Published: December 17, 2019
Notable sales detailed in our December 27, 2019 issue present you with eye-envy as you head into the holidays. The top lot in Bonhams’ $3.8 million November sale was “Crows in the Yellowstone” by Howard Terpning, which realized $500,075. A painting at DuMouchelles, small in size but large in stature, was Clarence Alphonse Gagnon’s oil on board painting “Plage a St Malo,” which sold for $43,800. Among Asian collections, a Japanese Meiji period koro on stand brought $144,000 against a $6/9,000 estimate. A final bidder was riding in style at Copake as a prewar female Hawthorne bicycle flew past its $75/100 estimate to settle at $2,124. Scroll down to check out other notable sales including a rare Macintosh prototype and a rare Chinese ru-type porcelain dish.
NEW YORK CITY – Bonhams’ November 25 dedicated sale of the Eddie Basha collection, a selection of Western American art, realized $3,851,138 with 80 percent sold by lot and 86 percent sold by value. The top lot of the sale was “Crows in the Yellowstone” by Howard Terpning, which realized $500,075. The global tour, exhibitions, and auction generated vast interest from clients who remember Basha as a devoted collector, friend, and one of the foremost supporters of the Cowboy Artists of America and contemporary Western American art. For information, 323-850-7500 or www.bonhams.com.
NEW YORK CITY – North American Indian art returned to Sotheby’s on November 19 with sculpture from the collection of George Terasaki. Strong international bidding led to more than 90 percent of lots sold, with nearly 60 percent of sold lots achieving above high estimate. A highlight was a Chugach mask that sold for $225,000. A noted figure in the field and one of the most prominent dealers of his generation in North American Indian art, Terasaki’s name is synonymous with objects of great power and pedigree. The Terasaki sale marked the first dedicated sale of American Indian art at Sotheby’s in more than five years. For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com.
NEW YORK CITY – A rare Macintosh prototype sold at Bonhams’ sale of History of Science and Technology on December 4 for $150,075, a world auction record for a Macintosh computer. This working example of one of the earliest Macintosh prototypes, with a functioning 5¼-inch Apple proprietary “Twiggy” drive, is one of only two known machines in this form that survived after the move to the Sony 3½-inch drive. It had an estimate of $120/180,000. Reportedly, Steve Jobs destroyed all but a very few of these machines when it became clear that the “Twiggy” drives were error prone. This particular unit was saved by the developers of the original MacWrite word processing program. For information, 212-644-9001 or www.bonhams.com.
GARNET VALLEY, PENN. – Topping the November 22 estate sale at Briggs Auction was a Japanese Meiji period koro on stand that achieved $144,000 against a $6/9,000 estimate. Despite competition from ten phone lines and bidders on two bidding platforms, it was purchased by an international buyer using the firm’s newly developed online bidding platform, Bid-at-Briggs. It was underbid by an American phone bidder. A representative for the auction house said the piece was unusual in both its size and condition. It had been off the market for decades and was part of the Fuller estate collection that comprised much of the sale. The koro was accompanied by documentation confirming that it had once been in the collection of Mrs George W. Childs Drexel of Philadelphia. For information, 610-566-3138 or www.briggsauction.com.
BEVERLY, MASS. – Kaminski presented its annual Thanksgiving auction on November 30 and December 1, Saturday and Sunday, featuring an Americana collection from a Medford, Mass., estate, with additions from other North Shore estates. The top lot, however, was Chinese – a rare ru-type porcelain dish (shown) that sold for $10,800. Other highlights included a Thomas Joseph abstract painting that brought $9,375 and a rare doucai Yuhuchun vase that finished at $7,200. For information, www.kaminskiauctions.com or 978-927-2223.
SALISBURY, UNITED KINGDOM – A Martin Brothers “Laughing Bird,” a prized example created by the four innovative brothers, Nineteenth Century British ceramicists, sold for $45,000 at auction on November 27 at Woolley & Wallis. The Martin stoneware bird jars, originally made to hold tobacco, belong to a whimsical and surreal menagerie of animals and characters made and sold as mugs, jugs, jars, vases and spoon warmers. All sprang from the vivid imaginations of four brothers, but it is the stoneware bird jars and covers by Robert Wallace Martin, often described as “gorgeously grotesque,” that generally bring the most money and collecting interest. This example stands upright, facing forward with open broad beak, glazed in shades of royal blue, green and ochre, highlighted in white, on an ebonized wooden base, incised Martin Bros London & Southall, 10½ inches high. For information, +44 1722 424500 or www.woolleyandwallis.co.uk.
COPAKE, N.Y. – Estimated just $75/100, a prewar female Hawthorne bicycle (shown) rode to a final price of $2,124 at Copake’s November 30 unreserved estate auction. Hawthorne was a brand of Montgomery Ward stores, according to Dave’s Vintage Bicycles, an online archive of classic bikes. Most Hawthorne bicycles were manufactured by the Cleveland Welding Company or H.P. Snyder (makers of Rollfast bicycles). Additional highlights in the sale included a monumental carved fireplace mantel with intricately carved figures and florals that brought $1,770; a large Bill Mack bonded bronze sculpture of two female nudes, signed and dated 1988 verso, that earned $1,534; and Asian silver teapot that was bid to $1,298. For information, www.copakeauction.com or 518-329-1142.
DETROIT, MICH. – Clarence Alphonse Gagnon, RCA (1881-1942), was a French-Canadian painter, draughtsman, engraver and illustrator from the province of Quebec. He is well known for his landscape paintings of the Laurentians and the Charlevoix region of eastern Quebec as well as the Brittany coast in France. His oil on board painting “Plage a St Malo,” 6 by 9 inches (shown) sold for $43,800. For information, 313-963-6255 ow www.dumoart.com.
BERKELEY, CALIF – It was fine literature with Bukowski and the Beats, a themed sale by PBA Galleries on December 5. Selling for $2,400 was The Trial by Franz Kafka, first American edition. Kafka’s most famous posthumous novel was offered with its scarce-for-this-edition original pictorial dust jacket intact The Bukowski part of the sale also did quite well, according to the firm’s president Sharon Green, with an original painting of a woman by Charles Bukowski (shown) taking $3,000. The pencil and oil work on paper strikingly depicting a reclining woman was signed “Buk” at the bottom right corner. This painting formerly graced the wall above the desk of John Martin of Black Sparrow Press. For information, 415-989-2665 or www.pbagalleries.com.
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