Published: September 15, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Hudson Valley Auctioneers
BEACON, N.Y. – “There were no bad lots.” That was the confident pronunciation by Hudson Valley Auctioneers’ manager, Theo de Haas, when we spoke to him by phone a few days after the firm’s August 31 Multi Estate Summer Sizzler wrapped. The sale was unreserved and every one of the 407 lots sold, courting bids from 5,000 registered bidders in 34 different countries around the world. According to de Haas, an average of 800 people were watching the sale at any given time, conducted online exclusively through LiveAuctioneers. The house had scheduled two days in which to preview the sale, and offered phone and absentee bids for those who could not, or did not want, to bid online. In-house bidding is still prevented because of COVID-19 safety restrictions.
The top price of the day – $8,750 – was achieved by two lots that in themselves demonstrated the diversity of offerings in the sale. Reaching that price first was a Chinese square porcelain vase with floral decoration on a blue ground. De Haas said several Chinese collectors came to the preview to examine the piece, which came from a local private collector. In the end, a Chinese buyer bidding online from Long Island won the lot.
The sale included a half-dozen lots of works – a selection of drawings, renderings, watercolors and ephemera – from the estate of architect J. Floyd Yewell. A watercolor study Yewell prepared for a commissioned poster he made for the New York Central Lines, depicting the Central Terminal in Buffalo, N.Y., received considerable attention. After prolonged bidding, it was the only other lot to achieve the sale’s top price of $8,750, selling to a private collector bidding online.
The fine art offerings in the sale were varied, offering historic as well as modern works. An abstract oil on canvas work by Alice Trumbull Mason (American, 1904-1971) inspired a bidding battle as it received the most bidding increments of any lot in the sale. It sold to a private collector bidding online from Long Island for $6,250.
Collectors in Moscow were watching a Russian scene with clergy, which was signed “L. Brailowsky.” The nearly 30-by-30-inch oil on panel was the subject of numerous inquiries for condition reports and photos, many from Russia. In the end, an online bidder from Moscow won the lot for $3,750, underbid by an art professor on the phone. Joseph Stella’s (1877-1946) “Player” had been consigned by a picker. “It was a solid painting,” de Haas said and it attracted enough interest to bring $2,625 from an online bidder.
“Midcentury Modern is still quite strong; we had a lot of interest,” de Haas said of the sale’s offerings. Of particular note were three Midcentury Modern wall units, all sold in separate consecutive lots, which brought $4,375, $4,063 and $3,750. De Haas said all were purchased by the same online buyer bidding from California.
Furniture in other styles was not quite as strong. De Haas was a little disappointed in the result achieved for a painted Bergen County cupboard from a Monticello, N.Y., estate, that brought $1,750. An Illi Kagan sofa, consigned by descendants of a wartime refugee family, brought $406. The same family consigned a Kagan table and upholstered armchair, each of which made $125.
Hudson Valley Auctioneers’ next sale is scheduled for October 5 and will feature, among other things, a Tiffany desk lamp and some Stickley pieces.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Hudson Valley Auctioneers is at 432 Main Street. For information, www.hudsonvalleyauctioneers.com or 845-831-6800.
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