Published: May 24, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Weschler’s
ROCKVILLE, MD. – Was there cosplay in French Eighteenth Century art? You bet. Ladies of the nobility and female members of the royal families have been depicted as goddesses in many paintings. “Portrait historié” is the term that describes portrayals of known individuals in different roles such as characters taken from the bible, mythology or literature. These portraits were especially widespread in the Eighteenth Century French and English art.
At Weschler’s spring Capital Collections auction on May 13, Nicolas Colombel’s (French 1644-1717) “Portrait of a Woman as Flora,” found favor with bidders, who pushed it above its $12/18,000 estimate to lead the sale at $34,440. The oil on canvas, which shows an unknown model taking up the guise of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and of the season of spring, measured 29¼ by 32½ inches. It is returning to France.
Overall, Weschler’s posted an 81 percent sell-through rate on the 152 lots offered, with 225 registered bidders.
The top lot excepted, overall, the sale seemed to reflect the trend in market taste that has shifted to more abstract works.
Another fine art standout was an iconic work by Charles White (American, 1918-1979), a print that served as the frontispiece of the Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective of the artist in 2018-19. “Sound of Silence II,” 1978, an example of White’s commitment to creating powerful images of African Americans, sold on the phone for $15,860. White himself described such works as “images of dignity” and unwaveringly created them over the course of his four-decade career.
All four lots of paintings by Filipino artist Oscar Deveza Zalameda (1930-2010) sold above estimate, with competitive bidding on the internet and phones, and two of the paintings are returning to the Philippines. The top Zalameda lot was an untitled mixed media on paper board from a McLean, Va., estate. It surpassed its $1,5/2,500 estimate and sold for $11,685.
A US bidder on the internet won Shanti Dave’s (Indian, b 1931) untitled oil and encaustic on canvas for $9,840 after competitive international bidding. It was signed Shanti Dave and dated 63 lower left and also inscribed XXV on the stretcher.
American artist Sam Gilliam (b 1933) was represented in the sale by “Two,” 1994, a monoprint with screenprint, collage, acrylic, stitching and embossing in colors on handmade paper. Signed Sam Gilliam in black ink, and inscribed P/P in silver ink lower right, the 33-by-25-inch work sold to a private buyer for $7,930 on the phone. Although a monoprint, there was significant stitching and embossing by the artist that likely increased its appeal.
A large selection of plaques received a lot of attention during the preview and subsequently did well in the auction, all but one lot selling over estimate. The lots were from a single collection – mostly purchased in the 1980s and returning to market at the time of renewed interest in the craft with lots of well-done examples. The leading plaque was a Berlin Porcelain allegorical example depicting “The Three Fates.” From the late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century and after a painting by Paul Thumann (German, 1834-1908), it sold on the phone for $10,980 after much online competition. The 21-by-15-1/8-inch plaque was among property from the collection of Jill D. Sachs.
Beyond fine art, notable lots included a Massachusetts gentleman’s bureau with mirror that sold for $7,995, more than ten times low estimate, on the internet to a US bidder. The Federal crossbanded figured maple and mahogany bureau in two parts was from North Shore Massachusetts, probably the Salem area, circa 1805-10.
One of two Patek Philippe watches offered sold over estimate for $11,070 to a dealer and collector, receiving lots of attention before and during the exhibition; and a Lalique Peruches vase, Model 876, circa 1919, sold within estimate for $12,300 to an overseas bidder.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Weschler’s next Capital Collections sale will be Friday, September 16. For information, www.weschlers.com or 202-628-1281.
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
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