Published: April 18, 2017
From Asian works that include teapots, woodblock prints and yellow glaze bowls to modern prints, Civil War dispatches and an early Nineteenth Century banjo clock, check out these notable lots that recently crossed the block at various auction houses around the United States, compiled by Antiques and the Arts Weekly staff and correspondents.
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — With the sheer volume of interesting items staffers come into contact with at the Benefit Shop Foundation, they unavoidably have occasion to be momentarily stumped by an item and need to resort to a bit of sleuthing. Such was the experience with what turned out to be a bombilla straw and its counterpart, the yerba mate gourd. A consignor presented the set from her Parisian estate — the sleek bombilla with gold mouth piece, ornate shaft and sterling silver hinged basket on the opposite end. The bombilla straw originally came from Argentina where the practice is to fill the hinged basket with yerba mate tea and sip through it from a gourd filled with hot water. Why the gold mouth piece? Because gold does not transmit heat with the intensity of other metals. The set sold for $159 at the firm’s Red Carpet auction on March 29. For information, 914-864-0707 or www.benefitshop.org.
NEW YORK CITY — After spirited bidding, a Yixing teapot collector who had flown in from Hong Kong for Asia Week New York won a Gu Jingzhou tripod teapot with ruyi for $8,260 at Gianguan Auctions on March 11. The starting bid was $600. For information, www.gianguanauctions.com.
HUDSON, N.Y. — Objects and curiosities from around the world were assembled for auction at Stair Galleries on February 25. A yellow-glazed bowl proved to be most desirable, selling for a total of $187,500. From the estate of Charlton M. Theus Jr, the lot included a Chinese archaistic aubergine-glazed porcelain censer (right) and the Chinese porcelain yellow-glazed bowl, which featured the six-character reign mark and had a 4-inch diameter. It was the highest selling lot in the sale bought by someone on Bidsquare, according to Katrina Stair. “It was the highest grossing lot we have sold on Bidsquare,” she said. For information, www.stairgalleries.com or 518-751-1000.
PHILADELPHIA, PENN. — On March 19, auction house Material Culture shone a spotlight on premier works from the folk and self-taught art collections of Academy Award-winning Hollywood director Jonathan Demme and his friend and past collaborator, movie set designer Ford Wheeler. The sale was led by “Bosou Toi Conne,” an oil on board painting by Hector Hyppolite (Haitian, 1894–1948), which finished at $36,830. Hyppolite’s masterpiece is a magnificent fusion of primary colors and surrealist figures.
LONE JACK, MO. —Topping Soulis Auctions’ April 2 sale was an original, circa 1816, Lemuel Curtis girandole banjo wall clock that attained $52,000, well over its $25/35,000 estimate. The Federal painted and parcel-gilt timepiece with eglomise glass panels was made by Curtis (1790–1857) and had a movement with touchmark for L. Curtis, made by Lemuel Curtis in Concord, Mass., circa 1816–22, or possibly in Burlington, Vt., circa 1823–28, with replacements and restorations. The clock was formerly in the collection of noted coin and gun collector Grant Pierce, who lived in Providence, R.I. It measures about 45 by 14 inches. For information, dirksoulisauctions.com or 816-697-3830.
NEW MILFORD, CONN. — The top lots at Applebrook’s Two Great Estates auction on April 6 were two Anna Heyward Taylor woodblock prints, “Sea Turtles,” and “The Turtle and the Wave,” each bringing $11,000, that sold near its high estimate. The prints each measured 19-5/8 by 14-5/8 inches overall, and were dated 1929. For information, www.applebrookauctions.com or 203-740-0944.
GARNET VALLEY, PENN. — A collection of candy containers and nodders turned heads at Briggs’ March 24 estate auction. The top lot was a large mohair and papier-mache clockwork nodder bunny that realized $6,765. Santa riding a reindeer was no slouch either, pulling in $3,776. For information, 610-653-3138 or www.briggsauction.com
WINDSOR, CONN. — Nadeau’s Auction Gallery on April 8 saw a lot of four framed Chinese silk embroidered rank badges go ten times over its $200/400 estimate to bring $4,000. The badges included a round example with a five-claw dragon with gold threading (16 by 16 inches), two with phoenix birds (11 by 11½ inches) and a square badge with foo dog. For information, www.nadeausauction.com or 860-246-2444.
LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. — A highlight of RoGallery’s spring fine art auction March 30 was Hannes Beckmann’s color study for “Double Shadows over Yellow,” 1974, that fetched $4,600. Other artists represented in the sale included Jacob Lawrence, Ben Shahn, Robert Indiana and Haitian artist Lesley Hyppolite (b 1939). For information, www.rogallery.com or 718-937-0901.
WILLISTON, VT. — Two handwritten military dispatches from Ulysses S. Grant concerning the end of the Civil War were the clear victors in Duane Merrill & Co.’s two-day Civil War, historical, sporting and decoy auction on March 25–26. The documents, one of which was a dispatch written to Sherman regarding the “March to Sea,” sold for $62,100 and $28,750. For information, 802-878-2625 or www.merrillsauction.com.
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