Published: October 30, 2007
“It has been an enthusiastic crowd,” stated auction house principal Gene Shannon during the preview for his auction on Thursday, October 25. The enthusiasm continued well into the evening sale, as lot after lot left the auction block in excess of estimates.
“Portrait of Bob, 1936,” a large oil by Luigi Lucioni, established the high water mark, creating almost as much of a stir at the sale as it did in its day. The painting depicted a seated and cross-legged, handsome Bob Elser casting a provocative glance towards the artist. A yellow curtain hanging behind the subject added appeal.
Shown into 1940, the painting had subsequently been “lost,” until rediscovered in a private collection by Shannon’s.
Bidding on the lot opened at $65,000 with five phone lines and several in the gallery active. Three of the telephone bidders were major American museums, according to Shannon, with bidding culminating when one museum eclipsed the other two at $153,600, a record price paid at auction for the artist. Interestingly, Shannon’s record price of Lucioni surpassed the record established last month at Christie’s when his portrait of Paul Cadmus realized a then-record price of $91,000.
Other top lots included a Charles Chaplin painting titled “The Music Girl” that hammered down at $96,000, as did an Albert Bierstadt oil on board titled “Waterfall.”
A complete review will appear in a future issue.
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