On September 16–17, Craftsman Auctions offered a comprehensive 1,100 lot auction of Arts and Crafts furniture, pottery, tile, lamps, art and accessories. The sale yielded $3.25 million from approximately 300 registered bidders and 500 on eBay. There was standing room only in the auction house and bidders were aggressive on desirable items smashing through previous sale records.
Firm principal David Rago said Fulper was a source of frustration for years since the local firm was one of the few categories whose record was not held by his auction house. Fulper in general has not been given its due in the collectibles arena with prices typically falling short of other famous makers.
All that changed with this sale when a handsome Fulper lamp in a rare mushroom-shape that was covered in a superb leopard-skin crystalline glaze and a shade inset with leaded glass sold for a record $36,000 against a presale estimate of $17,500. It had been recently discovered in a New York home. The catalog stated that these are seldom found in such perfect condition.
Lamps in general did well and were a high point of the auction. An exceptional and rare Dirk Van Erp hammered copper and mica table lamp was the top selling lamp of the day when it yielded $114,000. The unusual shade lined in parchment over mica still had remnants of original hand painted flowers on the parchment. It was mounted on a four-arm base with an electrified oil font and was in excellent condition (Provenance: Fern Prairie Lodge, Lackamas Lake, Wash.)
A Grueby/Bigelow/Kennard table lamp with a Grueby Kendrick vase with seven handles covered in a fine frothy matte green glaze, signed by Ruth Erickson, and topped by a Bigelow Kennard green leaded glass shade in geometric pattern sold for $54,000.
A Roycroft Secessionist wall sconce designed by Dard Hunter with a copper and silver frame and a cylindrical green and purple leaded glass shade outsold its high estimate and fetched $36,000. Another Roycroft hammered copper and glass table lamp designed by Hunter had a conical shade made of bright green and purple leaded glass. This form is extremely rare in the more diminutive size of 18 ½ by 15 inches and commanded $30,000.
The furniture selection offered many desirable items. Among an exceptional group of Gustav Stickley pieces was a Morris chair (No. 2342) with flat arms, five slats to the floor and loose seat and back cushions covered in original green-laced leather. It had the original finish, cane deck and cushions. Active bidding on this item brought $27,000 against a presale estimate of $12,000.
A handsome Gustav Stickley eight leg sideboard with four central drawers that had faceted wooden pulls flanked by two paneled cupboard doors with hammered copper rectangular hinges and long teardrop shaped pulls achieved $19,200. A child’s wardrobe with two paneled doors, interior drawers and shelves and hammered copper V-pulls brought $21,000 and another Gustav Stickley rare even-arm crib settle with massive posts and slats all around fetched $33,000.
Newcomb College ruled the pottery offerings led largely by 15 choice pieces from the Sonia and Walter Bob Collection. Chief among them was an early vessel carved by Marie de Hoa LeBlanc that had five stylized blue and white rabbits, 1902. It was exhibited in “Newcomb Pottery, An Enterprise for Southern Women 1895–1940,” the Newcomb College of Tulane University and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibits Services, 1984–87, and also shown in a Newcomb sale room photo from the Tulane library. The 7 ½-by-9 ½-inch iconic piece opened at $55,000 and sold for $84,000. A large Newcomb College fine early vase carved by Mazie Ryan with clusters of wisteria on a pale blue ground, 1904, sold for $42,000.
George Ohr is always a crowd pleaser and this sale was no exception. A 4 ¾-by-5-inch straight-walled vessel with a folded rim and covered in a superior blood red, yellow, brown, and lime green dripping leathery matte glaze from the collection of Dr Robert Yoskowitz doubled its high estimate to bring $36,000.
An outstanding 7-by-5-inch Marblehead vase sharply excised by Hannah Tutt with black crouching panthers in front of green stylized trees and an amber sky attracted much bidder attention and realized $33,600. A Grueby gourd-shaped Kendrick vase with two rows of tooled and applied leaves under a fine matte green glaze ($10,000) hammered down at $24,000. Two happy surprises occurred when a Zsolnay tankard that was completely covered with oak branches and large beetles and covered in lustered glazes quintupled its estimate to bring $22,800, and a large North Dakota School of Mines vase incised by Flora Huckfield with stylized blossoms in yellow against a matte celadon ground brought $10,200 against a presale estimate of $3,000.
Highlighting collectible glass was a Tiffany Studios gold Favrile glass Jack-In-Pulpit vase, circa 1900– 1910. This popular form had excellent color and came from a private Massachusetts estate and achieved $20,400. An Emile Galle enameled glass vase with four prunts, decorated with nymphs on two prunts, circa 1890, was estimated at $800 and sold for $11,400.
Other items of interest included a Roycroft pair of Secessionist copper and silver candlesticks designed by Dard Hunter with small squares on circular bases that sold for $29,500. A signed Karl Schmidt (American, 1890–1962) oil on board triptych, “Tall Trees of California,” in a fine gilded frame, 12 by 24 ¾ inches, brought $31,200.
A pleasing Marie Zimmerman 14K gold ring with a cushion-cut indicolite tourmaline cabochon set in an enameled Egyptian motif setting was custom made as an engagement ring by Zimmerman for the consignor’s mother, Rowena Stewart. Copies of the correspondence and drawings were available for the ring that commanded $18,000. The climatic moment of the sale occurred when a pair of rare Gustav Stickley andirons (No. 314) came to the auction floor. These very rare large andirons were in a spade motif form and were covered in their original black enamel. They came into the auction house on a Monday appraisal day sale and were fresh to the market out of a private house. Estimated at $2,000, they achieved $32,400.
Rago Arts and Auction Center is at 333 North Main Street. For more information, www.ragoarts.com or 609-397-9374.