Published: September 28, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Carlsen Gallery
FREEHOLD, N.Y. – Time flies when you’re having fun, the saying goes, and Abby and Russ Carlsen, co-owners of Carlsen Gallery in this upstate New York town, chalked up 30 years of fast-paced auctioneering with their September 19 auction. In point of fact, the fun has been going on for 38 years, but the Carlsens commemorate their anniversary sales as ones they have been hosting at their gallery, which they have had now for 30 years. Old clients know where to find them, and new ones continue to discover them.
This sale, which totaled in excess of $400,000, offered period furniture, fine art by listed artists, sterling silver, crystal, estate jewelry and much more. Only three of the 410 lots passed, and when Antiques and The Arts Weekly contacted the gallery afterwards, Abby Carlson was writing up a post-auction sale of a table that had been passed. There were approximately 75 people in the gallery over the course of the day’s action, with about 1,400 bidding online and 150 phone and left bids.
Leading the lots on offer was an oil on canvas painting by Andre Brasilier (French, b 1929), “Le Bouquet Blanc,” which sold for $21,600, meeting its high estimate. The 21-by-29-inch composition of a white floral bouquet and pensive female figure had provenance to Findlay Gallery. Brasilier studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Art in Paris, where he currently lives and works.
Tripling its high estimate, a Nineteenth Century mural that had been plucked from a Rockefeller mansion in South Hampton, N.Y., sold for $10,800. Titled “Colonial Seaport,” the 63-by-99-inch work depicted a Colonial cove with ships and a fortified lighthouse in the distance and figures in period garb in the foreground. According to Russ Carlsen, the consignor purchased the Rockefeller mural on Long Island, and has owned it for many years.
More fine art in the sale included a painting of geese and fowl. An oil on canvas attributed to Jan Victors (1619-1679), “Geese & Fowl in a Yard,” measured 48 by 54 inches and had been sold previously by Sotheby’s in 1986. It finished at $7,200. Victors was a Dutch Golden Age painter mainly of history paintings of Biblical scenes, with some genre scenes, said to have possibly studied with Rembrandt van Rijn in the 1630s.
Fetching $5,700 was an oil on canvas of an autumn landscape, signed J.B. Bristol. The 1867 painting was titled “Late Afternoon in Autumn,” measured 18¾ by 34 inches and had provenance to the Graham Arader collection. John Bunyan Bristol (1826-1909) is counted among the White Mountains artists of New Hampshire. Although he studied briefly under portrait painter Henry Ary, he was primarily self-taught. He lived in New York City, but he traveled and painted throughout New England almost every summer. His work is preserved at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore.
A jewelry highlight was a diamond brooch that came up early in the sale. The circular brooch, approximately 8.5 total carat weight, featured stones set in platinum, with the center stone of approximately 1.5 carats. The SI1 “G” color piece measured 1.65 inches at its diameter and sold for $10,000.
The “magnificent seven,” a group of seven pieces of blown colored glass, surprised, trouncing their $100/300 estimate to find a buyer at $8,750. The selection included two amethyst and cobalt bottles and an aqua blue and amethyst cream pot, the tallest 5¼ inches high.
And if one was looking for quality stemware, 44 pieces of St Louis Excellence crystal stemware, hand cut and hand decorated, lined up for $8,400. There were eight water glasses, seven red wine glasses, seven champagnes, eight flutes, seven cordials and seven white wine glasses. Another dinner hosting element was satisfied by a Tiffany sterling “Chased Ivy” coffee set that was bid to $4,800. The three pieces – coffeepot, sugar and creamer – carried an 1853-1865, 550 Broadway, N.Y., mark and weighed approximately 70 troy ounces.
There were a couple of notable pieces of furniture among the sale’s top highlights. A set of 12 vintage Ralph Lauren horn back leather chairs with nailhead trim in green brought $8,400, while on the other end of the spectrum an early American Eighteenth Century spoon back chair with William and Mary turnings, 44 inches tall and 18¼ inches wide, found favor at $4,800.
Folks may be putting their gardens to bed now, but a forward-looking bidder plunked down $5,400 for a pair of cast stone garden statues, classical female and male figures standing 69 inches tall on 19-inch-square bases.
Rounding out the sale highlights in the decorative arts category were two late Eighteenth Century snuff boxes earning $8,750, a lot of concho belt medallions realizing $5,000, and a notable book crossing the block was McKenney & Hall’s History of Indian Tribes of North America, incomplete yet still bringing $5,000.
Speaking after the sale, Russ Carlsen expressed pleasure over some of the surprises across the block. “The concho belt had a $200/500 estimate and sold for $4,000 hammer. The snuff boxes had a $300/600 estimate and sold for $7,000 hammer, and the glass group had a $100/300 estimate and a $7,000 hammer. It’s a sword that cuts in both directions, though. We had what we would consider a sensational New York Pembroke table with bookend and icicle inlays that enjoyed a $1/3,000 estimate that sold for $300!”
Carlsen’s next sale, the last one for 2021, is being planned for late November or early December. Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.carlsengallery.com or 518-634-2466.
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