Published: October 12, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Collective Hudson
HUDSON, N.Y. – After 46 years of knowledgeable collecting and curation, Collective Hudson dispersed an array of antiques and jewelry with more than 600 lots at a pace of about 65 lots an hour at the gallery’s closing sale, an online-only auction, on October 3. For owner Mark Miller, the decision to close the gallery was primarily due to commuting logistics. “I’m closing the gallery in Hudson. I may open something around Kingston, which is close to where I live. I’m looking for something more manageable. I’m commuting more than an hour each way and it’s just not viable. And doing it through the winter was less and less likely.”
Hundreds of estate jewelry pieces from names like Tiffany, Cartier, Buccellati, David Webb were on offer, and the ultimate piece was a Tiffany & Co 18K gold and sapphire watch, custom made, that finished at $25,000. Boasting baguettes and round brilliant cut diamonds and sapphires, the 18K white gold bracelet watch with mother-of-pearl dial and sapphire hour markers was said to retail $140,000. The entire band comprised diamonds of D-E color, VVS1-VVS2 clarity.
Bling was clearly ascendant in this sale. An 18K Frascarolo Modele Depose enamel, diamond and ruby bracelet, a leopard-shaped piece set with round brilliant cut diamonds, pear-shaped rubies and white and black enamel fetched $20,000. It measured 7Ã¼ inches long and weighed 116.6 grams. “I think there is definitely a movement of people buying valued personal property, tangible assets, which is why I think jewelry has become more and more of a mainstay at auction,” observed Miller. “Even aside from the logistics of having to move larger items, which has become more and more problematic, there’s definitely a movement in place for people buying and wanting to own something that reflects an investment.”
Where to stash all that “investment”? The answer was a rare sultan-marked, ornate .900 silver jewelry casket with numerous markings, including silver markings and the calligraphic tugrah of Abdul Hamid II (“Sultan Abdulhamid II (1876-1909), which also brought $20,000. As explained in the catalog notes, The tughra, which not only indicated the source of the order but served as a combination of royal seal and royal signature, served as the visual public representation of the ruler, similar to representations of throne or crown. Abdul Hamid II reigned as the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire and was the last sultan to exert effective control over the vast Ottoman Empire with its capital at Constantinople (now Istanbul). The ornate box featured finely worked front feet of silver and rear feet of bronze. On the cover was a centerpiece repousse cartouche with an intricate design that does not appear to be a monogram or interwoven initials, though at first glance it appears so. The rarity of the 15½-by-7-by-12-inch box was expressed in the auction house’s note: “In 40 years we have never seen anything like this box, nor has anyone we asked.” Miller added that when the box first came into the gallery, “it was so dirty and dark, you couldn’t tell if it was silver or coal. We started looking at it and I saw what might be touchmarks and, lo and behold, we started uncovering silver marks and the tugrah. It’s great fun doing stuff like that.”
Bidders liked a lavish Henry Dunay yellow gold, platinum and diamond collar necklace with great detail and loaded with diamonds and style, pushing it to $15,000. The necklace consisted of textured matte and high polish graduating links with organic yellow gold and platinum detail containing numerous round brilliant cut diamonds weighing approximately 1.65 carats total.
Angela Cummings’ enduring style was captured in two necklaces for Tiffany that crossed the block, echoing a piece she created in 1980 for Tiffany & Company that was a red carpet sensation at a major 2018 awards ceremony. Cummings is inspired by themes found in nature. Born in Klagenfurt, Austria, she relocated to America with her family at the age of three. She spent her formative years in the United States, returning to Europe to study art in Perugia, Italy, and to learn jewelry design in Germany. In 1967, she graduated with a degree in goldsmithing and gemology from a German academy and, one year later, having moved to New York City and began her career under the tutelage of a Tiffany & Company artisan. After several years of gaining valuable experience, she launched a collection under her name in 1975.
In this sale, an original and possibly only Angela Cummings Nocturnal necklace made for Tiffany & Company commanded $13,750. The 18K gold nocturnal design collar necklace with owl, moth, stars, and moons was sold with Tiffany & Company letter registry #57/23095 from 1983. Cummings designed this necklace for Tiffany and it was photographed and included in the firm’s catalog, but right about this time Cummings announced she was leaving Tiffany to start her own studio. The piece was already in the catalog, but apparently no others were produced or made after she left the firm.
Also by Cummings at $11,250 was the classic 18K gold rose petal Tiffany and Co necklace from 1979. The necklace weighing 63.5 grams was 19 inches long, with the largest “petal” measuring 1-1/8-inches wide.
There were some notable examples of fine art among the top selling lots in this sale. An oil on canvas painting of a pair of white peacocks by Jessie Hazel Arms Botke (1883-1971), left the gallery at $11,250. Signed lower right, the painting measured 24 by 30½ inches. Botke was an Illinois and California painter noted for her bird images inspired by her early work as a designer of woven tapestries. Her art often featured birds, particularly white peacocks, geese and cockatoos. Later in her career, she moved from oils to watercolors, and also focused on still lifes. Botke exhibited regularly throughout the United States during her lifetime, and with a posthumous retrospective exhibition at the Irvine Museum and the Museum of Ventura County.
Also notable was a circa 1920s work by René Buthaud (1886-1986), an influential artist of the Art Deco style. It was a signed oil painting on panel depicting a goddess and winged griffin in a landscape and it realized $10,625. Mostly known for simple ceramic stoneware forms, made for him by local potters, Buthaud worked with Jean Dupas and like many of the period he was also influenced by African tribal art, evident in those pieces where he used lusters or what he called “peau de serpent” (snakeskin). Many of his best-known pieces are painted with supine female nudes.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.collectivehudson.com or 518-828-8757.
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