Published: October 13, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Cottone Auctions
GENESEO, N.Y. – At less than 250 lots, Cottone Auctions’ October 3 Fine Art & Antiques sale was smaller than most, but the results were anything but. With more than 95 percent of the lots selling, the sale achieved $2.6 million, which auctioneer and co-owner Matt Cottone said “was right up there” with some of the firm’s better sales. Bidding took place by phone and absentee bid, with online bidding available on LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable and CottoneLive, which Cottone said was the busiest platform during the auction. Cottone said he had buyers from eight countries and thought private collectors were the successful bidders on about 80 percent of the offerings.
Speaking after the sale, Cottone was candid. “I was thrilled with the results. I was pleased for our consignors – the Sheets and the Clarksons – who could have sent their things anywhere but gave us the opportunity.” He noted the sale had seen an uptick in the number of new bidders and was happy both with the new participation as well as what he described as a “core group of loyal customers” who routinely patronize their sales.
The two consignors Cottone named hailed from Buffalo, N.Y., and contributed substantially to the realized value of the auction. Mr and Mrs William M.E. Clarkson consigned just ten lots to the sale that achieved a total of more than $445,000, with all lots selling. The Clarksons’ collection was the source of the sale’s top lot, “Tree Tops and Mountain Peaks” by Rockwell Kent (American, 1882-1971), which saw trade competition early on but in the end, the Adirondack landscape easily surpassed its estimate and sold for $336,000 to a private collector from the Adirondacks who was bidding on Cottone’s dedicated auction platform, CottoneLive. Also, from the Clarkson collection was Wolf Kahn’s “Magenta Evening” from 1990, which closed to a private collector bidding on the phone for $42,000. A private collector in California acquired the top price for a piece of Asian art, taking a Nineteenth Century Chinese Kesi silk tapestry embroidered with an emperor and a peacock, for $19,800, nearly four times its low estimate.
Cottone described the late Buffalo collector, Jane F. Sheets as a world traveler and ahead of her time, collecting works in the 1970s before the artists became more widely recognized. Her estate contributed 30 lots to the sale but accounted for three of the top ten lots, including two works by Gabriele Münter (German, 1877-1962), both of which attracted international interest. Bringing $270,000 was “Dame im Park, Mariahalde,” a 1914 oil on board work that had been acquired from the Leonard Hutton Galleries in New York City. Münter’s “Dorfstrasse mit Huhn” closed out at $84,000, well past its $20/40,000 estimate. The works were acquired by two international buyers, each bidding on the phone.
The Sheets estate was the source of Alexander Calder’s 1966 gouache and ink on paper “Loose Yolks.” Cottone said it had a lot of “pop” and went to an American private collector bidding on the phone for $138,000. Other noteworthy results from the Sheets’ estate was Patrick Heron’s “Pink in Ultramarine: Mini: April 25: 1981,” that brought $18,000 from an international buyer on the phone and an Eighteenth Century Queen Anne double-domed walnut secretary bookcase that shot past its $3/5,000 estimate to sell to a New York State private collector for $11,700.
The second highest price in the sale – $294,000 – was achieved by a late Twentieth Century Cartier 7.55-carat diamond and platinum ring from the Godell-Hager estate in Buffalo that was accompanied by a GIA report and Cartier certificate. The ring’s estimate of $125/175,000 was strategically calculated to demonstrate salability and generate interest and it did both, with all available phone lines enlisted to sell it during the sale.
Works by Tiffany have featured prominently in several of Cottone’s recent sales, and this one was no different, with 22 lots of lighting and decorative smalls, from several different consignors, on offer. Cottone acknowledged this, saying “We’ve been fortunate to keep having choice examples in a category that is hard to get.” Leading the group was a Tiffany Studios Peony table lamp that sold to a New York City buyer, bidding on the phone, for $120,000; the same buyer acquired a Tiffany Studios “Woodbine” table lamp for $46,800. Rounding out the top Tiffany lots was a “great example” of an early Tiffany Studios Dogwood chandelier that a private collector near the Adirondacks took for $52,800.
Traditional fine and decorative arts saw some very strong results. A Renaissance Revival carved walnut side cabinet attributed to Luigi Frullini (Italian, 1839-1897) from a private Buffalo collection sold to a private collector bidding on the phone from the Pacific Northwest Coast for $30,000, twice its high estimate. An Asian buyer bidding online took a pair of late Nineteenth Century Meissen porcelain cobalt blue ground enameled vases for $25,800.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Cottone Auctions’ next Art & Antiques sale is scheduled for November 13-14. Cottone Auctions is at 120 Court Street. For information, 585-243-1000 or www.cottoneauctions.com.
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