Bugatti Bronze Brings $218,500 At Doyle’s Belle Epoque Auction

NEW YORK CITY — Doyle New York’s auction on February 6 showcased fine and decorative arts reflecting the opulence of the Belle Epoque. Elegant furniture and decorations of the Louis XV and XVI Revivals, Victorian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras were offered, as well as art glass, porcelain, silver, marble statues, bronzes, ivories, clocks, sconces, chandeliers, rugs and a selection of Tiffany Studios articles. Complementing the furniture and decorations were an assortment of fin de siecle paintings.

With competitive bidding from the salesroom, the telephones and the Internet, the sale totaled $2,036,819, surpassing the presale estimate of $1,2/1,8-million, with 84 percent sold by lot and 93 percent sold by value.

Highlighting the sale was a 1913 bronze sculpture by Rembrandt Bugatti (Italian/French, 1884–1916) “Petit Elephant au Repos” that soared past its $40/60,000 estimate to achieve $218,500, a world auction record for this bronze. Adding to the excitement surrounding the bronze was its prestigious provenance — it was consigned by the estate of Consuelo Vanderbilt Earl (1903–2011), the daughter of William K. Vanderbilt Jr and niece of Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough.

The silver section of the sale featured a French figural center bowl with mermaid and merman handles by Maison Boin-Taburet a Paris that fetched $34,375.

Topping the art pottery in the sale was a circa 1902 Newcomb College pottery vase by Joseph Fortune Meyer, decorated by Amelie Roman, and measuring 11¾ inches tall. Estimated at $5/7,000, the vase was the object of competitive bidding that sent the price to $37,500. A circa 1900 Rookwood pottery carved and glazed vase by Albert R. Valentien in the Art Nouveau style, 14½ inches tall, sold for $8,750. This vase had been exhibited in the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris and the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.

Featured among the objects by Tiffany Studios were a selection of bronze and favrile glass lily lamps, including a ten-light lamp that fetched $28,125 and a 12-light lily lamp that achieved $23,750.

A focused section of the sale offered early Twentieth Century gold accessories formerly from the collection of Julia Murphy Grant and the Honorable Hugh J. Grant, mayor of New York from 1889 to 1892. The Grant’s lavish Italianate townhouse at 20 East 72nd Street is the home of the Vatican’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations and the residence of the Pope during his visits to New York. Among the articles by Tiffany & Co. were a gold lady’s dresser set ($15/20,000) that sold for $34,375, a gold bud vase at $17,500 and a gold powder jar for $10,000.

The paintings section of the sale offered Addison Thomas Millar’s (American, 1860–1913) “By the Seashore” that fetched $18,750, far over its $2/3,000 estimate. A student of William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League and in Shinnecock, Long Island, Millar absorbed his teacher’s plein-air approach, capturing variations of light and atmosphere with broad, confident brushwork.

Estimated at $9/12,000, a view of the “Tuileries in Paris” by George Oberteuffer (American, 1878–1940) went for $18,750. Strong prices were also achieved for works by Francis Coates Jones, William Sergeant Kendall, Charles Francois Daubigny and Peter Schmauss, among many others.

All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.

Consignments are being accepted for Doyle New York’s June 5 Belle Epoque auction. For information, 212-427-2730 or

A Newcomb College pottery vase, Joseph Fortune Meyer, decorated by Amelie Roman, circa 1902, 11¾ inches tall, fetched $37,500.

Lighting up the sale was a Tiffany Studios bronze and favrile glass ten-light lily lamp, early Twentieth Century, 20¾ inches tall, that brought $28,125.

A French silver figural center bowl, Maison Boin-Taburet a Paris; 8½ by 22½ inches, sold for $34,375.

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