Published: January 13, 2016
NEW ORLEANS, LA. — Neal Auction Company’s November 21–22 Louisiana Purchase auction witnessed excellent results for fine art, furniture, and decorative arts. The sale featured a number of notable collections, including masterworks from the D. Benjamin Kleinpeter Sr collection, Baton Rouge, La.; property from the Vieux Carré residence of a distinguished French gentleman; and property descended in the Turnbull/Bowman/Fort family of Rosedown and Catalpa Plantations, St Francisville, La.; among others.
The sale achieved several record-breaking prices for works by artists at auction, including Theora Hamblett, Enrique Alferez and François Fleischbein.
The highlight of the auction was an important oil on canvas by Richard Clague (1816–1878) depicting “Streetcar Tracks” in circa 1870 New Orleans. The painting represents a transitional period in American history when technological innovations began to transform the post-antebellum South. After competitive bidding from the telephone bank and salesroom floor, Clague’s work sold for an impressive $177,625 to a local collector.
“Cattle Grazing beside a Cabin among Live Oak Trees,” an accomplished depiction of a rural Louisiana landscape by William Henry Buck (1840–1888), achieved $118,750. With competition from the salesroom floor, the painting sold to a local collector bidding on the telephone.
“Between My Mentor,” a monumental work featuring two iconic Blue Dogs by beloved Louisiana artist George Rodrigue (1944–2013) sold for $75,000 to a Louisiana collector. Blending an unusual combination of oil and acrylic paints, the 1998 painting represents the height of Rodrigue’s “Blue Dog” series. Neal continues to maintain the record auction price for the artist with “Chairman of the Board,” which sold in April 2015 for $173,275.
Fetching $73,500 was a rare Louisiana Creole inlaid cherry wood and cypress armoire. It boasted a provenance chain that dates back to its circa 1810 creation date. From the Kleinpeter collection in Baton Rouge, it sold to a local museum competing against bidders on the salesroom floor.
“Path and Pasture,” a significant early work by celebrated Mississippi artist Theora Hamblett (1893–1977), sold to a telephone bidder competing against the phone bank, absentee bids and the salesroom floor. The work more than tripled its low estimate of $18,000, selling for the record-breaking auction price of $67,375. The former record price of $35,850 for a work by Hamblett was achieved by Neal in June 2015 with “School Children Getting Drinking Water.”
“Bringing in the Dory,” a well-documented Florida scene by preeminent South Carolina artist William Aiken Walker (1838–1921) sold for $61,250 to a Florida collector competing against the telephones and the salesroom floor. In this masterful 1895 composition, Walker depicts a fisherman and the architecture of the coast within the background of the Pacetti House and the Halifax River.
With an estimate of $15/25,000, a carved wood sculpture of “Moses” by New Orleans artist Enrique Alferez (1901–1995) greatly exceeded expectation, selling for $55,125 and setting a new world record auction price for the artist. The work garnered considerable attention from the salesroom floor and the telephone bank that culminated in a bidding war between two local collectors.
Three iconic abstract compositions titled “Circus Series 22A,” “Square D80” and “Horizontal Rectangles #8” by Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer (1912–1997), each sold for $44,100 to art collectors from Texas, Louisiana and North Carolina, respectively. The works attracted widespread attention from bidders across all bidding platforms.
A rare New Orleans coin silver and silver-gilt exhibition model of a mule-drawn streetcar generated intense interest from Southern regional collectors both on the telephones and on the salesroom floor. The mid-Nineteenth Century replica of a “bobtail” streetcar manufactured by Zimmerman’s silversmith sold to a local museum for $43,325 — more than 14 times its low estimate of $3,000.
“Common Blue Crab,” a rare oil on paper still life by Walker, sold exceptionally well. A Texas collector bidding in the room purchased the lot for $36,750 after trumping bids from the salesroom floor and the telephone bank.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.nealauction.com or 504-899-532.
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