Published: October 15, 2019
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack, Additional Photos Courtesy of CRN Auctions
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. – Carl Nordblom and Karin Philips of CRN Auctions advertise their sales as “varied,” and the October 6 sale was exactly that. It included American formal and painted furniture, paintings, silver, midcentury furniture and accessories, toys, European furniture, Asian items, Louis Vuitton trunks, bronzes and Oriental rugs. An early Twentieth Century room-size Serapi carpet, nearly 12 feet by 21 feet, brought the highest price of the day at $24,000. Phone lines were active throughout the day, two internet platforms were in use and the 60 or so buyers in the room bought a good deal of the merchandise.
CRN sales usually begin with fine art, and the first lot in this sale got the day off to a good start. Selling well above its estimate at $11,400 to a phone bidder was a mountain landscape by Asher B. Durand (1796-1886). Measuring 24 by 18 inches, it was cataloged as “needing cleaning.” Works by Durand, a member of the Hudson River School, hang in several museums, and some of his paintings have sold in the seven figures. A few minutes later, a colorful abstract still life by French artist Claude Venard (1913-1999) brought $20,400, also well above its estimate. An American abstract titled “China Blue X” by Edward Moses (1926-2018), earned $9,000. Moses was one of the foremost postwar abstract painters of California, working with the generation of Los Angeles artists who came to be known as the “Cool School.” Two paintings by American Charles Herbert Woodbury (1864-1940), known for paintings of the New England coast, were sold. The first, a scene of Boston’s Beacon Hill, earned $12,000. The second, a coastal scene in Ogunquit, Maine, where the artist spent his summers and founded an art colony, earned $3,300. Two works by Canadian artist Alexander Young Jackson (1882-1974) also did well, with one titled “St Simon, Quebec,” bringing $15,600. The second, a coastal landscape with caped figures, earned $10,200.
Nordblom likes American furniture, and this sale had a good selection, most selling within estimates. But an unusual Boston Sheraton mahogany game board table with an inlaid tiger maple and rosewood game board and with reeded legs on casters, did better, tripling its estimate and finishing at $6,600. Selling mid-estimate was a nice grain painted Pennsylvania corner cupboard. It had a scrolled bonnet top above tombstone-shaped glazed doors, a double paneled door below, on large ogee feet. It sold for $5,100.
A Chippendale walnut armchair from Pennsylvania with a splat back, scrolled arms, finely carved knees on cabriole legs and ball and claw feet sold for $2,128. A pair of carved Pennsylvania Chippendale side chairs, with shaped crestrails and carved shell and knuckle carved ears, slip seats and cabriole legs with carved knees ending in ball and claw feet sold for the same price. There were some disappointments and good buys in this category as a Rhode Island Queen Anne single dropleaf table failed to sell and a small Federal inlaid mahogany sideboard, cataloged as 1800, eastern Massachusetts, possibly Seymour workshop, with good color, original inset grained white marble top, brought only $1,320, well below the estimate. Some English and Irish furniture did better than expected. An English George III inlaid mahogany card table with a rotating top nearly tripled its estimate, finishing at $2,520, and an Irish George II game table with a serpentine top, candle slides and ornately carved cabriole leg, earned $3,600.
Changing with the times, the sale included midcentury items and was topped by a Claude Conover (1907-1994) studio pottery vessel made in the Cleveland area, signed Claude Conover and titled “Yokol,” with his typical incised horizontal line decoration. It was 12 inches tall and realized $3,600. Conover’s pottery has been included in numerous exhibitions and is in several museum collections. A low table signed Philip Kelvin Laverne, with a shaped top incised with dogwood floral patterns, on bronze legs, 16½ inches high, reached $3,600. Swedish glass and ceramics included two lots, each with three pieces of ceramics made by Stig Lindberg (1916-1982), all with yellow peacock feather design. One lot brought $420 and the other brought $450. A lot of three pieces of glass by Ulrica Hydman-Vallien (b 1938) surprisingly was passed. Her pieces can be found in the collections of the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. From earlier in the Twentieth Century, a 16½-inch Daum Nancy Art Deco-style vase brought $1,200, and one of several pieces of Galle cameo glass, this one with dark purple water lilies, reached $480.
Other highlights of the sale included several pieces of silver, including a 16-inch sterling silver covered urn by Arthur Stone that sold for $7,800 and a large Gorham sterling tray that had been given as a prize in the Eastern Yacht Club race in 1907. It earned $5,100. An unusual silver door escutcheon plate, dating to Eighteenth Century Peru, heart-shaped with a double-headed eagle, earned $2,400. Ceramics included several pieces of armorial Chinese export porcelain, and one of the surprises of the day – a blue and white Chinese tile that was simply cataloged as Nineteenth Century or earlier. It was a little over 10 inches square, painted with mountains and figures in a landscape. But Asian items are difficult to estimate accurately, and the tile, estimated $400/600, realized $15,600 from a buyer in China. Although it was not the highest priced bronze in the sale, Nordblom, during the preview, had said that a 14-inch bronze of a champion Newfoundland dog, identified as Champion Waseeka’s Sea King and signed on the base Marguerite Kirmse (1885-1904), was one his favorite items in the sale. It realized $7,200.
A few days afterward, Nordblom said it was a good sale. “We did about a half million dollars, and there were nice surprises like the Chinese tile. I’m glad that we’ve diversified. That way, if one category is weak, we make up for it with another category. I was surprised at the price the tea caddies brought, and the bronzes did well. And we’re seeing more and more things selling to internet bidders. So, overall, I’d have to say I’m very happy with results.”
Prices given include the buyer’s premium, as stated by the auction house. For information, 617-661-9582 or www.crnauctions.com.
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