Published: September 28, 2010
Clarke Auction Gallery celebrated the grand opening at its new centrally located Post Road facility on September 12. The 8th annual Fine Art Auction, a favorite for auctioneer and principal Ronan Clarke, attracted a large crowd and was a highly successful event, posting strong prices from start to finish.
The sale was a festive occasion for Clarke and his staff, with a grand opening preview party taking place the evening prior to the auction. Relocated from cramped quarters downtown, the new gallery was met with smiles by all in attendance. Live music was provided throughout the evening, Irish in nature, and more than a few were seen kicking up their heels to the lively tunes. It was not just the libations and the music that brought the crowd out, however; the event also served as a preview for Clarke’s annual art auction conducted the following day.
Clarke was quick to point out that not only is the well-lit and spacious gallery conveniently located right on the main drag in this bustling town, but it also has its own parking lot and street parking to boot, something sorely lacking at the old spot. And to top it all off, he mused, there are two bathrooms at the new location.
The auctioneer commented that he had already received numerous inquiries from locals driving past the gallery and that sparked interest from several new people who attended the auction. One new face that was seen in the gallery was that of the mayor of Larchmont, Josh Mandell, who was on hand as an honorary auctioneer.
Mandell welcomed Clarke Auction to its new location as he approached the block and was ready to sell the first lot, a Mel Fowler painting, whose proceeds were donated to a local charity by Clarke. The painting, titled “Still Life, Cello,” was an abstract oil and it carried a presale estimate of $600/900. Displaying a fair amount of skill, Mandell opened the lot for bidding at $300, while Clarke watched from a place quite unfamiliar to him, the side of the podium. The mayor hammered the lot down moments later for $881 to a telephone bidder.
Another painting by Fowler, an oil titled “Seven Ages,” was also sold, bringing $763.
The top lot of the auction came as a Joseph Floch oil, “Two Models In My Studio,” was offered. The painting, circa 1968, had a dedication to the artist’s daughter on the verso along with a Forum Gallery label and it had been consigned from an estate in Rye Brook, N.Y. Bidding on the lot opened at $8,500, with several in the gallery getting in on the action along with three telephone bidders. In the end a phone bidder claimed the lot at $25,850.
A Carroll Cloar tempera on board titled “The Tryst” and depicting two people seated in a cemetery was another lot to attract serious attention. With labels from the Rockford (Ill.) Museum and also the Federation of Artists, the painting sold to a buyer in the gallery for $12,925. A Modernist painting by Portuguese artist Carlos Calvet, “A La Recherché De L’Absolut” was another lot to do well, bringing $6,462.
“Three Balinese Dancers” by Indonesian artist Anton Huang, signed and dated “Bali 93,” had been consigned from the estate of a prominent American anthropologist and it, too, saw active bidding. Opening at $7,500 with an Internet bid, the painting bounced back and forth between telephone bidders and the net. The attractive painting, measuring 39 by 37 inches, finally went to an Internet bidder at $18,800.
Three lots of Andy Warhol material drew attention from a host of bidders. A colorful screen print titled “Geronimo” was set up in the preview area near the front door and the impressive piece was the first thing viewers saw when entering the new gallery. Consigned by a Larchmont collector, the piece had never been unwrapped or hung, according to the gallery. From and edition of 250, the signed screen print opened for bidding at $8,500 and was hit by a client in the rear of the room at $9,000. Bids bounced back and forth between the room and a phone bidder, with the phone claiming the lot at $14,100.
A pair of ink drawings on linen napkins was said to have been executed by Warhol while out to dinner at a hotel with designers Halston and Victor Hugo. The lot, accompanied by a letter of authenticity from the Andy Warhol Authentication Board, carried an estimate of $8/12,000, yet tepid bidding saw the lot hammer down at $4,700.
A large screened and hand colored canvas with multiple images of Marilyn Monroe was another lot to do well. Cataloged as “school” of Andy Warhol, the unusual piece realized $10,575.
Several bronzes were offered during the auction, with a small example by Pablo Picasso, “La Poupee,” marked with the E. Goddard foundry mark, went out at $5,875, while a marble sculpture by Vasco Da Conceicao went to the same buyer for $1,762. A bronze by Dimitri Hadzi depicting a centaur sold for $4,406.
Other highlights included an oil on canvas titled “A Pot Of Gold” by Allen Tucker that sold to a buyer in the room for $11,750, a Seventeenth Century Old Master painting titled “Slaughter of The Innocent” that sold for $5,875, and a James Beard painting of three dogs enthralled by rats in a wire cage realized $4,406.
Prices include the premium charged. For further information, 914-833-8336 or www.ClarkeNY.com .
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