Published: May 2, 2023
It was an odd game of sports and surrealism at auction this past week. Baseball treasures such as a World Series ring and a Lou Gehrig rookie card hit home runs, and stars of the strange art movement that appeared included Picasso, Dali and Montenegro. Doyle set a world record for contemporary art, adding another layer of celebrity to the results. Read on for more top bids.
NEW YORK CITY — A hobby-fresh 1925 Exhibits Lou Gehrig rookie card sold for $387,257 in the Lelands 2023 Spring Classic auction, which closed on April 22. The card was a PSA VG-EX+ 4.5. A total of 43 of these Gehrig rookies have been graded by PSA and this example is Pop 1 with just nine graded higher. Also, highlighting the sale was a Walter Johnson single-signed baseball, which netted $315,426, and Gehrig’s handwritten high school notebook with more than 20 “Gehrig” signatures, which sold for $193,644. For information, www.lelands.com.
BERKELEY, CALIF. — “[Portrait of Joseph V. Skinner, Owens Valley, CA]” by Dorothea Lange sold for $5,313 at PBA Galleries’ April 20 photography and fine art sale. The gelatin silverprint on matte sheet tipped into mat, 9 by 7½ inches, was signed and dated by Lange at lower right. The scarce photograph from the 1920s was taken five years after her wedding to Western artist Maynard Dixon. At this time, prior to the establishment of Group f/64, Lange was working as a portrait photographer, but she was clearly on her way to the style that would define her career with the dustbowl images of the 1930s and other images of “social erosion” in the American West. Pictured was Joseph V. Skinner, a pioneer who had fought in the Indian Wars on his way to establishing himself as a farmer in Owens Valley in 1892. For information, 415-989-2665 or www.pbagalleries.com.
HYDE PARK, N.Y. — A white earthenware plate from the “Service Visage Noir” series, A.R. 47, by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) depicting an abstract face on black ground with colorful brushed splotches around the border was notable in Hyde Park Country Auction’s April 22 sale, bringing $6,250. The base bore the impressed mark of “Madoura Plein Feu / Edition Picasso” — also marked in black, handwritten paint “Edition Picasso V,” circa 1948. The plate evidenced no damage or repairs and measured 9-3/8 inches in diameter. It was found in a local Poughkeepsie, N.Y., estate. For more information, www.hpcountryauctions.com or 845-483-7447.
NEW YORK CITY — Chinese and other Asian works of art, the last in a trio of sales hosted by Lark Mason Associates on iGavelAuctions.com during Asia Week New York, rang up $1,349,458, bringing the total amount of online sales to $2,797,079. Said Mason, “This season’s series of Asian art sales included masterworks across several categories with international collectors vying for rare Chinese textiles and clothing, ceramics and jades, many of which achieved stunning prices.” Mainland Chinese collectors snapped up a number of items, including a pale celadon Chinese jade ewer for $263,404, five times its estimate. For information, 212-289-5524 or www.larkmasonassociates.com.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. — On April 19, Eldred’s conducted its first ever sale dedicated exclusively to Twentieth Century art and design. The 212-lot sale, which featured works in a broad variety of forms and media, tallied about $150,000 and was headed by a 1953 Pablo Picasso “Visage d’Homme” earthenware ceramic plate from a private California collection, which sold to a French trade buyer for $22,500, exceeding its $15/20,000 presale expectation. For information, www.eldreds.com or 508-385-3116.
DANIA BEACH, FLA. — Among the estate jewelry, fine art and collectibles crossing the block at Kodner Galleries on April 26, a Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989) ruby, diamond and 18K gold “Cristo De San Juan De La Cruz” necklace was notable, bringing $16,380. A total of 28 inches long, it featured an approximately 10 carat round cut Burma ruby, 5-carat round brilliant cut diamond and a heavy 18K yellow gold pendant necklace. For information, 954-650-5030 or www.kodner.com.
NEW YORK CITY — On April 19, Doyle New York offered the collection of Whitney Robinson, offering 20 years of objects from the couple’s New York City apartment and East Hampton residence. Leading the auction was a Schlumberger 18K gold camel brooch from Tiffany & Co festooned with diamonds, pearls, pink sapphires and blue paillonné enamel for $11,970 ($8/12,000). Following this in price was an untitled sculpture by American artist Russell Crotty (b 1956). Crotty is known for expanding works on paper into three dimensions, and this suspended sphere was part of his series of paper-covered hanging globes. The sculpture was bid to $10,080 ($3/5,000), a world auction record for the artist. For information, 212-427-2730 or www.doyle.com.
DANIA BEACH, FLA. — Akiba Galleries hosted its Exceptional: First of Its Kind auction on April 25 filled with an eclectic lineup of rarities from around the world. Roberto Montenegro’s (Mexican, 1885-1968) oil on canvas painting titled “Escenografia,” circa 1964, led the day, selling for $46,875 ($12/18,000). It depicted a surrealist scene with architectural elements, running horse and figural fusions. Montenegro painted it as an homage to European classical music. Signed lower right “Montenegro, 64” and mounted in ornate frame, the 24-by-27½-inch painting had been purchased directly from Bertha Diaz, its previous owner. For information, 305-632-5563 or www.akibaantiques.com.
SAINT LOUIS, MO. — One of the top lots in Link Auction Galleries’ gallery auction on April 22 was a 1948 Cleveland Indians World Series Champions ring presented to Indians coach Bill McKechnie, who spent 11 years in the majors as a player, primarily as a backup infielder. He then went on to lead three different clubs to the National League pennant as a manager to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame. Estimated at $1/2,000, the ring featured black onyx on the face inset with a large diamond and a gold emblem. It sold for $9,600. For information, 314-454-6525 or www.linkauctiongalleries.com.
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