Published: July 9, 2019
Nine notable lots await you in this week’s Across The Block, starting with a “Shrimp” painting by Chinese artist Qi Baishi (1863-1957). Estimated at $10/15,000, it finished for $81,250 at Clarke Auctions. The painting also brought with it some interesting history related to an editor at The New York Times. Freels’ carousel figures raised and lowered the gavel at Bonham’s as an E. Joy Morris outside row tiger, painted by Pam Hessey, sold for $50,075. A Charles Carmel outside row standing horse, Brooklyn, circa 1914, painted by Nina Fraley, took $32,575, and a Gustav Dentzel chariot side, Germantown, Penn., circa 1908, also painted by Nina Fraley, brought $18,825. Read on for other sales that include a signed first edition Gone With The Wind, a rare Rolex, Tiffany dragonfly lamp and more.
LARCHMONT, N.Y. – With wedding season in full bloom, it is no wonder that the top lot in Clarke Auction’s June 30 sale was a platinum engagement ring set with a central 5.25-carat emerald-cut diamond flanked by tapered baguettes, which left the gallery at $87,500 against a $30/50,000 estimate. Asian arts were especially strong, too, led by noted Chinese artist Qi Baishi’s (1863-1957) “Shrimp” (pictured). The “Shrimp” painting, which finished at $81,250, was inscribed to “Li Po-wen,” referring to Henry R. Lieberman, an editor at The New York Times. Li Po-wen was a nickname given to Lieberman as both a pun on his last name and an apt moniker meaning “well-educated writer.” In 1948, Lieberman wrote an article for The Times describing his experience having visited Qi Baishi’s house, and he commissioned a painting personally. At the end of this article, he describes watching the artist create this particular painting of shrimp. “It takes him ten to 30 minutes to complete one of his paintings, which he executes in swift, bold strokes.” Even at $10/15,000, the painting’s estimate was conservative for documented works by Qi Baishi, and it sold for a significant return over the original $5 paid for the painting in 1948. For information, www.clarkeny.com or 914-833-8336.
HATFIELD, PENN. – At Alderfer Auction on June 18, a Browning Mauser Olympian-grade bolt-action rifle in its original Browning cardboard box, which appeared to be new in the box, sold for $5,100. The 22-inch barrel Belgium-manufactured rifle was heavily decorated, had 100 percent blued barrel with hooded front sight and Williams rear peep sight and French grey finish on the remaining parts with an excellent bore. The follower and bolt were polished with a jeweled extractor, and the trigger was gold washed. Engravings included a bugling elk on the left side, running pronghorn antelope on the right side, the hinged floor plate engraved with a deer in a wooded scene with floral leaf engraving below and on the attaching metal and it was signed below the deer. Strong bidding across categories drove the rifle to its final price. For information, www.alderferauction.com or 215-393-3000.
LOS ANGELES – Bonhams’ The Elegant Home sale on June 24 and 25 offered more than 600 lots featuring paintings, silver, furniture, carpets, works of art and clocks. Highlighting the sale was the Freels’ carousel collection, five unique sculptures from America’s premiere assemblage of carousel art masterpieces. Leading the caravan was an E. Joy Morris outside row tiger (shown), Germantown, Penn., circa 1898, painted by Pam Hessey, which sold for $50,075. A Charles Carmel outside row standing horse, Brooklyn, circa 1914, painted by Nina Fraley, took $32,575, and a Gustav Dentzel chariot side, Germantown, Penn., circa 1908, also painted by Nina Fraley, was $18,825. For information, 323-850-7500 or www.bonhams.com.
COPAKE, N.Y. – Copake Auction presented an unreserved estate sale on June 22 featuring Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century furniture, artwork, folk art, period accessories, china, glass, stoneware, primitives and more. A highlight was a horse and jockey weathervane, 31 by 18 inches, that vaulted over its $1,5/2,000 estimate to finish at $3,186. For information, www.copakeauction.com or 518-329-1142.
WESTMORELAND, N.H. – The nucleus of Flying Pig Auctions’ unreserved online-only auction on June 24 was a western Massachusetts estate in which two retired special education teachers, inspired by the Age of Elegance, collected and decorated their home in the finest taste. Everything from Tiffany and Pairpoint lamps, chandeliers and other antique lighting to china, art glass, sterling silver flatware and musical instruments crossed the block. The highest selling item was a Tiffany Dragonfly lamp (shown), which sold for $25,200. Guitars were also very well-received, with a rare 1946 Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar making $6,765. “The auction went very well and was well-received, with more than 400 registered bidders,” reported co-principal Roxanne Reuling. The firm’s next auction is scheduled for September 16. For information, 413-537-4855, 603-543-7490 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALFRED, MAINE – The top lot at John McInnis Auctioneers’ June 15 onsite auction was an important Revolutionary War powder horn of physician John Ely (a well-documented figure in American Revolution history) that sold at $6,900. In an old-fashioned, unreserved, country auction, the Amesbury, Mass., auctioneer offered this horn as the first lot of the day. Dated July 30, 1775, and inscribed John Ely, His Horn, Roxbury Camp, Captain of the 6th Connecticut at that time, it set the stage for a successful walk-around estate auction. For information, www.mcinnisauctions.com or 978-388-0400.
BERKELEY, CALIF. – The top lot at PBA Galleries June 27 auction was a signed first edition, first printing, of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Sharon L. Gee, president of PBA Galleries, said that despite the condition of the original dust jacket, which had light wear and dampstaining and had been backed with paper and trimmed a bit at the bottom edge, it sold well above estimate at $6,600. The book was published by the Macmillan Company in 1936 and had its original grey cloth with blue lettering and original custom cloth slipcase. For information, 415-989-2665 or www.pbagalleries.com.
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – Lot 144 in the June 29 sale at Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries was a rare Tiffany & Co 18K gold National Academy medal, which went out at $5,625, The presentation medal, marked MDCCCXXV, was in memory of American landscape painter George Inness, given by his son and awarded by the National Academy of Design to Charles Rosen ANA-1916. Designed and created by Jonathan Scott Hartley, 1901, the medal is one of these awarded annually from 1901 to 1918 to a student of the National Academy of Design for works exhibited at an academy exhibition. The impressive matte finish medal came housed in its leather case with green and black velour interior. For information, www.midhudsongalleries.com or 914-882-7356.
PHOENIXVILLE, PENN. – A rare vintage Rolex Oyster cosmograph watch, model 6263, crossed the block at Wiederseim Associates on June 29 with an estimate of $20/25,000. The stainless steel men’s watch with what appears to be the original case and hang tag caused quite a stir when an internet bidder drove the final price to $68,750. The original receipt was available for bidders to see, although it was not offered as part of the lot. The pristine nature of this fine watch clearly contributed to it more than doubling its high estimate. For information, www.wiederseim.com or 610-827-1910.
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