LARCHMONT, N.Y. — Asian objects and fine art fueled a near record January sale at Clarke Auction on January 5. With nearly 1,200 active bidders on the phones, online and in the hall, items in all auction categories were propelled to impressive highs.
In the fine art selection, a large Walasse Ting acrylic abstract on canvas titled “Floating Flowers” tripled its estimate of $40/60,000 with a realized price of $158,600. The painting was hammered to a bidder in-house after an aggressive phone bidder pushed the bids well beyond the high estimate. The pre-sale interest in the piece, both nationally and internationally, was enough to anticipate competitive bidding of all forms, but the final result was still a pleasant surprise.
Another work in the fine art selection, an abstract gouache titled “Minneapolis Suite #10” by Emil Schumacher, realized $31,720 against a $15/25,000 estimate. The presale interest in the piece was considerably lower than the Ting, but it still excelled above its estimate.
Other art highlights included a signed Pablo Picasso “Wood-Owl” Madoura vase, which realized $19,520, a Josef Scharl 1942 oil on canvas Modernist portrait that sold for $7,930 and a beautiful Twentieth Century oil on Masonite of nudes by Ettore Caser that brought $5,612. Also, one of several Wesley Webber oil paintings from a Connecticut estate sold for $3,050.
Lithographs and lithograph posters were wildly popular, including several lots of French lithograph posters that took off from their low estimates with vigor. The best overall print in the selection, however, was a Kees Van Dongen lithograph titled “Girl with Lowered Eyes” that brought an exceptional $10,980. Some of the most popular prints included two French Job cigarette posters, which sold at $5,368, and a Michel Bouchard poster for $4,392. Two hand-signed Marc Chagall 1966 Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center lithograph posters also did well at $3,904 for the pair.
By far, the most exciting and best selling lots were among the Chinese and Asian selection. The late arrival of several groups of Asian item bidders in the hall created an atmosphere filled with energy, enthusiasm and intense competition. The shouts and cheers in-house nearly drowned out the auctioneer, who played it well and never missed a beat while keeping up with the unpredictable increment jumps.
The most successful object in the selection sold for 30 times its estimate for $36,600. The antique Chinese opium bed with marble and mother-of-pearl inlay was most impressive, and a bidder in-house beat out almost a dozen other bidders to come away with the winning bid well above its predicted price. A Chinese carved celadon bottle-form vase brought an exciting $35,380, an Asian porcelain fish bowl was won at $26,840, and an antique Chinese carved hardwood altar table realized $20,740.
The Chinese and Asian porcelain lots continued to soar throughout the category, including two large Rose Mandarin floor vases that brought $18,300 each. Four separate lots of Chinese porcelain plaques, decorated jardinières, a fish bowl and two additional plaques with landscapes all realized $14,640 each as individual lots. A third fish bowl brought $9,760; two more plaques brought $9,150, and the results of almost two-thirds of the remaining Asian lots were of similar merit and price. Overall, the Asian objects selections, especially the antique Chinese porcelains were the combined winners of the sale.
Jewelry also contributed to the near record sale, including a Patek Philippe lady’s Gondolo watch that realized a bargain price of $21,960, an 18K yellow gold graduated diamond necklace that sold for $6,100, a Wallace Grand Baroque flatware set that brought $5,490 and a lady’s 18K Rolex Datejust watch that came in at a final price of $4,880.
Decorative arts and furniture lots also mixed in with the high sellers, especially a Mauthin Moreau “Danseuse a la Lyre” figural bronze that brought $10,980, a highly carved and ornate parlor sofa by John Henry Belter that realized $6,710, a midcentury Herman Miller Thin Edge credenza that sold for $3,172 and a pair of Victorian rosewood laminated armchairs that were impressive at $5,368.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.clarkeny.com or 914-833-8336.