Published: July 17, 2012
There was excitement aplenty on June 18 as the Park City hosted Black Rock Galleries’ inaugural antiques and fine art auction. Auction house principals Travis Worrell and Grant Panavese presented select contents from several area estates, including items that had descended in the family of a Confederate general. Located in a refurbished industrial building, which will also house a design center owned by the pair of auctioneers as well as partner Christie Spooner, the event was well attended and well received.
“We were really happy with the sale,” commented Worrell in the days that followed the auction. The auctioneer commented that decorative smalls did particularly well. “Paintings sold really well. Art, silver and jewelry were awesome, and even some of the early American furniture did well.”
“A lot of really good stuff came out of an estate from Stamford,” commented Worrell, including a good selection of furniture, silver and most of the artworks. The estate in Fairfield proved to be an interesting one, as direct lineage back to Confederate General Dimmock was established. The auctioneers reported that the best item that had come from the estate had been discovered during a follow-up visit to the home when family members pulled a hand hammered Tiffany sterling bowl from a closet. Reluctant to consign the piece initially, the family quickly agreed to let it go once Worrell informed them that the value of the piece was more than ten times what family members had determined was scrap value.
Art attracted a great deal of interest and leading the selection was an abstract painting by Irene Rice Pereira. The auctioneers reported a great deal of presale interest in the work, and come sale time there was substantial activity with serious bidders in the gallery, on the telephones and on the Internet. “We had ten telephone bidders,” commented Worrell, which was more than the fledgling auction house could handle until a volunteer or two (actually close friends of the gallery owners) stepped forward from the crowd to lend a hand.
Panavese scanned the auction room from the block, and then asked, “Anyone want to throw a bid out there?” A shout of $1,500 came from the crowd, and although clearly not impressed with the amount, the auctioneer set bidding on the rare abstract into motion. Bids came from the telephones instantaneously and bounced back and forth with several phone bidders getting in on the action.
A bit of breathing room came at $7,000, when a brief pause from the phone bidders created an opportunity for a bidder in the room to jump in on the action. The bidder in the room pushed the price upward with the lot ultimately selling to the telephones for $12,925.
A bronze by Francisco Parisi opened for bidding at $500 and was quickly hammered down at $2,350; a view of Grand Central Station by Walter Tittle, $2,702; and an abstract construction picture by Shirley Toran, “Strata Construction Series 14,” went out reasonably at $625.
Silver by Tiffany also drew frenzied biddings with a nice hand hammered bowl with applied turtle decoration topping the list. Direct from a closet out of the Fairfield estate, the bowl sold for $6,168. A pair of Tiffany silver garniture urns also did well, with the pair bringing $4,993.
Other decorative smalls included a sterling silver and mixed metal napkin holder with applied bugs selling at $1,116; a gold and diamond engagement ring, $1,410; a gold, diamond and moonstone pin, $998; and an Acoma Indian pot, bringing $260.
Early furniture in the auction included a pair of country Queen Anne chairs with pad feet that went out at $1,292; a Philadelphia Chippendale side chair went on the cheap at $470; as did a nice signed Wallace Nutting footstool with cabriole legs and ball and claw feet.
Worrell termed a couple of the lots sold “bargains of the day,” including an American slab table that was snuck out of the door for only $235 and a full-bodied horse weathervane that realized $411.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
Black Rock Galleries Design Center is open for business with four new dealers signing up as of last week; additional space is available. A date for the next auction has yet to be scheduled, although the auction house has confirmed that one will take place in late August.
For additional information, www.blackrockgalleries.com or 203-335-4444.
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