Published: November 8, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Ahlers & Ogletree
ATLANTA, GA. – While Ahlers & Ogletree’s October 28-29 Fall Fine Estates & Collections sale was smaller than previous ones with less than 1,000 lots offered in the course of the two days, it achieved $1,090,736 with a sell-through rate of about 96 percent, a result director Elizabeth Rickenbaker was happy with. “The sale was great. It was a smaller sale for us with some big highlights; we were very proud of that.”
A collection that was touted in the promotion for the sale was that from the estate of Marjorie & Ralph Knowles, who had been civil rights attorneys who Rickenbaker said “did a lot to combat racism in the South, as well as women’s rights.” Marjorie had been the first female dean of a Georgia law school and claimed friendships with both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Gloria Steinem. The Knowles collection may have been but a small fraction of the sale at just 71 lots but one of their lots, an oil on canvas still life titled “Provence” by Janet Fish (American, b 1938) realized $102,850, the top price of the auctions. Painted in 1995 and measuring 50 by 50 inches, it had been acquired by the Knowles from DC Moore Gallery in Atlanta in 2014 and was accompanied by the gallery’s invoice. Several dealers and collectors competed for it but in the end, a Southern buyer bidding on the phone prevailed.
Earning $22,990 and a third place finish was an eight-panel Chinese floor screen inset with dream stones. Formerly from a Buckhead, Ga., collection, it sold to a New York buyer. It was large, standing nearly 80 inches tall and measuring 114 inches wide.
The observation that many of the sale’s highest priced lots were large was not lost on Rickenbaker, who said that there were many oversized homes in the Atlanta area, or within Georgia, with furnishings scaled to match. “We sell big things really well,” she said.
Such was indeed the case with a bronze double heron and cattail fountain that Rickenbaker said was one of several large garden pieces that had come from an estate in North Georgia. Standing 87 inches tall and cast with a naturalistic rocky setting, it attracted “very heavy bidding” and eventually sold for $18,750, more than tripling its high estimate. It was bought by a collector, bidding online, who owns homes in both Georgia and Florida.
Speaking of oversized pieces, a nearly 10-foot-tall Gazo “San Juan Bautista” carved walnut tall case clock, in the Renaissance Revival manner of R.J. Horner with an earlier Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company movement, a crest decorated with winged grotesques and a cartouche supported by Father Time relates to an example by Horner in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art found a new home in South Carolina with a collector who paid $8,125 for it.
A Nineteenth Century figural Swiss Black Forest clock and music box that had stags and foxes in a naturalistic setting may feel right at home wiht its new owner in Colorado. The case was signed “C.V. Bergen & Co./Interlaken” and the mechanism was stamped “Leuenberger/Interlaken” and “775.” Rickenbaker said it was rare because it was a music box. The buyer, who had been bidding on it over the phone, paid $15,730 for it.
Another named collection on the block was that of the Argenbrights, an influential family in Buckhead. With nearly 70 lots offered in both sessions, the highest price for a work from their collection was $11,250, for “Deux Saint Hubert Au Repos” (“Two Saint Huberts At Rest”) an undated bronze sculpture of two dogs by Camille Gate (French, 1856-1900), which measured 17½ inches high and 25 inches long. It found a new home with an online buyer from France who fended off stiff competition.
Also from the Argenbright collection and earning $10,625 from a Dallas buyer, bidding online, was a hand-knotted naturally dyed wool Turkish Oushak carpet, late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century that measured approximately 11 by 15 feet and featured a medallion with pendants on a pale blue ground, framed by a wide border of meandering palmettes on a tangerine ground.
The same buyer who won the bronze heron fountain paid $9,375 for a pair of French painted wallpaper panels, Nineteenth Century, that depicted tropical landscapes with multiple figures. Each panel measured 90½ inches high by 32¼ inches wide and were framed.
Big results were achieved for small things as well as large. A collection of 10 beribboned Society of Cincinnati insignias, 14K or 18K gold, from various states, was divided into five lots. A Florida buyer, bidding online, won the first three lots, paying $10,625, $3,438 and $1,875, respectively. The last two lots found a new home with a buyer in Boston, also bidding online, for $3,438 and $750.
Other fine art highlights in various media saw strong interest, even if not to the level of the Janet Fish painting that led the sale. One of Rickenbaker’s favorite lots, an oil on canvas by Peter von Artens (Argentina, 1937-2003) titled “Flores Tropicales” that had hung in her office prior to the sale came from a Miami, Fla., collection and sold to a local Atlanta collector for $7,865. For $8,125, an Arizona collector won Roy Lichtenstein’s 1965 offset lithograph, “Sunrise.” The same collection that sold the Lichtenstein sold Wolf Kahn’s pastel on paper “Very Red,” a 1999 picture that had been handled by Thomas Segal Gallery. It found a new home with an online bidder from Seattle for the same price, $8,125.
Furniture results were modest but plentiful. Bringing $7,260, more than double presale expectations was an R&Y Augousti “Lily” shagreen console table from a local home that was sold alongside an R&Y Augousti mirror. A New York buyer won the console table, while the mirror will be hung in an Atlanta home, with buyers who paid $4,375 for it. An Eighteenth Century Queen Anne parquetry turret games table that had previously been handled by both Frank Partridge and Christie’s sold to a British buyer, bidding by phone, for $6,050.
Ahlers & Ogletree will sell jewelry and timepieces from entertainment attorney Joel A. Katz and the estate of Marjorie Knowles in its November 18 auction.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.aandoauctions.com or 404-869-2478.
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