Published: June 9, 2020
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Nadeau’s Auction Gallery
WINDSOR, CONN. – A Gustav Gurschner Art Deco bronze vase, stamped “Made in Austria,” led Nadeau Auction Gallery’s May 29 sale of midcentury furniture, Modern and contemporary art, designer purses and accessories. Selling for $6,350, the vase was partially impressed with the signature “Gursch,” came with a Sotheby’s label on the base and stood 7¼ inches high. Active in the decorative arts, Gurschner (1873-1970) was an Austrian sculptor most noted for his utilitarian designs in the way of objects like ashtrays, electric lamps, door knockers and doorknobs, but in the early Twentieth Century, his work made its way into New York City galleries, as he was considered a significant Viennese artist. According to Wikipedia, Gurschner’s work can be found in such institutions as the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and Corning Museum of Glass, among others.
The no-reserves sale of approximately 525 lots was 94 percent sold by lot and was the first sale the firm has conducted with a live audience component since the coronavirus shut things down two and a half months ago, according to Eddie Nadeau III. “Our gallery typically holds 200-300 people, but we did the social distancing thing with masks and spaced out seating,” he said. Consequently, there were only about 20 or so in the room, and the majority of bidding successes came from internet and phone.
The second highest selling lot was a pair of Sue et Mare giltwood upholstered armchairs with fabric by Benedictus, which brought $5,080. In a sign of today’s market, the lot included a copy of receipt from Macklowe Gallery for $15,000. Still, their sold price was a big leap above Nadeau’s very conservative $300/400 estimate. A second pair, also sporting fabric by Benedictus and sold with copy of a receipt from Macklowe Gallery for $11,500, reached $3,492.
A pair of armchairs by George Smith, upholstered in flat weave carpet, 34 inches by 25 inches wide, also found favor with bidders and finished at $4,127.
Oriental rugs made some significant appearances in this sale. Fetching $4,575 was an 11-foot-5-inch-by-16-foot-5-inch example, and a palace-size carpet, 16 feet 4 inches by 27 feet 3 inches went out at $3,600
The sale featured an ample selection of artworks, both paintings and sculpture.
Jay Brooks (American, Twentieth Century) painted his Spring River Valley landscape in 1998. The oil on canvas, signed and dated lower left “J. Brooks 98,” 36 by 54 inches, was at one time property from the Credit Suisse Collection and it realized $3,492. Nadeau’s has dispersed this storied collection over the past couple years. “We’re down to the last few groups of items from Credit Suisse, which will be offered in upcoming sales,” said Nadeau.
A Marc Chagall (Russian/French, 1887-1985), colored lithograph, “The Tribe of Levi” from “The Twelve Maquettes of Stained Glass Windows for Jerusalem,” 1961, brought $3,355.
From the estate of Greenwich, Conn., couple William and Teresa Patton came Sydney Butchkes’ (American, b 1922) canvas featuring purple, yellow and orange with angular graphite lines, which was bid to $2,857. The 58-by-58-inch acrylic and graphite on canvas was signed on canvas edge and verso.
A bronze sculpture depicting a leonine bust, illegibly signed with an “Art Casting Belgium” foundry mark, was 13 inches high and realized $2,540.
A large, free-form sculpture by Silas Seandel (b 1937) was signed “Silas 67.” At a height of 45 inches, it commanded $2,540.
More notable furniture crossed the block, including a Jean Royere-style glass top coffee table, Twentieth Century, featuring a gilt-metal frame, metal and ball lattice design, 18 by 24 by 44 inches, $2,857; and a Minotti two-part sectional sofa with cream upholstery on chrome feet, 112 inches long, that made $2,745.
In addition to the Gurschner vase, additional decorative arts highlights in the sale included a Philippe Starck Fiam mirror, “Caadre” with light and curved glass frame, 76½ by 41 inches. It changed hands at $2,540.
Prices given include the include buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house.
The firm’s next sale, set for June 13, also with a live gallery component, will focus on outdoor furniture, including some ten teak dining sets, as well as contemporary furniture. For information, 860-246-2444 or www.nadeausauction.com.
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