Published: March 7, 2023
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Cordier Auctions & Appraisals
HARRISBURG, PENN. – The photograph of the Wright Flyer from 1903 and fabric segment offered at Cordier Auctions on February 25 included an inscription by Orville Wright that reads, “This little piece of wing covering did its part in lifting the plane in this flight. O.W.” The rare artifact consigned to Cordier Auctions by a York, Penn., individual whose grandmother, Mrs John (Bess) Daugherty, served on the Wright library board of directors with Orville Wright from 1923 to 1946, was the sale’s top lot, lofting to $13,200 and going to a New York dealer.
Also included in the family’s consignment was a large photographic image of the Wright Flyer and hangar at Kitty Hawk along with Christmas cards from Orville Wright to the Daugherty family.
The historical archive was the top lot in Cordier’s fine and decorative arts auction, which also featured “La Mariee” by Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968) and a Thomas Moser Windward sofa and chair. “We had 827 registered bidders online,” said Melanie Hartman, Cordier’s director of catalog and specialty auctions. The auction was on both Invaluable and LiveAuctioneers.
“La Mariée(The Bride)” by Duchamp and Jacques Villon (Gaston Duchamp, French, 1875-1963) was a print based on a 1912 painting by Duchamp, who reduced his “bride” to a dehumanized, mechanized abstraction in a typically provocative jab at established art norms. The etcher, Villon, was Duchamp’s brother. “The Bride” was a companion painting to Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase,” which scandalized New York audiences at the 1913 Armory Show. The outrage only spurred Duchamp to sell four paintings and immigrate to the United States in 1915. He connected with adventurous collector Katherine Dreier and the experimental painter Man Ray, and together they established the Société Anonyme in 1920 to promote the avant-garde. This aquatint on wove paper, signed in pencil by both Duchamp and Villon, was numbered 194 from the edition of 200. It sold for $6,600.
Jewelry hounds found much to like about a Victorian 14K gold and seed pearl slide chain, taking it to $3,120. It was a double link chain with tassel fob and monogrammed enameled slide set with a 4mm seed pearl. Chain, slide, jump rings and tassel all tested 14K; the clasp was gold-filled. At 71 inches long, its slide was ¾ inches wide and tassel measured 2¼ inches long.
A more down to earth lot at $3,000 was a Thomas Moser Windward leather sofa and armchair. Cherry with black leather cushions and open-work arms and backs, the couch was 51¾ inches wide by 29¾ inches deep by 27½ inches high, while the chair was 28 inches wide, 29¾ inches deep and 27½ inches high.
Stunning and unusual, a watercolor scroll by Zheng Daqian (Chinese/American, 1899-1983) came from a local consignor’s family collection. The female figure in the ink and color on paper has her back to the viewer. With two of the artist’s seals and measuring 52½ by 27 inches, the scroll left the gallery at $2,640.
Fetching $2,520 was an eight-piece sterling Georgian-style coffee and tea set. All pieces were sterling and marked for Adie Brothers Ltd., Birmingham, 1932. The set included a chafing stand and hot water pot on the scroll footed stand, coffee pot, tea pot, chocolate pot, cream and sugar and waste bowl. All were monogrammed “S” and the pots were fitted with wood handles. Total weight was 156.4 troy ounces.
Lehnware fans liked a covered Lehnware footed saffron cup that was in very good condition, pushing it to $1,560. The 5½-inch-high wooden cup with detachable top and decorated with a blue, green and red base with decorative plants, flowers and strawberries was attributed to Joseph Long Lehn (1798-1892) of Lancaster County, Penn.
Rounding out the sale’s notable lots, a Charles II beadwork panel from a Manhattan family realized $1,440, while four John Trott Sr coin silver spoons brought $960. In the beadwork piece, Charles II and Catherine Braganza were depicted between two castles and beasts. In a simple wood frame, it measured 8 by 12 inches. The four Eighteenth Century coin silver serving spoons were each monogrammed to the top of the handle and marked to the back “J. Trott.” Jonathan Trott Sr was active in Boston from the 1750s until the early 1800s.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The firm’s next fine and decorative arts auction will be on May 20. For more information, www.cordierauction.com or 717-731-8662.
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