Published: January 25, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Ahlers & Ogletree
ATLANTA, GA. – Ahlers & Ogletree presented its annual New Year’s Signature Estates Auction offering more than 1,200 lots across three sessions, January 14-16. It was Thornton Dial Sr’s (1928-2016) paint and mixed media on canvas featured in the series’ second day that led the lots, finishing at $87,500. “Struggling Tiger (The Tiger Penned In),” 1991, titled on verso and measuring approximately 60 by 60 inches had been purchased from William Arnett in February 1993. Dial was a pioneering American artist who came to prominence in the late 1980s. His body of work exhibits formal variety through expressive, densely composed assemblages of found materials, often executed on a monumental scale. The firm’s Elizabeth Rickenbaker said the work had come from the collection of a couple dividing their time between Colorado and Atlanta. “They acquired the painting in 1993 from Bill Arnett, the best provenance you could ask for,” said Rickenbaker. Having hung in their Atlanta residence, the painting is staying in Atlanta, won by a buyer on the phone.
Overall, said Rickenbaker, the sale totaled $1,964,378 with sell-through rates of 97 percent on January 14, 92 percent on January 15 and 96 percent on January 16. Registered by absentee and phone with the gallery were 240 bidders, augmented by 5,700 bidders on LiveAuctioneers and 7,000 bidders on Invaluable.
January 14’s Session 1 featured the estate of a prominent Atlanta interior designer. The day’s top lot was a Lalique Cactus crystal center table that sold for $36,300 to an Atlantan on the phone. Designed in 1951 by Marc Lalique, the “Cactus” form comprises a colorless crystal center table with a round glass top and chrome support and frosted base. With a frosted mark to the foot, the table measured approximately 28½ inches tall with a 60-inch diameter top.
Session 1 also saw a pair of Meissen “Day” and “Night” figures, circa 1880, go out at $11,160. Originally modeled by Heinrich Schwabe (1847-1924), the large allegorical porcelain figures depicting “Day” with sunrays and a sunflower, and “Night” with a crown of stars and an owl stood on gilded dome bases. Bearing impressed and painted marks, they were approximately 21 inches high. Won via Invaluable, they are heading to Canada.
On January 15, Modernism, estate jewelry, Asian arts, furs and African arts held sway. A pair of large Chinese Rose Medallion floor vases signaled the continuing strength of Asian material, soaring from their $6/8,000 estimate to finish at $30,250. They were late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century, featuring flared neck, dragon handles and panels depicting floral and court scenes with gilded accents. Unmarked, they stood approximately 35¾ inches high. “We had high hopes for those, and they pretty much met expectations,” commented Rickenbaker. “The seller is thrilled, of course. We have a large selection of Chinese export from the same seller coming up in our March sale. So that was kind of a taste of what’s to come.”
Modernism was represented by a Sam Maloof (American, 1916-2009) walnut rocking chair with ebony accents from 1993. Signed to the underside “No 1, 1993, Sam Maloof, FACC,” it was bid to $21,780 and is going to California. Similar rocking chairs by Maloof are in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the White House Collection of American Crafts and The Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Session 3 focused on period antiques and fine art, led by a Tiffany Studios “The Sower” Favrile glass door, which sold for $51,425. Circa 1920s, the leaded and plated Favrile glass panel in oak door depicted a female figure as the seed sower. Catalog notes state that the window was commissioned by Melville Dewey (of the Dewey decimal system) to be installed in the Annie Dewey Memorial Chapel in Lake Placid, N.Y., and dedicated to Dr W.G. Russell. “The Sower,” the left door, was accompanied by the “The Seer,” a male figure on the right door. It was likely designed by Mary Elizabeth Tillinghast (1845-1912). With provenance tied to two private collections, 1999 and 2005, the door was a accompanied by a book, Melvil Dewey: Seer-Inspirer-Doer 1851-1931, by Grosvenor Dawer, Limited Club Edition #30 with Dewey signature.
Wooton desks are the American bisons of furniture, and, fittingly, an important example that crossed the block in this sale is heading to the Midwest. The piece was none other than the president of Uruguay’s custom ebonized Wooton desk, and it sold for $37,200. The Wooton Desk Co. (American, 1870-1893), likely produced the desk in 1874-76. It presented as a well-carved Renaissance Revival custom superior grade ebonized and holly or satinwood accented cabinet secretary, having a flame urn above a plinth decorated with a roundel depicting the coat of arms of Uruguay and flanked by griffins and urns, the cornice supported by caryatids flanking two lower compartments with foliate carvings. Opened, it revealed an interior fitted with compartments and a drawer, the double half-domed doors with guilloche bands, scrolled florals and griffins above a three-shelf bookcase supported by Ionic columns, the interior with architecturally fitted center compartment with fall front writing surface, above a single drawer and double doors. Each double door had six open compartments, single slide and drawer, all above a three-shelf bookcase. According to the sale catalog, although the desk has a history as being owned by the president of Uruguay, the quality of the carvings indicate that it could have been created as an exhibition piece. It is purportedly one of only two ebony or fully ebonized desks. A 1999 certificate of appraisal from Richard and Eileen Dubrow Antiques and Books for $75,000, as well as three books on the Wooton Desk Co. accompanied the lot that had been acquired from Atlanta’s Red Baron’s Antiques.
Reaching $37,200 was Willard Leroy Metcalf’s (American, 1858-1925), “The Barn Door,” oil on canvas, signed lower right and presented in a period giltwood fame, 25¼ by 33 inches.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Next up is the estate of Emory Schwall, a single-owner sale on February 26-27, followed by a general estates sale in March.
For additional information, www.aandoauctions.com or 404-869-2478.
January 31, 2023
January 31, 2023
January 31, 2023
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