Published: June 14, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Clarke Auction Gallery
LARCHMONT, N.Y. – Clarke Auction Gallery’s spring estates sale on June 3 totaled just under $1 million and was loaded with fine art, vintage timepieces, jewelry, Asian antiquities, Persian carpets and more. Owner Ron Clarke figured the sell-through was about 85 percent, with gallery attendance of about 40 patrons, plus the thousands that line up on online platforms like LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable and Bidsquare. The premier lots were a woodcut and screenprint by Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997) and a portrait of a lady by German artist Julie Wolfthorn (1864-1944) Both finished at $30,000.
The Lichtenstein, “Imperfect Print for B.A.M.,” 1987, was signed and dated lower right. “No. 67” from an edition of 75 came from a White Plains, N.Y., collection. It is entering the collection of a West Coast bidder for $30,000. The Wolfthorn oil on canvas portrait, from a New Rochelle, N.Y., collection, outperformed its $6/9,000 estimate and is going back to Germany. “We had a lot of action on that one,” said Clarke. “We had a lot of room left on the left bids.” Known best for her portraits, Wolfthorn was one of the leading female artists at the start of the Twentieth Century, along with Käthe Kollwitz and Dora Hitz. She created portraits of hundreds of famous people from her time from Berlin, including many female activists.
An Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987) screenprint, “Brooklyn Bridge,” 1983, finished at $23,650, slightly above its low estimate. Pencil signed lower left, it was “No. 40” from an edition of 200 and, like the Lichtenstein, stemmed from the White Plains collection. Its dimensions were 38½ by 38½ inches. Warhol was commissioned to create this iconic work for the Brooklyn Bridge’s 100th anniversary. Warhol’s depiction of the bridge gives a playful humor to the celebration of the structure in his distinct style. Additionally, Warhol’s image served as the official artwork for the citywide event.
Fetching the same price as the Warhol but world’s away in terms of setting and aesthetics was an oil on canvas Orientalist scene by Fabio Fabbi (Italian, 1861-1946) depicting five exotically garbed women in a courtyard with fountain and peacock. Signed lower right, the 23¾-by-31½-inch painting came from a Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., collection. Fabbi, in addition to his Orientalist paintings, illustrated the works of Virgil and Lodovico Ariosto, as well as Italian translations of works by Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, among many others.
Surpassing its $4/6,000 estimate to bring $22,500 was Emily Mason’s (American, 1932-2019) colorful oil on paper abstract work, “As Sounding,” 1982. In a New York Times obituary Mason was described as “known for creating abstract works by a process she liked to call ‘letting a painting talk to you.'” She was the daughter of the artist Alice Trumbull Mason (American, 1904-1971) and the wife of Wolf Kahn (German American, 1927-2020) but she forged her own path by creating abstract works that showed colors at play. From an East Coast collection, the painting, 26 by 20 inches, was signed and dated lower right.
Another abstract lot, a pair of oils on canvas in crimson hues, were a surprise because they were signed illegibly and expected to bring just $500/700. They jumped that estimate and realized $18,750. From a New Jersey collection, their dimensions ranged from 15 by 15 inches to 16 by 15 inches.
Although the sale’s strength was in fine art, it was not all paintings. A monumental dore bronze French clock garniture set took $20,000, more than twice its high estimate, while a vintage men’s Rolex Submariner stainless steel watch went out at $12,500. The garniture’s clock movement was set in marble and held up by five cherubs among vine and grapes and raised on a marble base. The candelabra had two cherubs and a tree with a dove raised on the marble base with bronze bun feet. The Rolex had a production year of 1978 and featured a 44mm stainless case (including crown) with a stainless bezel. It had a black dial with a white minute ring luminous arrow marker along with a combination of baton and round indexes on a stainless steel Oyster bracelet with double-fold clasp.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Next sale is July 10, featuring a painting by Irish-born America-based artist Sean Scully (b 1945) painter, printmaker, sculptor and photographer. For additional information, www.clarkeny.com or 914-833-8336.
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