Published: November 14, 2023
Review by Carly Timpson; Catalog Photos Courtesy Capsule Auctions
NEW YORK CITY — On November 2, Capsule Auctions conducted its “American and European Art” auction, presenting an array of artists and styles from the Nineteenth through the Twenty-First Centuries.
Leading the sale was “Flowers in a Vase,” a watercolor and ink painting by Henri Matisse. Once on display at the Hirschl and Adler Galleries in New York City, this piece will be going to its new home with a private American collector after realizing $71,875. Black ink outlines the details accentuated by watercolor paint. The image presents vibrant purple flowers with green leaves in an uncolored vase on top of a blue checked surface against a background of solid yellow. Increasing its value, the painting was paired with a certificate of authenticity from Georges Matisse, the artist’s great-grandson.
Despite being best known for his paintings, a ceramic vase by Pablo Picasso finished at $27,300 — the second highest price of the day. With an abstract human face on one side and the caricature of an owl on the opposite, Visage et Hibou (A.R. 407) is mostly white, featuring brown and black glazed details. The bottom of the vase is marked “Madoura Plein Feu, Edition Picasso, Madoura, 114/200.”
Dorothea Sharp’s impressionistic oil on canvas painting “On the Beach,” vibrantly captures the playful innocence of five young children exploring the beach. Hanging in a wooden frame and affixed with a label from Richard Green, the painting is 14 by 18 inches and realized $26,000.
Bringing a price 62 times greater than its high estimate, “Portrait of Protima Tagore” (1920) by Clara Klinghoffer stunned at $25,000. Featuring the same muse as her acclaimed portrait “The Girl In The Green Sari” (1926), this unframed painting came directly from the artist’s estate.
A drawing titled “Madonna,” by an unknown artist dating back to the Sixteenth or Seventeenth Century, finished as the fifth-highest sale of the day. Sketched in graphite on paper, the portrait of a woman has multiple collectors’ marks on its backside. This work achieved $12,500.
The highest performing sculpture of the day was John Rhoden’s 1966 “Harlem Hospital Sketch.” Combining African and European artistic traditions, the bronze sculpture depicts four people — a man, a woman and two children — held cupped in two hands. As its title suggests, this piece is prototypical of Rhoden’s much larger installation, “Monumental Bronze” also called “A Happy Family is the Core of a Healthy Community,” which is mounted on the outside of the Harlem Hospital in New York. “Harlem Hospital Sketch” ultimately finished at $5,250.
Works of ink on paper also performed well at “American and European Art.” The lead in this category was claimed by “Beach Scene,” a 1933 work by Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew. Tchelitchew, best known for his Surrealist paintings, explored figurative subjects to capture the depths of human experience. “Beach Scene” came from the collection of Seymour Stein, the co-founder of Sire Records and fetched $5,000 in the sale.
Capsule’s next auction, “Twentieth Century Art,” will be held on December 6.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For more information, www.capsuleauctions.com or 212-353-2277.
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