Published: August 30, 2022
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – August saw Michaan Auction’s monthly Annex Auction from August 15-18, followed by the gallery auction on August 20. An extensive selection of Twentieth Century American art comprised much of the sale’s fine art, including two pieces by Henrietta Berk (American, 1919-1990), a mural by Warren Chase Merritt (American, 1897-1968) and an array of works by Haig Patigian (American/Armenian, 1876-1950). Several diamond jewelry items were offered at the sale, not least of which was a 2.20-carat unmounted diamond. Nearly every genre of Asian ceramics was also represented, from jun articles to jian bowls, as well as a painted scroll by Zhang Daqian (Chinese, 1899-1983).
Furniture and decorative items kicked off the auction with two Flora Danica porcelain articles estimated at $500/800 realizing $3,383. A number of decorative clocks could also be found at the sale, including a Victorian walnut and mahogany cuckoo clock, which sold for $2,337.
August presented an excess of fine art, particularly when it came to renowned Twentieth Century American artists like Henrietta Berk, Warren Chase Merritt and Haig Patigian. Several casts and architectural elements, as well as two sets of watercolors by Patigian were available at the sale, with four sculptures of Diana selling for $3,075. Berk’s paintings proved popular with bidders, with “Speedboat California” realizing $5,228 and “Self Portrait,” a warmly colored example of Berk’s bold style selling for $9,225. The auction also offered Merritt’s set of eight paintings and first mural, “The History of Paper Making” (1929). Ordered in 1929 by Crown Zellerbach for its San Francisco headquarters, the panels depict the making of paper from ancient Egyptian papyrus to the Gutenberg press to the contemporary production of paper by Crown Zellerbach. The set sold for $9,225 as well.
Diamond pieces comprised much of August’s jewelry, including two diamond, platinum rings, a diamond, 14K white gold necklace and a Tambetti diamond, 18K yellow gold ring; but the stars of the diamonds were a platinum tennis bracelet and an unmounted diamond with a pendant mount. Featuring 34 round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing a total of 5.15 carats, the bracelet sold for $4,920. Weighing approximately 2.20 carats, the unmounted diamond was estimated at $4/6,000, but bidders fought for the stone until ending at a total of $10,455. A collection of stamps and ephemera could also be found at the sale with a set of US Nineteenth Century covers selling for $1,046.
The auction concluded with Asian art. Nearly every genre of ceramics made an appearance, including longquan vases, jun pottery, jian bowls and famille rose porcelain articles. The most desirable ceramic proved to be a rare Chinese blue and white moon flask depicting perched birds on flowering branches. Estimated at $700/900, the flask ran away with $19,680.
It was not, however, the lot that commanded the highest price; that claim went to a painted scroll of a landscape attributed to Zhang Daqian (Chinese, 1899-1983). Daqian was one of the best-known Chinese artists of the Twentieth Century and mastered many different styles from highly detailed portraits to splashed-ink landscapes. These landscapes are his most sought-after works, of which this scroll is an example. Made of golden paper, the scroll depicts a mountainous scene shaded with splashes of blue-green ink. Estimated at $2,4/4,000, bidders fought for the piece until the final price amounted to $23,370.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The monthly Annex auction is from Monday, September 12, through Wednesday, September 14. The gallery auction will follow that Saturday, September 17. For information, www.michaans.com or 510-740-0220.
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