Published: February 12, 2019
An interesting mix of lots cross the blocks this week! Lelands scored a homer with the sale of a 1950-51 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees game-worn Two Home-Run uniform that brought the gavel down at more than $200,000. The same sale saw a lock of George Washington’s hair finish at $35,764 — well over the $2,500 starting bid. High fashion was abound at Artcurial’s luxury goods sale in Monaco with vintage Hermès bags and a stunning yellow gold necklace set with a 9.12 carat diamond that closed at $346,458. Fine art, amazing vases and more round out the offerings on this week’s ‘Across The Block.’
NEW YORK CITY – Swann Galleries opened its winter season with a boutique sale of illustrated books and graphics on January 29. Coinciding with Bibliography Week in New York City, the auction offered books, design and contemporary volumes with work from collections of notable bibliophiles as well as Twentieth Century livres d’artiste and Art Deco masterworks. The sale boasted numerous auction records and several new buyers. Leading the sale was Cirque de l’Étoile Filante, 1938, by Georges Rouault. The publication, depicting circus performers in 17 color aquatints by Rouault and 82 wood engravings by George Aubert in characteristic Fauvist style, sold for $35,000. Rouault’s final work, Passion, 1939, also found success, selling for $21,250. For information, 212-254-4710 or www.swanngalleries.com.
NEW YORK CITY – On January 30, Doyle conducted a successful auction of Russian works of art that attracted international attention and strong competition. Showcased in the sale were more than 80 lots of Fabergé, icons, silver, bronzes and imperial memorabilia from private collections across the United States. Highlighting the sale was property from a West Coast private collection of Russian enamels, Fabergé and objets de vertu. A Russian silver-gilt and enamel box by Feodor Rückert achieved $150,000, surpassing its estimate of $90/120,000. Rückert is arguably the most talented of all enamel artists in prerevolutionary Russia, and the box depicted “A Knight at the Crossroads” by the important Russian painter Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926). For information, 212-427-4141 or www.doyle.com.
FALLS CHURCH, VA. – Two Chinese Tibetan gilt seated Buddha statues, just 6½ inches high, came to the block at Quinn’s Auction Galleries on January 26 with an estimate of $800-$1,200. The Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century gilt-bronze figures featured a lama in robe with his right hand in Vitarka/ Argument Mudra, his left hand in Avakasha/ Leisure Mudra, and one was missing the wheel of dharma in his hand. Despite the loss, the pair was hotly contested to a final price of $11,430 to the internet. For more information, www.quinnsauction.com or 703-532-5632.
NEW YORK CITY – Christie’s Old Master & British drawings sale realized $2,671,875, and the top lot of the sale was Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto’s (1697-1768) “A capriccio with an ancient tomb monument to the left, and a watermill to the right” (pictured) which sold for $396,500, more than twice its high estimate. Strong results were achieved for Pietro da Cortona’s “Study of a nymph, her arms outstretched,” which sold for $300,000. A new world auction record was set for Georges Lallemant with “The nursing Virgin and Child,” which sold for $50,000 against an estimate of $8/12,000. For information, 212-636-2000 or www.christies.com.
CHEVY CHASE, MD – Part of a collection of Twentieth Century Italian art glass by Venini and other makers made a colorful splash at Sloans and Kenyon on February 2. Notable here was a Venini & Co signed art glass ovoid red and black opaque vase with an overall textured geometric pattern, 11 inches high (pictured), which sold for $6,225. The top lot of the day, at $22,705, was a platinum and diamond engagement type ring with brilliant-cut round diamond weighing 3.02 carats raised by four prongs and centered by two tapering baguette diamonds together weighing .36 carats on shoulders on shank. For more information, www.sloansandkenyon.com or 301-634-2330.
MAPLE GLEN, PENN. – Locati’s first online sale of 2019, January 7-21, exceeded expectations, according to the firm. “We were happy to offer a scarce signed and numbered Picasso print,” commented Michael Locati, co-owner of Locati, “The print sold above the high estimate at $3,100.” A group of three Chinese peach bloom glaze vases sold well at $2,000. For information, 215-619-2873 or www.locatillc.com.
MONACO – For three days, January 23-25, the principality witnessed Artcurial’s auction, hosted for the third consecutive year at the Monaco Yacht Club. More than 300 people visited the exhibition room at the vernissage, discovering pieces of jewelry, collector timepieces and vintage Hermès bags, gathered by the respective house specialists. Led by François Tajan, the three days totaled $7,359,872, with bidding wars pushing 12 lots above $100,000. A European client scooped up the top lot, a yellow gold necklace set with 9.12-carat pear-shaped diamond, color D, VVS1, type IIa, which finished at $346,458. For information, +33 1 42 99 20 76 or www.artcurial.com.
CHELTENHAM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND – Antiques from significant collections went up for auction at Chorley’s Country House sale on January 29-30. The two principal collections offered in the sale were from Ombersley Court in Worcestershire and Fourteenth Century Beverston Castle in Gloucestershire, and the sale totaled nearly $670,000. One of the key lots from Ombersley was Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal, 1782, in two volumes, which sold for $22,000, nearly double its high estimate. Blackwell started her series of books featuring beautiful illustrations of medicinal plants as a way to raise money to secure her husband Alexander’s release from a debtor’s prison. For more information, www.chorleys.com or +44 1452 344499.
MATAWAN, N.J. – A lock of George Washington’s hair sold at Lelands on February 1 for $35,764. Starting bid for the lot was $2,500. The lock accompanied a letter signed by former Secretary of State James A. Hamilton, the third son of Alexander Hamilton, and dated March 20, 1871. The letter, addressed to a woman named Eleanor G. Collins, included the hair as a show of Hamilton’s “respect and regard” for her, according to the letter, and identified the hair as belonging to Washington. The price achieved by the lock of hair is not bad for some wispy follicles, but it was not the top lot in the sale. That honor went to a 1950-51 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees game-worn Two Home-Run uniform that finished at $227,853. For information, 732-290-8000 or www.lelands.com.
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