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2 Tiffany table lamps sell for more than $1M each

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 19 December 2014 10:22
Nearly identical wisteria table lamps by Tiffany Studios, New York, circa 1901-1905. Estimate: $700,000-$1 million each. Prices realized: $1,205,000 and $1,145,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's. NEW YORK (AP) – Two nearly identical Tiffany wisteria lamps designed in 1901 have sold for over $1 million each at auction.

They sold at Sotheby's on Wednesday. One sold for $1,205,000, the other for $1,145,000.

They were part of a group of seven Tiffany lamps collected by dealer Sandra van den Broek over three decades. The current owner acquired them over the past 10 years.

The two leaded-glass lamps are successively numbered, indicating the 2,000 pieces for each were cut from the same sheets of glass. They came into Van den Broek's possession 15 years apart.

The shade was designed by Tiffany Studios artist Clara Driscoll.

The auction also featured 34 other Tiffany lots. Among the highlights was a 25-light lily chandelier owned by descendants of the Havermeyer family. It sold for $149,000.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-17-14 1738GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Nearly identical wisteria table lamps by Tiffany Studios, New York, circa 1901-1905. Estimate: $700,000-$1 million each. Prices realized: $1,205,000 and $1,145,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 10:38
 

Churchill paintings from daughter’s estate auctioned

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Written by DARIO THUBURN   
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 17:23
 Mary Churchill and her father, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, at the at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. LONDON (AFP) – A collection of paintings by Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill was auctioned off on Wednesday in the biggest ever sale of artwork by the statesman and accomplished painter.

The 15 paintings included views from his holidays in France as well as the interiors of his home in Chartwell near London and Blenheim Palace, where the cigar-chomping aristocrat was born.

The works in the Sotheby's auction came from the personal collection of his daughter and confidante Mary Soames, who died May 31.

The Goldfish Pool at Chartwell", showing the garden pond where the statesman used to feed fish whose descendants still swim there today, sold for 1.8 million pounds ($2.8 million, 2.2 million euros), a record for a Churchill painting.

The paintings provide a rare insight into the World War II prime minister's family life and the talent that his daughter said had helped him escape the rough and tumble of political life.

Sotheby's said it was "the most important and personal group of his paintings ever to come to the market."

The sale gives "a unique and very moving insight into the private side of Britain's greatest war-time leader," the auctioneers added.

Art historian David Coombs said it was "a sublime group of some of the best of Churchill's work and his most important subjects."

The 280-lot sale entitled "Daughter of History" included a battered red leather briefcase used by Churchill when he was Secretary of State for the Colonies between 1921 and 1922, which sold for 158,500 pounds.

Other items sold were a silver water jug inscribed "Egypt 1942, To Winston from his colleagues from the War Cabinet" and a cigar humidor, which could have belonged either to Churchill or his daughter, who also enjoyed a puff, which sold for 21,250 pounds.

Soames worked alongside her father during the war years, meeting with the famous leaders of the time.

Aged just 23, she helped to organize a dinner with U.S. president Harry Truman and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference in 1945.

Soames, a baroness, went on to marry politician Christopher Soames, who served as Britain's ambassador to France and was the last British governor of Southern Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe.

Sotheby's Europe chairman Henry Wyndham said the items "tell the story of a truly remarkable woman and her family, whose personal experience of the great moments and characters in our recent history is utterly captivating."

Churchill began painting when he was 40 following the disastrous 1915 Dardanelles campaign during World War I, which he was responsible for as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Soames herself said that painting helped him "to confront storms, ride out depressions and to rise above the rough passages of his political life."

A painting of Carcassonne in France was the first picture that Churchill gave to his daughter.

The other paintings of France were a view of Cannes harbor and a chateau in Normandy.

Art brought Churchill into contact with leading painters of the time as tutors and friends.

John Lavery and Walter Sickert were major influences, and friends and artists regularly visited Chartwell, which is now a museum.

The auction comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of Churchill's death on Jan. 27.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
 Mary Churchill and her father, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, at the at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 17:50
 

Cézanne landscape could top $15M at Christie's sale Feb. 4

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 13:53

Paul Cézanne, 'Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If.' Christie's Images Ltd. 2014

LONDON – Christie’s will auction a masterpiece by Paul Cézanne, Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If, which comes to the market for the first time since it was acquired in 1936 by Samuel Courtauld, the founder of the illustrious Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art in London.

The painting, estimated to bring £8-12 million ($12.5-18.8 million), remained in Courtauld’s private collection throughout his lifetime and following his bequest to the Courtauld Gallery.

One of the leading highlights of the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on Feb. 4, this magisterial work was painted circa 1883-1885, during one of the last visits that Cézanne ever made to L’Estaque, a fishing port and small seaside resort in his native Provence, where he sought inspiration repeatedly from the mid-1860s. This is a rare example on a vertical canvas of Cézanne’s treatment of this iconic motif; the format lends the composition stately dignity and remarkable concentration of colour and form.

The splendid panorama – captured in Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If – from the hilltop above the town, looking over the rooftops toward the bay of Marseille and the distant islands of Frioul, provided the basis for some of the most innovative landscapes of Cézanne’s career, in which he fully realized his goal to “make of Impressionism something solid and enduring like the art in museums.”

The stable and harmonious distribution of forms within the composition, with broad horizontal bands of land, sea and sky framed by majestic pine trees, is profoundly indebted to the classical landscape tradition of Poussin, which Cézanne used to organize his sensations before nature. At the same time, Cézanne’s constructive transformation of the townscape into an architectural geometry of flat, overlapping planes is powerfully modern, as the next generation of the avant-garde would recognize. “The discovery of his work overturned everything,” said Braque, who traveled to L’Estaque repeatedly during the formative years of cubism.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Paul Cézanne, 'Vue sur L’Estaque et Le Château d’If.' Christie's Images Ltd. 2014

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 14:11
 

Late financier's photo collection brings $21M at Sotheby’s

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 10:44
Alvin Langdon Coburn, ‘Shadows And Reflections, Venice,’ gum-platinum print, 1905, 14 1/4  by 11 3/8  in. (36.3 by 29 cm.). Est. $350,000/$500,000 Sold for $965,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's NEW YORK (AP) – A collection of 175 photographs owned by the late CEO of Dreyfus Corp. has brought a total of $21.3 million at auction.

The works range from daguerreotypes to contemporary images. They were amassed by Howard Stein, who died in 2011.

Sotheby's says the sale exceeded the previous record for a photographs auction by $6 million.

It also set records for a number of photographers including Alvin Langdon Coburn, August Sander and Tina Modotti.

The highest price went for Coburn's 1905 Shadows and Reflections, Venice. It sold for $965,000 to an American collector.

The auctioneer's presale estimate for the 175 works was $13 million to $20 million.

They were offered for sale by a nonprofit, Joy of Giving Something. Stein founded it to support photographic arts and arts education.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-15-14 1850GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Alvin Langdon Coburn, ‘Shadows And Reflections, Venice,’ gum-platinum print, 1905, 14 1/4  by 11 3/8  in. (36.3 by 29 cm.). Est. $350,000/$500,000 Sold for $965,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 10:46
 

Rare Saint-Gaudens gold coin to be auctioned at Bonhams

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Written by ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 11:12
Rare MCMVII (1907) double eagle $20 coin designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Estimate: $1.25 million-$1.5 million. Image courtesy of Bonhams. NEW YORK (AP) – A rare 1907 double eagle $20 coin designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens could sell for as much as $1.5 million at auction next week.

The lustrous gold piece is one of four experimental relief $20 coins that were minted in Philadelphia in 1907 between Feb. 7 and Feb. 14. A majestic flying eagle appears on one side and a figure of Liberty on the other. The coin is one of only two with sans serif-edge lettering.

President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned the great American sculptor to redesign the $20 gold piece. Saint-Gaudens died a few months after the first Ultra High Reliefs were coined.

Paul Song, director of Bonhams' department of coins and banknotes, said he discovered the coin in 1992 at an estate and it was sold at auction for $143,000.

Bonhams is offering the coin for sale Tuesday on behalf of an anonymous American collector. It is estimated to bring from $1.25 million to $1.5 million.

“This is the only one that will be available to collectors in the near future,” said Song.

The second existing sans serif coin sold at auction in 1995 to a private collector for $242,000.

Song said the two coins “are the only ones that Saint-Gaudens and possibly Roosevelt would have handled.”

The High Relief coins struck in November and December of 1907 were modified and about 12,000 were minted. The number was reduced in mid-December of that year, with the coin continuing in circulation through 1933.

A 1933 example on display at the New-York Historical Society is described as “one of the most famous and storied coins in the world.”

The auctioneer says the 1907 coin's unusual sans serif-edge font distinguishes it as one of the first struck that year at the Mint in Philadelphia. Sans serif is a typeface without small lines at the ends of characters. Another unique feature is that the rim, or collar, impresses the lettering upside-down; when the obverse is up, the edge lettering is inverted.

The auction record for a coin is believed to be a 1794 piece known as the Flowing Hair silver dollar that sold for $10 million at Stack's Bowers Galleries last year.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-12-14 2000GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Rare MCMVII (1907) double eagle $20 coin designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Estimate: $1.25 million-$1.5 million. Image courtesy of Bonhams.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 11:26
 

Apple-1 sold by Steve Jobs commands $365,000 at Christie’s

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 11 December 2014 14:21
The Ricketts Apple-1 personal computer, Palo Alto, 1976. Price realized: $365,000. Christie's Images Ltd. 2014 NEW YORK (AFP) – A 1976 Apple computer sold by Steve Jobs from his parents' garage fetched $365,000 at auction in New York on Thursday, falling short of its presale estimate in a competitive computer relic market.

Christie's says the Apple-1 is the only surviving such computer documented to have been sold directly by the late Apple founder to a customer from the garage in Los Altos, California.

A spokeswoman told AFP that it sold for $365,000 but was unable to give any immediate details about the identity of the buyer.

Christie's had previously valued the computer at $400,000 to $600,000, highest presale estimate for an Apple-1 at auction.

The Apple-1, the first preassembled personal computer ever sold, is considered a vanguard of the personal computer revolution.

Prices have been on the rise for relics of computing history, which have been snapped up by institutions.

In October, an Apple-1 built by Jobs's business partner Steve Wozniak sold for a staggering $905,000 at a Bonhams auction in New York, bought by the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich.

In 2013, Christie's sold another 1976 Apple-1 for $387,750 and in 2010 another for $212,267 in London.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The Ricketts Apple-1 personal computer, Palo Alto, 1976. Price realized: $365,000. Christie's Images Ltd. 2014
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 14:29
 

2 Wisteria table lamps centerpieces of Tiffany auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:53
Nearly identical 'Wisteria' table lamps by Tiffany Studios, New York, circa 1901-1905, 26 1/2 inches high, shades 18 1/2 inches in diameter. Estimate: $700,000-$1 million each. Image courtesy of Sotheby's. NEW YORK (AP) – Two nearly identical Tiffany wisteria lamps designed in 1901 could sell for up to $1 million each at auction next week.

They are among a group of seven Tiffany lamps collected by dealer Sandra van den Broek over a 30-year period. The current owner acquired them over the past 10 years.

Sotheby's is selling them Dec. 17.

The two wisteria leaded-glass lamps are successively numbered, indicating the 2,000 pieces for each were cut from the same sheets of glass. They came into Van den Broek's possession 15 years apart.

The shade was designed by Tiffany Studios artist Clara Driscoll.

The auction features 34 other Tiffany lots. Among the highlights is a 25-light lily chandelier owned by descendants of the Havermeyer family. It has a pre-sale estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-09-14 1749GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Nearly identical 'Wisteria' table lamps by Tiffany Studios, New York, circa 1901-1905, 26 1/2 inches high, shades 18 1/2 inches in diameter. Estimate: $700,000-$1 million each. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:57
 

Marble head, believed to be of French queen, sells for $1.3M

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:16
A close-up view of a statue of Jeanne de Bourbon, Queen consort of Charles V of France, at the Louvre in Paris. Image by Kaho Mitsuki. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. PARIS (AFP) – A 600-year-old marble head, believed to be from a sculpture of French queen Jeanne de Bourbon, wife of Charles V, was auctioned off for 1.15 million euros ($1.3 million) in Paris on Thursday.

The head, believed to date from between 1370 and 1380, is decorated with intricate braids in fashion at the time and is "well preserved despite light damage to the nose and lips," according to the Piasa auction house.

The work is attributed to Flemish sculptor to the royals Jean de Liege.

The auction house said all evidence pointed "to this exceptional head originating from the tomb effigy of Jeanne de Bourbon, Queen of France."

Among the clues cited by Piasa were the form of a crown on the sculpture and damage to the back of the head suggesting it was hacked off when the tomb was vandalized during the French Revolution.

"Only a royal effigy could have warranted such an operation."

Queen Jeanne, not renowned for her beauty, died shortly after giving birth to her ninth child when she was 40 years old.

"To find ourselves in the presence of the effigy bust of Jeanne de Bourbon may seem extraordinary," said Piasa, adding that various elements from her vandalized tomb had come to light in recent years.

The auction house said the exact journey of the effigy from its removal during the revolution to its reappearance in the hands of a Belgian antiques dealer more than 50 years ago "will doubtless remain a mystery."

"It was detached, preserved, then haggled over; sold to a trafficker in royal goods; bought by an admirer of the Ancien Regime; taken across the frontier before falling into the hands of the antiques trade; and finally acquired by a Belgian engineer enamored of beautiful objects."



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
A close-up view of a statue of Jeanne de Bourbon, Queen consort of Charles V of France, at the Louvre in Paris. Image by Kaho Mitsuki. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:42
 

Estee Lauder jewels sell for $3.9 million at Sotheby's

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 11 December 2014 10:35
Platinum, colored stone, diamond and enamel 'Tutti Frutti' bracelet, Cartier, New York, circa 1928. Estimate $750,000/1 million. It sold for more than $2.1 million. From the Collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, sold to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. Image courtesy of Sotheby's. NEW YORK (AP) – A New York auction of 44 pieces of jewelry from the collections of Estee Lauder and Evelyn Lauder has totaled $3.9 million and will benefit two charities.

Among the highlights at Sotheby's sale Tuesday was a ruby, emerald and diamond Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet that sold for more than $2.1 million, an auction record for any Tutti Frutti bracelet by Cartier. Its presale estimate was up to $1 million.

The auctioneer says proceeds from the sale of 33 jewels from Evelyn Lauder's collection will support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which she founded. Eleven pieces from the collection of Estee Lauder will benefit the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation.

Estee Lauder was the founder of the Estee Lauder fragrance and skincare products company. She died in 2004. Her daughter-in-law Evelyn Lauder died in 2011.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-10-14 0732GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Platinum, colored stone, diamond and enamel 'Tutti Frutti' bracelet, Cartier, New York, circa 1928. Estimate $750,000/1 million. It sold for more than $2.1 million. From the Collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, sold to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 10:43
 

Winnie the Pooh illustration sells for record price at Sotheby’s

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Written by AFP wire service   
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 15:44
The original drawing by E.H. Shepard depicting Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet and Christopher Robin and his friends playing on a bridge sold for $490,470 Tuesday. Image courtesy Sotheby's. LONDON (AFP) - The original drawing of an iconic literary illustration depicting Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends playing "poohsticks" sold at auction in London on Tuesday for a record-breaking £314,500 ($490,470 or 399,170 euros).

The sale of E.H. Shepard's ink drawing of the much-loved A.A. Milne characters Pooh, Christopher Robin and Piglet broke the world record for any book illustration in the sale at Sotheby's auction house.

The drawing, which has become one of the most famous book illustrations of its time, shows the trio standing on a bridge looking expectantly into the river below.

In the story, Pooh invents the now widely played game "poohsticks" in which he and his fictional friends throw sticks over one side of the bridge and wait for them to appear on the other.

The picture was first published in Milne's The House at Pooh Corner in 1928 and has been used on the front of many editions of the popular children's book since.

The auction house described it as "probably the most famous and evocative book illustration of the 20th century."

"It's an incredibly important piece, it's reproduced twice within The House at Pooh Corner, and I had great expectations that this would catch people's imagination but it exceeded all our expectations," Philip Errington, director of Sotheby's book department, told AFP.

The auction record for a Shepard drawing was just under £140,000, while the record for a book illustration was previously £290,000.

"We're very happy we've smashed those two world records," Errington said.

Sotheby's sold the work in 1971 and 1974. The signed original has since been in a private collection.

"Back in 1974 it sold for a few hundred pounds, certainly below the thousand mark, so this is an indication in how the market in book illustrations has just soared recently," said Errington.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The original drawing by E.H. Shepard depicting Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet and Christopher Robin and his friends playing on a bridge sold for $490,470 Tuesday. Image courtesy Sotheby's.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 10:21
 

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation sells for $8.4M

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 10:32
George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions NEW YORK – George Washington's first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation has sold to a private collector for $8.4 million. This rare document, which was exhibited at Keno Auctions Townhouse, was offered at private treaty sale.

The buyer requested that his identity and the final selling price remain confidential, said sellers Seth Kaller and Leigh Keno. The only other known copy of the proclamation resides in the Library of Congress.

"It is a great pleasure to have handled this extraordinary document establishing a uniquely American celebration," said Kaller. "The new owner has agreed to share it with the public at an appropriate American cultural institution."

Leigh Keno added: "It has been a great honor to have exhibited this iconic manuscript. The fact that it sold to a collector who believes in sharing with the public is the icing on the cake."

In the Proclamation, issued on Oct. 3, 1789, our first president designates "Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being . . . That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks-for . . . the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness... for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge."

On Oct. 3, 1863 – exactly 74 years after George Washington's Proclamation-Lincoln established the fourth Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving, setting the precedent that remains to this day.

While the proclamation will depart Keno Auctions Townhouse, located at 127 E. 69th St., the exhibition and sale of documents has been extended and includes two important original documents:

  • A rare July 1776 broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence, attributed to a printer in Exeter, New Hampshire, priced at $1.2 million.
  • A highly personal letter handwritten and signed by George Washington in 1782, priced at $98,000.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 10:42
 

World's largest truffle sells for $61,250 at Sotheby's

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Written by AFP wire service   
Monday, 08 December 2014 11:17
The giant white truffle pictured next to an apple. Image courtesy of Sotheby's NEW YORK (AFP) – Consider it a bargain: The world's largest white truffle sold at auction Saturday for $61,250 – far less than the cool $1 million its owner reportedly had hoped for.

The White Alba's Truffle weighed 4.16 pounds (1.89 kilos) when unearthed last week in the Umbrian region of Italy, making it by far the largest ever found. Sotheby's said it was purchased by a gourmand from Taiwan, who had placed his winning bid by telephone.

Bidding started at $50,000 for the record-breaking fungus.

It was owned by the Balestra Family of Sabatino Truffles, whose CEO told the New Haven Register newspaper last week that he hoped it would fetch seven figures.

"I told everybody I wanted a million dollars," said Federico Balestra telling the newspaper that a Sabatino employee in Italy "was hunting truffles for us and found the truffle for us."

Balestra added that the massive fungus – slightly smaller than an American football – was large enough "to feed a party for 300-400 truffle dinners."

Long after the dinner plates are cleared away, the Balestra truffle was expected to enjoy immortality as an entry in next year's edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

News reports said this new record holder was about twice the size of the previous champion.

Nevertheless, the dethroned white truffle fetched far more when it was sold in 2010 – some $417,200, according to Sotheby's,

The auction house said the Balestra family plans to donate proceeds from the auction to a number of charitable organizations, including Citymeals-on-Wheels, a local group to feed the hungry, and the Children's Glaucoma Foundation.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The giant white truffle pictured next to an apple. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Monday, 08 December 2014 11:33
 

PEN American Center auction raises $1 million

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Written by HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer   
Thursday, 04 December 2014 13:11

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro attended the benefit auction, where an annotated copy of his book 'The Power Broker' sold for $26,000. Copyright 2012 Larry D. Moore. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

NEW YORK (AP) – Philip Roth was the star attraction, by words alone.

Annotated copies of the novels Portnoy's Complaint and American Pastoral brought in more than $130,000 Tuesday night at a PEN American Center benefit auction hosted by Christie's. PEN raised $1 million overall, a major boost for the literary and human rights organization, which officials say has an annual budget of around $4 million. Other popular items included annotated editions of Don DeLillo's post-World War II epic Underworld, which had a winning bid of $57,000, and Robert Caro's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of municipal builder Robert Moses, The Power Broker, purchased for $26,000.

“It was a great night for literature. People keep saying the book is dead, but that clearly isn't true,” Caro said afterward, adding that he had been nervous enough about the appeal of The Power Broker to delay his arrival until bidding for it was over.

The actual bids Tuesday brought in just under $920,000, but a PEN supporter, who the organization declined to identify, kicked in enough to bring the total to $1 million.

The auction was called “First Editions/Second Thoughts,” for which writers and visual artists reflected upon previous works and added notes and illustrations. The 75 offerings ranged from an old Woody Allen stage and film comedy, Play It Again, Sam, to Gillian Flynn's million-selling thriller Gone Girl.

Roth, who has announced his retirement from both fiction writing and public speeches, was not in attendance. But his American Pastoral, a Pulitzer winner released in 1997, was easily the most popular work, selling for $80,000.

Many of the bidders were PEN officials, collectors or professional book dealers. Rick Gekoski, a London-based rare books dealer with a full beard and a clear voice, snapped up Gone Girl, Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies and numerous other books. “It went very well. It was very reasonable,” he said later.

The tastes of the room often had little to do with the fame of the writer or the popularity of the book. The debut poetry collection of Paul Muldoon, Knowing My Place' sold for $13,000, more than the combined top bids for Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, Sue Grafton's A is for Alibi and Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. An early James Salter novel, The Hunters, was purchased for $8,000. Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling The Tipping Point went for $3,500. Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping had a final bid of $24,000, Allen's Play It Again, Sam just $4,000, perhaps because Allen himself dismissed it in his notes as a “junky play.”

Some contributors became so absorbed by the PEN project that they kept adding and revising annotations right up to auction time. Playwright Tony Kushner had already donated a copy of his celebrated Angels in America, and threw in marked up portions of the shooting script for Lincoln' the Steven Spielberg film that starred Daniel Day-Lewis. Kushner's works sold for $32,000.

Before getting to Yoko Ono's Acorn,  a collection of instructions in verse form, auctioneer Tom Lecky reminded bidders that an inscription in the catalog was incorrect. The proper wording was “Imagine Peace & Remember Love! Love, Yoko 2013.”

The crowd was unmoved. Acorn was purchased for $1,300, the bargain of the night.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-03-14 0830GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro attended the benefit auction, where an annotated copy of his book 'The Power Broker' sold for $26,000. Copyright 2012 Larry D. Moore. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 December 2014 13:41
 

Turner painting of Rome sells for record £30.3M at Sotheby’s

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Written by AFP wire service   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 17:17
Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A. (British, 1775-1851), 'Rome, from Mount Aventine,' 1835, oil on its original canvas and in its original frame, 36 by 49 in.; 91.6 by 124.6 cm. Auctioned for $47.4 million at Sotheby's on Dec. 3, 2014. Image courtesy of Sotheby's LONDON (AFP) – A large oil painting of Rome by JMW Turner fetched the highest price ever paid for a work by the British artist at an auction on Wednesday.

Rome, from Mount Aventine, depicting the river of the Italian capital bathed in morning light, sold for £30.3 million ($47.4 million, 38.6 million euros) at the Sotheby's auction.

Four bidders competed for the 1835 painting, described by the auction house as one of Turner's "supreme achievements." The identity of the buyer was not announced.

"This painting, which is nearly 200 years old, looks today as if it has come straight from the easel of the artist," said Alex Bell of Sotheby's old master paintings department.

"The hairs from Turner's brush, his fingerprint, the drips of liquid paint which have run down the edge of the canvas, and every scrape of his palette knife have been preserved in incredible detail."

It was the highest price paid for a pre-20th century work by a British artist and beat the previous record set for a Turner painting – £29.7 million paid for "Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino" in 2010.

Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1836, the work was last sold in 1878, when it was bought from a friend and patron of Turner's by Archibald Primrose, later to become British prime minister.

The auction house said the sale "coincided with a wider moment of Turner mania."

A biopic about the painter by Mike Leigh was released in October, and netted star Timothy Spall the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of the artist.

A major exhibition of the Romantic painter, famous for his English landscapes and paintings of Rome and Venice, opened at Tate Britain in September.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A. (British, 1775-1851), 'Rome, from Mount Aventine,' 1835, oil on its original canvas and in its original frame, 36 by 49 in.; 91.6 by 124.6 cm. Auctioned for $47.4 million at Sotheby's on Dec. 3, 2014. Image courtesy of Sotheby's White-glove treatment for the Turner masterpiece 'Rome, from Mount Aventine,' which sold for $47.4 million at Sotheby's London. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 December 2014 10:10
 

Original 'Little Prince' illustration to be auctioned

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Written by AFP wire service   
Monday, 01 December 2014 13:25

This is the front cover art for the book 'The Little Prince' written by Antoine de Saint Exupéry and first published in 1943. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to the publisher, Gallimard or the cover artist, Antoine de Saint Exupéry. Fair use of low-resolution image under terms of US Copyright law.

PARIS (AFP) –An original watercolor illustration from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's timeless classic The Little Prince, one of the world's best-ever selling books, is to be auctioned in Paris next week.

The signed sketch, which appeared on page 17 of the original 1943 version of the novella, is expected to fetch between 400,000 and 500,000 euros ($500,000-600,000), according to auction house Artcurial.

The drawing depicts the Turkish astronomer, who discovered the Asteroid B612, the eponymous Little Prince's planet, pointing at a blackboard of equations and mathematical diagrams.

By far Saint-Exupery's most famous work, The Little Prince has been translated into more than 270 languages.

Artcurial said it is the most widely read book in the world after the Bible.

The book is a series of parables in which a boy prince recounts his adventures among the stars to a downed pilot on Earth and was published in English and French in New York in 1943.

Himself a pilot, Saint-Exupery died mysteriously during a 1944 reconnaissance mission aged 44 and so did not live to see the publication of his book in France in 1946, following the end of World War II.

The watercolor sketch, measuring 21.3 by 23.9 centimeters, is to go under the hammer on Dec. 9.

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 15:34
 

'Casablanca' piano sells for $3.4 million at Bonhams

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Written by AFP wire service   
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 09:25
The celebrated piano from Rick's Cafe in the movie 'Casablanca.' Bonhams image. NEW YORK (AFP) – The painted upright piano that adorned Rick's Cafe in the classic movie Casablanca fetched $3.4 million at auction Monday after a frenzied sale in New York.

The orange piano – on which Sam (Dooley Wilson) famously plays As Time Goes By at the request of Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart’s) one-time love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) – was among 200 items from Hollywood's golden age that went under the hammer at Bonham's in New York.

The piano featured prominently in the Oscar-winning 1942 romantic drama, with leading man Humphrey Bogart using it as a hiding place for the letters of transit that ultimately secure his former lover's safe passage to the United States.

Dresses worn by Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Rita Hayworth were also auctioned, as well as a jacket worn by Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind.

The Lion costume worn by Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz was also put up for sale and fetched went for $3,077,000.

Auctioneers had declined to estimate the Casablanca piano's likely price, saying only that they expected it to fetch "the low- to mid-seven figures."

Bidding opened at $1.6 million and escalated rapidly before closing three minutes later at $3.4 million including the buyer’s premium.

The piano was specially adapted to allow Bogart's character to perform his sleight of hand with the transit papers, hiding them inside the piano case at Rick's Cafe.

The writers decided that the papers should be stashed in the top of the piano, but had to alter its lid to make it work on camera.

"The only way this works, however, is if the lid opens from the rear, otherwise Rick would have to reach over Sam's shoulder to hide the papers, a hardly subtle move," the auction house said.

"The solution to this staging problem was to have the prop department completely remove the top of the piano, leaving the piece secured by a hook and eye only.”

Most likely made in 1927, the piano also has only 58 keys, 30 fewer than a classic piano.

It had been owned by a dentist in Los Angeles since the 1980s.

Bonham's said the painted Moroccan designs were restored about three decades ago under the direction of Warner Bros.

The piano was offered for sale with a signed photograph of actor Dooley Wilson and a copy of Casablanca, and even came with a wad of petrified chewing gum found stuck beneath the keyboard. A faint outline of a fingerprint could be seen on the gum, but its owner was unknown.

A winner of three Academy Awards, Casablanca is ranked as the second greatest movie of all time by the American Film Institute, behind Citizen Kane and just ahead of The Godfather.

Items related to the film generated snappy business at Bonham's, with a draft screenplay entitled Everybody Come to Rick's fetching $106,250, well above its $40,000-$60,000 estimate.

The doors featured in the entrance of Rick's Cafe sold for $115,000, having been estimated at $75,000 to $100,000.

The famous letters of transit at the heart of the film, estimated at between $100,000 and $150,000, sold for $118,750. One of the chairs from Rick's Cafe fetched $5,000.

Several dresses featured in other movies fetched hefty sums as well, including a gown worn by Garland in Easter Parade that sold for $11,875 and another worn by Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were that earned $8,750.

A gown worn by Hayworth in The Loves of Carmen fetched $6,000.

However, a dress worn by Grace Kelly in Mogambo estimated to be worth between $15,000 and $20,000, failed to secure a buyer at the auction.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The celebrated piano from Rick's Cafe in the movie 'Casablanca.' Bonhams image.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 09:46
 
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