Published: February 15, 2021
Notable sales in our February 26, 2021 issue offer a mix of artistic styles: from fine to modern to pin-up. A colorful 1964 still life with flowers by Bernard Cathelin drew active bidding to five figures at Showplace, while Rufino Tamayo’s steel sculpture “Sandías” sold for north of $80,000 at Skinner. A selection of 38 vintage silver prints spanning 1932 to 1942 by John Vachon set a record for the grouping at Swann. A trove of photographs, many of pin-up model Bettie Page, contributed to spirited bidding at Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries. All of the above combined with a Sixteenth Century gold libation beaker at EstateOfMind and a cannonball collection at Merrill’s make for fine auction reading.
NEW YORK CITY – On February 7, Auctions at Showplace continued its winter auction season with selections of fine art, furniture, silver, jewelry and decorative arts from New York City estates. Paintings by Bernard Cathelin (French, 1919-2004) and Andre Lhoté (French, 1885-1962) highlighted the sale, and an oil on canvas by Cathelin titled “Bouquet de Vera Cruz,” signed and dated 1964 on verso with a Findlay Galleries New York stamp on the stretcher, was bid to $50,000. The colorful piece depicting a still life with flowers came from a private New York City collection. For information, www.nyshowplace.com or 212-633-6063, extension 808.
WILLISTON, VT. – Merrill’s Auctioneers & Appraisers was commissioned to sell a Plattsburgh, N.Y., collection of Lake Champlain Revolutionary and War of 1812 historical artifacts, including swords, firearms, cannonballs and more in its February 5 sale of sporting, historical and Adirondack décor. Highlighting the sale was a collection of 40 Lake Champlain Revolutionary War and 1812 cannonballs (two shown here), which brought a total of $19,526, a Brigham Young letter that was bid to $7,380 and a 10-foot-wide Nineteenth Century country store step back display case that realized $4,625. For information, www.merrilsauction.com or 802-878-2625.
MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – Skinner conducted its first 2021 auction of paintings, sculpture and works on paper on January 22. Spirited bidding from telephones, online participants and absentee bidders led to a gross of $1,393,656 and a 90 percent sell-through rate on 213 lots. “In this white-hot market,” said Robin S.R. Starr, vice president and department director, “buyers are hungry for works of art, regardless of their period or media.” The top lot was Rufino Tamayo’s “Sandías” (Watermelons) of 1989. This patinated steel sculpture of geometricized stacked watermelon slices – a motif that he frequently used in his paintings and prints – sold for $81,250. For information, www.skinnerinc.com or 508-970-3000.
MAPLE GLEN, PENN. – Locati offered an online sale from January 4 to 18. With nearly 400 lots, this sale featured estate jewelry, fine art, furniture, silver and more from various collections and estates from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Highlights from the auction included an oil on canvas painting attributed to Sir Thomas Lawrence (English, 1769-1830), which sold for $7,500 (shown), a Chinese rosewood table from the Nineteenth Century that brought $4,100 and an Austrian four ducat coin with 14K bracelet, which realized $2,200. For information, www.locatillc.com or 215-619-2873.
NEW YORK CITY – The artists of the WPA were on display in Swann Galleries’ February 4 auction. The multi-departmental sale featured paintings, prints, photographs, posters and related ephemera by artists whose careers were sustained by the Works Progress Administration and other agencies of the New Deal. The sale was led by a selection of 38 vintage silver prints spanning 1932 to 1942 by John Vachon (American, 1914-1975), a record for the grouping, at $37,500. Vachon began his work for the Farm Security Administration as an assistant messenger. As his interest in photography grew, he began to make his own photographs and accompanied Arthur Rothstein on one of his assignments; in 1938 Vachon would have his first solo assignment for the FSA in Nebraska. For more information, www.swanngalleries.com or 212-254-4710.
SUDBURY, MASS.- Estimated only $200/300, a Chinese porcelain jar in a light teal glaze with C-shaped “ear” handles sold for $7,747 at Tremont Auctions’ February 14 sale of estate and Asian antiques. It measured 7½ inches high and featured a blue character mark to the bottom. It was among a group of sleepers in the modestly estimated discovery sale that did particularly well. Others included a group of four African carved wood carvings together with two masks and a staff that brought $6,731, while a lot of ephemera from an American Baptist missionary in China sold for $3,302. For more information, 617-795-1678 or www.tremontauctions.com.
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – A trove of photographs, negatives and contact sheets from photographer Bunny Yeager made for 290 lots in a second round of sales on February 13 at Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries. Many of the images featured pin-up model Bettie Page, including the signed pictured example that brought $594. The highest price paid was $1,250 for five sheets of oversized negatives featuring Page, while contact sheet lots sold anywhere from $750 to $875. For more information, www.midhudsongalleries.com or 914-882-7356.
PELHAM, N.H. – Editioned 7 of 12, a bronze figure by Allan Houser sold for $9,600 at Leo P. Legare Auctions’ February 13 sale. “Morning Blessing” was created by the artist in 1988 and stands 30½ inches high. The bronze depicts an Apache Gaan dancer, a signifier of supernatural spirits that live inside mountains and caves throughout Apache territory. For information, www.legare-auctions.com.
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – A two-session online auction featuring militaria and estate items was conducted on February 13. One of the more notable items in the sale was a northern Iranian 22/24K pure gold libation beaker with canatille/filigree stylized caprine or ibex, and graphics showing the Tree of Life and rosettes. Selling for $10,938, the cup, dating from the Sixteenth or Seventeenth Century, is 3½ inches tall on a 2-inch base. For information, 845-386-4403 or www.estateofmind.biz.
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