Published: January 28, 2020
Notable subjects detailed in our February 7, 2020 issue include some that chased the sun. A framed Martin Johnson Heade oil on board painting, “Sunset,” beat out its $50/100,000 estimate to finish at $169,400 at Witherell’s Luxury Asset Auction. At Heritage Auctions, a bidder paid $93,700 For KAWS’ “Dissected Companion.” On the historical side of bidding, a “D-Day” George III-style dining table, so named because of its use by key figures in World War II as they planned crucial strategy, went to a “Midwest history buff” at Nye for $54,400 — well over its $10/20,000 estimate. More fine art and estate pieces await the reader in this week’s review.
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – Martin Johnson Heade’s (American, 1819-1904) depictions of the sea and horizon at sunset are characteristically luminous, sometimes disquieting with dark, empty water. A framed Heade oil on board painting, “Sunset,” rose above its $50/100,000 estimate to finish at $169,400 at Witherell’s Luxury Asset Auction on January 16. The 6¾-by-12¾ inch painting, which appeared to be unsigned, circa 1870, carried a handwritten note on board verso, “6 3/4 – 12 3/4 / Vose” and bore labels verso from Vose Galleries, Boston, Mass.. and a Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition label, “Realism and Romanticism in 19th Century New England Seascapes / September 15 – November 29, 1989.” Heade was born in Pennsylvania and initially studied portrait painting under Thomas Hicks. He then traveled extensively in Europe and America and began painting landscapes and marsh scenes in a more Luminist style. He also traveled to South America and painted tropical landscapes as well. For information, 916-446-6490 or www.witherells.com.
DALLAS – A 4-foot “Dissected Companion (Black),” made by KAWS (b 1974) – the professional name by which American artist and designer Brian Donnelly is known – is a 2009 painted cast vinyl, 48-by-24-by-15-inch figure produced by Medicom Toy and OriginalFake, Tokyo. From an edition of 100, it sold at $93,750 at Heritage Auctions’ January 21 Beautiful Losers Collection Urban Art Monthly Online Auction. For information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
ST LOUIS, MO. – A figural abstract sculpture by Romanian-Canadian artist Sorel Etrog (1933-2014) was the top lot in Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers’ January 18 sale, meeting its high estimate at $16,800. The bronze figure, signed and numbered 1/7 was tall, dark and slender, a twisting and knotting abstracted figure on a square base that at 31 inches was almost as high as the figure itself, which stood 31½ inches high. Etrog was a Romanian-born Israeli-Canadian artist, writer and philosopher best known for his work as a sculptor. He specialized in modern art works and contemporary sculpture. For information, 314-696-9041 or www.selkirkauctions.com.
NEW YORK CITY – “We started our January 19 sale with a bang, selling lot number one, an Austrian silver menorah, for $8,750,” said Keith Lebel of Showplace Auctions’ sale of estate collections. The Nineteenth Century Viennese Austrian silver repousse eagle motif menorah featured eight oil wells with shamesh candle holder surmount extending from eagle’s beak. The piece was hallmarked “AK” and marked with a Vienna, Austria, stamp, dated 1856 and measured 11 by 13¾ by 4¾ inches. For information, 212-633-6063 or www.nyshowplace.com.
FREEHOLD, N.Y. – Battling its way to the top of Carlsen Gallery’s January 12 sale was a Balinese kris (asymmetrical dagger) with a gold figure of the demon Raksha inset with local rubies and a sapphire that brought $27,450 from an Indonesian buyer bidding online against other international interest, some of which had been bidding on the phones. Speaking after the sale, Russ Carlsen acknowledged that the kris, which included a fitted case and had an estimate of $1/2,000, had set a record when it sold in London in the 1970s. For information, www.carlsengallery.com or 518-634-2466.
BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – A “D-Day” George III-style dining table, late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century, led Nye & Co.’s January 15 auction timed to kick off Americana Week in New York City. It came to the block with a substantial $10/20,000 estimate. Comprising two D-shaped leaves and a central drop leg section, each on square tapering legs with stylized ogival-arched panels, it had an inset silver plaque that read: “This table was in constant use October 1943 to May 1944 for the deliberations of General Eisenhower, Allied Commander-in-Chief and his staff, who were then planning the victorious Allied advance in Germany. It was also used by General Marshall and Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Army when plans for ‘D’ Day were put into direction whilst staying at Stanwell House, England. May to June 1944.” The 9-foot-4-inch-long table (extended) sold to a “Midwest history buff,” Nye’s president John Nye said, for $54,400. For information, 973-984-6900 or www.nyeandcompany.com.
OAKLAND, CALIF. – While Clars Auction Gallery’s January sale is generally a smaller affair than others, there were at least a couple of surprises in the firm’s fine art and antiques auction on January 18-19. On Saturday, a lot of four original sepia salt prints by Friedrich Von Martens (German, 1809-1875), from the series “Quatre Etudes de Montagnes Alpines,” circa 1855 (one shown), overwhelmed a $50/100 expectation to sell for $23,370. On Sunday, an 1887 Patek Philippe 18K rose gold minute repeater open face pocket watch estimated $6/8,000 sold for more than twice high estimate for $20,910. For information, 888-339-7600 or www.clars.com.
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – It was titled “We’re Through,” which seemed to be what bidders at the January 15 sale at the Benefit Shop Foundation were saying when bids reached $10,880. The colored pencil drawing by Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997) was dated 1964 and had been estimated at $500-$1,500. Without established documented provenance or recorded auction history, the work had been attributed to the pop artist; a private American collector bidding online was the winning bidder. For information, 914-864-0707 or www.thebenefitshop.org.
DANIA BEACH, FLA. – It was marital bliss for a floor bidder at Kodner’s January 22 sale of estate jewelry, fine art and collectibles. Grace Hartigan’s (American, 1922-2008) oil on canvas “Henry VIII,” signed and dated 1984 lower left, sold to the onsite patron for $10,285. The lot had a Gruenebaum Gallery label attached en verso and original book from Gruenebaum Gallery, New York, for an exhibition conducted in January 1986, which featured the artwork. Also included with the lot was an original receipt together with several pamphlets by the artist. The painting measured 54 by 48 inches. For information, www.kodner.com or 954-925-2550.
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