Published: January 24, 2023
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy Ahlers & Ogletree
ATLANTA, GA. — Ahlers & Ogletree conducted an unreserved auction from the Collection of Joel A. Katz on January 12, offering almost 600 lots of fine art, jewelry and collectibles; only one lot went unsold of that number. The bidders were “collectors and dealers from all over,” according to marketing coordinator Natalie Ahlers. Katz is based in Atlanta, Ga., and was cited by Variety magazine as “one of the music industry’s most powerful attorneys” in 2021.
Jewelry was the most prominent category in the auction, led by a woman’s 18K yellow gold and diamond watch by Swiss maker Vacheron Constantin. Described as a Metiers d’Art Lady Kalla watch, the timepiece was encrusted with emerald-cut colorless diamonds on its band and face, weighing approximately 30 carats. Manually wound and marked with a serial number, the watch bid to $62,000. Another diamond watch from Harry Winston also ranked highly in the sale; it was the Avenue 330 LQW model with quartz movement on its mother-of-pearl and silver guilloche dial, and had a diamond-accented case, crown and bracelet. Weighing about 3.80 carats, this watch sold for $11,780.
Diamond necklaces were popular among bidders, beginning with an unmarked diamond and emerald example in 18K white and yellow gold that achieved $49,600. With nine vivid green emeralds between graduated emerald cut diamonds, the necklace weighed about 47 carats. Next was a pendant necklace from Neiman Marcus, containing a pear-shaped brilliant cut cognac diamond with a brilliant-cut diamond surround, mounted in 18K yellow gold and platinum and suspended from a chain of the same material that sold for $31,000. Following these was an 18K white gold and diamond necklace from AP, featuring marquise and brilliant cut diamonds at 15 carats for $16,120. A pearl, ruby and diamond necklace mounted in 18K yellow gold from Van Cleef & Arpels stood out for $11,780.
Bracelets were also successful; a diamond and 18K white gold bracelet weighing 39 carats placed third at $34,100. Likely Continental according to the catalog, the bracelet featured graduated emerald and round brilliant cut diamonds terminating in a hidden clasp. More contemporary in style was a multicolor diamond and 18K white gold lattice bracelet featuring pink, yellow and colorless diamonds in a variety of shapes that bid to $16,120. From Nini Jewels, a ruby, diamond and 18K white gold bracelet with a floriate design achieved $10,540.
Fine and decorative arts made up the other half of the top lots, from all genres and eras. A limited edition Lalique “Anemones Grand” vase bid past its high estimate to $24,800 with its custom, illuminating pedestal included. The midnight blue crystal vase was covered in high-relief blossoms accented with a white enamel “crown” of stamens.
The surrealist painting “Rabbit Lecturing to a Hare” by Robert Jessup (American, 1952-2014) was the top oil on canvas that more than tripled its $3/5,000 estimate to achieve $18,600. The scene of an anthropomorphic rabbit conversing with a more realistic rabbit while a pig wearing a dress and apron in the background attends to a small boat was likely part of his “Rabbitman & Friends” series, in which the rabbit acts as Jessup’s self-portrait. Jessup often works in large triptychs, and this painting was similarly large scale.
James McLaughlin Way (Georgian-American, 1968-2014) had four paintings in the sale that all exceeded their estimates, and two ranked in the upper sales. Way’s wistful paintings often exhibit stoic animals in surreal, endless landscapes and are made all the more poignant by the artist’s untimely passing at the young age of 46. “Lion With Collar” was the highest selling of these, showing a lion wearing a starched ruff in profile for $12,400. Next from Way was “Red & White Rocking Horse” or “Rocking Horse Study,” showing a larger than life-sized rocking horse that sold for $9,300. In keeping with the circus-like theme was “Prospero Spheum” showing an elephant balancing on a ball for $6,280, and last was a landscape titled “Drift” that opened up to $4,960.
An unusual addition to the top lots was not only a player piano, but included a piano bench signed in silver marker by Elton John. The Yamaha-made piano had a Disklavier DKC-850 control unit, which has since been discontinued. The set sold for $9,300.
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Ahlers & Ogletree’s Western & Native American Art & Objects live auction will occur on February 24. For information, 404-869-2478 or www.aandoauctions.com.
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