Published: October 23, 2012
It was all about paintings at the September 30 auction at Grogan & Company. The highlight was a serene Italian oil on canvas portrait of a woman reading, painted in the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century, that brought $35,400 from an absentee bidder. An inscription suggests that the picture was acquired in Florence by Henry Austin Whitney of Boston. The painting came from a Somerville area estate and is traveling back to Italy.
A Seventeenth Century Flemish Master portrait of Angela Chigi by the Flemish artist Jacob Ferdinand Voet, who based himself in Rome, realized $16,520 from a phone buyer. The sitter was one of the 11 surviving daughters of Agostino Chigi, Prince of Farnese, and Maria Virginia Borghese, several of whom Voet painted.
The Chigi family tree was larded with papal connections, yet Voet was known for painting his subjects with prominent décolletage. As dowries were considerably costly, ten daughters, including Angela, were ultimately packed off (with servants) to convents. The eleventh was married off. The artist created a “Gallerie delle Belle,” a collection of portraits of beautiful women that was installed at the Palazzo Chigi in Arricia that included images of the Chigi daughters. Voet made a number of such collections, although the Chigi group was the largest.
Another Voet portrait, that of Princess Massimo Muti Papazzuri, sold to an absentee bidder for $11,210. The pictures came from the same Somerville estate as the top lot.
Two portraits after Peter Paul Rubens of Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain and Austria and Archduke Albrecht of Austria in matching Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century carved giltwood frames brought $14,610 from an absentee bidder.
“The Reflection,” an oil on canvas view of a woman consulting her hand mirror by Edward Simmons, realized $17,700 from a descendent of the artist bidding in the room. “Le Paysage,” a watercolor landscape with a building by Maurice de Vlaminck, had a California provenance and achieved $15,340.
Two pictures by George Inness Sr, were offered: a landscape with cows was signed and dated 1891 and sold to an absentee bidder for $12,980. “Figure in the Afterglow of Evening” went to the same absent bidder for $5,900. Johann Berthelsen’s slushy scene “Washington Square, New York” made $5,900, as did a lively John Whorf watercolor, “Blue Jay Family.”
A number of other paintings with conservative estimates grabbed attention and flew past their estimates. The Nineteenth Century “Nursing Mother” was signed by the artist Hendrik Valkenburg and dated 1877; it brought $6,490 against the estimated $1,5/2,000. An image in black crayon of figures in a wooded promenade by German artist Max Lieberman fetched $9,440 and a Cape Ann view by Ernest David Roth, “Homestead Overlooking Harbor, Cape Ann,” sold for $4,720. The Ray Ellis watercolor “Catboat, Martha’s Vineyard” was estimated at $700․1,000 and brought $2,655. The artist maintains studios in Savannah and on the Vineyard.
A nice Karl Otto Knaths abstract oil on canvas, “Job,” was $7,080.
“Minnow,” a tempera on paper work by Morris Cole Graves, made $5,900, and his ink on paper “Bird Calling Down a Hole” sold online for $2,250. Thomas Hart Benton’s lithograph “Running Horses,” with a speeding locomotive on the horizon, sold for $5,900.
David Hockney’s color lithograph “Table Flowable” from 1991 achieved $10,030. It retained the label of an area gallery. Roy Lichtenstein’s serigraph “Haystacks,” 1969, was numbered 59/150 and realized $4,720.
An arazzo, an Italian wall hanging of embroidered grids of colored letters, by Italian artist Alighiero Boetti, brought $32,450. The work, “Udire tra le parole (Read Between the Lines),” is a play on words from a series of such embroideries the artist created in the 1970s. The work was consigned by a neighbor of Nancy and Michael Grogan, who received it as a gift from her mother on the occasion of the birth of her first child 25 years ago.
Of the sculpture across the block, a white marble was the highlight. A Nineteenth Century head of a classical figure wearing a Phrygian cap opened at $1,800 and only ended when a phone bidder took the piece for $12,980.
The bronze “Gloria Victus” after Marius Jean-Antonin Mercié sold to an absentee bidder for $6,490. The figure, with a dark brown patina, was set on a black marble base and was signed “A Mercié,” marked “Barbedienne foundeur, Paris” and stamped “Reduction Mechanique A. Collas Brevete.” The artist had made a plaster cast in 1874 to honor the French soldiers who fell in the Franco Prussian War and the bronze was awarded the Medaille d’Honneur at the Salon of 1878.
The bronze “Cossack’s Sweetheart” by Russian artist Evgeni Alexandrovich Lanceray brought $5,310, and a plaster bust of Thomas Jefferson after Jean-Antoine Houdon that was inscribed “houdon f 1789” fetched $5,310.
Once again, conservative estimates paid off. A silvered metal covered bowl by Edward F. Caldwell of New York estimated $300/500 drew some phone competition, but sold to an absentee bidder for $2,655.
An icon with a painted and gilt image of the Madonna and Child and decorated with four green jewels was cataloged as Russian/Greek, estimated at $1/1,500 and sold for $6,490. A Nineteenth Century Russian icon in a repoussé silver frame went for $1,003.
Made around 1810, an elaborate Biedermeier fruitwood and alabaster mantel clock with ormolu mounts realized $4,425, while an Eighteenth Century Queen Anne mahogany armchair that had sold at Richard Withington in 1964 realized $4,425 against its estimate of $1/1,500.
Of the furniture lots of interest, the highlight was a cabinet with needlepoint and beadwork set on a Nineteenth Century elaborately carved giltwood stand; cataloged as English or Continental and Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century, it ended at $7,080.
A handsome English Regency rosewood and calamander games table, circa 1810, with brass inlay and ormolu mounts, including Russian double eagles, and a patent lazy tongs action in the manner of William Wilkinson and George Oakley brought $4,425. An Eighteenth Century Italian carved walnut commode was also $4,425.
A seven-piece Tiffany Furnaces enamel and bronze desk set, circa 1920, sold for $11,800. The set had belonged to Margaret Munsell Hamilton, daughter of artist Albert Henry Munsell and Juliet Ector Orr who, with her sisters, commissioned the Tiffany windows and other decorations for Christ Church in Brooklyn. A pair of Tiffany Studios bookends decorated with a sun with serpents and birds on flowering trees along with a Tiffany Studios zodiac pattern inkwell and a Tiffany Studios letter opener in the Ninth Century pattern made $2,242.
A brass traveling cribbage and bezique set, inset with tiger eyes, with brass and ivory playing pieces and two decks of period playing cards †each with 51 cards †sold for $649, while a Saturday Evening Girl’s child’s set that had also belonged to Munsell and inscribed with lines from the nursery rhyme “This is The House That Jack Built” realized $3,835.
Silver remains strong as an American sterling flatware service for eight by Dominick & Haff and Reed & Barton (the former was acquired by the latter in 1928), in the Pointed Antique pattern comprising some 268 pieces, sold for $9,145. An eight-piece English silver coffee and tea service from Crichton Brothers of London garnered $8,850.
A Georg Jensen flatware service in the Caravel pattern comprising about 59 pieces realized $4,425, as did a six-piece sterling tea and coffee service by Dominick & Haff and Reed & Barton.
A selection of Asian objects drew interesting results. Top lot was a Japanese silver dragon box from Arthur & Bond of Yokohama with an interior fitted as a jewelry box. It sold for $7,375. A large Japanese Satsuma vase decorated with birds in a landscape sold online for $5,748.
Other lots of interest included a Chinese lacquer ware bowl with five clawed dragons, birds and flowers on a red ground sold for $4,235 against the estimated $500/700. An Eighteenth Century Chinese silk banner with metallic embroidery depicting a dragon amid clouds realized $6,050. A Nineteenth Century Chinese silk robe in deep blue with dragon and ocean decoration was estimated at $500/800 because of some condition problems, yet it sold for $3,630.
Two Chinese porcelain vases mounted as lamps, one a bottle form example in a sancai glaze with a dragon decoration, and the other a baluster form example in blue and white, sold for $4,720 against the estimated $300/500.
Two Nineteenth Century Chinese porcelain famille rose vases estimated at $700/1,000 realized $3,540 and two Chinese porcelain vessels, one basin with a floral design on a green ground and the other a footed dish with flowers on a purple ground, brought $3,025.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, www.groganco.com or 781-461-9500.
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