Published: May 25, 2021
Notable lots highlighted in our June 4, 2021 issue present an array of lots sure to satisfy the collector in you. Among the art picks, an untitled abstract by Sam Gilliam prompted five-figure interest at Weschler’s, while at Kaminski an unattributed oil on canvas painting featuring a mother and two daughters in a rowboat finished at more than 22-times its estimate. Asian art was active as a Chinese hanging scroll, signed Zhang Heng, brought nice results at Michaan’s and a volume by Chinese poet and calligrapher Shen Yinmo resulted in a final bid more than 45-times its high estimate. Read on for more, including an archive of more than 75 photos by Bunny Yeager.
ROCKVILLE, MD. – At Weschler’s Capital Collections auction closing on May 14, an untitled abstract by Sam Gilliam (American, b 1933) made a notable result, finishing at $43,050. Signed Sam Gilliam and dated ’68 lower right, the watercolor with metallic paint and aluminum dust on paper was framed in a Plexiglass box and mounted on linen, with a sheet size of 35½ by 38½ inches. Gilliam is a Black color field painter and lyrical abstractionist artist associated with the Washington Color School, a group of Washington, DC-area artists that developed a form of abstract art from color field painting in the 1950s-60s. The work had provenance to Fendrick Gallery, Washington, DC, where it was purchased in November 1973. For information, 202-628-1281 or www.weschlers.com.
LOS ANGELES – A modest looking group lot of three Chinese books from a private Seattle, Wash., collection was the top lot in Andrew Jones Auctions’ May 12 sale. The lot featured three Chinese books, but the draw of the lot was a thin blue volume (shown on top in this photo) by Chinese poet and calligrapher Shen Yinmo, which inspired heated competition, escalating the lot well past its $200/300 estimate. A buyer from Asia was the top bidder, taking it off the shelf for $13,750. For information, 213-748-8008 or www.andrewjonesauctions.com.
BEVERLY, MASS. – In Kaminski Auctions’ May 15 sale, an unattributed oil on canvas painting featuring a mother and two daughters in a rowboat with ducks swimming around sold for $18,000 on an $800 high estimate. The painting was signed “Mary Cassatt” lower right and measured 40 by 52 inches, though the firm did not attribute the work to the famed American artist, allowing bidders to arrive at their own conclusions. For information, www.kaminskiauctions.com or 978-927-2223.
LONE JACK, MO. – A 9-by-11½-inch pietra dura plaque by Richard Allmand Blow (1904-1983) sold for $8,250 at Soulis Auctions on May 15. The work was an untitled study of fruit, featuring at center a watermelon slice amid images of pears, grapefruit, peach, apple and others. Blow is credited with revitalizing the antiquated Italian technique of pietra dura with the body of work created at his Montici workshop in Tuscany. The work came to sale from an estate in Kansas City. For information, www.dirksoulisauctions.com or 816-697-3830.
WILLISTON, VT. – A Sheraton chest with bold bird’s-eye maple grain stood out in Merrill’s Auctioneers and Appraisers’ May 14 sale when it brought $4,305. The firm dated the two-over-three-drawer piece to circa 1820 New England. It had turned legs and knobs, coffin key escutcheons, a shaped skirt and pine secondary. Merrill noted that it was refinished. For information, www.merrillsauction.com or 802-878-2625.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – A group of four sailor’s valentines by Sandy Moran (1944-2020) sold for $3,375 at Eldred’s May 13 sale. The works were all housed in octagonal wooden cases – three with multicolored floral and geometric designs and the last created with all-white shells. Before she passed away last year, Moran was well-known on Cape Cod for her contemporary take on an age-old maritime art tradition. She operated the Sailors Valentine Studio in Yarmouth Port, Mass. For information, www.eldreds.com or 508-385-3116.
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – Michaan’s presented its monthly gallery auction on May 15, with gold jewelry, timepieces, Native American jewelry and Asian material all found among the hundreds of lots that were offered. Among the scroll paintings was a Chinese hanging scroll. Signed Zhang Heng, it sold for $8,400. For information, 510-740-0220 or www.michaans.com.
HUDSON, N.Y. – A sleek wrought bronze eight-light chandelier with pottery candle cups realized the highest price in Public Sale Auctions’ May 15 “Moderniture” sale when it sold for $9,000. Sourced from a local estate, the chandelier had been estimated at $50-$100 and bidding opened at just $20, but an internet bid for $1,100 quickly launched it and it finally closed to a buyer in New York. A representative for the auction house said it was fragile but in perfect condition, which undoubtedly contributed to its appeal. For information, 518-966-7253 or www.public-sale.com.
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries has, for a few months, been conducting sales of the Bunny Yeager photo archive. Anticipating the archive would take about a year and between ten and 12 sales to auction, owner Joanne Grant said the firm’s May 15 sale was the fifth installment. Bringing the most of nearly 400 lots was an archive of more than 75 photos by Bunny Yeager that depicted pin-up model Bettie Page in Jungle Land, a shoot that included live cheetahs and an outfit that had been made by Yeager and Page themselves. It sold to a collector/dealer, bidding online, for $1,250. For information, 914-882-7356 or www.midhudsongalleries.com.
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