Published: January 23, 2018
Review and Onsite Photos by Jackie Sideli
CRANSTON, R.I. – Bruneau and Co. Auctioneers hosted an antiques and fine art auction at the company’s headquarters on January 6. The sale consisted of many fine paintings, sculptures, a collection of chandeliers, some jewelry and Americana.
The 379-lot auction attracted around 135 in-house bidders, despite the frigid temperatures. The 60 phone bidders and 15 absentee bidders accounted for 277 bids, while more than 10,000 people registered to bid online.
Topping the day was a sculpture depicting a female nude bather by Mexican-born realist Enrique Alferez (1901-1999). Measuring 8¼ by 9 inches at the base, the 1983 sculpture sold for $13,750. Alferez drew influence from his Mexican heritage and, in general, the Art Deco period. He was an active artistic leader in the WPA and created numerous landmarks throughout Louisiana.
A circa 1900 strand of pearls by Tiffany & Company, with a diamond-encrusted platinum clasp, was the sale’s runner-up top lot, with good reason. The 17-inch strand showed off dazzling white pearls that graduated from 7mm to 3.5mm. It was housed in its original Tiffany gilt-decorated red Morocco covered satin and velvet lined case. Coming to the block with a conservative estimate of $800-$1,200, interest from the crowd pushed the selling price to a solid $10,625.
A collection of paintings produced by Ukrainian American artist Mychajlo Moroz, an expressionist Catskill landscape artist, was offered. One oil on board, depicting a spring landscape of fresh apple blossoms, which was signed on the lower left and dated 1959, achieved $2,000, far surpassing the estimate of $600/900. Another oil on panel by Moroz that depicted a fallen tree on a tree-lined hillside brought $531.
Early in the sale, a classic American still life by Robert Spear Dunning was presented. An oil on canvas, this small work displays the fine technique achieved by Dunning, who was a founder of the Fall River School. The appealing painting, measuring 7 by 10 inches and signed on the reverse “R.S. Dunning 1891,” went to a buyer for $3,437.
A pair of folk art American still life paintings, pastel on paper and dating from the Nineteenth Century, had a modest estimate of $200/300, but lots of action pushed the selling price to $1,875. One depicted an apple and pear with berries, and the other, peaches with an open melon. Framed, each measured 25¼ by 20½ inches. A painting done in the manner of William Matthew Prior (American, 1806-1873), a folky oil on board portrait of a gentleman, sold quickly to a customer at the sale for $875.
A featured lot at the auction was a pair of Egyptian Revival bronze bookends by the American sculptor Ephraim Keyser (1850-1937), titled “The Wireless,” depicting a nude male whispering into the ear of a Sphinx, which rose to $3,750. It was titled on the bottom of the male bookend and was also marked “Roman Bronze Works, N.Y.”
Among the many artworks offered at the auction was a Constantin Brancusi (Romania French, 1876-1957) Modernist carved wood muse that measured 22½ inches; even with a split to the back, it sold for $625.
A collection of coins attracted interest. Among them was a 1991 Walking Liberty proof $50 one-ounce gold coin. In overall good condition, the coin fetched $1,750; a US 2006 Buffalo proof $50 one-ounce gold coin, with minor wear, sold for $1,625; and a US double die OBV Lincoln cent, 1955, which was, according to notes from the catalog, improperly cleaned, achieved $1,000.
There were many furniture lots that attracted attention. Something of a surprise was a striking late Eighteenth/early Nineteenth Century Italian baroque carved walnut figural table stand with well-formed hairy paw feet, realistic hind legs and full-figured busts of wolves. Even with a professional repair to the back leg, the table sold for $5,000.
Mid-auction saw many fine Oriental carpets cross the block. There was a tremendous amount of interest in the antique Persian rainbow Sennah pattern carpet, mid-Twentieth Century, which was decorated with a small repeated floral center in burgundy against a dark field surrounded by a floral border. Garnering interest from several phones and the floor – a bidder on the phone won the rug for $1,187. A striking Nineteenth Century Persian antique Middle Eastern textile measuring 5 feet 4 inches by 3 feet 9 inches opened at $550, and sold quickly to a bidder on the phone for $1,000.
A Chinese Ming dynasty archaistic bronze hu vase adorned with figural elephant free ring handles and no bottom, and showing wear to surface and patination, measured 8¼ by 16 inches. The estimate for this Ming vase was a modest $600, but internet bidding and action from the floor pushed the selling price to $3,437, to a buyer in the gallery.
A Chinese apple green jadeite pendant necklace and earring set, with the pendants incised with florals and mounted in 14K yellow gold, sold for $1,250. A fine Nineteenth Century Chinese zitan wood and marble folding screen, intricately decorated with a courtyard scene featuring children, women and elders, was sold midway through the auction. There was a great deal of interest in this screen, which achieved $2,500. An unusual and stylish French iron haberdashery triple mirror with lion heads base supports and decorated with an japanned copper finish brought $1,750.
A set of 12 European Gaudy Welsh sunflower Imari plates, decorated with sprays of blue, green, orange and red flowers and gold rims sold for $1,062.
Among the many unusual chandeliers presented at the auction was a Baccarat bronze crystal lead chandelier, European, Twentieth Century. A three-tiered five-socket chandelier with “superb quality,” according to the catalog, it was found in the estate of Dr Cardi, which provided a large portion of the sale. In overall good condition, the price achieved was a strong $2,250.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, 401-533-9980 or www.bruneauandco.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm