Published: April 17, 2018
This week’s Across The Block features notable prices recently achieved at various auction houses, including high results for an Antonio Jacobsen painting, Thomas Paine’s American Crisis, a Steinway piano, Royal Copenhagen and more.
BELLOWS FALLS, VT. – A 70½-inch-tall tobacco store advertising figure of a Native American princess, “right out of a house in southern Vermont,” was the top lot at Sharon Boccelli and Company’s March 28 auction when it sold at $2,300. “It sold to an Illinois dealer in the auction hall,” Boccelli said. The figure was in very good, as-found, condition, although the maker is unknown. For more information, 802-460-1190 or www.sbauctioneers.com.
BILLINGHURST, SUSSEX, ENGLAND – The second “Conversation Pieces” live auction took place on March 20 at Summers Place Auctions, with a sealed bid session closing the following day. The top lot in the live auction were the monumental bronze lions after Sir Edwin Landseer, which sold for $178,000 (one shown). They were copied from the famous Trafalgar Square lions in the late Twentieth Century for Camden Lock Market. Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873) was famous for his paintings and sculptures of animals, particularly horses, dogs and stags, but his best-known work is the group of four bronze lions on the base of Nelson’s column, which he was commissioned to make by the government in 1858, and they were installed in 1867. The bronzes had seen lots of interest, and there was bidding in the room as well as on the phones, but finally went to a UK private collector. For information, +44 1403 331331 or www.summersplaceauctions.com.
MEDWAY, MASS. – Coyle’s Auction’s two-session estates auction on April 3 at the VFW Hall yielded a widely diversified trove of treasures from homes in Dedham, Cambridge, Newton, Natick, Wellesley and others. The top lot was a “Portrait of the Kenilworth,” signed Antonio Jacobsen, 1891, an oil on canvas laid on Masonite, 22 by 36 inches, from a Massachusetts home. The painting sold for $8,280. For information, www.coylesauction.com or 508-733-6868.
THOMASTON, MAINE – On April 7 and 8, Thomaston Place Auction Galleries conducted a special sale of more than 750 lots of estate finds from families across northern New England. With its mix of fine art, furnishings, decorative items and collectible objects, the auction offered just the thing to inspire any collector or home decorator. Featured among the collection of Asian treasures was a Chinese patinated bronze oval basin, Twentieth Century, with two stalking dragons on a flattened rim. Set on four ruyi-form feet and with a six-character Xuande dynasty mark on base, the 3-inch-high basin surprised by soaring to $2,400 from a $500/700 estimate. For information, 207-354-8141 or www.thomastonauction.com.
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – California paintings frequently sell best in California. Michaan’s Auctions proved that rule on April 7, when a coastal scene by California artist William Ritschel (1864-1949) reached $60,000. The work, which came from a private collection and was estimated at $8/12,000, apparently made waves with bidders. A bidder on the phone ultimately swam away with it, taking top honors at the sale. For information, 510-740-0220 or www.michaans.com.
LONDON – Phillips achieved its highest result ever for a New Now sale in London on April 11 as an offering of 235 lots realized a total of $3,967,809. The sale, which was 83 percent sold by lot and 91 percent sold by value, was led by Antony Gormley’s “State III,” whose work was the recent focus of an exhibition in the Harbour Arts Sculpture Park in Hong Kong, which finished at $523,906. The mild steel bar piece is incised with the artist’s initials, numbered and dated “AM DG 1493 2012” on the underside of the figure’s foot and measures 75¼ by 16½ by 13-3/8 inches. For information, +44 20 7318 4010 or www.phillips.com.
ESSEX, MASS. – Michael March assembled estate fine art and antiques for a Blackwood/March auction on April 5 at Woodman’s Essex Room. Offered were items from North Shore estates, art collections, early furniture, Tiffany gold and silver and diverse accessories. A star of the day was an antique Chinese embroidered robe, 45 inches long, in an unusual grey plum color that fetched $4,200. For information, 978-768-6943 or www.blackwoodauction.com.
DALLAS, TEXAS – Top lot in Dallas Auction Gallery’s fine and decorative arts auction on April 11 was music to the firm’s ears, as a 1907 Steinway grand piano Model A, in exotic wood marquetry case depicting musical instruments bound by ribbon, together with bench, brought $46,875, about three times its high estimate. The instrument had undergone a complete rebuilding in October 1999 in Dallas by J. Boot, a Steinway factory-trained specialist, with new soundboard, new pin block, new Steinway hammers and repetitions. And if the new owner has a tin ear, it was fitted with an electronic player system. For information, 214-653-3900 or www.dallasauctiongallery.com.
NEW YORK CITY – At Showplace Antique and Design’s bimonthly unreserved auction on April 8, a Danish midcentury Royal Copenhagen porcelain blue fluted half-lace dinner service, with factory stamps and various 1960s date marks, exceeded its $800-$1,000 estimate to sell at $2,750. On the 72-piece service one stamp with an original foil label, “A.B. Schou / Ostergade 1 (Copenhagen)” was seen. For information, 212-633-6063, ext 804 or www.nyshowplace.com.
NEW YORK CITY – Swann Galleries’ April 12 auction of printed and manuscript Americana illustrated the many facets of American history, from the records of a Sixteenth Century Mexican silver mine to the diary of a Colorado sheep herder in the Wild West, to photos of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The fifth known surviving example of the first edition of Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis, recently rediscovered in Utah, led the auction, selling for $50,000. The rousing pamphlet, which begins “These are the times that try men’s souls,” is credited with galvanizing the American forces and turning the tide of the Revolutionary War. This was the first time the first edition has been offered at auction since 1955. The book was likely brought to Utah by Mormons in the Nineteenth Century. For information, 212-254-4710 or www.swanngalleries.com.
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