2013, we are up 23 percent over 2012,” said Redge Martin, president of Clars.

LiveAuctioneers.com provided Internet live bidding.

All categories of fine art sold extremely well with numerous bidders from around the globe participating. Out of the many spectacular American, European and Chinese paintings, prints, and sculpture that were offered, the highest selling painting of the sale was The Proposal by Eugène de Blaas (Austrian, 1843-1932) which faired exceptionally well selling for $166,600. Rick Unruh, vice president and director of fine art at Clars, commented, “We were quite pleased with the outcome of the De Blaas painting selling 40 percent better than the most recent auction results for the artist held in New York two weeks ago.”

Among the other European highlights were a charming oil on canvas titled Kittens Playing with a Pocket Watch (1898) by Charles H. van den Eycken (Belgian, 1859-1923), which fetched $23,800, and two vibrantly beautiful paintings by Emilio Grau Sala (Spanish, 1911-1975) that sold for $17,850 and $11,900. An impressive color etching and aquatint by Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983) titled La Femme Arborescente sold for $11,900, which was the highlight of the numerous modern and contemporary prints that were offered. Rounding out the top performing European lots was a lovely oil on paper by Jean Jansem (French, 1920-2013) titled Village au Matin, which made $9,520.

American art was equally as successful. A large and important portrait titled The Black Kimono, by William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) topped the list, fetching $47,600. Close behind the Chase painting was Joseph Rusling Meeker’s (1827-1889) stoically beautiful painting titled Near the Atachafalaya, selling for $38,675. Sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), African American Lady, soared past its $5,000 to $7,000 estimate settling at $11,900, while Frederick William MacMonnies’ (1863-1937) bronze Venus and Adonis, 1895 sold for $14,280.

California artists held their own with equally impressive results such as James Weeks’ (1922-1998) grand acrylic on canvas titled Bocce Ball #1, selling for $17,850, followed by a classic painting by Thomas Hill (1829-1908) titled Yosemite, fetching $15,470. Passing Clouds, an oil on board by Percy Gray (1869-1952) flew past its $6,000-8,000 estimate to reach $10,710. Lastly, a rare set of 18 photographs, Pageant of History in Northern California, by Ansel Adams (1902-1984), made $16,660.

Contemporary Chinese art found global attention with two watercolors by Chen Chi (Chinese/American, 1939-2005) selling for $20,230 and $14,280, ending up well past their $3,000-$5,000 estimates. A lovely painting by Shang Ding (Chinese, b. 1954) titled, Contemplation, also surprised the crowd by fetching $10,700.

The furniture and decorative arts department “performed very well with strong prices realized from the start to the conclusion of the sale,” commented Deric Tores, vice president and director of decorative arts and furnishings. Two important special collections were offered, the first being a collection of French cameo glass that realized over $50,000. The second was a collection of Native American textiles, basketry, pottery and 19th century totem poles. This collection sold very strong, realizing $60,000 overall.

In the individual lots offered, topping this category and soaring past estimate was a monumental 19th century Royal Vienna urn, executed in hand-painted porcelain with a reserve depicting the portrait of Unschuld (Innocence). Measuring 24 inches high by 16 inches wide by 6 inches deep, it sold for $19,040, a new gallery record for Royal Vienna. A Meissen figural group brought an impressive $10,755.

Lighting was particularly strong. The top lamp, a Tiffany Studios example deaccessioned from the Honolulu Museum of Art, brought $14,340. A rare Tiffany Studios Mermaid lamp base sold for $15,535 against its high estimate of $5,000.

Also from the Honolulu Museum was an important circa 1760 Chippendale slant-front desk. Expected to achieve a high of $6,000, this historic piece went for over three times that amount, selling for $19,040.

A fabulously finned 1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville with only 38,000 original miles on the odometer cruised to $32,725.

Two exquisite pieces of jewelry placed in the top 15 lots of the sale. A fancy brownish-yellow diamond and near colorless diamond ring sold for $28,560. Just a few lots later, an 18K yellow gold ring centered with a bezel set oval jadeite cabachon earned an impressive $19,040.

Taking the no. 3 spot in the sale overall was a Chinese hardwood side table. Coming from the Honolulu museum, this table was Qing dynasty (17th/18th century) and reputed to be huanghuali and achieved $41,650.

Also contributing the highly successful November sale was a Chinese daye zitan hardwood table en suite that brought $28,560.

For further information about Clars’ November Fine Art and Antiques Sale call 510-428-0100 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

 One of the finest works by Eugène de Blaas (Austrian/Italian, 1843-1932), ‘The Proposal’ sold for $166,600. Clars Auction Gallery image.

 This signed oil on canvas titled ‘Black Kimono,’ circa 1903, by William Merritt Chase (American, 1849-1916), topped the American works offered, achieving $47,600. Clars Auction Gallery image.

This spectacular painting by Louisiana artist Joseph Rusling Meeker (American, 1827-1889) titled ‘Near the Atchafalaya,’ 1853, sold for $38,675. Clars Auction Gallery image. 

This monumental 19th century Royal Vienna urn sold for $19,040. Clars Auction Gallery image. 

From the Honolulu Museum of Art was this Chippendale desk that achieved $19,040. Clars Auction Gallery image. 

With only 38,000 miles on the odometer, this 1959 Cadillac Coupe De Ville sold for $32,725. Clars Auction Gallery image. 

This stunning ring that featured a fancy brownish yellow diamond surrounded by near colorless diamonds topped the jewelry offerings, selling for $28,560. Clars Auction Gallery image. 

Achieving the third-highest price in the auction was this Chinese Qing dynasty hardwood side table that sold for $41,650. Clars Auction Gallery image. 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 15:00
 

Coral sculptures sell for $66,550 at Elite Decorative Arts

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:30

Chinese hand-carved red coral figural group depicting two Guan Yin with flowers throughout. Price realized: $66,550. Elite Decorative Arts image.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – A Chinese hand-carved red coral sculpture of four Guan Yin – Buddhist deities of mercy and compassion – from the Qing Dynasty, and a Chinese hand-carved red coral group figure depicting two Guan Yin with flowers throughout, each knocked down for $66,550 to share top lot honors at Elite Decorative Arts’ Nov. 2 auction.

LiveAuctioneers.com provided Internet live bidding.

The sale featured Chinese works, fine decorative arts and fine artworks. Three hundred of the 370 lots met or exceeded their reserves.

By the time the final hammer came down, the sale had grossed $735,000. “It was one of our better auctions," said Scott Cieckiewicz of Elite Decorative Arts.

The red coral sculpture grouping of the four Guan Yin stood just shy of 11 inches tall and was estimated to be from the Tongzhi reign (circa 1862-1874) of the Qing Dynasty. The lot included a certificate of antiquity from the Hong Kong Art Craft Merchants Association from 1985. It was appraised then for $50,000. Each figure was beautifully and meticulously hand-carved.

The same bidder who purchased that lot also bought the one immediately following it: a 14 1/2-inch-tall Chinese hand-carved red coral group depicting two maidens holding sheng and pipe instruments. A phoenix and crane can also be seen. A rock formed the base with high relief flowers. The piece sold for $41,140, so the two purchases combined topped $100,000.

The other Chinese carved red coral group that realized $66,550 was larger than either of the two just described (19 inches tall). A fitted wooden base was included in the total height. One other Chinese carved red coral group that did well was a finely carved sculpture depicting a standing Guan Yin holding a platter with flowers, 7 1/2 inches tall, circa 19th century. It sold for $15,125.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premiums.

Fine artworks were abundant and did exceptionally well. An oil on canvas still life of a cup with fruit by the Mexican artist Pedro Coronel (1923-1985), titled Naturaleza Muerta, 31 1/2 inches by 44 1/2 inches, fetched $33,880. Coronel was a painter, sculptor, engraver and draftsman. In 1946 he went to Paris, were he studied under artists Victor Brauner and Constantin Brancusi.

Five paintings by German-born American artist Wolf Kahn (b. 1927) did well. These included the works Tree Dance ($16,520), Forest Murmurs ($29,500), Red Shed, Blue Sky ($13,570), Ruisdale, New Hampshire ($25,960) and an untitled impressionist work ($13,570). All were recently valued by Christie’s for between $12,000-$30,000 each.

A collage on metal by Victor Vasarely (French, 1906-1997), depicting a monochrome violet design, 39 3/4 inches square, signed and mounted in a chrome tone metal frame, rose to $15,730; a still life of flowers in a vase by Nell Blaine (American, 1922-1996), signed and mounted in a gold and white painted wooden frame, went for $13,730; and a bonded acrylic on canvas of a majestic stallion by Judith Dazzio (b. 1942), titled Wild Passion, 30 inches by 40 inches, made $13,915.

Returning to Chinese objects, a Qing Dynasty, circa 19th century, palace-size hand-carved figural jadeite scholar’s brush washer of slightly tapered oval form, 8 1/2 inches tall by 27 inches in length, with the exterior carved to depict nine raised Chih lung dragons amid lingzhi-form clouds atop crashing waves, weighing a total of 92 pounds, topped out at $23,600.

A Chinese hand-carved white jade boulder depicting a mountain city scene and depicting what is called “Kong Cheng Ji” (or the “Stratagem of the Empty City” where occupants open the gates of a nonfortified city to confuse and frighten approaching armies) hammered for $21,830. The 9 3/4-inch-tall translucent jade specimen featured russet suffusions and a fitted wooden base.

A pair of fine Chinese relief-carved and pierced pale green translucent hetian jade incense holders in a fitted presentation box – each one having a continuous scholar’s mountain landscape scene depicting pagodas, rock formations, trees, waterfalls and bridges – breezed to $21,240. Each holder stood just under 10 inches tall (including covers and spinach jade bases).

Rounding out just some of the auction’s top lots, a rare Chinese antique hand-painted enameled Grisailles planter, with a flower and leaf design over yellow ground, from the Qing Dynasty (Tongzhi to Guangzu, circa 1862-1908) realized $12,980; and a stunning Bensabbot of Chicago sterling silver and jade hook desk set with a gold wash magnifying glass and letter opener, made circa 18th or 19th century – and decorated by Bensabbot later on – garnered $11,798.

For further information contact Elite Decorative Auctions by phone: 561-200-0893 or email an inquiry to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Chinese hand-carved red coral figural group depicting two Guan Yin with flowers throughout. Price realized: $66,550. Elite Decorative Arts image. 

Antique Qing Dynasty period Chinese hand-carved red coral sculpture depicting four Guan Yin. Price realized: $66,550. Elite Decorative Arts image. 

Oil on canvas by Wolf Kahn (American/German, b. 1927), titled ‘Forest Murmurs,’ done circa 1991. Price realized: $29,500. Elite Decorative Arts image. 

 Oil on canvas by Pedro Coronel (Mexican, 1923-1985), titled ‘Naturaleza Muerta,’ 31 3/4 inches by 44 1/2 inches. Price realized: $33,880. Elite Decorative Arts image.

Bonded acrylic on canvas by Judith Dazzio (b. 1942), titled ‘Wild Passion,’ 30 inches by 40 inches. Price realized: $13,915. Elite Decorative Arts image. 

Chinese hand-carved white jade boulder depicting a mountain city scene, 9 3/4 inches tall. Price realized: $21,830. Elite Decorative Arts image. 

Rare antique Chinese hand-painted enameled Grisailles-decorated yellow ground planter, 14 inches tall. Price realized: $12,980. Elite Decorative Arts image. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:24
 

Prehistoric point sells for record $276K at Morphy's

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 18 November 2013 18:17

Star of the auction, the Rutz Clovis Point, sea green obsidian, 9¾ in, discovered by Les Ira Kreis in the early 1950s in a wheat field on Badger Mountain, near the community of Badger Creek Springs, Washington. Sold for $276,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – A buzz filled the room at Morphy’s November 9 auction after the hammer fell on Lot 57, a 9¾-inch sea-green obsidian artifact known as the Rutz Clovis point. The star of Morphy’s 159-lot Prehistoric American Artifact & Arrowhead debut auction, the point discovered on a mountain in Washington state in the early 1950s is known to collectors far and wide as one of the great treasures of its type. Entered with a $200,000-$400,000 estimate, the Rutz Clovis did not disappoint, selling to a Texas collector for $276,000. All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

“How famous is the Rutz Clovis point? Ask the floor bidder who had an image of it tattooed on his calf!” said an amused John Mark Clark, who heads Morphy’s Prehistoric American Artifact & Arrowhead department. “Unfortunately for him, he’ll have to be satisfied with the tattoo, because he wasn’t the winning bidder.”

With the sale of the Rutz Clovis, Morphy’s has established what experts believe is a world-record price for a North American flaked stone artifact at auction.

Many other lots in the sale achieved strong prices. A ferruginous quartz bottle bannerstone found on the Bell Farm in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1910, handily surpassed its estimate at $38,400. Another unusual figural piece, a rat-tail spud of polished metamorphic material, described in the auction catalog as “one of the rarest spud forms within the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex,” was bid beyond its estimate range to $31,200. Also attracting an impressive price was the lot of 20 points from the grouping known as the Motley Cache, of Todd County, Kentucky. It concluded its bidding run at $28,800.

“Top lots in the sale attracted fantastic prices, and many collectors around the country were paying close attention,” said Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “There was a lot of positive feedback after the sale, and we had several phone calls regarding the potential consignment of important collections. It’s an exciting new category for Morphy’s, and we’re definitely well guided with Mark Clark as head of our department. All of the collectors know how incredibly knowledgeable and honest he is.”

Commenting on the success of Morphy’s debut in the category of prehistoric American artifacts and arrowheads, Clark remarked: “I think buyers had confidence in our authentication process and with our introduction of scientific procedures to that process. Right out of the gate, Morphy’s has established itself as the place to buy and consign top-quality artifacts.”

Morphy’s next specialty auction in this category, slated for June or July of next year, will be considerably larger than the Nov. 9 Prehistoric premiere and will continue to focus on the upper end of the market. Premium-quality artifacts have already been consigned, including a one-of-a-kind proto-historic pottery pipe, blades and projectile points from a three-generation northern Ohio family’s collection.

To contact Morphy’s, call 717-335-3435 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Visit their website at www.morphyauctions.com.

#   #   #

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Star of the auction, the Rutz Clovis Point, sea green obsidian, 9¾ in, discovered by Les Ira Kreis in the early 1950s in a wheat field on Badger Mountain, near the community of Badger Creek Springs, Washington. Sold for $276,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Rat-tail spud with unusual tally marks on each side of the bit. Origin: Polk County, Tennessee. Sold for $31,200. Morphy Auctions image.

Cumberland fluted point found on farm near Marion, Tennessee. Sold for $26,400. Morphy Auctions image.

Tennessee bottle bannerstone of ferruginous quartz. Found on the Bell Farm in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1910. Provenance: John Mark Clark collection. Sold for $38,400. Morphy Auctions image.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 12:16
 

Faulkner first edition sells for $18,750 at Hindman auction

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 18 November 2013 18:16

Lot 162: Audubon hand-colored engraving, 'Great Blue Heron. Area herodius.' Plate CCXI, 1834. Sold for $62,500. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers image.

CHICAGO – Printed and manuscript literature and Americana were among the top lots that soared past presale estimates at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ Fine Books and Manuscripts auction Nov. 6. Over 90 percent of the books, autographs, natural history prints, maps and numismatics sold.

Internet live bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com.

The sale opened with an impressive collection of eclectic literary offerings. This session featured a fine collection of Dickens’ first editions, including Great Expectations, which brought $3,750, and a rare first edition, first printing of William Faulkner’s first novel, The Marble Faun, which, being in its rare dust jacket, brought $18,750.

Another headlining item of the sale was an archive of letters and typescripts from the modernist critic and poet, Ezra Pound, to Saint Louis artist Ernest Trova from Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Pound was housed at the facility after being deemed unfit for trial for treason due to his fascist sympathies and broadcasts in Italy during World War II. With a presale estimate of $10,000-$15,000, the archive exceeded all expectations bringing $35,000.

Achieving an unexpectedly high price was a group of more than 150 early American lottery tickets culled by Patricia Lyons Simon Newman and her second husband, Ralph Newman, founder of Chicago’s Abraham Lincoln Bookshop. Newman recently received national attention due to a touching public farewell from her son, National Public Radio’s Scott Simon, who kept vigil by her bedside and tweeted to his 1.3 million followers reports of her final hours. The archive, spread across five lots by category (institutions, public works, Revolutionary War, etc.) brought a combined total of $19,125 against a low estimate of $4,200.

Presidential manuscript letters and documents also drew high prices, including a fine autographed George Washington letter from the collection of Lewis and Clark historian and former University of Illinois professor Donald Jackson, which sold for $7,500. Rare early American travel books housed in custom wooden boxes also drew strong prices.

The highest prices of the auction came from a session of rare Audubon prints, including a Whooping Crane, $25,000, and a Great Blue Heron, $62,500. Rounding out the top lots were Turgot’s mammoth bird’s-eye view plan of Paris, $12,500; Benner’s series of portraits of the Romanov family, Collection de vingt-quatre portraits de la famille imperiale, $7,500; and a fine incunable, Herolt’s Sermones discipuli de tempore, et de Sanctis, March 25, 1477, $4,000.

The sale closed with a session of coin and paper currency, including a series of rare 16th-century Papal gold coins and a 17th-century silver marriage medal. A collection of 45 1928 Series $100 Federal Reserve Notes sold for $6,250.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Lot 162: Audubon hand-colored engraving, 'Great Blue Heron. Area herodius.' Plate CCXI, 1834. Sold for $62,500. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers image.

Lot 32: Ezra Pound letters to Ernest Tino Trova. Sold for $35,000. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers image.

Lot 50: group of 29 early American lottery tickets for universities, 1753-1814. Sold for $6,250. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers image.

Lot 143: [Plan de Turgot] Bretez, Louis. Plan de Paris. Paris, 1739. First edition of famed bird's-eye view map, on 21 sheets. Sold for $12,500. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers image.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:22
 

Noguchi sculpture sells for $300,000 at Rago auction

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 14 November 2013 18:51

Saturday Evening Girls fireplace surround. Price realized: $219,750. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – Rago Arts and Auction Center's 20th /21st Century Design sale on Oct. 26-27 totaled a remarkable $6.77 million. LiveAuctioneers.com provided Internet live-bidding services for the auction.

"Our October sale, with just under 1,400 lots offered in two days, totaled over $6.7 million dollars in sales including the buyer's premium. It hammered right above the low estimate of $5.4 million dollars," said David Rago.

"The Early 20th Century portion of the auction was buoyed by an established collector base, especially for high-end ceramics and furniture. The overall sell-through rate was a bit lower than usual at 80 percent, but most unsold lots were of lesser value. The second session, which brought in $800,000 of our total, included the best collection of modern ceramics brought to auction—175 lots in all. Modern glass was strong overall and particularly for work by Dan Dailey, Dale Chilhuly and Lino Tagliapietra. The single-owner collection of modernist jewelry that rounded out the Saturday sessions was likewise consistently strong, with the vast majority of lots finding buyers,” added Rago.

Sunday's Modern Design session was notable for the $300,000 sale of Isamu Noguchi's collection of preparatory works for his sculpture My Arizona, a work about the Japanese internment camps during World War II. Also receiving strong market support was work from the Studio movement, including a Harry Bertoia wall screen from a Princeton, N.J. home at $159,750; a George and Mira Nakashima Minguren II coffee table at $59,375; a Wharton Esherick pedestal desk at $50,000; and several Paul Evans pieces, including a rare four-door Patchwork cabinet at $37,500 and a custom two-door Argente cabinet at $36,250.

Highlights from Saturday’s session devoted to Early 20th Century Design / Arts and Crafts included lot 10, Saturday Evening Girls fireplace surround that sold for $219,750; lot 56, Newcomb College tall art pottery vase, $62,500; lot 1, Adelaide Robineau porcelain vase, $23,750; lot 21, Arthur Baggs, Marblehead pottery vase with geometric design, $11,250; lot 63, Sadie Irvine untitled painting, $10,000; lot 100, Eugene Grasset, Emile Muller Et Cie ceramic art nouveau plaque, $12,500; lot 130 Moorcroft massive landscape vase, $16,250; lot 139, Archibald Knox, Liberty & Co. Cymric carriage clock, $12,500; lot 145, Charles F.A. Voysey, Donegal Donnemara wool carpet, $22,500; lot 176, Gustave Baumann color woodblock print, Singing Trees, $20,000; lot 195, Van Briggle early pottery vase with bronzed base, $27,500; lot 205, Teco tall four-buttressed vase, $13,750; lot 336 Lalique "Grande Nue Socle Lierre" statuette, $17,500; and lot 347, Muller Freres exceptional wheel-carved and applied glass vase, $13,750.

The studio jewelry, glass and ceramics session on Saturday had the following highlights: lot 419, Edwin Scheier figural wood sculpture, $11,250; lot 546 Jun Kaneko large dango, $23,750; lot 550 Brother Thomas Bezanson porcelain vase, $8,125; lot 600, Lino Tagliapietra Dinosaur Vessel, $28,750; lot 616, William Morris large stone vessel, $13,750; lot 619, Dale Chihuly Venetian vase, $25,000; lot 623, Dan Dailey pair of sconces, "Birds with Diamonds," $59,375; lot 634, Harvey Littleton Implied Movement sculpture, $32,500; lot 658, Ercole Barovier / Barovier & Toso Oriente vase, $20,000; and lot 696, an Elsa Freund fringe necklace, $5,625.

Other highlighted lots from Sunday’s Modern Design session were lot 700, Josef Hoffmann / Wiener Werkstatte hammered silver candelabrum, $43,750; lot 760, Harry Bertoia sculpture, "Devon Dunes," $159,750; lot 802, Gio Ponti / Rolando Hettner glazed ceramic vase, $21,250; lot 849, Gio Ponti / Singer & Sons four drawer dresser, $15,000; lot 857, Osvaldo Borsani (attr.) coffee table, $20,000; lot 884, Line Vautrin wall-hanging mirror frame, $21,250; and lot 1051, Wendell Castle Starfish console table, "Quest,” $35,000

Consignments are now being accepted for the next 20th Century Design auctions, March 1-2 and all Rago auctions. Phone 609-397-9374 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for details.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Saturday Evening Girls fireplace surround. Price realized: $219,750. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

Isamu Noguchi's collection of preparatory works for his sculpture, ‘My Arizona.’ Price realized: $300,000. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

Harry Bertoia wall sculpture, ‘Devon Dunes.’ Price realized: $159,750. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

George and Mira Nakashima Minguren II coffee table. Price realized: $59,375. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

Paul Evans four-door Patchwork cabinet. Price realized: $37,500. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

Newcomb College early tall vase. Price realized: $62,500. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

Dan Dailey pair of sconces, ‘Birds with Diamonds.’ Price realized: $59,375. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

Lino Tagliapietra Dinosaur Vessel. Price realized: $28,750. Rago Arts & Auction Center image.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 November 2013 17:41
 

Moran’s sets records for Calif. artists at $1.7M auction

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:54

This Santa Barbara coastal view by William Wendt, acknowledged dean of Southern California impressionists, earned a selling price of $72,000 (estimate: $50,000–$70,000). John Moran Auctioneers image.

PASADENA, Calif. – Breaking a number of auction records and amassing over $1.7 million in sales, John Moran Auctioneers' Fine Art Auction on Oct. 22 signaled the strength of the market for well-chosen California and American art dating from the late 19th century up to the end of the 20th century. The 254-lot sale, featuring paintings from estates and private collections in California and beyond, with over one-third hailing from the estate of Ernest A. Bryant III of Montecito, Calif., was notable for the success of post-1950 works, as well as for the high prices for works from the era in which Moran’s traditionally specializes, the late 19th to early 20th century.

LiveAuctioneers.com provided Internet live bidding.

New record-high prices were set for six artists, including three who were represented in the Bryant Collection: Henry Chapman Ford (1828–1894), Gordon Coutts (1868–1937) and Meredith Brooks Abbott (b. 1938). Henry Chapman Ford’s panoramic landscape view Santa Barbara Mission, an oil dating from 1881 and estimated at $20,000–$30,000, realized $51,000. A classic Western nocturne depicting an adobe cottage by moonlight was the work that propelled Gordon Coutts to record highs, selling to a telephone bidder for $33,000 (estimate: $10,000–$15,000). Contemporary Santa Barbara artist Meredith Brooks Abbott reached new auction heights with her The Dairy–Nye Property, Santa Ana Road, Ojai, which sold for $8,400.

The other three records were for Filastro Mottola (1915–2008), whose quirky scene of everyday street life titled Crystal Bar at Taylor and C Streets, Virginia City, Nevada brought $3,900 (estimate: $2,000–$3,000); Jack Laycox (1921–1984), whose California School watercolor Expressway, a dramatic depiction of color and light in nighttime traffic sped to $15,600 (estimate $3,000–$5,000); and John Christopher Smith (1891–1943), for an idyllic small town scene, Cambria, that realized an impressive $15,600 (estimate: $8,000–$10,000).

Other artists also scaled dramatic heights, surpassing already high expectations. Millard Sheets (1907–1989) was represented by Pinto Herd, a 30-inch by 70-inch masterwork in oil dating from 1950. The painting’s mosaic-like pattern of galloping horses sustains energy and dynamism across the large canvas in a manner that only a supremely skilled wall muralist could achieve, and several bidders found their pulse racing when it went on the block. Bidding did not top out until it hit the $72,000 mark (estimate: $15,000–$20,000), after a prolonged and suspenseful battle. The sale sets a new second-place record for the artist.

Early 20th century California Impressionist works also posted big numbers. A large oil by William Wendt (1865–1946) of a sweeping Santa Barbara coastal landscape with the Channel Islands visible in the distance was much sought-after work, ultimately selling to a floor bidder for $72,000 (estimate: $50,000–$70,000). A smaller work by Wendt, an oil landscape depicting Morro Bay, earned $22,800 (estimate: $12,000–$18,000). Alson Clark’s (1876–1949) dazzling Summer Afternoon, a scene of figures with parasols seated beneath tall trees and dappled with fragmented light, originally estimated at $12,000–$18,000, charmed the crowd and realized $30,000. An oil by Edgar Alwin Payne (1883–1947) from the Bryant Estate, Mt. Ritter and Lake Ediza, High Sierras, found a new home for $20,400, well over the estimate of $8,000–$12,000.

Among the works by contemporary artists that performed well was an expansive oil by Santa Barbara artist Richard Schloss (b.1953), a breakout highlight originally estimated at $800–$1,200. Early Morning Clouds, Butterfly Beach, a dreamy, tranquil scene of a coastline bathed in rosy light, caused quite a stir during preview, and ultimately earned $6,000.

Additional highlights are as follows:

– The poignant Beyond These Infinities Lies Gold by Alexander Harmer (1856–1925) also from the Bryant Estate, depicting a group of weary travelers huddled behind a wagon at dusk as a desolate landscape rolls out on all sides, achieved $48,000 (estimate: $10,000–$15,000).

– Plucked from a private San Bernadino, Calif., collection, a sunny depiction in gouache of figures and umbrellas on a beach by New York artist Jane Peterson (1876–1965) found a buyer at $12,000 (estimate: $7,000–$10,000).

– A floral still life by Joseph Henry Sharp (1859–1953), featuring luxuriant sprays of delphiniums in a green vase, realized $39,000 (estimate: $25,000–$35,000)

John Moran Auctioneers conducts their California and American Art Auctions twice a year. Their next California and American Fine Art Auction is scheduled for March 25, and consignment inquiries are invited. Please call or email the offices of John Moran directly for more information: 626-793-1833 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

This Santa Barbara coastal view by William Wendt, acknowledged dean of Southern California impressionists, earned a selling price of $72,000 (estimate: $50,000–$70,000). John Moran Auctioneers image.

From the Estate of Ernest A. Bryant III is this record-setting work, ‘Santa Barbara Mission’ by Henry Chapman Ford, which realized $51,000 (estimate: $20,000–$30,000). John Moran Auctioneers image.

Also from the Bryant Estate was this nocturne, which set a new record for Gordon Coutts when Moran’s sold it for $33,000 (estimate: $10,000–$15,000). John Moran Auctioneers image.

A moody watercolor scene of bustling freeway overpasses at dusk by Jack Laycox was estimated to find a buyer between $3,000 and $5,000, but set a new record for the artist’s work with a price of $15,600. John Moran Auctioneers image.

A new second-place record was achieved for Claremont, Calif., artist Millard Sheets with ‘Pinto Herd,’ a large mural-like composite, which Moran’s sold for $72,000. John Moran Auctioneers image.

‘Early Morning Clouds, Butterfly Beach’ by Richard Schloss, another Santa Barbara-based contemporary whose work Mr. Bryant collected, incited competitive bidding and did not hammer until the auctioneer reached the $6,000 mark (estimate: $800–$1,200). John Moran Auctioneers image.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 18:59
 

Candy scale, cigar vendor earn top bids at Victorian Casino sale

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:10

M.L. Dohan cigar vending machine. Victorian Casino Antiques image.

LAS VEGAS - Featuring 1,700 lots of rare and unique collectibles, Victorian Casino Antiques hosted another fast-paced, fun-filled live auction Oct. 11-13. The three-day auction saw plenty of vintage toys, advertising materials, art, cash registers, and a terrific selection of VCA’s signature coin-operated machines go up on the auction block as more than 2,100 bidders competed to claim their favorites.

LiveAuctioneers.com provided Internet live bidding.

One of the highlights of the auction was an ornate, cast-iron Dayton candy store scale by the Computing Scale Co., of which only six are known to exist. These rare scales from the early 1900s were awarded as trophies to corporate officers and top salesmen, and this model in excellent original condition sold for $15,600 in the fall auction.

The heavyweight of the auction was a 10-cent M.L. Dohan countertop cigar vending machine from Richmond, Quebec. This ornate coin-op with copper detail and beveled glass from the early 1900s rated a top bid of $23,400, demonstrating the continued popularity of cigar collectibles from this era.

Other notable lots from the three-day event included a 5-cent Mills novelty “The Operators Bell” slot machine circa 1910, which sold for $9,200; a wood-mounted automatic fire alarm from the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Co., with beveled glass door and brass bell, rating $3,000; and a 1-cent Browning handgun shooting arcade machine in early wooden cabinet, which garnered a high bid of $16,200.

For additional information call Victorian Casino Antiques at 702-382-2466.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

M.L. Dohan cigar vending machine. Victorian Casino Antiques image. 

 Fire alarm made by the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Co. Victorian Casino Antiques image.

Dayton candy store scale produced by the Computing Scale Co. Victorian Casino Antiques image. 

Five-cent Mills Novelty Operators Bell slot machine. Victorian Casino Antiques image.

One-cent Browning handgun shooting arcade machine. Victorian Casino Antiques image.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 11:32
 

Keno auction a success with mix of Native American, fine art

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 17:02

Navajo chief’s blanket. Keno Auctions image.

NEW YORK – Keno Auctions held its fall sale of Important Modern, Traditional, Native American, and Decorative Art on Oct. 30. The top lot was an E. Howard & Co. Number 46 Astronomical Regulator Clock, which descended in the same family since it was purchased at a Georgia auction in 1919. Two phone bidders drove the price up to $162,500.

“These clocks were rare then and they are rare now. This one is doubly rare because of its provenance and condition,” said Leigh Keno, president of Keno Auctions.

LiveAuctioneers.com provided Internet live bidding.

“Overall, it was a great sale. There was a diverse group of objects offered, and we had bidders from all around the world via the Internet and telephone bidding. Registered Internet bidders from over 25 countries and extremely active telephone bidding are witness to the excitement generated by the sale. We were very pleased with the results,” said Keno. The sale total was $807,000.

Several of the objects were consigned from the Frederic Remington Museum of Ogdensburg, N.Y., including a collection of Native American items that were collected in the late 19th century. All of the objects attracted spirited bidding from multiple bidders. A Third Phase Navajo cochineal dyed chief’s blanket brought $35,000, a group of three early blankets took in $33,750, and a Crow gun scabbard circa 1880 was hammered down at $10,625.

About these objects, Keno said, “the early date and authenticity of these objects was apparent early on, as we had massive interest in this group. A collection of fresh objects like this rarely comes on the market, as it showed in the active bidding today.”

One of the most sought after lots of the sale was a flea market find: an over 4-foot-tall zinc model of the Statue of Liberty commissioned by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (French, 1834-1904). The consignor was sure that he had purchased something special when he discovered it at the flea market for $200. Multiple bidders from the United States and Europe agreed, as Keno hammered it down for $37,500.

Another recent discovery was a double portrait by the Chinese-American artist Yun Gee (1906-1963), whose scarce paintings were exhibited in an exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery in New York in 2005. The painting had been collected by a New York City couple in the 1930s, but had remained hidden in a relative’s collection until offered for sale this fall. Painted in the Fauvist manner in 1926, it garnered great interest in the run-up to the sale, and made $42,500.

In addition to the Yun Gee painting, the sale featured a number of modern and contemporary works. A collection of six Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989) ink sketches, which he had given to his accountant, collectively brought $23,625, while a Charles Demuth (American, 1883-1935) watercolor made $16,250, and a large Esteban Vicente (American, 1903-2001) oil achieved $35,000.

An Iconic Wharton Esherick (American, 1887-1970) music stand with beautiful lines sold for $23,750, while a Hans Wegner (Danish, 1914-2007) swivel chair in original condition made $16,250. A rare Alexander Calder (1898-1976) artist’s proof tapestry did well, bringing $12,500, a record for the form.

There was also a representation of traditional artwork, highlighted by the Haskell of American and European painting from the Remington Museum. All of these pieces had not been on the market since the early 20th century. Works included a William Trost Richards (American, 1835-1905) oil seascape that sold for $31,250 and an Edmund Darch Lewis (American, 1835-1910) landscape that brought $20,000. From a private collection, came an elegant portrait by Charles Webster Hawthorne (American, 1872-1930) titled Morning Chocolate that made $36,250.

Afterwards, Leigh Keno commented about the range of objects. “We had bidders from all over the world competing for a wide range of objects. Overall the bidding was strong, with the top prices paid for fresh, high quality objects.”

Keno Auctions next sale will be during Americana Week in January.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Navajo chief’s blanket. Keno Auctions image.

Howard regulator clock. Keno Auctions image.

Yun Gee self-portrait. Keno Auctions image.

Statue of Liberty model. Keno Auctions image.

Esherick music stand. Keno Auctions image.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 17:28
 

Big, bold graphics dominated Palm Beach Modern's Nov. 2 sale

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 11 November 2013 16:22

George Snyder (b. 1951-) abstract optical painting measuring 67.5 inches square, titled ‘Lush Life,’ $5,100. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The nearly 900 bidders participating in Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ lively November 2nd sale -- including 404 through LiveAuctioneers -- sent an emphatic message about both the present and the future, said company auctioneer Rico Baca.

“Not only did our auction results confirm which categories are currently on the move in the marketplace, they also revealed the type of format we should follow with our first sale of the winter season going forward. The combination of art, sculptures and sculptural design was a definite winner. It had a nice flow, and bidders liked the mix,” Baca said.

The Palm Beach area – and south Florida in general – is a perennial haven for those seeking shelter from frigid northern winters. “But only a percentage of our regular bidders who spend the winter months here arrive before Thanksgiving,” Baca explained, “so determining the types of art to include in our November opener has always been a bit challenging. Our first sale of the season typically attracts bidders who are full-time residents of the area but whose tastes we may not yet know. And, of course, we always have to consider the preferences of collectors around the world – whether established or new customers – who bid in our sales online, by phone or absentee. We watch the buying patterns in our first winter auction very closely.”

Prices realized in the 303-lot Nov. 2 auction – which was 85% sold by lot – confirmed that bidders want “large, bold graphics that fill up a wall,” Baca said. The top lot of the sale was a prime case in point: a monumental work by one of the street-art movement’s recognized pioneers, San Francisco’s Barry McGee (b. 1966-). Measuring 85.5 by 105 inches and painted on US Army surplus canvas, the 1990s artwork had been described by Baca prior to the sale as “a quintessential example of a new movement – a sort of neo folk art that looks a lot like the hobo art seen on trains that run between San Francisco and Canada.”

The McGee sold within its estimate range for $52,800 (all prices inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium) and is now bound for Australia. “This was yet another confirmation that street art is viewed as a legitimate art category worldwide; it’s not just an American phenomenon,” Baca said. The new owner of the McGee was a first-time buyer for the auction house. As for the consignor, Baca said they were “ecstatic…They never would have given it up if they had had a wall large enough to accommodate it.”

Original abstract artworks put in a strong performance at the auction. A wall-filling George Snyder (b. 1951-) abstract optical painting measuring 67.5 inches square, titled “Lush Life,” more than doubled its high estimate at $5,100. A compelling abstract expressionist work by Johannes Lacher (German, b. 1940-) with a 1972 exhibition label on verso from The Society of the Four Arts, also doubled expectations, selling to a Canadian buyer for $2,700.

During the auction, Donald Roller Wilson’s (American, b. 1938-) signed and dated 1966 portrait of Cookie the orangutan in a rose-colored party dress was displayed at the main entrance, above one of the desks where auction-day inquiries and phone line requests are handled. “It made people smile, and we had a lot of fun with it. I think there was a lot of curiosity about the painting and how much it might sell for,” Baca said.

Donald Wilson’s style is unmistakable, and although classified as “lowbrow,” it has a sophistication all its own. “The New York Times has called it ‘goofy, hallucinogenic, high-quality kitsch,’” Baca said. “There are many collectors for this type of art, and this artist, in particular.”

Estimated at $10,000-$15,000, Wilson’s simian portrait titled “She Had Seen It” knocked down $22,800, going to a California bidder. The robust selling price prompted Baca to joke with the consignor afterwards, “Bring us more monkeys!”

Major galleries were among the bidders pursuing five abstract sculptures that came to Palm Beach Modern Auctions directly from the estate of sculptor Larry Mohr (American, 1921-2013). His 32-inch stainless steel sculpture “Orbits VI,” 2/8, artist signed, had been part of an important Mohr exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art. It sold for $3,480.

There was consistent interest in editions, Baca said. Five phone lines were in use for Lot 49, a 72.25 by 136.5in Gene Davis (American, 1920-1985) lithograph, 128/150, dated 1974. It had generated more presale inquiries than any other lot in the auction and easily reached $9,000. Lot 81, Robert Silvers’ (American, b. 1968-) photomosaic of Marilyn Monroe composed entirely of Life Magazine covers, was numbered 9 of an edition of 10, and came with a COA from Fabien Fryns Gallery. It commanded $6,000 at auction. Silvers’ original of the artwork, appropriately titled “Life,” had been the actual cover art for the October 1996 issue of Life Magazine.

Another popular entry was a Larry Rivers’ (American, 1923-2002) artist-signed 1968 mixed-media cigar-box sculpture titled “Dutch Masters.” It exceeded presale expectations at $6,600.

Palm Beach Modern Auctions is known for its sales of modern furniture. The November 2nd auction catered to those who prefer pieces by “name” designers, Baca said. Top lots in the category included a 1960s Philip Laverne (American, 1908-1988) and Kelvin Laverne (American, b. 1936-) “Chan” metal coffee table with Asian-palace motif, $6,600; and a fine Paul Evans (American, 1931-1987) occasional table of mixed metals and slate, $7,800. Four phone lines were buzzing over Lot 188, a pair of 1987 Piero Fornasetti (Italian, 1930-1988) wood and metal trompe l’oeil chairs, which made $6,600.

Palm Beach Modern Auctions will conduct an Art, Decorative Arts & Modern Design sale on Sat., Nov. 30, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers. Inquiries: tel. 561-586-5500, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

View the catalog from PBMA's Nov. 2 auction, complete with prices realized, at http://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/46267_modern-art-decorative-artssculptural-design/page1.

View the fully illustrated catalog for PBMA's Nov. 30 auction and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at http://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/47498_fine-art-decorative-arts-and-modern-design/page1.

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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

George Snyder (b. 1951-) abstract optical painting measuring 67.5 inches square, titled ‘Lush Life,’ $5,100. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image

Giampaolo Seguso (Italian, b. 1942-) ‘Elisse’ Murano vase, 63/99, 13.75in, dated 1993, La Galleria dei 99 collection. Book example, Seguso COA. $1,800. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

(Estate of) Larry Mohr (American, 1921-2013), 32-inch stainless steel sculpture ‘Orbits VI,’ 2/8, artist signed, $3,480. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image

Gene Davis (American, 1920-1985), lithograph triptych, 72¼in x 136½ in, signed, dated 1974, $9,000. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Donald Roller Wilson (American, b. 1938-), ‘She Had Seen It,’ painting on canvas, 10½ in x 8½ in, dated 1996, AW Massey Fine Art label on verso, $22,800. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Robert Silvers (American, b. 1968) photomosaic of Marilyn Monroe composed of Life Magazine covers, numbered 9/10, with COA from Fabien Fryns Gallery, $6,000. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Larry Rivers (American, 1923-2002), ‘Dutch Masters,’ cigar box mixed-media sculpture, dated 1968, $6,600. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Barry McGee (American, b. 1966-), monumental artwork on dropcloth canvas, 85½in high by 105in wide, $52,800. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011), ‘Spoleto,’ screen-print on Arches paper, artist’s proof 8/10 of an edition of 100, signed, $3,000. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 18:00
 
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