Published: March 21, 2023
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy of Leland Little Auctions
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — Leland Little’s Signature Spring Auction brought a strong start to the season on March 11. Out of 238 lots only three went unsold, with the most successful achieving five and six-figure prices and either surpassing or reaching their estimates. Fine art and decorative arts were popular categories among bidders, with sparkling results for jewelry, as well.
The top two lots were acrylic on canvas paintings by Ernie Barnes (American, 1938-2009), a lifelong artist and professional football player. Barnes professionally embraced his lifelong passion for painting after sustaining an injury and retiring from the game in 1965. The subjects of his paintings are often recollections from his childhood in “The Bottom,” a neighborhood near the Hayti District of Durham, N.C., and athletic figures. Foremost in the auction was “Pool Hall Sharpie” for $174,000 ($60/90,000) with “Last Hurdle” racing behind at $150,000 ($100/200,000). Both are excellent examples of Barnes’ “neo-mannerist” style that emphasizes movement and expressive elongation of the human form, and were consigned from the collection of Dr and Mrs Percy E. Jones of Greensboro, N.C.
Other fine art lots multiplied their estimates in the auction. “The Couple” by Anne Françoise Couloumy (French, b 1961), presented in its original gilt frame, sold for $37,200 ($2/4,000). Often called “La Hopper Française,” Couloumy’s first Paris show in 1994 has since brought her to international acclaim. Following this in price was “Tobacco Cropper” by Ivey Hayes (American, 1948-2012) that achieved $27,600. Like Barnes, Hayes was born and raised in North Carolina, and his work was exhibited in the 2006 exhibition “Five American Artists” at the Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, N.C. Both he and Barnes were alumni of what is now North Carolina Central University, and Hayes earned his MFA from the University of North Carolina in 1975.
Leading the decorative arts category was a rare Chinese wooden screen with six panels, each of which were decorated by still life paintings rendered on finely woven, paper-backed silk, that sold for $64,800 ($4/8,000). The screen dated from the Qing dynasty, probably the Qianlong period, and its paintings showed archaic Chinese artifacts and scholarly objects rendered in a Western manner. Their frames were carved with dragons chasing pearls, but also fleurs-de-lis. This cultural exchange illustrates the influence of the Italian Jesuit painter Giuseppe Castiglione (also known as Lang Shining, 1688-1766), whose work was favored in Emperor Qianlong’s court. The screen came from the collection of Thomas English Cody (1889-1948), the great nephew of Buffalo Bill Cody, and came to the auction by family descent.
The next American lot was a Pennsylvania Chippendale tall case clock made by Isaac Thomas (1721-1802) that more than tripled its high estimate to $37,200 ($8/12,000). Thomas worked in Willis Town, Chester County, which was engraved on the clock’s face along with its date, 1798. The clock’s provenance began with William Bower (Hamburg, Germany, 1790-1874), who immigrated to Philadelphia in 1820 and probably bought the clock shortly after this date. It then descended through the Bower family for about 200 years to the consignor, Lee Chichester (Floyd, Va., b 1957).
Two antique platinum and diamond pieces of jewelry from the same private Richmond, Va., estate also reached the top listings. First was a ring with a 3.19-carat old European brilliant cut diamond set to the center surrounded by bead set old European cut diamonds weighing approximately 1.0 carat total that was bid to $24,000 ($12/22,000). Second was an Art Deco brooch in a tapered bar design with an old European cut, 3.40-carat diamond bezel set to the center with seven similarly cut diamonds that weighed 2.85 carats total. The brooch sold within its estimate for $21,600 ($15/25,000).
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Leland Little will conduct the estate auction of the late Frank Daniels Jr and his wife, Julia Jones Daniels, on March 31. For information, www.lelandlittle.com or 919-644-1243.
Condition Paramount At Bertoia’s Spring Hybrid Sale
May 23, 2023
May 23, 2023
Grogan Makes $2 Million With Back-To-Back Jewelry, Fine Art Sales
May 23, 2023
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm