Published: April 7, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Kensington Estate Auctions
CLINTONDALE, N.Y. – Kensington Estate Auctions put up 198 lots for its March 23 online sale. The offerings included Eighteenth to Twenty-First Century art, jewelry, antiquarian books, rugs, photography, ethnographic items, graffiti art, pottery, art glass, antiques and more.
While the firm has held online-only auctions in the past, this one felt different for company president Lydia Orias, who said, “It felt odd running the sale, not even our staff was in the same room like we usually are.” Still, the auction ran smoothly.
Leading the sale at $7,380 was a preparatory sketch by Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982) for a 1963 sidewalk mosaic project in Havana. The project “La Rampa Habanera” produced mosaic sidewalks that still exist today, with designs by prominent Cuban artists including Sandu Darie and René Portocarrero. The sketch is a 36-by-36-inch gouache and pencil on transparent paper, which features the architect stamp Arquitecto Fernando Salinas, and had been acquired from his estate.
“Leading up to the sale, we were a little concerned by the stock market,” Orias said. “But by the end of the auction, we felt blessed we did as well as we did. Many of our items exceeded our expectations and those of our consignors, so we are happy.”
Prints and posters followed in droves. A poster for David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust Concert Tour for a performance at Bristol University, UK, on March 1 1972, sold for $2,952, nearly tripling estimate. At the same price was Roy Lichtenstein’s “As I Opened Fire” triptych from 1966, from a series published by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. A Paul Cadmus etching, “Nude #2,” sold at $1,476, with the pencil inscription that read “For David with admiration.” The auction house believed it might have been dedicated to the filmmaker David Sutherland. An Ellsworth Kelly sample portfolio with ten offset lithographs, published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, in 1970, sold for $1,353.
In ceramics, a circa 1905 two-handled glazed earthenware vase by Bert Nienhuis for Plateelbakkerij, De Distel, Amsterdam, sold for $1,968. It measures 18½ inches and had a professional repair to one handle. A pair of Dutch Fantasy earthenware vases designed by Theodoor Colenbrander, circa 1926, were a good buy at $677.
An 18K gold locket pendant watch with diamonds, turquoise and pearls led the jewelry offerings at $1,045. A Victorian sterling book chain necklace locket from the 1880s with central floral motif sold for $492.
Graffiti art from Banksy, Keith Haring and Angel Ortiz, or LAII, was found throughout the sale. A stop sign with a stenciled image of a young girl with pony tail and the name Banksy, was attributed to the artist and sold for $923. Drawn with marker on a go-kart frame were two sets of dancing figures from Keith Haring. The frame had the word “Kutztown” written on it and was dated to 1981 – it sold for $922.
A script for the 1933 film Little Women, directed by George Cukor and starring Katharine Hepburn, sold for $1,046 over a $300 estimate. A note to the inside read “Personal copy of Madeline Nueske(?)” dated 1934 with script pencil notations. Three Maurice Sendak lots all sold at $584: an ink drawing and signed Italian version of “The Night Kitchen,” an ink drawing of the Bee-Man Of Orn with accompanying book, and an ink character drawing and signed book for Higglety Pigglety Pop. The Sendak lots had provenance to Battledore, Ltd., a UK bookseller.
“The minute the sale was over, we worked very hard the first three days to get payment so that we could ship as quickly as possible,” Orias said. “We were very concerned about our ability to ship as two of the shippers we use were closed. We did almost all of our own packing and getting stuff to the postal service or other providers.”
Orias related that the firm is adopting a more relaxed stance on picking up for their clients. “We always provided delivery to Manhattan, and we have one client who has asked us to hold some items. Some people don’t want to touch them right now, they don’t know where they’ve been. People are concerned and rightly so. And we’ll accommodate that.”
All prices reported include buyer’s premium. For more information, www.kensingtonestateauctions.com or 917-331-0807.
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