Published: August 23, 2022
Commemoration was a grand theme at auction this past week, recognizing merit and skill with more than one lot. Hess Fine Auctions sold a rare gold pocket watch given to a heroic sea captain by President Abraham Lincoln, while Showplace’s Backstage auction provided a fine oak barometer to prevent further tragedies. A different kind of commendation was given to the champion racehorse “Couvrefeu II,” who had his portrait painted before becoming the Scottish Grand National Champion for three years running. Keep up the pace and continue on for more winners in Across the Block.
SARASOTA, FLA. – The top lot in Helmuth Stone’s American and European fine art and antiques auction on August 14 belonged to Vietnamese artist Vu Cao Dam’s (1908-2000) “Composition,” which sold for $35,000. An alumnus of the École des Beaux-Arts in Hanoi, Dam emigrated to Paris during his studies, later modeling a bust after Ho Chi Minh during his post-World War II tour. Dam later moved to the south of France, where he became friends with and was influenced by Marc Chagall. Despite several overseas bidders and many phone bidders, it ultimately went to a New York collector. For information, 941-260-9703 or www.helmuthstone.com.
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – The Benefit Shop conducted its Red Carpet Auction on August 17 with more than 760 lots offered. The top selling lot was a pensive bronze bear sculpture cast by Katherine Lane Weems (American, 1899-1989) that came from an estate in Palm Beach, Fla., and sold for $2,451. Weems was born in Boston to a family in the arts and studied at the Boston Museum School under Charles Grafly and George Demetrios, also at the summer studios of Anna Wyatt Huntington. In 1926, she won two medals: a Bronze Medal at the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exposition, and the George D. Widener Memorial Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She served as a member of the Massachusetts Arts Commission from 1941 to 1947 and was elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors in 1925 and to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1952. Several of her sculptures are held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Boston Athenaeum, among others. For information, 914-864-0707 or www.benefitshop.org.
LONE JACK, MO. – Soulis Auctions conducted an online-only living estate auction on August 10, offering more than 50 lots of decorative arts, furniture, quilts, rocking horses and other goods. The sale was particularly strong in vintage advertisements, and the top lot was a porcelain and enamel sign from the Lion Oil Company, which sold for $7,800. Lion was founded in 1922 and is still active out of Brentwood, Tenn. The double-sided sign was mounted in a period orange-painted iron frame and hangers that were possibly original. For information, 816-697-3830 or www.soulisauctions.com.
NEW YORK CITY – At the Showplace Backstage auction on August 17 an American nautical barometer housed within an oak base sold for $5,000, surpassing its $100/200 estimate. The 8¼-inch-square barometer’s center was marked “US Life Saving Service” within a lifesaver, hook and oar, and the exterior ring read “Stormy” to “Fair.” For information, 212-633-6063 or www.nyshoplace.com.
NEW YORK CITY – George Earl’s “Couvrefeu II,” a circa 1906 oil on canvas depicted the horse that would go on to become the three-time Scottish Grand National champion in 1911, 1912 and 1913. Couvrefeu II began his racing career as a three year old in 1906, under the ownership of Arthur Fitzgerald. The painting was inscribed with the horse’s name and the year of his final win in 1913; additionally, the back of the 31¾-by-37½-inch canvas was stamped “G. Rowney & Co. / London W. / Quality A,” a mark purportedly used between 1904 and 1920. Estimated at $2/4,000, the painting raced to $6,000. It was one of the top lots in the August 21 sale with Auctions at Showplace. For information, 212-633-6063 or www.nyshowplace.com.
WINDSOR, CONN. – A group of three reproduction urns with Greek-style amphora Akron painted scenes earned $6,150 against an estimate of $150/300 at Nadeau’s Auction Gallery’s August 20 Antique Custom Furnishings and Decorative Accessories sale. With the tallest standing 18¼ inches, and from the estate of Litchfield, Conn., dealer Peter Tillou, it was the highest price realized in the 562-lot sale. For information, www.nadeausauction.com or 860-246-2444.
MIDDLEBORO, MASS. – In White’s Auctions’ August 21 Estate Decorative Arts, Antiques & Collections Auction, an Art Deco 18K yellow gold cigarette case with sapphire clasp earned top place honors when it sold for $7,930. The piece weighed 120.24 dwt; it was missing one sapphire from its clasp and had minor surface scratches but was in otherwise good condition and had been estimated at $6/8,000. For information, www.whitesauctions.com or 508-947-9281.
EPPING, N.H. – Devin Moisan Auctioneers conducted its Summer 2022 Attic Auction on August 20, offering more than 700 lots from multiple estates in Salisbury, Conn., Dover and Newfields, N.H., as well as many other New England estates. An unexpected top lot to take the stage was a Steinway & Sons Rosewood Square Grand Piano which played off at $4,410. The ornately carved piano was decorated with carved cabriole legs terminating in scrolled feet on casters, its molded edge opening to reveal a cast brass plate engraved, “Steinway & Sons, New York, Pat. Nov. 29, 1859.” This example had the serial number #24920, which dated it to 1871, and had been professionally restored. For information, 603-953-0022 or www.moisanauctions.com.
SAINT PETERSBURG, FLA. – Hess Fine Auctions celebrated the season with its Summer Rolex, Jewelry & Pocket Watches sale, presenting nearly 200 lots of coveted antique and heirloom-quality pieces. Top among these was an extremely rare pocket watch given as a badge of honor from President Abraham Lincoln to Captain Joseph Cook in 1863 for rescuing the crew of the Frank Badger. One of only 400 from Massachusetts maker Waltham the model was patented in 1860, this example was made in 1862 and given to Cook the next year. The front of its case is engraved with the presidential seal and a detailed depiction of a shipwreck on the verso and sold for $62,500. For information, www.hessfineart.com or 727-896-0622.
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