Published: October 2, 2018
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – With a hurricane bearing down on North Carolina’s coast some 350 miles from Asheville, the staff at Brunk Auctions justifiably had some concerns about whether the storm would negatively impact their September 14-15 Premier Catalog Sale, but in the end, the weather held, and the auction went ahead as planned. “A Woman in Green” by German artist Karl Hofer, sold for $180,000 to claim the top-lot honor in Brunk’s auction.
The 1,400-lot, three-session, two-day event produced total sales of $2,575,938. Speaking after the sale, Andrew Brunk, the firm’s president and principal auctioneer said, “We had almost record registration for the sale. Most gratifying was the international interest, and we saw strong action on great modern things. In the face of the concerns about the hurricane, we were thrilled to have one of our best sales of the year, with very strong interest across the board. It’s good to see that there’s life on the market.”
The painting by Hofer, an important figure in the German Expressionist movement, was a gift from the artist to the consigner’s mother in the 1940s. He was the first German to win first prize at the Carnegie International Exhibition but was forbidden to exhibit in Germany when he was considered a “degenerate” artist during the Nazi regime.
A whirlwind of nine competitive bidders pushed the final price for a work by Le Pho (1907-2001), “Mère et l’enfant” to more than three time its high estimate ($30/50,000), when it sold for $162,000. Le Pho was a French-Vietnamese painter best known for his stylized depictions of nudes, gardens and floral still life paintings. His work succeeded in merging Impressionism, Surrealism and traditional Chinese painting into a sensual yet disconcerting vision of Eden.
From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, with proceeds to benefit the Acquisitions Fund, a Pieter Schenk, Nova Totius Americae Tabula, Amsterdam, circa 1680, after Jan Mathisz (1627-1687) brought in a sale price of $100,000. An extraordinary map with only three known copies, this copy was generally considered the best extant example.
A circa 1786 portrait of Francis, Lord Rawdon-Hastings, by Gilbert Stuart went to a private floor bidder at $76,800. Hastings, who led the British forces in Charleston and one of the most active and gallant figures in the American War of Independence, has returned to the South once again.
From a Virginia private collection, a pair of aesthetic movement bronze planters astonished the crowd when the lot reached $72,000, more than 12 times its high estimate to an international phone bidder.
One of the most highly contested lots in the auction was a Tiffany & Company platinum diamond ring, which sparked bids from 16 collectors before reaching well above the high estimate and selling for $55,200 to a private phone bidder.
Other strong results included “St Tropez” by Moise Kisling (French/Polish, 1891-1953), which sold for $57,600; Andre Lhotè’s (French, 1885-1962), “Nu dans le paysage,” circa 1923, which closed at $52,800; a watercolor on paper work titled “Light of Charleston” by Stephen Scott Young (American, b 1957), signed upper left corner “SS Young,” achieved $43,200; and a three-stone platinum diamond ring with a center princess cut diamond that finished at $26,400.
All prices cited include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Brunk Auctions next premier catalog auction will be November 15-17 in Asheville.
For additional information, www.brunkauctions.com or 828-254-6846.
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