Published: December 10, 2019
Notable sales detailed in our December 20, 2019 issue made for some interesting bidding activity. Representing some of the higher final bids, Leon Golub’s (1922-2004) “Combat,” an oil on canvas from the artist’s “Gigantomachies” series, took $60,000 at Swann Galleries, while at Bonhams a parcel gilt and patinated bronze figural group titled “Gloria Victus” doubled its high estimate to settle at $50,075. Other sales of interest this week include a Hermès bag at Kaminski’s November sale that traveled to $27,000, a presentation album of 60 photographs from NASA that more than sextupled its high estimate, and more.
NEW YORK CITY – Realizing $60,000 in Swann Galleries’ November 21 contemporary art sale was Leon Golub’s (1922-2004) “Combat,” a monumental oil on canvas from the artist’s “Gigantomachies” series, which drew upon classical antique figures and was made in response to the horrors of the Vietnam War. Measuring 104¼ by 71 inches, the work is signed in oil, lower right recto, and titled and dated in oil, verso. It was acquired directly from the artist; ex-collection the American art critic Donald Kuspit (b 1935), New Jersey. For information, 212-254-4710 or www.swanngalleries.com.
LOS ANGELES – An imposing parcel gilt and patinated bronze figural group titled “Gloria Victus” and standing more than 100 inches tall stood tallest at Bonhams’ November 19 Elegant Home sale when it sold for $50,075. The result doubled the estimate for the lot ($15/25,000), which was after the model by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercie (1845-1916). Rounding out the top three lots in the sale was a sterling silver Tree of Lights candelabrum with 13 elephants, all by Peter Mavros, that more than doubled its low estimate to finish at $30,075, and a pair of transitional Louis XV/XVI commodes stamped P. Roussel and JME easily beat their high estimate to finish at $27,575. Commenting afterwards, specialist head of sale Anna Hicks said, “The best and most interesting pieces proved especially attractive at this auction. Quality also proved to be a strong factor in purchases for this sale.” For information, 323-850-7500 or www.bonhams.com.
MT KISKO, N.Y. – A pair of antique Edwardian haberdashery display folk art figurines, originally from a New York City haberdashery of men and women’s elegant attire, strutted to a final price of $1,152 at the Benefit Shop Foundation’s Red Carpet auction on November 20. The hand-carved and painted wood figures of a gentleman and lady in Edwardian, Victorian attire were mounted atop brass metal flat bases, the man holding a brass metal walking stick. Each sculpture measured approximately 24¼ inches in height by 6 inches in width by 5½ inches in depth with base. For information, www.thebenefitshop.org or 914-864-0707.
MONROE, CONN. – Orbiting Fairfield Auctions’ November 20 sale was a presentation album of 60 photographs from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, which sold to a private collector of space memorabilia for $7,800. The album was accompanied by a signed letter from NASA director Robert R. Gilruth, dated November 24, 1971, and had been estimated at $800-1,200. For information, 203-880-5200 or www.fairfieldauction.com.
MEDWAY, MASS. – A pair of portrait miniature watercolors by James Sanford Ellsworth (1803-1875) that came out of the Crane family of Massachusetts was successfully purchased by a Boston area collector for $4,485 at Coyle’s Auction’s sale conducted November 19 at the VFW Hall. The portraits measured 3¼ by 2¾ inches each. “It was a well-attended and successful auction,” said Coyle’s vice president Nancy E. Wyman. For information, www.coylesauction.com or 508-733-6868.
BEVERLY, MASS. – At Kaminski’s November 24 couture and designer handbags auction the featured lot was a Hermès Kelly 28 ostrich leather satchel with silver hardware, having never been used and in its original box with lock, key and dust bag. The bag, from a California collector, was the subject of strong bidding that continued through 13 bids only to end at $27,000-the glowing red/orange bag is sure to be the star at the buyer’s holiday events. For information, www.kaminskiauctions.com or 978-927-2223.
PLEASANT VALLEY, N.Y. – Aarauctions.com offered the razor collection of Kurt Moe from Minnesota, a collection that was assembled over a 40-plus-year period. Moe was an avid collector of straight razors, and auctioneer Robert Doyle, a straight razor collector himself, curated this auction of more than 1,000 examples. The only figural bamboo pattern sterling silver handled example Doyle had ever seen (shown) sold for $863. Sterling silver was the top of the line handle material for cutlery firms in the late Nineteenth Century, and this example was further enhanced by floral highlights. For more information, www.aarauctions.com or 845-635-3169.
MANCHESTER, VT. – Barns, barns and more barns dotted landscapes painted by well-known and loved Arthur Jones of Dorset. Vt., as Nathan Auction & Real Estate conducted an auction from Jones’ collection at the Southern Vermont Arts Center on November 23. One of the 35 Jones paintings offered in the sale, “Hay Barn with Open Door,” oil on canvas, 24 by 36 inches, signed lower left and framed realized $14,760. “We had a strong sale with 49 of the 51 artworks offered selling,” said Eric Nathan, the firm’s owner. For information, 802-362-3194 or www.nathanre.com.
FREEPORT, MAINE – Andrew Davis, auctioneer and owner of the relatively new auction house, Casco Bay Auctions, said he had a few high climbers in his firm’s November 23 Freeport autumn art and antiques auction. Among a large selection of American and European paintings, scrimshaw, stoneware, country furniture and folk art, the top lot was a leaping stag weathervane that cleared $6,726. “I was very pleased with the result,” said Davis. For information, www.cascobayauctions.com or 207-370-4746.
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