LOS ANGELES — Abell Auction presented a fine art, antiques, Twentieth Century design and jewelry auction on May 22. The online sale featured property from prominent California estates, including the estate of David Karpeles, Montecito; a collection of Americana that hailed from the estate of Sally Rhodes, Corona del Mar; and a collection of Chinese appointments from a San Diego collection. Totaling more than $2.8 million, the sale was more than 85 percent sold, and hosted more than 10,000 registered bidders on three online platforms — LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable and Abell’s own platform.
The top lot of the sale was a 1966 mixed media by Betye Sarr, which went more than ten times over the high estimate to sell for $162,000. The piece came out of a Los Angeles estate and was sold to another local collector.
Betye Saar (b 1926) is a Los Angeles-based sculptor and installation artist of African, Indian and Irish heritage. Saar’s work covers personal, cultural and magical expression based on her own childhood experiences and social commentary experienced by the African American population. The piece that sold at Abell’s was constructed of a salvaged window frame enclosing a symbolic paper collage. The window-series by Saar comes from the pivotal first decade of her career, marking the change in her preferred medium: from printmaking to collage and assemblage. “Rather than someone simply engaged in the exploration of aesthetic processes and formulations like so many contemporary artists,” reads her AskART biography. “Saar gives the impression of being a mystic with heightened symbolic awareness of the mysteries and meanings inherent in life and art. Her early boxes were filled with objects that she believed contained the power inherent in natural forces.”
Estate jewelry also brought big results . The top jewelry lot was a 6.56-carat Martin Katz emerald-cut diamond ring, which achieved $144,000. A rare blue diamond weighing 2 carats brought $108,000. Art Deco jewelry pieces in the sale also fetched impressive prices. A platinum and diamond double-clip brooch by famed American jeweler Raymond Yard more than doubled the low estimate, bringing $21,250. A unique Cartier Art Deco platinum, diamond and onyx convertible line bracelet also more than doubled the low estimate, ultimately settling at $36,000.
Other highlights included a series of charcoal and pencil on paper drawings by Norman Rockwell. All of these pieces came out of the Montecito estate of David Karpeles of the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. The four Rockwell drawings totaled $106,250, with all selling to online bidders.
From the estate of Sally Rhodes of Corona del Mar, Calif., came an important American sponge-painted blanket chest, circa 1830s, Bucks County, Penn.; it more than doubled the high estimate, fetching $15,000. The chest is one of six known and owned by Howard and Jean Lipman, originally purchased at Sotheby’s New York in 1981. This piece was exhibited at Whitney Museum of Art, New York 1974, “The Flowering of American Folk Art,” and traveling exhibition of the same name at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 1974, and Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco: M.H. de Young Museum.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Abell’s next quarterly fine art auction will take place this fall. For information, www.abell.com or 323-724-8102.