Published: October 8, 2019
Ed Ruscha walked the runway this week as Christie’s offered 35 works from the Fred and Laura Clarke collection that brought more than $7 million, led by “Wavy Robot,” 1975, gunpowder on paper, that went out at $1,203,000. If studio furniture is in your wheelhouse, check out the walnut credenza by George Nakashima that was purchased by an online bidder at Concept Art Gallery for $43,750 or a Paul Evans’ stalagmite dining room set with a table and six chairs that realized a total of $43,200 at Fairfield Auctions. Tasteful art, Chinese imperial throne chairs and a Radiguet French live steam gun boat add to the excitement that was had at recent auctions across the United States.
NEW YORK CITY – Thirty-five Works by Ed Ruscha on September 27 – the first grouping offered by Christie’s from the Clarke collection, a trove of convention-defying works amassed by the architect Fred Clarke and his wife Laura Weir Clarke – totaled $7,516,500 selling 100 percent by both lot and value. Ruscha’s “Wavy Robot,” 1975, gunpowder on paper (shown) went out at $1,203,000, In an accompanying sale, postwar to present, totaling $23.2 million, an oil on canvas by Joan Mitchell, “Violet Cypress,” 1964, earned $1,575,000. For information, 212-636-2000 or www.christies.com.
PROVINCETOWN, MASS. – The annual Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s (PAAM) consignment auction features rare works of late regional artists of the Provincetown Art Colony. Conducted this year September 6-21, PAAM’s consignment auction presented artwork by deceased artists who lived, studied or worked on Cape Cod. With more than 125 works of art for sale, the top lot at the live auction on September 21 was by Karl Knaths (1891-1971). “Interior, Provincetown,” 1965, an oil on canvas, sold for $20,400. The framed work measured 50 by 40 inches. For information, 508-487-1750 or www.paam.org.
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Leading the Benefit Shop Foundation’s Red Carpet auction on September 11 was one of George Rodrigue’s colorful and iconic “Blue Dog” paintings, which sold for $25,600. “This signed painting was acquired by the owner directly from Rodrigue’s New Orleans art gallery and has all the charm and whimsy that fans of the artist look for,” said Pam Stone, owner and founder of the Benefit Shop Foundation. The painting, dated 2000, has a handwritten title on the verso, “Dreaming of You.” For information, www.thebenefitshop.org or 914-864-0707.
CHESTER SPRINGS, PENN. – Leading the September 21 sale at Wiederseim Associates was a Radiguet French live steam gun boat that achieved $9,375 against an estimate of $3/4,000. The circa 1880 boat was made of zinc and had a wooden deck and brass boiler; it appeared to retain its original black and gold paint decoration. Speaking after the sale, Ted Wiederseim said it was purchased by an online bidder competing against four phone bidders and a bidder in the room. “I was very happy to have it,” he said. For information, www.wiederseim.com or 610-827-1910.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – “The Mountain and its Lake” by Hugh Henry Breckenridge (1870-1937) sold for $6,000 at Eldred’s on September 26, exceeding its $2,5/3,500 estimate. The painting was part of the Sipson Island estate of Daniel W. Dietrich II. Sipson Island is a small private island off Chatham that was owned for many years by the Dietrich family. There was a fun group of material in the sale – some quirky folk art, some pieces by Cape Cod artists and craftsmen, some more “traditional” antiques and fine art. The Breckenridge was an 11-by-13½-inch oil on board, signed lower right and signed and titled on the reverse. For information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
SARASOTA, FLA. – More than 800 lots crossed the block over two days, September 28 and 29, at Sarasota Estate Auction. The event was the firm’s fall fine art and Chinese sale comprising several estate collections. A pair of Chinese carved imperial jade throne chairs started off the auction with a $6,655 sales price. For information, www.sarasotaestateauction.com or 941-706-3910.
YORK, MAINE – From an old private collection, an Abraham Lincoln-signed October 10, 1864, recommendation that a recently discharged Captain Josiah Shaw get suitable employment in any of the departments is framed with Captain Shaw’s September 3, 1864, discharge certificate and a W.H.W. Bicknell 1927 etching of Lincoln. This intriguing lot was the subject of strong bidding at Hap Moore’s September 28 auction, according to the auctioneer, and it sold for $6,090. For information, www.hapmoore.com or 207-363-6373.
PITTSBURGH, PENN. – A walnut cantilevered free-edge credenza by George Nakashima floated to the top of the sale at Concept Art Gallery on Saturday, September 28. Estimated at $15/20,000, it was purchased by an online bidder new to the house for $43,750. When asked to explain the lot’s appeal, Sam Berkovitz said after the sale, “It was a large and very handsome example of this Nakashima form. It was also built as a sheet music storage unit with multiple shelves for the consignor’s estate.” For information, 412-242-9200 or www.conceptgallery.com.
MONROE, CONN. – On September 25, the gavel fell at Fairfield Auction’s online offerings, where a Midcentury Modern grouping of Paul Evans’ stalagmite dining room set with a table [shown] and six chairs (table and chairs were sold separately) realized a total of $43,200 – well above the total estimate of $20/30,000. For information, www.fairfieldauction.com or 203-880-5200.
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