Published: August 6, 2019
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Brunk Auctions
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The breadth and depth of bidding across periods and categories in Brunk Auctions’ midsummer sale July 19-20 highlighted the auction house’s particular strength and appeal to a wide array of bidders across the globe. Fine examples of Continental furniture and decorative arts, American and European paintings, silver, and Native American art and objects captured the best results across a variety of categories of sale. The two-day sale achieved a total of $1,119,780 against aggregate estimates of $911,000/$1,435,000, and with 90 percent of lots offered selling. Brunk Auction online bidding and partner online bidding platforms dominated with twice the representation of both floor and phone bidding and in addition from buyers throughout North America, the house also saw buying action from Australia, China and Europe.
Andrew Brunk, president of Brunk Auctions, remarked that the auction “was a solid sale, with good results across numerous categories. The results affirm the value of our estimates and effectively leverage the expertise we bring for strong results for a wide variety of items.”
The top lot of the auction was a monumental Berlin KPM porcelain plaque, which quadrupled its estimate of $10/15,000 to achieve a total of $40,800. Two additional KPM painted porcelain plaques drew bidders’ interest, achieving $28,800 and $19,200. All three plaques – as well as several other sale highlights – were from the collection of Wilfred and Eleanor Funk of Montclair, N.J.
Interest in fine art remains strong. The appeal of works by American artists, Stephen Scott Young and Alfred Hutty, proved strong with “Eleuthera, Bahamas,” and “Shrimp Caster” selling at final totals of $15,990 and $15,000, respectively. “Spectralia,” by American modernist, Frank Stella, doubled its $4/6,000 estimate, achieving $10,200. Paul Sawyier’s painting, “New York Harbor,” also drew considerable attention, selling for $11,400.
Other fine art highlights included “Vase de Fleurs,” by Vietnamese artist, Le Pho, which sold for $10,800 ($4/6,000); a landscape by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk (American, 1852-1917) nearly tripled its estimate ($3/5,000) to go out at $8,400 and Tommy Dale Palmore’s “Steer Skull” hit the sweet spot of the estimate ($6/9,000), finishing at $7,800.
A set of four George I Irish silver candlesticks held the top lot of the silver category, with bidding closing well beyond the $1,5/2,500 estimate at an impressive $9,600 finish. A Whiting Japanesque mixed metal tea canister generated considerable interest and more than tripled its auction estimate, realizing $5,400. An American six-piece Richelieu sterling tea service with tray closed the bidding of the two-day sale with a final total of $6,000. Silver recorded a 99 percent sell through rate and realized a $137,494 category total.
Native American art and objects also yielded strong results, many of which greatly exceeded auction estimates. A third phase chief blanket and woven mat finished at $5,700, well-surpassing its $600/900 estimate, while two collections of projectile and iron spear points doubled their $700 estimates, selling for $1,800 and $1,320. All but two of the 32 lots of images by Edward Sherrif Curtis photographs sold, and together, Native American art and objects posted a 93 percent sell through rate. One of the Curtis photographs that failed to sell was “Americana Horse – Oglala,” which had been estimated at $15/20,000.
Among the lots with the highest estimates, only a few failed to find buyers. These included a 1793 watercolor on ivory miniature portrait of North Carolina senator and governor Samuel Johnston (1733-1793) by James Peale Sr, which had been estimated at $20/30,000; and a Limoges Art Deco enamel over copper vase by Camille Faure, circa 1930. It carried an estimate of $10/15,000.
Prices cited include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Brunk Auctions is accepting potential consignments for their December 5-7 Premier Auction. Brunk Auctions is at 117 Tunnel Road.
For information, 828-254-6486 or www.brunkauctions.com.
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