Published: March 15, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy A.N. Abell Auction Company
LOS ANGELES – Abell Auction presented a fine art, antiques, Twentieth Century design and jewelry auction on March 6. The online sale featured personally owned items, furnishings and art from influential figures in Hollywood, including Jim Belushi, Gordon Carroll, Chuck Fries, James Garner, Dustin Hoffman and Don Rickles. Totaling more than $3 million, the sale was 90 percent sold and hosted more than 18,000 registered bidders on three online platforms – LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable and Abell’s own platform. “At one time we had more than 2,000 bidders actively participating,” said Patrick Abell, director of client services.
Bragging rights for top lot easily went to a cast iron block work by British artist Antony Gormley (b 1950). “Shy V,” 2008, more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $780,000. From a private estate and signed AG to its underside, the pensively standing humanoid had provenance to Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, with the artist’s certificate of authenticity. Originally photographed by Steven White, London, “Shy V,” 18¼ by 15¼ by 70½ inches, was exhibited in 2009 in “ATAXIA II” at the, Salzburg, Austria, gallery. Abell said it is entering a private Texas collection.
Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space. Creator of “Angel of the North,” a public sculpture in Gateshead in the north of England, commissioned in 1994 and erected in February 1998, his block forms stacked within tightly packed body volumes twist, turn or fold about their own axes and in spite of the sharp material clarity of the steel blocks, betray a sense of vulnerability and exposure. Gormley’s work has been widely exhibited throughout the United Kingdom and internationally with many exhibitions. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994, and in 1997 he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) and was made a knight in the New Year’s Honors list in 2014. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, an honorary doctor of the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Trinity and Jesus Colleges, Cambridge. Gormley has been a Royal Academician since 2003.
A big surprise was an acrylic painting of “Alien” by H.R. Giger (1920-2014) from the Beverly Hills estate of Gordon Carroll (producer of Alien), which did even better with regard to expectations, bringing $175,000 against an estimate of $10/15,000. The 1978 acrylic on paper was signed and dated lower right, inscribed “For Gordon Carroll” and measured 23 by 25¾ inches framed. It is returning to Switzerland and into a private collection.
Fetching $42,000 and from the Beverly Hills, Calif., estate of Hollywood actress Gloria Warren Gold, an oil on canvas “Il Chiromante (The Fortune Teller)” by Vittorio Reggianini (1858-1938) depicted an interior domestic scene with two well-dressed women having their fortunes told by a handsome young palm reader. Relined, signed lower left and titled on plaque, the painting was framed, 34 by 42 inches.
“River Boat” by Noah Purifoy (1917-2004) sailed way past its $3/5,000 estimate to command $36,000. It was a mixed media assemblage, including burnt wood, acrylic, stencil and color felt on a plywood board. Unsigned, titled to label verso and measuring 11 by 14 inches, it came from the Freund estate of Beverly Hills.
There was also a screenprint in colors by Sam Francis (1923-1994). “Meteorite,” 1986, on Arches cover paper was signed in pencil, numbered 18/65 (there were also 14 artist’s proofs) and was bid to $27,000. The work was published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, with the firm’s blindstamps and ink stamp on the reverse, and measured 72 by 42 inches.
Asian arts highlights included a pair of Nineteenth Century Chinese porcelain stem cups and bowl that rose to $87,500, surpassing a $30,000 high estimate. Each was marked and dated 1839 and stamped “China.” Provenance was from the Straus estate in Beverly Hills. One of the cups had a repair to the rim, the cups were 12 inches in diameter, 13 inches high; the bowl was 17 inches diameter, 8½ inches high.
Settling at more than ten times its high estimate, a large Russian Imperial Porcelain Factory urn left the gallery at $72,000. Its oviform body was hand painted on each side with foliate scrolls flanking a medallion surmounted by winged horses on a blue-ground band within raised gilt borders. Mounted on a gilt metal plinth, it measured overall 14 inches wide by 30½ inches high with a base 10 inches square.
And in furniture, a pair of John Dickinson occasional tables from the estate of James Garner went out at $13,500. Made by Randolph & Hein, circa 1978, the tables featured leather over wood and lacquered wood. Proceeds will benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and World Wildlife Fund.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house.
Abell’s next sale is set for March 17 and will present additional items from the Jim Belushi and James Garner estates. In April at a date to be announced, property from the collection of Kristy Moeller Ottinger, known for her narrative art quilts, will cross the block. For information, 323-724-8102 or www.abell.com.
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