Published: November 29, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Andrew Jones Auctions
LOS ANGELES – “After a year of a series of six white glove auctions of the gallery inventory of John Nelson Antiques, our grand finale was [his] private collection,” reported Andrew Jones after his eponymous auction house dispatched another 343 lots – all sold – November 13-14. “John’s friends, family and colleagues attended the preview and reminisced over specific pieces, shared stories, laughs and a few tears. With presale interest from a worldwide audience, every lot garnered fierce competition, slowing the sale pace to 35 lots per hour over both days, yet still it seemed to fly by. It has been an honor and a true privilege to have offered the magnificent collection of an old friend, whom I greatly miss.”
Sculpture ruled the event, earning several of the top prices in the two-day event that tallied $1,275,000 against an estimate of $500/700,000.
A life-sized Italian Nineteenth Century white marble Grand Tour model of a standing hound earned the “best in show” honor at $100,000, the highest price in the sale. According to the auction catalog, the hound, which was called “Lola,” stood at the foot of Nelson’s staircase. Each morning, as he came down for breakfast, he would pat its head and say, “Good morning, Lola.” Every evening, while making his way to bed, he would again pat her head as say, “Good night, Lola.” Now, an international collector can give it pride of place in their collection.
Another international collector paid $50,000 for the second highest result of the event, a late Nineteenth Century Italian white marble torso of Venus that stood 32 inches overall.
From marbles to bronzes, earning a third-place finish at $47,500 and selling to a collector in Mexico was a 1995 89-inch-tall patinated bronze, metal and steel male torso by Javier Marin (Mexico, b 1962). Rounding out the sculptural highlights at $37,500 was a 32½-inch-tall patinated bronze head of a llama by Josette Hébert-Coëffin (French, 1906-1973), which was inscribed “Josette Hébert-Coëffin” and “Susse Fres Edts Paris cire perdue” and stamped “Bronze.” It will be returning to France.
Leading furniture offerings was a comparatively modern and second half Twentieth Century Continental Neoclassical-style temple-form oak center table with slate top, which will be staying in Southern California with a buyer who paid $32,500, more than ten times its high estimate. Other furniture highlights included an imposing early Eighteenth Century Venetian Baroque giltwood mirror ($20,000); a 47½-inch late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century Italian Baroque-style giltwood sunburst mirror ($13,750), and a pair of Twentieth Century Louis XIV-style gilt-bronze and clear glass eight-light chandeliers ($11,875).
The first day of the auction began with nearly 20 lots of watches and jewelry that Nelson had worn himself. Earning a price of $27,500 and selling to a longtime friend of Nelson was a circa 1955, 18K gold Cartier wristwatch with Helm leather strap. A French emerald, diamond and bicolor 18K gold ring sold for $23,750 – and within estimate – to a local collector. Another emerald and gold ring achieved $4,250.
About 20 percent of the sale was Asian art and antiques, and the category found its apex at $20,000, for a pair of Chinese blue and white porcelain covered jars, on stands, that will be returning to China. Other highlights in the category include a near life-sized Southeast Asian mixed alloy model of Buddha on a cast iron plinth ($12,500) and a Chinese iron red-decorated white porcelain vase ($11,250).
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, 213-748-8008 or www.andrewjonesauctions.com.
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