Published: July 25, 2023
Bidders this past week were inspired by weird and whimsical offerings at auction. Fine art did well with a fiery George Cole painting and a surreal set of ink sketches from Domenico Gnoli, not to mention a sketch after Millet that multiplied its estimate. An ornate, elaborate “Kingfisher” Chinese headdress also pulled off this feat, as did an Indonesian door carving of a mischievous monkey. Follow along for more top sales.
BANGOR, PENN. — Hartzell’s Auction Gallery conducted an antique firearm and military auction on July 14, with more than 500 lots consigned from the private collection of William Hart and others. The top gun was an engraved 1851 Colt Navy model revolver, .36 caliber, which sold for $6,510 against a $4/6,000 estimate. The revolver was 14 inches in length and in very good condition, with some blue finish remaining. Colt was popular with bidders in this sale, with a .36 double-action Lightning revolver that achieved $4,030 ($1/2,000) and another .36 caliber Army conversion revolver from 1861 that was bid to $4,550 ($1/2,000). For information, 610-588-5831 or www.hartzellsauction.com.
OAKLAND, CALIF. — An interesting lot in Clars’ Tribal arts section of its July 14 sale came from the private Lacy collection of Palm Springs. Calif. It was a dynamic figural door from a mountainous region in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, where an Indigenous ethnic group, the Torajans, have animistic beliefs. Centering a monkey in high relief, the door closed on its $1,5/2,000 estimate to finish at $20,000. N. Lee Lacy was a prominent Hollywood producer of films, creative golden-era TV series and iconic commercials. His collecting has spanned six decades. For information, www.clars.com or 510-428-0100.
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Two ink sketches by stage designer and painter Domenico Gnoli (Italian/American, 1933-1970) were at the top of World Art Gallery’s Mid-Summer Exceptional Multi-Estates auction on July 16. With about 400 lots of fine art and antiques, it was an unusually diverse auction; the sketches were followed in price by an authentic, antique gorilla skull and a Nineteenth Century silver and cut glass Fabergé sugar box. The top Gnoli was a signed, surreal image of three figures in a classical setting that was not examined out of frame, but was still bid to $5,938 ($3/4,000). The next Gnoli was an apparently unsigned sketch that achieved $3,750 ($1/1,500). For information, 516-307-8180 or www.worldauctiongallery.com.
RED HOOK, N.Y. — “A larger crowd than usual packed in, and the bidders were active right from the start,” reported George Cole of his firm’s July 15 sale. The biggest surprise of the night came when a framed Eighteenth Century watercolor painting of the Pope banishing souls to Hell sold for $6,000 to a floor bidder after a vicious bidding battle for the painting, well over its $250/350 estimate. For more information, www.georgecoleauctions.com or 845-758-9114.
LARCHMONT, N.Y. — As summer sizzled so was the bidding action at Clarke Auction Gallery’s Summer Sizzler auction on July 16. It was here that an ornate antique Chinese kingfisher feather headdress decorated throughout with birds and flowers jumped its $1/1,500 estimate to sell with a flourish at $23,040. It was accompanied by a fitted display case with central stand and mirrored backing. For information, 914-833-8336 or www.clarkeny.com.
ALAMEDA, CALIF. — The image is a familiar one: with a bag of seed slung over his shoulder Jean Francois Millet’s (French, 1814-1875) peasant strides down a hillside, sowing winter wheat. The 1850 painting, “The Sower” in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, features the same sower in dramatic scale and extolling the dignity of rural labor as the charcoal on paper drawing cataloged as after Millet in Michaan’s July 14 gallery auction. “Sketch of Man,” 9¼ by 7 inches, with printed signatures lower left and right and an illegible stamp lower right verso, rose from a $300/500 estimate to leave the gallery at $52,275. For information, www.michaans.com or 510-740-0220.
CLINTONDALE, N.Y. — Kensington Estate Auctions hosted an online fine art and antiques auction on July 17 featuring many categories, including a large collection of photography and fine art from renowned artists. At the top of this roster was an original 1979 gelatin silver print inscribed and signed by photographer William Gottlieb (American, 1917-2006) of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie at the Downbeat Club, New York City, circa 1947. Musicians Ray Brown and Milton Jackson were visible in the background during this star-studded moment in the historic Harlem nightclub. Consigned from a Princeton, N.J., estate, the print was in good original estate condition and was bid to $3,100 against its $1/2,000 estimate. For information, 917-536-3748 or www.kensingtonestateauctions.com.
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. — One of the top lots in Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries’ July 15 “diverse antique auction” was a complete set of 1955 Bowman baseball cards that was cataloged as in VG EX condition and included an additional error card, for a total of 321 cards. Some of the cards were reported to be in near-mint condition and it included “many superstars and hall-of-famers,” including Mantle, Mays and Aaron. Estimated at $1,5/2,500, the set hit a home run with bidders, who hit a home run with it, for $2,813. For information, 914-882-7356 or www.midhudsongalleries.com.
ST PETERSBURG, FLA. — A sculpted and laminated gloss-finish fiberglass Vitra chaise by Charles and Ray Eames was a top seller in Burchard Galleries’ July 16 479-lot auction of estate antiques, fine art and jewelry. Estimated at $1,5/2,000, the stylish chair with chromed steel supports and cross-form wood base that was catalogued as in excellent condition with a few chips and scuffs to the outer edge found a new home for $6,150. For information, www.burchardgalleries.com or 727-821-1167.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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