Published: August 30, 2022
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy Old Kinderhook Auction Company
VALATIE, N.Y. – Old Kinderhook Auction Company (OKAC) conducted its two-day “August Or Bust 2022” sale on August 9 and 10, offering almost 1,100 lots of fine art, decorative arts, Asian art, glass, ephemera and toys. More than 95 percent of the lots gaveled successfully in both sessions, amounting to about $200,000 in overall sales.
“It was a good lively gallery,” said Errol Farr, co-owner at Old Kinderhook. “Sales seem to be trending back to more in-person attendance, which I think is healthy for the market and more enjoyable for the buyers.”
Day One of the first sale had a strong showing of fine art, especially paintings. The top four lots all belonged to this category, each of them landscapes with varying subjects. The first was Aaron Harry Gorson’s “Pittsburg Harbor” that sold for $5,520. Gorson was born in Lithuania in 1872, then known as Kovno and part of the Russian Empire, and emigrated to the United States in 1888, later studying in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the École des Beaux-Arts. His dark, moody works are in the collections of many prominent American institutions, and this painting sold to a Gorson collector to join many of his other works.
The second highest lot was more bucolic and abstract, its subject more about what was not depicted than what was. As written in the auction catalog, “Exterieur” by Alain Senez “[depicts] trees that edge the water where a girl’s white dress hangs haphazardly, her blue silk ribbon rests limp and nearly translucent in the sunlight, but the former wearer is nowhere to be seen, yet to be caught unawares…” The mystery continued with a new owner for multiples of its high estimate at $3,600.
Selling within its estimate was William C. Grauer’s “Seaside Village” for $1,860. Born in Philadelphia, Grauer graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art in 1914, then served in World War I until the conflict’s end. He then moved to Cleveland in 1927, married artist Natalie Enyon (1888-1955) and worked as a painter, muralist and art teacher for 60 years. This painting shows a quiet town which is illuminated by a spot of sunlight, contrasting with the dark skies beyond.
Tied with this lot pricewise was Alexandre Jacob’s “Autumn,” however, this canvas rose from a far lower estimate of $400/600 to achieve $1,860. Jacob also studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and was known for his dry-brush painting technique with oil pigments to achieve a soft, atmospheric effect on his landscapes.
Day Two’s sale was more focused on decorative arts, with more than one surprise in its top lots. The highest price of the auction was also won by a group lot with the lowest estimate, including an antique Benjarong Chinese porcelain lidded bowl and a Japanese tea cup. Estimated at only $50/100, the pair sold for $17,400. Benjarong porcelain is given as a gift on special occasions such as a wedding or New Year’s Day, and the bowl showed overglazed decorations of mythological figures, medallions and a turn finial.
The next two lots were large, colorful rugs that both vastly exceeded their estimates. The first was a room-sized Herat rug from the South Khorasan province in Iran, showing the famous “Herati” design of two leaves around a flower. Far outstretching its $200/300 estimate, the carpet sold to an online bidder for $4,375. Following this was an earlier Lenkoran Kazak long Caucasian rug in exceptional condition, which more than doubled its high estimate at $3,480. “All of these rugs are staying in the United States,” Farr commented, “but went to some high-end decorators. We’re starting to be known for our rug sales, as well as our fine art and frames.” With good reason, too!
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.oldkinderhookauction.com or 518-912-4747.
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