Published: August 6, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Andrew Jones Auctions
LOS ANGELES — In the COVID era, Andrew Jones Auctions has found the right formula for a successful sale: frequent (read monthly) auctions of tightly curated, fresh-to-the-market antiques and works of art. It is a strategy the company, which will celebrate just two years of sales in September, deployed to noteworthy results on July 26, when the 261-lot “Design for the Home and Garden” auction raked in $1.6 million. Featuring pieces from the estate collections of Mary and Lou Silver (Indian Wells, Calif.) and Ruth Harvey (Bel Air, Calif.), as well as a northern California estate, the sale attracted thousands of international and American bidders and was about 95 percent sold by lot.
“We are thrilled to have achieved our highest sale result to date with the wonderful Nicholai Fechin still life despite everything going on around us. It is encouraging that our clients are happy to work with us to preview safely and trust us to buy with us remotely,” said Andrew Jones, president and chief executive officer of Andrew Jones Auctions.
The house took extraordinary safety precautions during the preview and sale, allowing no more than four people in at a time and requiring they have their temperature taken, fill out a tracking form, sign a waiver, with masks and social distancing expected and hand sanitizer and wipes abundantly available. While no one was allowed into the saleroom during the auction, the sale registered about 3,500 online bidders on LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, and Andrew Jones’ dedicated sale platform.
The sale started with more than 30 lots of silver from two California estates and was led by two Regency sterling silver two-handled footed trays by Paul Storr of London, which were offered en suite and consecutively and finished to different buyers at $27,500 and $30,000. Aileen Ward, vice president and senior specialist, noted that a lot of the English silver was purchased by buyers in the United Kingdom. Another lot she commented on was a set of four George II sterling tumbler cups that nearly tripled the high estimate to close at $13,750.
The top lot in the sale was a circa 1925 still life of fruit and flowers by Nicolai Fechin (Russian, 1881-1955) that sold to an international private collector for $262,500, more than double its high estimate. It is the highest result for any lot that Andrew Jones Auctions has realized since the house began conducting sales nearly two years ago. The painting had impeccable provenance that could be traced directly back to 1927 when an American estate acquired it from the artist. It was sold as part of the estate collection of Mary and Lou Silver, who had purchased it from Newhouse Galleries in New York City.
The Silver estate yielded up several other top results, including an abstract composition in gouache on paper by Serge Poliakoff, (Russian/French, 1900-1969), that brought $42,500 from a local collector bidding on the phone, who prevailed against Russian and international competition online and on other phones. The auction house authenticated the piece with the Poliakoff estate, which verified that the work is included in the artist’s catalogue raisonné and archive. Another work from the Silver estate that Ward deemed “captivating” was “Meditating by the Window” by Helen Maria Turner, (American, 1858-1958), which attracted interest from both interior decorators and dealers, but in the end a private collector prevailed, taking it to $40,000.
Ward described the Silvers as world travelers who had collected across multiple categories. In addition to paintings, their collection featured five Italian micromosaic panels and an Italian circular table top, all of which received interest from Italy; the late Nineteenth Century table top was possibly by Cesare Roccheggiani and brought the most, $45,000 from a Southern California collector.
An Edward Hopper etching that had been discovered in a Beverly Hills, Calif., closet finished above the high estimate, bringing $37,500 from a private collector, while a marble bust that was found in the Los Angeles-area garden of a London collector may have been a Roman antiquity and will be returning to England after competition from around the globe pushed it to $50,000.
Andrew Jones Auctions’ next sale featuring jewelry, watches and time pieces will take place September 15 and will include more property from the Indian Wells estate of Mary and Lou Silver.
Prices include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Andrew Jones Auctions is at 2221 South Main Street. For information, 213-748-8008 or www.andrewjonesauctions.com.
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