Published: April 20, 2016
GENESEO, N.Y. — Cottone Auctions celebrated 30 years in business in style with a 519-lot sale March 19 that grossed around $1.7 million. Leading the charge was a porcelain enamel on steel work by renowned Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein “Modern Painting in Porcelain” that attained $189,750. Works by Alexander Calder also did well, as did Tiffany lamps.
The auction drew a capacity crowd of more than 150 people in the auction gallery, while about 2,000 others participated online. Hundreds of absentee bids were recorded and a bank of a dozen phones was kept busy throughout the day, especially for the better items.
“Needless to say, we were pleased with the outcome of this sale, conveniently coinciding with our 30-year anniversary,” said Matt Cottone of Cottone Auctions. “We decided to pack all 500-plus lots into one busy day, and that may have contributed to the excitement and the success. There was more a sense of urgency to bid now and buy now, without that second day.”
The auction was billed as a fine art and antiques auction, and it featured original artworks by Lichtenstein, Calder, Josef Albers and Wendell Castle; Tiffany lamps; period furniture; and more. The items were consistent with Cottone auctions past: choice merchandise pulled from prominent estates and collections. Much of it was fresh to the market, never before offered.
Four artworks by Lichtenstein (1923–1997) came up for bid, all from the estate of Molly McGreevey, the former actress and contemporary art collector. The aforementioned top lot was signed on the reverse and numbered (3/6). Done in 1967, it measured 34½ by 45 inches and utilized various colors, lines and forms to create an abstract composition in the artist’s trademark style.
Three market-fresh gouache and ink on paper works by Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976) also came up for bid. “Segmented Spiral,” 1974, signed lower right and measuring 29½ by 43¼ inches, fetched $100,625; while another, simply titled “R,” 1975, artist signed and measuring 43 by 14½ inches, hit $63,250. Works by Calder are always in high demand.
A vinylite on plywood board by the German-born American artist Josef Albers (1888–1976), titled “Structural Constellation F-8,” 1953, wowed the crowd before gaveling for $55,200. The work measured 17 by 22½ inches and was artist signed on the reverse. Albers was known for his serial geometric, nonobjective painting.
From the Twentieth Century category, a fine and rare stack laminated walnut trompe l’oeil table, crafted in 1978 by Wendell Castle (American, b 1932) and purchased by Dr J. Raymond Hinshaw, former chief of surgery at Rochester General Hospital (N.Y.), hammered for $51,750. The table, which was 40 inches tall, was signed and dated on the underside by Castle.
A fine grouping of fresh-to-the-market Tiffany lamps was led by a leaded glass, bronze and glass ball lamp that illuminated the room for $72,450. The 29-inch-tall example had a signed shade and base and boasted reticulated bronze work and fine glass balls. A Tiffany Studios Daffodil lamp with a bronze patinated base and 25-inch shade, both signed, 25 inches tall, made $35,650.
An interesting item in the sale was the Egyptian carved basalt stone dating to around 600 BC and measuring 17 by 10 inches. The stone, from the estate of Professor M.H. Abrams of Cornell University, was initially assigned an estimate of a few thousand dollars. A 1971 sales receipt for the object from Bernheimer’s in Camden, Mass., soon shed new light on its potential worth and drove the final price up to $110,400.
Returning to artwork, a watercolor painting by renowned American artist Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009), “Fishnets, Nova Scotia,” 1960, signed, 15 by 20 inches (sight), brought $63,250. An oil on panel by Canadian artist Bertram Charles (BC) Binning (1909–1976), “Signals at Night,” signed lower left, titled and dated 1952 on the reverse, went for $23,000.
Cottone Auctions’ next big sale is a two-day event planned for the weekend of May 20–21. Already consigned is an important collection of rare coins, plus original artwork, period furniture, fine decorative accessories and more.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.cottoneauctions.com or 585-243-1000.
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