Published: June 21, 2022
There was a spirit of adventure at auction of late, with international bidders and luxury travel inspiring one to just get away for a while. A model cabin cruiser and Louis Vuitton wardrobe inspired images of cruising to Lake Cuomo, with luck not capsizing from the weight of two palatial French candelabra that you just had to bring. The poster “P.T. Barnum’s Agent Purchasing Wild Animals In Africa” portrayed a happily bygone overseas activity, and an Escher woodcut conjured up a more metaphysical journey through time and space. Read on for more highlights from the auction podium.
CLEVELAND, OHIO – “P.T. Barnums Agent Purchasing Wild Animals in Central Africa for the Greatest Show on Earth,” a chromolithographic poster published by H.A. Thomas Lith Studio, 865 Broadway, N.Y., went out at $3,375 against a $600/800 estimate at Rachel Davis Fine Arts on May 14. Measuring 21 by 28 inches, the poster came from the estate of Edson J. Brown & Ross M. Trump of Medina, Ohio. For information, 216-939-1190 or www.racheldavisfinearts.com.
BERKELEY, CALIF. – Thirty-seven issues of Kaliflower, a newsletter produced by the Friends of Perfection Commune, an American utopian community in San Francisco in the 1960s, sold for $16,250 at PBA Galleries on May 19. The collection of individual issues of the magazine, published 1971-72, represented a nice run of this important counterculture publication, with copies in any condition rarely seen on the market. The commune was founded in 1967 on principles of a common treasury, group marriage, free anonymous art, gay liberation and selfless service. The name Kaliflower referenced the Hindu name for the last and most violent age of humankind. For information, 415-989-2665 or www.pbagalleries.com.
WABASHA, MINN. – A rare Victorian iron fence and gates, circa 1890, sold for $26,450 at Jay Anderson Antiques & Auctions on May 14. Stretching approximately 260 feet when assembled, the lot included 30 fence sections, eight corner posts, 25 connecting posts and four gates. For information, 651-565-4801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THOMASTON, MAINE – A late Nineteenth Century French glazed pottery jardiniere by Theodore Deck (1823-1891) surpassed its $300/500 estimate to bring $2,125 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ European Grand Tour auction on June 3. The circa 1870 cachepot had foo-lion-mask-form side handles, molded and enameled bird-, flower- and shell-form decoration on a yellow glazed ground, turquoise glazed interior, with impressed “TH. Deck” mark on base and stood 8½ inches high. For information, 207-354-8141 or www.thomastonauction.com.
CANAAN, N.Y. – Several untouched estate lots crossed the block at Ralph Fontaine’s Heritage Auctions on June 5, specifically more than 350 lots of midcentury, Victorian oak and mahogany furniture, a collection of pottery, lamps, clocks, advertising, slot machines, Tiffany, paintings and more. While a laminated signed Herman Miller Eames lounge chair and ottoman brought an above-estimate $7,800 due to its exceptional condition, top honors went to what was billed as “The Best Hand Made 5-foot Cabin Cruiser Boat Dated 1941” (shown) which zipped past its $1,000 high estimate to finish at $13,200. For information, www.fontaineheritageauction.com or 413-442-2537.
SARASOTA, FLA. – More then 97 percent of the nearly 550 lots offered by Amero Auctions in its June 5 Fine and Decorative Arts Auction made a successful pilgrimage across the block, led at $18,450 by a pair of French parcel-gilt bronze figural candelabra that were described in the catalog as “palatial.” Each with eight lights and seven arms supported by ebonized patinated Neoclassical female figures, the pair had provenance to the estate of a prominent lawyer from New Rochelle, N.Y., and had been estimated at $2/3,000. For information, 941-330-1577 or www.ameroauctions.com.
NEW YORK CITY – Topping Doyle’s Doyle+Design sale on June 8 was M.C. Escher’s (Dutch, 1898-1972) iconic 1938 print, “Day and Night,” which surpassed its $30/50,000 estimate, achieving $59,850. It is one of the artist’s earliest depictions of a tessellation, or tiling of a plane, inspired by the Moorish tiles he saw during a visit to the Alhambra in Spain in 1926. It was the highest price in a sale that was 90 percent sold by lot and achieved a total of $1.12 million. For information, 212-427-2730 or www.doyle.com.
LITCHFIELD, CONN. – Fernando Zobel De Ayala y Montojo’s (Spanish/Filipino, 1924-1984) “Study for a Painting,” sold for $84,500 at Litchfield County Auctions on June 8. Verso the oil on canvas was titled and dated 1967, with a Bertha Schafer Gallery label affixed. The 15-by-19-inch painting was property from the estate of Mary Erlanger. Estimated $4/6,000 with a starting bid of $2,000, it was won by an online bidder through Invaluable (via an absentee bid) and is going back to the Philippines. The underbidder was also international (many of the underbidders were, including from Spain and France). In the days leading up to the sale, the bidding online jumped to $24,000 on Live Auctioneers and $41,000 on Invaluable. For information, 860-307-8700 or www.litchfieldcountyauctions.com.
MONROE, CONN. – A Louis Vuitton wardrobe trunk (shown) sold for $18,300 on June 9, a record price for Vuitton in Fairfield Auction’s gallery. It was found in the garage of a real estate client. Certainly, not the highest price, but the most surprising to many regular customers was a circa 1983 Burton snowboard in unused condition that sold for $1,830 to a bidder in Colorado. For information, www.fairfieldauction.com or 203-880-5200.
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