Published: November 22, 2022
LARCHMONT, N.Y. – Important paintings, fine jewelry and decorative objects ranging from Japanese vases to tiny gold boxes drove Clarke Auction Gallery’s October 29-30 auction to a grand total of more than $1.5 million. “Everything we put up did well, they were good and fresh, and fresh was the key,” said owner and auctioneer Ronan Clarke. He noted many of the top lots went to the phones, and bidding was quite competitive on many lots.
The top lot came early on in the first session amid a strong group of paintings and was a signed Roberto Matta (Chilean, 1911-2020) oil on canvas, “Se Conduire,” which attained $57,500 that came out of a Greenwich estate. The 23-by-28-inch painting sparked bidding between five phone bidders before it was down to one. The parade of fine paintings across the block continued with a signed Ivan Fedorovich Choultse (Russian, 1874-1939) oil on canvas, “Garden,” that did well at $35,000; an Orville Bulman (American, 1904-1978) oil on canvas, “Les Très Bon Jour,” that brought $30,000.
Some say furniture and “brown wood” is soft and indeed there is evidence to support this claim, but rare and unusual pieces will always perform well. Such was the case with an Arthur Espenet Carpenter mushroom chest that more than doubled its high estimate to achieve $17,500. The rare piece, standing 42 inches tall, is circa 1970 and was signed twice. “It was beautiful in person and did super,” Clarke said, adding that they had previously auctioned a pair of Carpenter stands from a consignor, so he offered up a chest in this auction.
The first session featured several popular collecting categories but day two was dominated by fine jewelry, especially diamonds. Clarke organized the two-day specifically to make the second session a jewelry auction, accented by silver and a few decorative smalls like snuff bottles and gold boxes. Whitney Bria, Clarke’s jewelry specialist, was very excited to curate her first jewelry auction instead of having these items just be part of a regular auction. “It was very successful for us, and what’s even more notable is that the vast majority of this collection was antique jewelry, and I was seeing the bidding trending to this,” she said. Bria explained that contemporary or couture jewelry always attracts a strong following, so it was great to see buyers respond to these antique pieces. “Several lots flew past estimate, and a lot of colored stones did well in addition to diamond jewelry,” she added, describing bidding as slow and steady. The top lot in this session was a nearly 5-carat diamond and platinum ring that attained $30,000 and it was followed by a 14K gold, diamond, ruby and emerald floral spray brooch that surpassed its $2/3,000 estimate to fetch $22,500.
Enameled gold boxes always perform well, but those from the Hollis estate exceeded Bria’s expectations; she commented, “He only bought the best and he bought beautiful things.” Buyers latched onto a Swiss 18K yellow gold and enamel snuff box with cut corners and enamel decoration. Another standout of a box here was a Continental (likely German) 18K gold, mother-of-pearl, colored gem and diamond hinged box with gilt pique decoration and set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds in a floral motif. Both boxes handily swept past their high estimates to fetch $10,625 each.
Prices include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Clarke’s Holiday Estate Fine Jewelry, Art & Antique auction will occur on December 18. For information, www.clarkeny.com or 914-833-8336.
November 29, 2022
November 29, 2022
November 29, 2022
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