Published: October 1, 2002
NEWTOWN, CONN. – Contents from the Bridgewater, Conn., home of the late Julien Levy attracted bidders from California to Athens, Greece, at Fairfield Auction’s September 14 auction. With a total of 261 bid cards issued, including 94 phone and absentee bidders, it was their best-attended auction of the year.
Levy was a prominent New York City art dealer in the 1930s and 1940s, bringing the works of Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Fida Kahlo, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy and others to the American public. In January 1932, he conducted the first show of Surrealist art in New York.
While Levy’s art collection was either sold or donated to museums, the auction included eclectic antique furnishings and accessories ranging from a Blickensderfer typewriter to a room-size Serape carpet (which brought $4,750). A Chippendale mahogany candlestand by Joseph Short of Newburyport with repaired foot brought $1,300, while a good set of eight classical Revival chairs earned $3,250. A French painted empire commode sold at $2,500; a French Louis Phillipe tall chest climbed to $1,800; a Tiffany & Co. 18-inch serving tray went reasonably at $1,700; and a Japanese gilt wood altar figure hammered at $1,500.
A Shelton estate featured some fine vintage jewelry attracting several bidders who traveled from out of state. Top lot of the group was a Cartier 18-karat gold jeweled and enameled compact, which sold to the trade at $4,750. A 14-karat gold bracelet with cone-shaped links, each set with sapphires, earned $1,900 and an Art Deco ring with a .80-carat diamond and sapphires sold at $1,500. A pair of shell form earrings by Seaman Schepps of New York brought $650.
Discovered on a routine Danbury house call was an interesting violin labeled “Georges Chanot, Paris.” The consignor had inherited it and always assumed it was nothing more than a student instrument. He found out otherwise when it sold to a New York buyer in the audience at $4,250. Other surprises included a 25-inch carved walnut model of “The Lion of Lucern” at $6,000 and a Chippendale centennial blockfront dressing table with shell carving at $7,000.
Additionally, a large oil on canvas by Thanos Tsingos, “Fluers sur fond bleu” dated 1959, sold for $7,000 to a New Jersey dealer. A French faux bamboo armoire brought $1,750; a 26-inch carved eagle with banner in the manner of Bellamy hammered at $3,000 and an excellent Nineteenth Century English landscape attributed to Henry Shirley brought $3,500.
Bargains included a 30- by 24-inch portrait of a lady attributed to Mary Beale, which was a nice buy at $800. A partial service (approximately 45 pieces) of Meissen Blue Onion dinnerware was also a buy at $550, as was a fine English burled credenza with mirrored back, that went very reasonably at $2,500, and a good French Trumeau mirror, circa 1880, that went out at $1,300.
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