Published: January 25, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Kaminski Auctions
BEVERLY, MASS. – Frank Kaminski bifurcated his firm’s annual New Year’s auction into two distinct sessions. The first session on January 15 – rescheduled from January 8 due to weather concerns – featured the estate of the late Dr Edward Francis Danielski of Cooperstown, N.Y., and the Meyzen family, owners of the French restaurant La Caravelle in New York City. The second day, January 16, was devoted to Asian arts, presenting a selection of Asian antiques from various estates, including Chinese porcelain, figures, moon flasks, brush pots and numerous decorative items. Kaminski did not have an official total gross because the firm was still making after-auction sales. “The sale was really good. It was north of $500,000 with an 85 percent sell-through,” he said. Registered bidders numbered more than 1,000 on LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable and Kaminski Live. “And we had a good crowd on Saturday,” said Kaminski. “We had more than 50 people, which is a lot these days.”
An oil on canvas painting by Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) depicting a countryside scene before a storm was the leading lot overall, besting its $18,000 high estimate to sell for $25,000. Signed Vlaminck, the recent discovery had been executed circa 1925 and measured 17¼ by 21 inches. It came from a Los Angeles estate where it had been for more than 20 years and was won by an online bidder in England. A catalog footnote states: “After the First World War, Vlaminck found his unmistakable, final style. He focuses on his preferred motif: an almost deserted street, a few houses, heavy clouds driven by the wind. Vlaminck mixes its colors with a high proportion of black and at the same time sets pasty accents in white. His expressive, dark landscapes, far from romanticism, represent the accumulated forces of nature. The rich, earthy colors of the vegetation and the red of the tiled roof on the right edge of the picture shine in the light of the pre-thunderstorm mood. The violence of the thunderstorm is intensified by glistening white color accents, set against a dark coloring that determines the upper sky and the vegetation. The climax of the event is still imminent: the thunderstorm has not yet discharged. The viewer is thus involved in a moment of tense expectation.”
An expected top lot on the first day was a George Inness (1825-1894) oil on canvas landscape with trees and figure from a private collector. It did not sell, but the auction house was able to negotiate an after-auction sale for the consignor. “We sold it for $10,000,” said Kaminski. “A picker had found it while he was cleaning out a house, so he made a bunch of money. I was hoping to get at least $20,000 but I think it was later in his career.”
A winter sale would not be complete without one of Guy Carleton Wiggins’s (1883-1962) snowy cityscapes, and this auction offered “Madison Sq. Winter,” an oil on canvas, signed lower right as well as signed and dated verso, 24 by 30 inches, coming from a Palm Beach, Fla., collection. It sold to a floor bidder for $9,300. Wiggins was an American impressionist painter who was president of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts and a member of the Old Lyme Art Colony. He did many paintings of New York City’s snowy streets, landmarks and towering skyscrapers during winter.
A silkscreen described as after Keith Haring (1958-1990), “1983,” exemplifying the artist’s animated imagery that has become a widely recognized visual language, more than doubled its high estimate to finish at $7,800, again going to a floor bidder. On heavy woven paper and housed in an archival shadow box with museum glass, the pencil-signed, 28-by-30-inch paper work came out of New York collection and was signed and lettered HC for Hors d’Commerce.
Notable jewelry on the first day included a platinum and diamond tennis bracelet that hit $10,200 on the phone.
Fetching $3,750 from a bidder on LiveAuctioneers – a significant premium above its $550/750 estimate – was a day bed, 41 by 72 by 26 inches from a Wenham, Mass., estate.
A Connecticut estate contributed a Royal Copenhagen “Flora Danica” set of four botanical plates with reticulated edges. Each 9-1/8 inches in diameter, the set realized $3,625, won by a LiveAuctioneers bidder.
Sunday’s session featured more than 300 lots of Asian porcelain, furniture and art. Highlights included a blue and white Chinese porcelain double gourd vase, which led the day by finishing at $11,250. Large and rare, the vase, was decorated with a ruyi motif, entwined lotus motif and Buddhist eight treasures pattern around its body. It bore a leaf pattern motif on the bottom and a wave motif at the waist to divide the top and bottom. A blue and white Qing dynasty Qianlong seal mark on base and of the period, the 16½-inch-high vase came from a private collection in Salem, Mass., having been purchased in the 1970s in New York. It went to a gentleman bidding in the gallery.
Similarly, a floor bidder won a mirror pair of Chinese Republic period famille rose porcelain vases, meaning the image on each reserve was reversed from the other, taking them for $4,500. They came from the same Salem collection and were decorated with distorted dragon ears at their necks, gilt rims, yellow glazed bodies and a finely carved scrolling grass motif. Each body was painted with flora and flying birds and their bases were covered with turquoise green glaze and iron-red with gilding.
Porcelain highlights were also noted by a Nineteenth Century Chinese famille rose brush pot, decorated with figures, ghosts and pine trees depicting the Chinese Taoist story of immortals. With a blue and white double ring mark on its base and standing 5½ inches high, it was bid on the floor to $3,240. Also, from the Republic period, a Chinese famille rose porcelain plaque, having rectangular shape and decorated with landscape view and an iron-red seal mark on right corner, 17 by 12 inches, realized $3,000, going to a bidder on Invaluable.
In fine art, an oil on canvas by Liu Yingzhao, a still life depicting fruit and Chinese deity, came from the collection of the artist’s daughter. Measuring 34 by 39 inches and won by a floor bidder, it left the gallery at $4,063.
Also, a Chinese silk embroidery robe, 52 by 72 inches, earned $4,688.
“It was a good overall sale,” said Kaminski. “We were happy with it.”
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house.
Next up is a sale on February 5-6, “a great collection from Ethel du Pont from Long Beach,” said Kaminski. For information, 978-927-2223 or www.kaminskiauctions.com.
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