Published: May 15, 2018
Silver and gold and Jasper Johns. All of these things and more found their way into this week’s Across The Block, surveying notable results from auction houses around the world.
DÜSSELDORF – A late Fifteenth Century triptych showing “The Lamentation of Christ, The Annunciation and Selected Saints,” attributed to Nikolaos Tzafoures (1455-1501), was the top lot at Hargesheimer Kunstauktionen’s April 27-28 Russian auction. The tempera and oil on wood panels icon, executed on a gold ground, has a provenance going back to the collection of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, wife of Tsar Alexander II, and the buyer was willing to spend $134,650 to join the list of owners. Another triptych in the Russian Museum in St Petersburg – also attributed to Tzafoures – is similar to this triptych, which shows the Lamentation of Christ in the central panel, the wings depict St John with Prochoros, Francis of Assisi, the prophet Elijah and Jerome, and on the reverse of the wings is a depiction of the Annunciation. For information, www.kunstauktionen-duesseldorf.de or +49 211 30 200 10.
DALLAS – Patrick Nagel’s (American, 1945-1984) “Nude on Back with Black Stockings,” a 27-by-47-inch acrylic on canvas from 1983, soared beyond estimates, selling for $106,250 at Heritage’s April 24 illustration art auction. The signed and dated work was the top lot in an auction that brought a total of $1,429,429 for the sale of 449 lots. Also of note, Margaret Brundage’s “A Rival from the Grave,” Weird Tales magazine cover, January 1936, which came from the estate of John McLaughlin, sparked a flurry of bids before finishing at $71,875, a new auction record for the artist. For information, www.ha.com or 214-528-3500.
MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – A Schively Bowie knife was offered at Skinner’s historic arms and militaria auction on April 27. The circa 1830 knife came to the block with a $20/40,000 estimate but proved stronger when it sold at $116,850. The knife was purportedly given to Kentucky statesman Henry Clay by his political colleague, Davy Crockett, and Clay then gave it to his half-brother, Thomas B. Watkins, who passed it down through his line, until it was donated to the Bedford Free Public Library, Mass., in 1972. It was deaccessioned by the library in 2017. For information, 508-970-3000 or www.skinnerinc.com.
LOS ANGELES – The May 1 sale of prints and multiples at Bonhams achieved $1,567,938, and the top lot of the sale was Keith Haring’s “Growing #2,” from “Growing Suite,” which realized $102,500, a world auction record for a proof from the “Growing Suite.” The work had been estimated at $20/30,000. For information, 323-850-7500 or www.bonhams.com.
NEW YORK CITY – Sotheby’s spring auction of prints and multiples concluded on April 27 with a total of $8 million, meeting its high estimate. The sale was led by striking works by Jasper Johns and Henri Matisse that each sold for more than $1 million, cementing their status as the top lots of the week across all auction houses. Johns’ “Flags I” (ULAE 128), 1973, screenprint in colors, signed in pencil, dated and numbered from the edition of 65 on J.B. Green paper, framed, sold for $1,575,000, after attracting three bidders in the room and on the telephone. For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com.
BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – A rare pair of Regency brass inlaid campaign chests of drawers finished at $13,750 at Nye & Co,’s April 25-26 Estate Treasures auction. The English pieces came from the collection of Phillips “Pete” Hathaway, Ragamont House, Salisbury, Conn. For more information, www.nyeandcompany.com or 973-984-6900.
DALLAS – A crystallized gold on quartz specimen from a preeminent source of American gold specimens, Eagle’s Nest Mine (Mystery Wind Mine) in Sage Hill, Placer County, Calif., was the top lot at Heritage Auctions nature and science sale, May 4, when it sold at $57,500. The specimen features a leafy sheet of gold sitting atop a shapely matrix of white quartz. The gold “spray” exhibits good octahedrons, adding to the charm of the piece. The gold sheet measures a full 5 inches at its longest point, and the piece stands approximately 7¾ inches high. For more information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – The most notable lot at Jones & Horan’s May 6 unreserved auction of vintage watches and jewelry at the Manchester Downtown Hotel was a Rockford serial #1 pocket watch in outstanding condition, with 1876 presentation on cuvette to Levi Rhoades, Rockford Watch Co president. It hammered down at $91,000, triple its high estimate. The firm charges no buyer’s premium. For information, www.jones-horan.com or 603-623-5314.
RUMSON, N.J. – A live, onsite absolute estate auction conducted on May 5 by The Auctioneers Group yielded a highlight in the form of a collection of sterling silver. Included were Tiffany and Gorham flatware, coffee and tea sets, serving trays and a full set of Manchester sterling flatware for 12 that was bid to $8,625. “We were very happy with these results,” said Peter Costanzo and Anthony Natoli, co-principals of the firm. For information, www.theauctioneersgroup.com or 609-693-6899, 732-776-7222.
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