Published: December 3, 2019
Notable sales detailed in our December 13, 2019 issue carved out some fine bidding. A Rodin sculpture at Bonhams’ Impressionist and Modern art sale finished at $350,075, while a Humpback style pintail at Guyette & Deeter closed for $72,000. A top bidder at Skinner’s online auction used his noggin to come to an acceptable price of $28,290 for Thomas Paine’s 1776 Common Sense. Logic also prevailed in the final price for a signed photograph of Albert Einstein, which gaveled at $20,000 — over three times its $6,000 high estimate. Check out these results and more in this week’s Across The Block.
NEW YORK CITY -A Rodin sculpture was among the top lots at Bonhams’ Impressionist and Modern art sale on November 12. Auguste Rodin’s sculpture, “Le Baiser, 4ème réduction ou petit modèle (The Kiss)” sold for $350,075. “Le Baiser,” one of the most significant representations of all-consuming and undying love, was conceived in 1886 and cast circa 1904. This sculpture was cast in bronze by the Alexis Rudier Foundry in 1945 in an edition of 21. Other highlights from the sale included Henri Le Sidaner’s “Neige,” 1924, oil on canvas, selling for $375,075, and Alberto Giacometti’s intense psychological 1957 portrait of Igor Stravinsky, the brilliant composer from the collection of an esteemed American conductor Robert Craft, bringing $112,575. For information, 212-644-9001 or www.bonhams.com.
EASTON, MD. – A Humpback style pintail by the Ward Brothers of Crisfield, Md., was the highest flier at Guyette & Deeter’s November 6-7 sale, winging its way to $72,000. The decoy, which was signed by Lem Ward and dated 1926, had been made for Maryland State Senator Elwood Dize, a noted decoy collector. The decoy, which carried an estimate of $70/90,000, sold to a buyer in the room. Speaking after the sale, Gary Guyette said that the Ward Brothers’ production took off in the 1930s, and decoys they carved in the 1920s are rare. For information, 410-745-0485 or www.guyetteanddeeter.com.
ST LOUIS, MO. – A Modernist landscape titled “Near Vernon Blvd” by St Louis regional artist Arthur Osver (1912-2006) made nearly six times its estimate when it sold to a private collector bidding online for $5,938. It was one of the top sellers in Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers November 9 sale and had been estimated at $1/3,000. Commenting after the sale, a spokesperson for Selkirk’s said it was a great painting by a highly prized regional artist who was an art instructor at Washington University in St Louis from 1960-83. His popularity can also be attributed to the recent publication of a book about the artist: Arthur Osver: Urban Landscape, Abstraction, and the Mystique of Place (May 2018). For information, 314-696-9041 or www.selkirkauctions.com.
NEW YORK CITY – Doyle’s rare books, autographs and maps auction on November 12 offered a broad selection of material, from incunabula to modern first editions, color-plate books and livres d’artistes, illustration art and autographs. Highlighting the sale was a photograph of Albert Einstein signed by him in Berlin, September 1927, which achieved $20,000, many times its estimate of $4/6,000. In 1927, Einstein was at the height of his powers. He had been elected a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in February, and the month after he signed this image, he would attend the fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons in Brussels in October, where he would famously debate with Niels Bohr against the latter’s formulation (created with Heisenberg and Pauli) of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. For information, 212-427-4141 or www.Doyle.com.
BOSTON – Published in 1776, Thomas Paine’s (1737-1809) Common Sense challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. The plain language that Paine used spoke to the common people of America and was the first work to openly ask for independence from Great Britain. Subtitled Addressed to the Inhabitants of America, a copy of this famous pamphlet sold at Skinner’s online books and manuscripts sale, November 11-17, for $28,290. The first Norwich, Conn., edition, octavo, had been reprinted from the Philadelphia edition and sold by Judah P. Spooner, and by T. Green, New-London, 1776. For information, www.skinnerinc.com or 617-350-5400.
EAST WINDSOR, CONN. – A Bernard X. Wolff Steuben “Balloon Rally,” glass sculpture depicting hot-air balloons with fitted red leather case rose to $3,493 at Nadeau’s custom mahogany, contemporary, fine art and decorative accessories auction on November 16. Wolff, an associate design director at Steuben, was involved in the firm’s new, sparer look emerging from the glassworks. This decorative sculpture measured 10 inches high and 5¼ inches wide. For information, www.nadeausauction.com or 860-246-2444.
ASHLAND, OHIO – Rare style, beautiful material and perfectly flaked, a Little River knife from the personal collection of the late archaeologist and noted author Gregory Perino sold for $5,500 at Premiere Auctions Group’s Indian artifact auction on November 16. The large, perfect condition flint knife was found in southwest Arkansas and is made from high quality Novaculite. Deaccessioned by the Museum of Native American History, Bentonville, Ark., this relic is from the Middle to Late Archaic Period, circa 3000/1000 BCE. For information, 419-207-8787 or www.premiereauctionsgroup.com.
NEW YORK CITY -Swann Galleries’s sale of Old Master drawings on November 5 brought original works, studies and preparatory drawings from the most sought-after European draughtsmen from the past several centuries. Leading the auction was Il Guercino’s late-1640s red chalk study of St Gregory being greeted by a dove – likely a drawing related to an unfulfilled commission for a painting of the saint. “The Holy Spirit Appearing to St Gregory” sold for $21,250. Todd Weyman, the house’s director of prints and drawings, noted, “This incredible selection of drawings, together with the Old Master prints from the previous week’s auction, combined for a total of nearly $1.3 million, a very strong showing for the Old Masters overall.” For information, www.swanngalleries.com or 212-254-4710.
PINE BUSH, N.Y. – On November 18, Flannery’s Estate Services sold a rare leather-bound folio album of approximately 60 albumen prints from Indonesia, China and Japan, circa 1880. Bidding opened at $1,100 and finished at $12,500. The images included villages, people, landscapes and even an execution. The center of the album included ten images that were in color. According to Marianne Flannery, this discovery was found in upstate New York among a collection of family antiques that had been stored away since the 1960s. Flannery’s is a full-service auction house specializing in estate collections and their valuation. For information, 845-744-2233 or www.flannerysestateservices.com.
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