Published: February 12, 2019
Review by W.A. Demers, Photographs Courtesy of Dallas Auction Gallery
DALLAS – On January 30, Dallas Auction Gallery (DAG) presented the first of three auctions featuring the art glass collection of the late John W. Lolley of Monroe, La. The collection is being dispersed in three separate sales owing to its sheer size, according to glass expert Bruce Orr, who cataloged it for the auction house. “John was a scholar, probably the number one source of knowledge about art glass, and he collected broadly. For glass, his collection was probably the largest ever assembled, roughly 20,000 pieces. He would buy nice things, but he would also buy examples that were just of academic interest. I don’t believe you could find a more diverse collection, said Orr.”
Lolley’s love of glass began in the late 1960s and continued until his death last year at the age of 81. In 2008, he was honored by Art and Antiques Magazine as one of the top 100 collectors in America. He was one of the founding members of the Mount Washington Art Glass Society and served as the president and secretary during his time as a member. In 1997, the Museum of New Orleans dedicated an entire exhibit to Lolley’s collection in a four-month presentation titled “La Belle Epoque.” The catalog from the exhibit is considered an anchor for any glass library.
The collection spans the history of glass from the Art Nouveau period of Galle, Daum and Tiffany to the current work of contemporary artists like Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra. “The scope of the collection and John’s need for academic accuracy made this a must-see for any glass collector,” said Scott H. Shuford, DAG’s president. “We did fine,” he said, after the sale. “The glass market has certainly changed over the years, but we had a number of collectors in the room and online for the sale.” He noted that overall the number of patrons in the gallery reflected the nature of nearly all live auctions these days, with between 50-60 in the gallery. Cataloger Orr estimated that probably 80 percent of the items in this first session went to collectors.
Condition is paramount to serious art glass collectors, and Shuford said that condition reports prepared for this sale constituted a “stack about a foot high.” He added, “Any kind of damage can affect the value, and there were some pieces that had some damage.”
Topping the collection, pricewise, was a Mount Washington colonial ware “Garden of Allah” three-handled glass vase. With its large, ovoid form, its decoration presented an Egyptian scene of camels and Bedouin, and it sold for $5,938. According to a Mount Washington appraisal website, colonial ware glass by Mount Washington is one of the more recognizable lines of glass that the company made. The background of the glass is always a rich shade of white, sometimes characterized as bone, ivory or milk colored. That palette makes the image of the camel and Bedouin stand out vividly.
A Tiffany agate glass vase with a cylindrical faceted form in variegated amber and green realized $4,688. It was signed “V295 LCT Favrile.”
St George battling the dragon is a favorite decorative arts meme, and a Mount Washington Royal Flemish handled ewer of ovoid form came decorated with a medallion of St George and the dragon. It was further adorned with a rope twist handle and was won on a bid of $4,375.
Fetching $4,063 was a Burgun Schverer French cameo glass vase. Its shoulder form in amber glass was decorated with mythological figures and enameled with an image of “Dreams of Hours” by Walter Crane. It was signed with etched Cross & Thistle and factory mark.
Orientalism reappeared in the sale with a Steuben plum jade large shoulder-form vase decorated in Oriental motif. It commanded $3,750.
DAG’s auction presented more than just the first offering of the Lolley collection. Also crossing the block was an array of antiques, fine art, vintage items and Asian art, which captured most of the top prices.
For example, a Chinese Qing Yong Zheng imperial blue and white plate with a scrolling lotus design and six-character mark of the period that reads “Great Qing Yong Zheng production” went out at $53,125.
Just behind it was a Galanos sable full-length coat that found a buyer at $50,000.
A pair of Chinese Republic famille rose porcelain vases depicting figures in landscapes, each having bat and peach handles, sold for $26,250. The seal mark reads “Shi Lu” (1912-1949) and the vases were raised on hardwood stands and set in the original box.
A Steinway grand piano Model M, raised on tapered legs with block feet and casters, serial number 502651, played to a final price of $13,750.
Additional Asian lots that performed well included a Chinese Ming gold lacquer bronze Buddha seated on a lotus throne, $13,750; a rare large Ming bronze bodhisattva with crown and seated on a lion and holding flowers, $12,500; a Chinese Qing carved spinach green jade vase depicting scrolling dragons, $11,875; and three Chinese Republic famille rose porcelain altar pieces, including a pair of candlesticks and an incense burner, each with fine enamel depicting dragons and flowers, six-character seal mark to underside of burner and raised on rosewood stands, $8,750.
Also earning $8,750 was a pair of Chinese Qing carved jadeite vases, finely carved to depict egrets and lotus on multiple color jadeite.
Rounding out the top ten lots was a Chinese Qing carved jade inlaid ruyi scepter with finely carved jade plaques, carved with lucky symbols and mounted on a hardwood frame. It was bid to $7,500.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The next two auctions are scheduled for March 20 and May 1.
For additional information, 214-653-3900, 866-653-3900 or www.dallasauctiongallery.com.
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