Published: July 11, 2023
Review By W.A. Demers; Photos Courtesy DuMouchelles’
DETROIT, MICH. — Two days of auctions at DuMouchelles, June 29-30, collectively featured more than 1,100 lots, from the graceful yet dynamic form of a leaping gazelle by Marshall Fredericks (American, 1909-1998) to the intriguing Carl Kauba (Austrian, 1865-1922) dore bronze mechanical sculpture, a hinged torso revealing a female nude. Interspersed with these were Asian art, choice timepieces and jewelry, American folk art, porcelains, European fine and decorative art and more, bearing out the company’s boast that “There’s something for everyone in DuMouchelles’ monthly auctions.”
Property of a Birmingham, Mich., private collector, the gazelle, exhibiting a green patina, was mounted on a marble base, 56 inches high. Finishing at $80,600, it was offered on the second day along with another collection of mesmerizing creations by Fredericks, five lots of bronze “Seated Baboons,” showing a unique blend of strength and contemplation.
The top highlight on the first day, selling for $37,200, was a Chinese Qing dynasty, Kangxi period, gilt bronze Buddha Shakyamuni, circa Seventeenth Century. Accompanied by a carved wood and lacquer stand and 7½ inches high, it was adorned with a semiprecious stone inlaid urna, the concave circular dot, and tiara. Seated atop the lotus throne in a Bhumisparsha Mudra, or earth-touching gesture, the pose represents the moment of the Buddha’s awakening and claiming the Earth to bear witness. Like many of the key lots crossing the block on the first day, the buddha had provenance from the estate of prominent collector Leon Zielinski of Macomb County, Mich.
A Rolex 18K gold Superlative Chronometer Oyster Perpetual, day/date watch, accompanied by its 1999 purchase papers found a new wrist at $31,000.
Beefy with an elongated form at 23½ by 7 by 40 inches, an American cow-form copper weathervane, circa 1900, swung to $12,400. It was ready for display, encrusted with natural verdigris.
More former treasures from the Leon Zielinski estate surfaced with a Tiffany & Co. (France) 18K yellow gold octagonal box leaving the gallery at $9,300. Featuring a Mercury head and Roman numerals (sundial) at the cover with the signs of the zodiac at the sides, it was further embellished with three roses and vines. Also claiming a Zielinski provenance were an intricate Faberge enamel on “88” silver triptych case icon of St George & The Dragon by Julius A. Rappoport (Russian, 1864-1916) and a Russian carved opalescent chalcedony owl with sapphire eyes.
The icon, bid to $9,300, had two 1¾-inch hinged doors, each decorated with scrolling grape vines and seraphim, opening to reveal an enamel painting of St George slaying the dragon. Made in 1900, it was marked on the back Faberge in Cyrillic, St Petersburg.
A relative of quartz but pricier, chalcedony stone comes in a variety of forms, colors and patterns, and has been used as a gemstone since antiquity. This 2½-inch-high example had a variegated smoky blue and brown-orange color. Accompanied by a wood fitted presentation box, the owl flew off for $6,200.
Fine art from the Zielinski estate included an oil on beveled mahogany panel by Belgian artist Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven (1798-1881). Painted circa 1854, “Landscape With Sheep,” depicted a ewe, a ram and a lamb with chickens under a cloudy sky. It was presented in a period giltwood and gesso frame, 18 by 17 inches, and realized $5,890.
From a different collection in Westerville, Ohio, and fetching $4,650 came a European oil on canvas, circa late Seventeenth Century, a portrait of King Charles II in exile wearing the Badge of the Order of the Garter. It was a three-quarter length portrait depicting a fully armored King Charles. Tied to his left arm is a red sash signifying his intent to return from exile in France to regain his throne. His left hand rests on a rapier, the right hand holds a baton. Below the right arm is a plumed helmet. In the lower right background is a city skyline with two riders on horseback.
Bidders liked a Thomas Mellor for Minton & Co, pâte-sur-pâte porcelain moon vase, circa 1870-80, taking it from a $400/600 estimate to $6,200. Signed in monogram “TM,” the footed vase had white-on-blue raised pâte-sur-pâte decoration in a bird, butterfly and flower motif. Its feet, rim and shoulders were decorated with gilding and enamel design of the period. According to catalog notes, Mellor worked at Minton from 1869 to 1881 as one of Marc Louis Solon’s most accomplished assistants. An example of Mellor’s work can be found in the British Museum collection.
Most furniture at auction is the “brown” stuff, whether period or midcentury, but such was not the case with a set of six dining chairs, cataloged as “after Matisse.” The set, made in Mexico and hand decorated in a riot of colorful designs, comprised two armchairs and four side chairs, They went to a new home for $4,340.
Rounding out the sale’s notable items were a German Zweihander sword, 67 inches long with a 36-inch-long sharpened steel blade, $3,100; a Stieff (American) “Williamsburg Shell” sterling silver flatware service for 12 with a hand-carved storage case, $2,480; and a pristine, leatherbound collection of Franklin library books, 58 titles, including Two Years Before the Mast, War and Remembrance, Sophie’s Choice and many other classics. It was clear they had been acquired as “shelf candy,” as none of them appeared to have been read. They surpassed a $100/200 estimate to finish at $2,232.
Finally, the circa 1910 dore bronze mechanical sculpture by Carl Kauba teased out $2,108. Closing the robe winds a mechanism in the base, releasing the bow allows the figure to open her robe slowly. Provenance was from the Zielinski estate.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.dumoart.com or 313-963-6255.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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