Published: July 25, 2006
Cincinnati Art Galleries’ Keramics 2006/Art Glass 2006/Rookwood XVI Auction of pottery and art glass took place last month and, as has become a tradition, enjoyed an enthusiastic group of collectors, devotees and dealers coming together for the three-session event, which consisted of more than 1,300 lots. Bidding was accomplished in person, through absentee bids, via telephone lines and through eBay’s Live Auctioneers, and each method was well utilized.
The Sunday portion of the auction was the two-year anniversary of Cincinnati Art Galleries breaking its own record for highest price paid for American art pottery at auction, when a large Black Iris vase decorated with cranes and with electroplated copper and silver shatter the previous record, also held by Cincinnati Art Galleries, selling for $350,750. In this sale, another Black Iris glaze vase was offered, this one standing 21 1/2 inches tall with carved and painted decoration by Matt Daly. It was consigned by the family of one of the Rookwood Pottery’s last owners and had been in the Rookwood Museum for many years. This was the first time it had ever been offered for sale. After spirited bidding, it sold for $201,250, making it the second most expensive piece of American art pottery ever sold at auction.
Saturday morning was the Keramics portion, featuring American, British and Continental ceramics. Roseville pottery began the day and some stars became obvious. Two rare Cremo vases were offered, one, with a repair, bringing $2,070, more than twice the high estimate, the other selling for $2,530. A rare Elephant lamp vase, based on an Egypto form, went at $3,105. A rare Artcraft floor vase sold for $8,050. A rare Blue Louwelsa vase, decorated by Claude Leffler, sold for $5,060, while a large Eocean vase with a water lily went for $6,038. A rare and important Hudson Scenic by Mae Timberlake displayed a panorama of Florence, Italy, and sold for just over $31,000.
A neat Overbeck vase, from Cambridge City, Ind., had a strongArts and Crafts feel. It sold for $13,225. Newcomb College pieceswere led by a 12 1/2-inch scenic vase by Anna Frances Simpson,which made $14,375.
British ceramics fared well. A De Morgan circular plaque with stylized florals covered with a luster glaze sold for $2,070, while a De Morgan compote with a dragon made more than $6,600. A Martin Brothers 9 1/2-inch vase with incised design of orchids, hummingbirds and dragonflies brought $3,910. A monumental Gouda vase, made in 1901 and featuring an Art Nouveau design, brought $4,285 and a Wiener Werkstätte double candelabrum designed by Vally Wieselthier brought $2,415.
Art glass came to the forefront on Saturday afternoon with bidders actively embracing more than 300 diverse lots of American, European and contemporary glass. A notable Thomas Webb & Sons cameo vase, 12 3/4 inches tall, masterfully decorated with ornamental acanthus foliage silhouetted upon a shapely golden raisin form, realized $14,375 from an excited admirer. A sleek 14 3/4-inch Val St Lambert vase featuring bumblebees gathering nectar from pussy willow stalks, in cameo, buzzed to $3,795.
A number of contemporary glass lots aroused noticeable interest and strong bids. A hefty 10 1/2-inch paperweight vase by the innovative Mark Peiser, which showed a tropical garden encased within the thick walls, achieved $21,850. A sculpture titled “Tension Released” by Harvey Littleton, acknowledged as the father of the renewed glass movement and done in patriotic colors of red, white and blue, stretched to $14,950.
Tiffany, legendary for its high quality, always appeals to collectors. A 17 7/8-inch vase fitted within a gilt bronze base and bearing enameled insets intrigued a bidder to pay $5,060. A ginger jar by Victor Durand featuring feathers combed across the surface went to $7,188. A choice pair of Steuben chamber sticks in blue Aurene charmed $3,565 from the winning bidder.
Sunday morning brought the Rookwood sale and extra chairswere deployed for the enthusiastic gathering who came to witnessthe sale of more than 550 lots from the famed Cincinnati pottery.Early on, a very unusual vellum vase, decorated in 1917 by SaraSax, who used heavy slip to detail Art Nouveau flowers, sold for$6,900. A painted mat vase done by Harriet Wilcox in 1903 withyellow Japanese irises made $19,550. A small but jewel-like Frenchred vase with incised and painted decoration brought $9,488, whilea larger example with bright flowers against a black ground brought$19,550. A handsome scenic vellum 12-inch vase showing cattlewatering in a stream cruised to $36,225.
Another pleasant surprise was a Carl Schmidt Iris glaze showing finely detailed mushrooms, accompanied by an original receipt showing the price in 1911 to have been $40. With a $9/12,000 estimate, it sold to a floor bidder for $44,850. A rare and important fireplace surround, done in the painted mat style by Sallie Toohey, circa 1903, showed life-size lotus blossoms, stems and pads. It sold for $60,375.
Prices reported include buyer’s premium.
Cincinnati Art Galleries is currently accepting consignments for its holiday sale, which will be conducted November 5 and 6. For information, 513-381-2128 or www.cincyart.com.
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