Published: June 7, 2022
Sales have been hot and heavy at auction of late, with some top (and bottom) lots more “not safe for work” than others. George Cole and Cordier lined up some after dark-worthy sales with a Bergey pinup and a couple of anatomically correct casseroles, which were more or less appetizing depending on the viewer’s taste. A crushed-head horse charged ahead at Merrill’s while a Wegner lounge chair relaxed at the Benefit Shop. If this is all too much, EstateOfMind sold a ’71 Chevrolet Impala, this summer’s perfect getaway vehicle. Read on for more top lots that opened the season.
RED HOOK, N.Y. – They may not be suitable for most family holiday meal gatherings, but they sure smack of the 1970s. A pair of covered casseroles in the form of a man’s and woman’s torsos by Flesh Pats, Stoke on Trent, made by Morris Rushton fired up the bidding at George Cole’s May 21 “Magnificent Obsessions” sale featuring more than 400 lots of items from the estate of Nino Novellino and a handful of select others. Selling for $5,975, they certainly outstripped their $1/1,800 estimate. For information, 845-758-9114 or www.georgecoleauctions.com.
DALLAS – Heritage Auctions’ second silver and vertu Signature sale of the year took place May 17, resulting in more than $1 million in sales for just 268 lots. At the forefront was a Tiffany & Co. silver mixed metal water pitcher, circa 1880, which sold for $47,500. Produced under director Edward C. Moore, this pitcher was likely inspired by his own collection of Japanese art, now at the Met. Only several dozen of this form were created, all with their own unique applied decorations. The pitcher was sold during the live sale to a phone bidder. For information, 214-528-3500 or www.ha.com.
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – The team at the Benefit Shop could take a well-deserved recline following the firm’s May 18 Red Carpet Auction, having sold a Hans J. Wegner (1914-2007) Flag Halyard lounge chair for $16,770. This was far and away the highest lot, more than eight times higher than its $500-$2,000 estimate. Known for his midcentury Danish chair designs, Wegner conceived the Flag Halyard after digging a seat in the sand while watching his children on the beach. He replicated the same angles in the chair’s design. Produced by PP Møbler, the lot included a sheepskin throw and leather cushion for indoor use. For information, 914-864-0707 or www.thebenefitshop.org.
DETROIT, MICH. – DuMouchelles Auctions conducted its two-day monthly sale on May 19 and 20, showcasing nearly 1,000 lots of fine art, decorative art and jewelry. The top lot of both was an ominous portrait of an unidentified young woman by the Vietnamese artist Dô Quang Em (1942-2021), which sold for $26,400. Born in what was known as French Indochina while under Japanese occupation, Em graduated from the Gia Dinh College of Fine Arts in 1965 during the Vietnam War (1955-75). Painted in 1973, this haunting image predates Em’s internment in a government reeducation camp following the war. His work has been mainly exhibited in Hong Kong and is represented in the collection of former president Bill Clinton. For information, 313-963-6255 or www.dumouchelles.com.
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – EstateOfMind’s May 21 auction hosted lots from neighboring estates in Tuxedo Park, Hamptonburgh and Oceanside, N.Y., resulting in more than 600 unique and accessibly priced finds. At the head of the race was a 1971 Chevrolet Impala that went to a lone internet bidder for $31,250. Purchased new in October 1970, the car had been in a heated garage since 1992 and reported under 33,000 miles. The biggest passenger car Chevrolet had produced, the 1971 Impala’s original prices increased from the previous generation, and sales of this model suffered. Luckily that was not the case for EstateOfMind, and the new owner will no doubt ride easily through the coming season. For information, 845-386-4403 or www.estateofmind.biz.
NEW YORK CITY – Just in time for Mother’s Day, Lark Mason Associates presented a sale of jewelry from New York estates, which closed for bidding on May 19 on iGavelAuctions.com. “This sale overflowed with wonderful gifts for Mother’s Day,” said Lark Mason. Featured among the 120 lots of gold and silver sparklers was a 2-carat diamond and pearl platinum ring that was bid to $6,565. The size 2½ ring with sizer had a central stone of approximately 8mm in diameter and a pearl of approximately 7½mm. For information, 212-289-5524 or www.larkmasonassociates.com.
SOUTH DENNIS, MASS. – The top lot in Eldred’s May 26 Art Pop-Up auction was an oil on canvas landscape of the Langdon House by Russell Cheney (Maine / Connecticut / California, 1881-1945). The painting depicted the 1794 Georgian house that had been built in Portsmouth, N.H., for John Langdon (1741-1819), a merchant, shipbuilder, Revolutionary War general and governor of New Hampshire. The house is now designated a national historic landmark and is operated by Historic New England. The painting attracted quite a lot of presale interest and sold to a phone bidder for $10,000 against an estimate of $1,4/1,800. For more information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
HARRISBURG, PENN. – One of the top lots in Cordier Auctions & Appraisals’ May 21 sale of Fine and Decorative arts was an oil on canvas titled “Pinup: Redhead with Teddy Bear” by Earle Kulp Bergey (American, 1901-1925). Estimated at $1/1,200, the piece was courted by bidders on the phone and online but in the end, she went home with a trade buyer for $5,040. For information, 717-731-8662 or www.cordierauction.com.
WILLISTON, VT. – A Nineteenth Century gilt-copper running horse weathervane from the carriage barn cupola of the A.T. Foster home in Derby Line, Vt., sold for $2,829 at Merrill’s Auctioneers & Appraiser’s May 13 Americana and Fine Arts Auction. Described in “as found” condition that “needs restoration,” the vane nonetheless ran away from its $500-$1,000 estimate and sold to a local dealer who was excited about its surface and potential. For information, 802-878-2625 or www.merrillsauction.com.
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