Published: March 26, 2019
Among the notable sales this week, a series of bronze sculptures by William Kentridge stand out, selling for $330,000 at Bonhams’ postwar and contemporary sale. In wood, an oak newel post carved with a heraldic dragon from the William H Stokes collection sold for $12,355, outdoing the of $2/3,300 estimate. For the toy lovers in all of us, a Chein “Dan-Dee” skid truck in colorful paint drove bidding to $776. Fine art highlighted this week include works by Pablo Picasso and Leland Curtis. Civil war photos, an exceptional Qur’an and a Cartier watch round out the standings in this week’s “Across The Block.”
LONDON – “Rebus” – nine numbered bronze sculptures by William Kentridge, each signed with the artist’s initials – achieved $330,000 at Bonhams’ postwar and contemporary sale at New Bond Street on March 6. At the same sale, “Sack,” a powerful work by contemporary British painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, sold for $165,000. Kentridge (b 1955) is a South African artist best known for his prints, drawings and animated films. Yiadom-Boakye is known for her paintings of people of color against muted, ambiguous backgrounds. For information, +44 20 7447 7447 or www.bonhams.com.
NEW YORK CITY – Following the successful inaugural auction in the category of fine Modern art last fall, Doyle continued the success of the new category with a second sale on March 6. The auction presented a wide spectrum of affordable paintings, drawings, sculpture and fine prints from various artistic movements and regions of the globe, spanning more than 100 years of creative activity. Highlighting the sale was “Visage,” a painted and partially glazed white ceramic pitcher by Pablo Picasso that achieved $20,000, far surpassing its estimate of $6/8,000. In this pitcher from 1955, Picasso explores one his favorite themes, the face. For information, 212-427-4141 or www.doyle.com.
CIRENCESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – The Pedestal’s March 4 onsite sale of the collection of renowned dealer William H. Stokes saw renewed energy and interest in early English furniture and decorations, with 86 percent of the sale finding buyers and doubling presale expectations when it totaled $645,771. One of the more unusual lots was an oak newel post carved with a heraldic dragon, circa 1550, which sold for $12,355 against an estimate of $2/3,300. For information, + 44 0207 281 2790 or www.thepedestal.com.
NEW YORK CITY – Swann Galleries’ spring offering of early printed, medical, scientific and travel books on March 7 brought bibliophiles from near and far, resulting in breakneck bidding for a number of items, including incunabula and first editions. It was illuminated manuscripts, however, that took the spotlight in the sale. Tobias Abeloff, Swann Galleries’ early printed books specialist, noted, “The market is strong for exceptional material, and we saw significant interest in printed and manuscript Book of Hours with bidding driving prices over high estimates. The biggest surprise of the day was the manuscript Qur’an excerpts that went for more than ten times the high estimate, settling at $35,000.” For information, 212-254-4710 or www.swanngalleries.com.
DALLAS, TEXAS – A flurry of competitive bidding drove the final price for Leland Curtis’s “Moose, Wyoming” to more than ten times its high estimate when it sold for $31,250 to lead Heritage Auctions’ March 8-10 fine and decorative arts auction to $1,436,003. An active mountaineer, environmentalist and Antarctic explorer, Curtis (American, 1897-1992) often shared his love of nature in his paintings. The 24-by-30-inch oil on canvas, which entered the sale with an estimate of $2/3,000, is signed “Leland Curtis” in the lower right, and titled “Moose, Wy,” on the artist label affixed to stretcher. For information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
CLARENCE, N.Y. – Kelly & Ben Schultz Auctioneers presented another of their antiques auctions on March 9, selling items from several estates and from the Strong Museum. More than 700 lots crossed the block and chief among them was a lot of Civil War photos, including a nice Union case with a photo of soldiers and others, which finished at $3,910. For information, www.schultzauctioneers.net or 716-759-2260.
TIMONIUM, MD. – Richard Opfer’s March 4 Eclectic Collector auction featured a very well put-together Chein toy collection, with something for every collecting level. The J. Chein & Company was an American toy manufacturer in business from 1903 through the 1980s. It is best remembered today for its mechanical toys made from stamped and lithographed tin produced from the 1930s through the 1950s, considered the “golden age of toys.” At this sale, a Chein “Dan-Dee” skid truck in colorful paint found a buyer for $776. For information, 410-252-5035 or www.opferauction.com.
LONDON – The sale of the private collection of Alain Morvan, together with the contents of his Munich antiques gallery, made $1.1 million at Bonhams on March 6. A total of 97 percent of the pieces found new owners. Highlights included a pair of restoration patinated and gilt-bronze candelabra that sold for $21,500. Said Bonhams senior representative in Germany Thomas Kamm, “We were confident that this would be a strong sale, but it exceeded our expectations. Alain Morvan was a well-known antiques dealer in Munich and further afield for more than 50 years, and we had bidders from more than 30 countries in the room, on the phone and on the internet. Thanks to some very competitive bidding, most lots sold for many times their estimates.” For information, +44 20 7447 7447 or www.bonhams.com.
BELLPORT, N.Y. – A large collection of more than 100 lots of clocks and clock parts, more than 200 wrist- and pocket watches, including 50 examples of the big names in gold examples – Rolex, Cartier, Tiffany, LeCoutre, etc. – fittingly heralded the beginning of Daylight Saving Time on March 10 at Thos. Cornell Galleries. The big lot, according to the firm’s Tom Cornell, was a Cartier 18K gold tank watch that sold for $5,100. For information, 631-289-9505 or www.thoscornellauctions.com.
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