Published: February 4, 2020
Notable subjects detailed in our February 14, 2020 issue include record-breaking bids and sales across art, design and sports. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s Madonna of the Rosary with Angels sold for $17.3 million at Sotheby’s, nearly triple the artist’s previous auction record. Another masterpiece, Canaletto’s View of the South front of Warwick Castle, from the Collection of J.E. Safra, realized $915,000 at Christie’s. Sharing in the record-breaking pace was a $183,500 final bid at Grey Flannel for a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth the night before he died — a world-record price for a single-signature personalized baseball. These and more are highlighted in this week’s ‘Across The Block.’
NEW YORK CITY – Sotheby’s annual Masters Week sale series kicked off January 29 with 142 paintings and drawings sold across two auctions for an overall total of $76.2 million. The Master paintings evening sale celebrated Italian artists, as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s monumental altarpiece Madonna of the Rosary with Angels sold for a record $17.3 million, nearly triple the artist’s previous auction record. The results of the evening sale, which totaled $61.1 million, were up 16 percent over the same sale in 2018 and marked the highest total for any Master paintings sale in New York since 2012. For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com.
NEW YORK CITY – Christie’s January 28 sale of Old Master and British drawings, including works from the collection of Jean Bonna, totaled $5,540,750, with 83 percent sold by value and 73 percent sold by lot. The top lot of the sale was Canaletto’s View of the South front of Warwick Castle, from the Collection of J.E. Safra, which realized $915,000. Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768), better known as Canaletto, was a Venetian artist famous for his landscapes, or vedute, of Venice. He was also an important printmaker in etching. For information, 212-636-2000 or www.christies.com.
CANAAN, N.Y. – Five phone bidders battled it out for a Nineteenth Century solid bronze centerpiece when it crossed the block at Ralph Fontaine’s Heritage Auction’s unreserved estate sale on January 26. Described as “museum-quality,” the sculpture, depicting full-bodied women and men and intricately cast with marble medallions inserted in the base, ultimately brought $13,000, a significant premium above its $5,000 high estimate. Extremely heavy, the piece measured 17 inches wide by 24 inches tall. For information, www.fontaineheritage.com or 413-442-2537.
SARASOTA, FLA. – Helmuth Stone conducted a fine art, antiques and jewelry auction as its winter feature on January 26 with more than 275 lots gathered from private collections worldwide. Notable was a Harold Sleichter Etter (1911-1972) painting of figures in a tropical coastal setting, likely Bahamas. The oil on canvas, 29¾ by 39¾ inches, surpassed its $2,5/5,000 estimate to realize $7,440. That prices tripled the artist’s previous high auction record of $2,440, according to the auction house. For information, www.helmuthstone.com or 941-260-9703.
DANIA BEACH, FLA. – A lot described as an early mid-Twentieth Century bohemian crystal cut lamp turned out to be a big surprise for Akiba Antiques at its January 21 estates sale. “It came from a warehouse in Miami,” said company representative Alexander Anapolsky. “It appeared to be just a regular bohemian vase, but it turned out to be something completely different. We had five telephone bidders and multiple bidders across several platforms.” What sold for $10,000 was not a run-of-the-mill bohemian lamp but a lamp that had been made by the storied Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. Standing 29 inches high, it featured a crystal body in an overall blue tint fitted atop a three-tier bronze and marble base; the top was inserted with a wick light. The Boston and Sandwich Glass Company was incorporated in 1826 to hold the glass factory built a year earlier in Sandwich, Mass., by Deming Jarves. The factory was closed in 1888. For information, 305-332-9274 or www.akibaantiques.com.
LOS ANGELES – A Tiffany & Co. sterling silver Hampton pattern flatware service for 12, Twentieth Century, set the table for Andrew Jones Auctions at its Downtown Los Angeles Collections and Estates Sale on January 26. Bid to $7,500, the service comprised 12 luncheon forks, 12 luncheon knives, 12 salad forks, 12 butter spreaders, 12 dessert forks, 12 round bowl soup/dessert spoons, 12 cocktail forks, 12 iced teaspoons, 24 teaspoons and seven serving pieces. Total weighable silver was approximately 163 troy ounces. For information, 213-748-8008 or www.andrewjonesauctions.com.
BOSTON – At Skinner’s January 23 and 24 American and European works of art auction, a painting by the American artist John Ford Clymer (1907-1989), “Belgian Horse Farm,” had a $40/60,000 estimate. The 38-by-30-inch oil on canvas was a cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post and a label from the Curtis Publishing Company, owner of the magazine, was affixed to the frame backing. From the collection of Robert Fuoss, former editor at The Saturday Evening Post, then by descent within the family, it sold at $187,500, tripling its high estimate. For information, www.skinnerinc.com or 508-970-3000.
MT. KISCO, N.Y. – At the Benefit Shop’s January 15 Red Carpet Auction, a Vladimir Kagan chrome and leather chair sold for $1,088. The final price was not a surprise considering the tag underneath the 36-inch-high, light beige leather chair reads, “Vladimir Kagan Designs,” and it is a classic 1970s, Midcentury Modern style. The surprise came when the buyer turned out to be the designer’s daughter, Jessica Kagan-Cushman, who saw the chair online and bought it from her Long Island, N.Y., home. For information, 914-864-0707 or www.thebenefitshop.org.
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. – A baseball Babe Ruth autographed the night before he died sold for $183,500, which PSA confirms is a world-record price for a single-signature personalized baseball. The ball was the top lot in Grey Flannel’s January 22 auction. In extraordinary condition, the baseball was PSA/DNA authenticated, with the signature graded a perfect 10. The story behind the ball adds an endearing footnote to Ruth’s life story. In 1948, when his health was failing, Ruth was at a restaurant where a waiter approached him with a special request. The man asked if Ruth would autograph a ball for his daughter’s birthday. At first Ruth declined, but later on he returned and asked the waiter for the girl’s name, which was “Loraine.” Ruth signed the ball, then left. He passed away the very next day. For information, 631-288-7800 or www.greyflannelauctions.com.
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