Published: November 8, 2022
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy Bruneau & Co Auctioneers
CRANSTON, R.I. – Bruneau & Co Auctioneers conducted the second part of the Single Owner Couture Auction that occurred on August 29, adding collectibles, fine art, furniture, decorative art and jewelry to the category list and offering almost 400 lots on October 24. Fine art was the most sought-after category during the sale, with jewelry and watches following behind in price. The auction totaled $318,938 in sales with a 91 percent buy-through rate.
The highest achieving lot was Guy Carleton Wiggins’ oil on canvas of a midtown New York City scene of Fifth Avenue in the snow. Wiggins was the son of American artist Carleton Wiggins (1848-1932), both of whom are represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other prominent American collections. Wiggins attended the National Academy of Design, where he was instructed by William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. Wiggins often painted New York City in his impressionistic style, as well as New England countryside scenes. The painting was in the consignor’s family collection for more than 70 years and sold, for possibly the first time at auction, to a Park Avenue collector for $55,200.
The second highest selling painting in the sale shares only its medium with the Wiggins’ canvas. An abstract landscape by Ram Kumar in warm, almost hot colors achieved $27,600 and third place overall. Kumar has been described as one of India’s foremost abstract painters and is associated with the Progressive artists’ group. He was born in a family of eight children, the son of an employee in the British Government. Kumar left his banking job in 1948 to pursue art, studying at the Sharda Ukil School of Art under Sailoz Mukherjee (1906-1960), later showing in international art fairs and earning a Rockefeller Scholarship to travel to the United States and Mexico. He was honored with a retrospective at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, in 1993. This painting was purchased directly from the artist by a Chicago-based collector and was consigned from a private Massachusetts estate.
Sculpture claimed the second highest price of the sale, a bronze titled “Le Jeu de Voile” by Antoine Bourdelle that bid to $31,200. Bourdelle began his career as a cabinet maker before studying at the Ãcole des Beaux-Arts in 1876, later working as his former instructor Auguste Rodin’s assistant from 1893 to 1906. Instead of focusing on realist casting of the human body, Bourdelle drew inspiration from archaic Greek and Gothic sculpture, which leant itself to this bronze of a woman veil dancing in antique costume. Bourdelle later worked as a teacher, instructing artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Henri Matisse. The consignor inherited the bronze from their aunt who may have purchased it during World War II in France while working as a war correspondent. It was purchased by a California collector who specializes in European bronze sculpture.
Jehangir Sabavala was the second Indian artist, and the only work on paper, in the top lots, an impressionistic study of a Grecian sculpture titled “Portrait of a Gentleman,” which sold online for $10,000. Unlike his contemporary Kumar, Sabavala was part of an affluent Parsi family with matrilineal aristocratic lineage who studied at Mumbai’s Sir J.J. School of Art in 1944, the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London and later in several French academies. His work is in several important private and public collections worldwide, and his paintings have fetched six figures at auction. This drawing was consigned by a Texas gentleman whose father purchased it directly from Sabavala in Mubai in the 1960s.
Prices are quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Bruneau & Co’s next sale will be on January 9, another double session featuring the third part of the single-owner couture collection and more fine and decorative arts. For more information, 401-533-9980 or www.bruneauandco.com.
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