Published: April 14, 2020
BELLPORT, N.Y. – The first 100 lots of the Thos. Cornell Galleries, Ltd., April 5 auction featured the Geoffrey Beene archives, including couture runway costume jewelry sold to benefit the Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center. The second part of the sale was comprised of furniture, fine and decorative arts, jewelry and books from homes and estates on Park Avenue, Manhattan and Long Island. Because of the COVID-19 closures, the auction house was not allowed to hold a preview, and all bidding took place via LiveAuctioneers; the sale of 470 lots was 51 percent sold, by lot. The sale attracted bidders from both the United States and abroad, including bids from Canada, China, France, England and Australia.
“It was the first time in 40 years I’ve not sold the sale,” said Thomas Cornell, speaking with Antiques and The Arts Weekly by phone after the sale. “Considering the circumstances, the sale did pretty well. We had a lot more registered bidders – normally we have about 300, this time we had about 400 – and we had quite a few first-time bidders.”
The jewelry from the Geoffrey Beene archives was just a tip of the collection Thos. Cornell will eventually sell, with runway jewelry possibly to be offered in May and “thousands of drawings of dresses – his complete archives” that will be sold at an as-yet unspecified date.
According to LiveAuctioneers, about half of the lots of jewelry from Geoffrey Beene found buyers, with the top price of $1,080 achieved for a Patricia von Musulin six-strand blue chalcedony necklace and a circa 1960 French Countess Zia jeweled bib necklace. Cornell said buyers were a mix of both private collectors and dealers.
Decorative arts fared better, taking the top two prices in the sale. Bringing $2,160 was a pair of bronze and crystal urns attributed to Baccarat that more than tripled their high estimate, and a Torring Midcentury Modern Danish teakwood bed that sold within estimate, for $1,440. Another lot – a pair of Midcentury Modern rocket lamps designed by Adrian Pearsall for Modeline – sold within estimate for $600. Two lots of porcelain vessels fetched among the higher prices achieved in the sale. A Royal Vienna porcelain vase decorated with figures made $900, while a pair of Chinese light blue covered jars shot past their estimate ($50-100) to finish at $840.
The highest price for a rug in the sale was $570, a Persian room-sized rug with a blue ground. Achieving the highest price for a piece of fine art was a nude on paper, indistinctly signed, that finished at $270.
Thos. Cornell Galleries’ next sale has not been confirmed.
All prices quoted include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For more information, 631-289-9505 or www.thoscornellauctions.com.
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