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Guesthouse designed by Frank Gehry sells for $905,000

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 21 May 2015 15:14

The Frank Gehry-designed home, which must be moved from its present location, sold for $905,000. Wright image.

OWATONNA, Minn. (AP) – A Minnesota guesthouse designed by architect Frank Gehry that was once valued at $4.5 million has sold for $905,000 at auction in Chicago.

The Star Tribune reports the Winton Guest House was estimated to sell for as much as $1.5 million Tuesday. An auctioneer declared the building sold to an unidentified telephone bidder for $750,000, plus fees, after less than five minutes of bidding. provided Internet live bidding.

The guesthouse currently sits in a field outside Owatonna. It was sold by the University of St. Thomas, which moved the house from its original location overlooking Lake Minnetonka after acquiring it as a gift in 2007. It was designed by Gehry in 1987 for Twin Cities art patrons Mike and Penny Winton. The new owner, who is from outside Minnesota, will relocate the house to an undisclosed location.

The house was the star attraction at Wright’s Design Masterworks auction, which totaled $2.36 million.

An important desk design by Marc Newson for Syn Studios, Tokyo, sold for $515,000, exceeding its previous auction result by more than $200,000. A monumental Sonambient by Harry Bertoia sold for $341,000 and a rare oversized Marshmallow sofa, one of only a few produced, sold for more than twice its low estimate at $112,500.


Information from: Star Tribune,

Copyright 2015 Associataed Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 21 May 2015 15:29

Roseberys London sponsors auction to fund Elephant Haven

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 18 May 2015 16:42

Russell Young (British/American, b. 1959-), 'Marilyn Hope Liquid Gold and Black,' 2013, acrylic paint, enamel screenprint, estimate £4,000-£6,000. Image courtesy of Roseberys

LONDON – Roseberys London has launched an online auction which aims to raise £350,000 to support the charitable efforts of Elephant Haven in establishing Europe’s first elephant sanctuary.

It is estimated that over 600 elephants in Europe are in need of a safe haven. An increasing number of European countries have banned the use of elephants in circuses, but such elephants have nowhere to go. Elephant Haven is seeking to offer these elephants a place in which to retire in peace. A suitable site for the sanctuary has been identified and secured in South of France but the charity is in need of an additional £350,000 in funding in order to make the project a reality.

The 51-lot auction will include works donated by Elephant Family (a charity that protects endangered elephants in Asia) the artists themselves and also by a number of galleries. Pictures in the sale include artwork from illustrator Quentin Blake, sculptor Angela Connor, urban artist Dom Pattinson (whose pieces grace the walls of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, piece donated by Zebra One gallery) and photographer Gitte Meldgaarde – who has donated a photographic print of Dita von Teese. Works from Sir Peter Blake, Paula Rego, Billy Childish, Yoko Ono and Corrine Day are also being offered for sale.

Among the highlights is an acrylic paint and enamel screen print of Marilyn Monroe by one of the world’s most sought after artists, Russell Young. Born in the north of England Young began his career as a photographer in the London music scene before moving to Hollywood and pursuing his career as an artist. Now established as one an internationally acclaimed pop artist, he is best known for his compelling larger than life screen print images from history and popular culture. This piece, donated by Bankrobber Gallery, is painted with liquid gold paint and diamond dust, and is numbered 44 of an edition of 50. The screenprint is estimated at £4,000-6,000.

A selection of four photographs have been donated by acclaimed photographer and artist Kate Garner from Bolt Agency, who has organized the auction together with her agent Meesh Bryant and partners Patron Tequila. Garner initially rose to fame as one third of the 1980s avant-garde band Hasi Fantayzee, but later forged a successful career in arts media. She is well known for her iconic photographs of the singer Sinéad O'Connor and the super model Kate Moss, and has photographed numerous celebrities and models for publications including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The Sunday Times. The donated photographs include two prints of the iconic Praed Street photographs of Kate Moss, which are estimated to sell for £2,500-3,000 and one of the singer songwriter David Bowie, estimated at £1,800-2,000.

The celebrities, artists and influential figures involved in the exhibition have all contributed their thoughts on the important issue of elephant welfare. Julian Lennon commented: “I’m interested to see how human consciousness will evolve when freedom and respect for other animals is achieved. Sanctuaries for refugee elephants such as Elephant Haven are the brick and mortar for what is a fundamental rights issue.”

Many of the lots are being sold without reserve and all proceeds from the sale will go directly to Elephant Haven. Many of the lots are being sold without reserve, and all proceeds from the sale will go directly to Elephant Haven. The auction will be held on Tuesday, June 9, at Library, 112 St. Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4AZ in partnership with Patron Tequila. It is a ticketed event, and tickets can be purchased by searching for “Elephant Haven Auction” on The event has been organized by Meesh Bryant and Kate Garner from Bolt Agency, for Elephant Haven, and the catalog can be viewed online at Roseberys website


Last Updated on Monday, 18 May 2015 16:50

Mark Rothko masterpiece sells for $82 million at NY auction

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:04

Mark Rothko (Russian/American, 1903-1970), 'No. 10,' auctioned by Christie's for $81.92 million on May 13, 2015. Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd 2015

NEW YORK (AFP) – A painting by abstract expressionist Mark Rothko sold for close to $82 million on Wednesday, auction house Christie's said, one day after another of his masterpieces fetched a hefty sum in New York.

Rothko's No. 10 sold for $81.92 million at an auction of postwar and contemporary art at Christie's Wednesday, nearly twice its estimated value.

The sale fell short of the most-ever paid for one of his works: $86.88 million for Orange, Red, Yellow, which sold in 2012.

No. 10 was one of several works auctioned Wednesday, with German-British Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Resting oil of a full-figured nude woman sleeping on a sofa fetching $56.16 million.

Pop art icon Andy Warhol's exuberant Colored Mona Lisa, silkscreen inks and graphite on canvas, earned the same amount.

The headline-making price paid for Rothko's "No. 10," an oil work of deep and rich shades of red, follows another sale on Tuesday of his Untitled, (Yellow and Blue), pictured below, which earned $46.5 million at Sotheby's in New York. (Image courtesy Sotheby's.)

Earlier this week, a Picasso masterpiece and a Giacometti statue smashed world records for the most expensive art sold at auction, fetching more than $179 million and $141 million respectively.

Rothko, who died in 1970, became a giant of the modern art world through his characteristic style: a seemingly simple but arresting juxtaposition of blocks of color.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 May 2015 14:25

Burmese Sunrise Ruby sells for record $30M at auction

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Written by AFP   
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 09:39

The 'Sunrise Ruby,' which sold for US$30.3 Million at Sotheby's Geneva gallery. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

GENEVA (AFP) – A 25.59 carat "pigeon blood" ruby sold for a world record $30.33 million at auction in Geneva Tuesday while a rare pink diamond believed to have once belonged to Napoleon's niece fetched $15.9 million, Sotheby's said.

After competitive bidding, the ruby went to an anonymous telephone bidder for 26.25 million Swiss francs (27.3 million euros), with costs.

The "Sunrise Ruby" from Myanmar, part of a collection of Cartier jewels up for auction, had been expected to sell for between $12 million and $18 million.

It set a record for a ruby and was also a record for a Cartier jewel at auction, Sotheby's said.

"The Sunrise Ruby sold for just over $30 million, $30.3 million, which is I think over three times the previous record, which was for the Graff Ruby," said David Bennett, head of Sotheby's international jewelry division, referring to a stone sold in November.

The large, pigeon-blood red ruby "is amongst the rarest of all gemstones. I mean, in 40 years I've ever only seen one this color, this size, so they are beyond rare," Bennett said.

Another "extremely rare" stone, a fancy vivid pink diamond weighing 8.72 carats sold for 14.8 million Swiss francs ($15.9 million, 14.3 million euros) at the spring Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels auction.

The stone, known as "The Historic Pink" and mounted on a ring with a classic non-modified cushion cut, is believed to have been part of the collection of Princess Mathilde, niece of French Emperor Napoleon I, according to the Gemological Institute of America.

Another of its former owners was the reclusive American heiress and philanthropist Huguette Clark, who died in 2007.

It only recently reappeared after having been kept in the safe of a bank since the 1940s.

The origins of the stone remain unclear. The technical characteristics of the stone and the fact that it is so old suggest it may have been found in the famous Golconda mines of India, according to Bennett.

The market for colored diamonds and precious stones has never been so dynamic, according to Sotheby's, with pink diamonds among the rarest.

In October 2014, Sotheby's sold a 8.41 carat pink diamond, which was cut differently, for $17.8 million.

At Tuesday's auction, a pair of Cartier earrings with sapphires from Myanmar and diamonds sold for 3.4 million Swiss francs ($3.9 million).

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 May 2015 10:59

American art records shattered at Heritage Auctions

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 15:00

Rockwell Kent (American, 1882-1971), ‘Polar Expedition,’ 1944, oil on canvas, sold for $605,000, an auction record for the artist. Heritage Auctions images

DALLAS – Rockwell Kent’s Polar Expedition, 1944, set a record for the artist at Heritage Auctions May 2 when it sold for $605,000 – double the previous auction record. The $7.8 million auction set 15 records for artists spanning a diverse and rich selection of paintings and sculpture across several genres and periods.

Joseph Christian Leyendecker’s Thanksgiving, 1628-1928: 300 Years Pilgrim and Football Player – arguably the finest of his Saturday Evening Post covers – set a record for the artist when it sold for $365,000.

The White Gate, 1919, an oil on canvas by Victor Higgins (American, 1884-1949), sold for $461,000.

Taos Indian Chief, an oil on canvas laid on board, by Ernest Leonard Blumenschein (American, 1874-1960) achieved $389,000. The masterpieces of Western Art were presented as part of the Judson C. & Nancy Sue Ball Collection of Fine Art.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:22

Picasso, Giacometti artworks set records at NYC auctions

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Written by DEEPTI HAJELA and ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 08:09

Picasso's 'Les femmes d'Alger (Version O),' set a new record for the most valuable work of art ever sold at auction at $179.4 million.  © 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Christie's Images Ltd. 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — A vibrant, multihued painting from Pablo Picasso set a world record for artwork at auction, selling for $179.4 million on Monday, and a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti set a record for most expensive sculpture, at $141.3 million.

Picasso's Women of Algiers (Version O) and Giacometti's life-size Pointing Man were among dozens of masterpieces from the 20th century Christie's offered in a curated sale titled "Looking Forward to the Past."

Christie's global president, Jussi Pylkkanen, who was the auctioneer, said the two pieces are outstanding works of art.

"I've never worked with two such beautiful objects," he said.

The Picasso price, $179,365,000, and the Giacometti price, $141,285,000, included the auction house's premium. The buyers elected to remain anonymous.

Overall, 34 of 35 lots sold for an auction total of $706 million.

Experts say the high sale prices were driven by artworks' investment value and by wealthy collectors seeking out the very best works.

"I don't really see an end to it, unless interest rates drop sharply, which I don't see happening in the near future," dealer Richard Feigen said.

Impressionist and modern artworks continue to corner the market because "they are beautiful, accessible and a proven value," added Sarah Lichtman, a professor of design history and curatorial studies at The New School.

"I think we will continue to see the financiers seeking these works out as they would a blue chip company that pays reliable dividends for years to come," she said. Women of Algiers, once owned by American collectors Victor and Sally Ganz, was inspired by Picasso's fascination with 19th-century French artist Eugene Delacroix. It's part of a 15-work series Picasso created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A through O. It has appeared in several major museum retrospectives of the Spanish artist.

The most expensive artwork sold at auction had been Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which Christie's sold for $142.4 million in 2013. Pointing Man, depicting a skinny 5-foot-high bronze figure with extended arms, had been in the same private collection for 45 years. Giacometti made six casts of the work; four are in museums, and the others are in private hands and a foundation collection.

His Walking Man I had held the auction record for a sculpture: $104.3 million in 2010.

Other highlights at Christie's included Peter Doig's Swamped, a 1990 painting of a canoe in a moonlit lagoon, which sold for almost $26 million, a record for the British artist. Claude Monet's The Houses of Parliament, At Sunset, a lush painting of rich blues and magenta created in 1900-01, sold for $40.5 million.

Christie's also had a Mark Rothko for sale. No. 36 (Black Stripe), which had never appeared at auction, also sold for $40.5 million. The 1958 work was sold by German collector Frieder Burda, who exhibited it in his museum in Baden-Baden for several years.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 08:32

Hoffmann tea service tops Heritage silver auction at $112,500

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 10:26
This Josef Hoffmann for Wiener Werkstatte silver tea service was made in Vienna circa 1905. Weighing 50.58 troy ounces, the four-piece set sold for $112,500 at Heritage Auctions on April 28. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – A Vienna-made Josef Hoffmann four-piece tea service sold for $112,500 in Heritage Auctions’ spring silver and objects of vertu auction April 28 in Dallas. The auction surpassed $614,000 on interest in full service sets and hard-to-find Tiffany silver figures designed by Gene Moore.

“We’re seeing increasing competition for large tea and coffee services, as young collectors consider their sculptural merits” said Karen Rigdon, director of silver and decorative arts at Heritage.

A Fabregé silver gilt cigarette case – decorated with the Romanov double eagle coat of arms set in diamonds – which was an important contribution to a 1977 exhibition titled "The Works of Carl Fabergé the celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee at the Victoria and Albert Museum," sold for $52,500.

Silver sets were in high demand as a seven-piece tea and coffee service by the Californian silversmith Porter Blanchard tea and coffee service, made in about 1930, sold for $27,500, and an 84-piece flatware service in the Aztec pattern, made in about 1950 by Hector Aguilar, ended at $22,500 following interest from six bidders. A set of 12 Garrards silver plates, made in London between 1846 and 1847, sold for $13,750.

A 10-lot, 19-figure collection of Italian crafted silver circus figures designed by Gene Moore for Tiffany & Co. sold for a combined $58,612. The selection was led by a rare Elephant and Performer set, which closed at $16,250, and an Elephant and Drum, which sold for $11,875. The figures, standing not more than 5 1/5 inches high.

An imposing Lee Ching Chinese Export Silver standing covered cup, complete on an upholstered stand with carved wood base, sold for $11,875, to a bidder in China. Heavy with symbolism, the cup featured a cast dragon head-form finial and flanked by stylized scrolling dragon-form handles.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2015 13:35

Georgia O'Keeffe’s ‘White Calla Lily’ headed to auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 10:55

Georgia O'Keeffe's 'White Calla Lily' is expected to sell for between $8 million and $12 million at Sotheby's American Art auction on May 20 in New York. Sotheby's image

NEW YORK (AP) – A Georgia O'Keeffe flower painting that the artist kept for herself is among the highlights of an upcoming auction of American art.

Sotheby's says White Calla Lily is estimated to bring $8 million to $12 million at the May 20 sale in New York.

O'Keeffe created the work in 1927 and held on to it until her death in 1986.

The auctioneer says the back has a star motif, a device O'Keeffe used to mark her favorite pieces.

The current owner has owned the painting for more than two decades.

O'Keeffe's Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 holds the record for the artist. It sold for $44.4 million at Sotheby's last year.

The sale also will include works by Childe Hassam, Martin Johnson Heade, Milton Avery and John Singer Sargent.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 07 May 2015 09:05

Chicago collection of Tiffany items bound for Sotheby’s auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 01 May 2015 11:59

Tiffany Studios Peony table lamp. Estimate: $600,000-$900,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

NEW YORK (AP) – A collection of Tiffany works and prewar design assembled by a Chicago businessman is going on the auction block in New York. Sotheby's says the collection was amassed from the 1960s to 1990s by the late Roy Warshawsky and his wife, Sarita.

The auctioneer says the 90 Tiffany Studios works represent an encyclopedic selection of pieces, including leaded glass lighting and windows and enamels.

Among the highlights of the May 19 sale is a peony lamp of deep purple, magenta and red glass created in 1910. It's estimated to sell for $600,000 to $900,000.

The collection also includes important prewar pieces by such major designers as Archibald Knox, Louis Sullivan and Rene Lalique.

Warshawsky was president of the Warshawsky & Co. auto parts firm begun by his father in 1915. Copyright 2015 Associated Press.

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Last Updated on Friday, 01 May 2015 12:11

Enola Gay co-pilot's flight logs, Hiroshima plans to be auctioned

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Written by CHRIS CAROLA, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 09:02

Capt. Robert A. Lewis' manuscript bombing plan for the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, (6 August 1945), 16in x 22in. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Bonhams image

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Of the 12 men who flew aboard the Enola Gay the day the U.S. B-29 Superfortress dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima 70 years ago this summer, none knew the four-engine bomber better than Capt. Robert Lewis.

On Wednesday, two of his wartime flight log books, Hiroshima bombing plans, mission notes and other items are up for sale during an auction of World War II material being held at Bonhams in Manhattan. The estimate for the flight logs is $150,000 to $200,000.

Lewis, a 27-year-old pilot from Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, logged a total of 36 flights aboard the Enola Gay, including the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing mission that changed the world. A meticulous record-keeper, Lewis' handwritten entry in his personal flight log for that historic day reads: “No #1 Atomic bomb a huge success.”

The flight logs covering Lewis' service in the Army Air Forces from 1942-46 are among an extensive archive of his documents handed down to his son, Steven Lewis. The younger Lewis said his father recorded details of every flight he took, including the three dozen he made aboard the Enola Gay.

“He wrote down everything and he kept everything,” said Steven Lewis, 57, of Hampton Township, New Jersey.

“The Enola Gay was the most significant aircraft of World War Two,” said Larry Starr, collections manager at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, New York. “Any records of that mission would be significant.”

As commander of the Hiroshima mission, Col. Paul Tibbets was also the pilot of the Enola Gay, relegating the lower-ranked Lewis to co-pilot. The move made Tibbets a household name after his crew completed the world's first atomic bombing mission, which destroyed much of the Japanese city and killed tens of thousands of its citizens. But Tibbets only flew the Enola Gay a couple of times, while Lewis had piloted the aircraft 16 times during test flights leading up to the Hiroshima mission.

“People don't realize how many times he flew aboard the Enola Gay,” Steven Lewis said.

Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, another U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Japan surrendered six days later, ending the war.

Robert Lewis died in Virginia in 1983, Tibbets in 2007 in Ohio. Enola Gay navigator Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, the last surviving crew member, died in Georgia in 2014.

The other Lewis items for auction include personal photographs from the war and his hand-drawn diagram of the Hiroshima bombing run showing the bomb blast's expected shock wave range and the evasive flight path the Enola's Gay would take after detonation. Steven Lewis said he's putting the WWII documents up for sale ahead of his plans to publish his father's manuscript of wartime experiences in a book at a later date.

Hundreds of other WWII artifacts are being auctioned at Bonhams, from American flags flown at Normandy at D-Day to Japanese military maps of Iwo Jima.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 09:17

Case expands presence in Nashville with auction & appraisal office

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:27

This carved limestone squirrel by William Edmondson (American/Nashville, Tenn., 1884-1951) will be featured in Case Antiques' auction July 18. It carries a $30,000-$35,000 estimate. Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals image

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Knoxville-based Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals, one of the South’s leading firms for handling historic and high-end art and antiques, has opened an office at 116 Wilson Pike Circle, Suite 102, in Brentwood, Tenn., a Nashville suburb.

The office will handle consignments from Middle and West Tennessee, southern Kentucky and northern Alabama, along with appraisals, and will serve as a display gallery for featured lots from upcoming auctions. It will be under the direction of Sarah Campbell Drury, the company’s vice president for fine and decorative arts, who has represented the company in Nashville since 2009.

Drury is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers, specializing in fine art, antiques and residential contents. She has helped land several high profile consignments including the estates of Welling and Sally Lagrone and Margaret Wemyss Connor of Nashville, along with museum property deaccessioned by Nashville’s Cheekwood Museum of Art, Belmont Mansion, and Belle Meade Plantation.

One of the new location’s first functions will be a free auction evaluation day on Friday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The new office will also host an evening showcasing featured items from the firm’s upcoming July 18 auction, including a carved limestone sculpture by William Edmondson of Nashville and a group of paintings being sold by the Birmingham Museum of Art. That event is scheduled for June 5.

Case markets its seasonal cataloged auctions internationally through digital, print, and social media, and counts China as its second-largest source of bidders (behind the United States).

Case’s live auctions – where bidders in the saleroom compete alongside bidders online and on multiple phone lines – consistently draw more than 2,700 registered bidders from 50 countries. The company was founded in Knoxville in 2005 by its president John Case, a member of the Appraisers Association of America and current chair of the Tennessee Executive Residence Preservation Foundation.

For more information, call Case’s Brentwood office at 615-812-6096, the Knoxville gallery at 865-558-3033, see the website at or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:42

Rare Honus Wagner T206 baseball card hits $1.32M at auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:00

This T206 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $1.32 million. Robert Edward Auctions image

WATCHUNG, N.J. (AP) – A Honus Wagner T206 baseball card has been auctioned for $1.32 million in online bidding.

Robert Edward Auctions said Monday that 42 bids were placed by Saturday's deadline for the card, which was rated as a three condition on a scale from one to 10, with 10 the best. The winning bid was for $1.2 million, plus a 20 percent commission.

The names of the buyer and seller were not announced. The company says the same card had sold for $791,000 at auction in 2008.

New Jersey-based Robert Edward Auctions says the record price for a Wagner T206 American Tobacco Co. card – traditionally the most valuable baseball card in the hobby – is $2.8 million. That one was rated as an eight condition.

The card is from 1909 to 1911. Forty-two bids from around the world came in for the baseball card featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer. Approximately 60 different examples of the T206 Honus Wagner card are believed to be in existence.

Robert Edward Auctions’ spring auction, which was held from April 2 through April 25, featured a variety of other items ranging from sports cards to Americana, including a 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card, which sold for $204,000; a collection of “Three Stooges” movie posters and lobby cards, which totaled $251,580; a 1970 Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves baseball jersey, which sold for $66,000; an Augusta National green jacket, which sold for $16,800; and an original Grammy Award for the song Tequila, which sold for $30,000. The spring auction’s total sales figures exceeded $7 million.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:10

Hopper's 'Two Puritans' to be offered at auction for first time

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Written by Auction House PR   
Friday, 24 April 2015 15:45

Edward Hopper (1882-1967), 'Two Puritans,' oil on canvas, painted in 1945. Estimate: $20,000,000–$30,000,000. Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2015

NEW YORK – On May 21, as the star lot of its sale of American Art, Christie’s will offer Two Puritans by Edward Hopper (1882-1967). Painted in 1945 at the height of Hopper’s career, Two Puritans, one of only three canvases by the artist of that year and the only one in private hands, is estimated to bring in excess of $20 million when it appears at auction for the first time this spring.

The painting has been included in nearly every major exhibition and publication on the artist and, most recently was on view in Paris at the Grand Palais, where the Hopper exhibition broke attendance records, proving that the artist has arrived on an international stage.

“Edward Hopper's masterwork Two Puritans can be considered at once an intimate and revealing portrait of the artist and his wife, as well as a testament to his dogged dedication to realism in the face of a changing visual world that increasingly championed abstraction,” said Elizabeth Beaman, Christie’s head of American Art. “We are privileged to offer this seminal work, which has never appeared at auction before.”

Hopper's oeuvre is defined by what is a first glance a seemingly mundane, American subject yet in each canvas, and perhaps most poignantly in Two Puritans, a complex psychological subtext lies just beneath the surface, betraying the simplicity of the scene.

Hopper’s choice and earnest representation of commonplace subject matter in works such as Two Puritans set the artist apart from his contemporaries and allowed him to create a new and uniquely American iconography. In Two Puritans and throughout his career, Hopper painted aspects of America that few other artists addressed. He portrayed unromantic visions of life in a broad and increasingly modern style. While Hopper's paintings have formal qualities in common with other Modernists, his art remained steadfastly realist.

In recent seasons, prices for Hopper’s paintings have soared at auction, driven by renewed demand for masterpiece-quality works. In October 2013, East Wind Over Weehawken sold for $40,485,000 setting a new world auction record for the artist.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 16:03

Giacometti sculpture poised to set auction record

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 17 April 2015 16:27

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) 'L'homme au doigt.' Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2015(c) 2015 Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York

NEW YORK (AP) – A rare life-size sculpture by Alberto Giacometti could set a record next month at auction where it's estimated to bring $130 million.

Pointing Man, created in 1947, is being offered at Christie's in New York on May 11.

The record for a sculpture at auction is $104.3 million for Giacometti's Walking Man I, set in 2010. Last fall, the artist's 1951 bronze sculpture, Chariot, fetched $101 million.

The 5-foot-high bronze sculpture of a spindly figure with his arms extended has been in the same private collection for 45 years.

Giacometti, who died in 1966, made six casts and an artist's proof of the work. Four are in museum collections: London's Tate Gallery, New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Des Moines Art Center and Baltimore Museum of Art. The others are in a foundation collection and private hands.

Pointing Man is unquestionably Giacometti's greatest sculpture,” Christie's Global President Jussi Pylkkanen said.

Also on May 11, the auction house previously announced it would be selling Pablo Picasso's Women of Algiers (Version O) for an estimated $140 million. The 1955 painting could eclipse the highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction – Francis Bacon's triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud fetched $142.4 million in 2013.

The Picasso and Giacometti will be offered with a group of some two dozen other blue chip works created between 1902 and the end of the 20th century in a stand-alone sale called “Looking Forward to the Past.” It will be held during the semiannual auctions of impressionist, modern and contemporary art.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 16:51

'Imitation Game' code breaker Turing's notebook nets $1M

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 08:42

Portrait of Alan Turing. Courtesy of The Sherborne School

NEW YORK (AP) – A handwritten notebook by British World War II code-breaking genius Alan Turing, who was the subject of the 2014 Oscar-winning film The Imitation Game, brought more than $1 million at auction on Monday.

The 56-page manuscript was written at the time the mathematician and computer science pioneer was working to break the seemingly unbreakable Enigma codes used by the Germans throughout the war. It contains his complex mathematical and computer science notations and is believed to be the only extensive Turing manuscript known to exist, Bonhams auction house said.

The sale price was $1,025,000.

The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Turing, won Best Adapted Screenplay at this year's Academy Awards.

Turing's notebook dates from 1942, when he and his team of cryptanalysts were at Britain's World War II code and cypher school Bletchley Park. In one entry, Turing wrote about a complex calculus notation.

“The Leibniz notation I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once!” he wrote. “It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y=x2+3x.”

This image of a page from the Turing notebook is courtesy of Bonhams.

The sale also included a working German Enigma enciphering machine. The three-rotor device, manufactured for the German military in July 1944, sold for $269,000.

Turing was prosecuted for being gay at a time when it was illegal in Britain. He was convicted of indecency in 1952 and agreed to undergo hormone treatment in a bid to eliminate his homosexuality as an alternative to imprisonment.

He died in 1954 of cyanide poisoning. His death was ruled a suicide although his family and friends believed it might have been accidental. The notebook was among the papers he left in his will to friend and fellow mathematician Robin Gandy.

Gandy gave the papers to The Archive Centre at King's College in Cambridge in 1977. But he kept the notebook, using its blank pages for writing down his dreams at the request of his psychiatrist.

The notebook remained in Gandy's possession until he died in 1995, and Bonhams describes his entries as highly personal.

At the beginning of his journal, Gandy writes: “It seems a suitable disguise to write in between these notes of Alan's on notation, but possibly a little sinister; a dead father figure, some of whose thoughts I most completely inherited.”

Turing scholar Andrew Hodges, in a statement through Bonhams, said the notebook sheds more light on how Turing “remained committed to free-thinking work in pure mathematics.”

The Imitation Game, which also stars Keira Knightley, is based on Hodges' book Alan Turing: The Enigma.

Bonhams said the buyer wished to remain anonymous. Part of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-13-15 2309GMT

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 10:25

Van Gogh, Rothko works could fetch over $40M at Sotheby’s

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 12:38

Vincent van Gogh, 'L'Allée des Alyscamps,' 1888, which Sotheby's New York will sell at  its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on May 5. It has an estimate in excess of $40 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

NEW YORK (AP) – A late Vincent van Gogh landscape and a 1954 work by Mark Rothko from the collection of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon are going on the auction block next month.

Van Gogh's The Allee of Alyscamps from 1888 could sell for more than $40 million at Sotheby's on May 5.

The lush autumnal scene was created during a two-month period when the artist was working side-by-side with his friend Paul Gauguin in Arles, in the south of France.

The painting shows a cypress-lined promenade of the Alyscamps, an ancient Roman burial ground that by 1888 had become a popular lover's lane.

Sotheby's said only two works from van Gogh's mature period, from 1888 to 1890, appeared at auction last year. Van Gogh died in 1890.

The current record for the Dutch artist is $82.5 million for his Portrait of Dr. Gachet, set in 1990.

The auction house also is offering Rothko's Untitled (Yellow and Blue) on May 12.

The 8-foot-tall abstract painting of large yellow and blue planes is estimated to bring between $40 million to $60 million.

It was acquired by Mellon directly from Rothko's estate shortly after his death in 1970 and exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., for 10 years. The heir to the Listerine fortune and widow of philanthropist Paul Mellon died in 2013.

The current Rothko record is $86.9 million for his Orange, Red, Yellow, set in 2012.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-13-15 1401GMT

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 13:13
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