Published: August 2, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Thos. Cornell Galleries
BELLPORT, N.Y. – Thos. Cornell Galleries’ advertised its most recent monthly estate sale, conducted July 24, as featuring a varied selection of estate furnishings covering Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century through Midcentury Modern design furniture and decorations, rugs, Baccarat, outdoor furniture, Asian objects, a selection of fine art and a collection of doorstops. Online bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
“It was a very good sale,” Thomas Cornell said when we reached him after the auction. He noted that the size of the sale – just 332 lots – was smaller than usual; typically, he offers about 400 lots.
An oil on board portrait of a male nude, by Robert Bliss (American, 1925-1981), was the high seller of the day, bringing $4,800 against an estimate of $1,5/2,500, and selling to an online bidder. Male nudes seemed to have been a popular theme as the Bliss portrait was followed by a small preparatory work for “Meriggio” by Aldo Pagliacci (Italian, 1913-1991) done in 1954 that measured 8 by 10 inches and depicted five male nudes standing or sitting along a wall. It sold on the low estimate, for $1,000. Two male nudes, each signed “Fredell” and drawn with charcoal and conti crayon had bold areas of color with a single fig leaf placed prominently. The two, sold together, found a new home for $344. Cornell said that many of the nudes in the sale came from an estate in Manhattan.
For sculptural artwork, a metal figure in the style of Giacometti and signed (Herbert) Kallem (American, 1909-1994) earned $1,063, enough to sell within estimate. The figure stood 37 inches tall and depicted a man wearing a hat.
A baker’s dozen lots of mirrors were in the auction, in a variety of forms and styles but an octagonal mirror, framed in faux tortoiseshell and measuring 31 by 25½ inches, reflected the most bidder interest and sold for $2,625 against an estimate of $200/400. Other noteworthy results in the albeit narrow category, an Eighteenth Century carved overmantel mirror with columns found a new home for $1,000, its presale high estimate.
Mirrors being a subset of furniture, it was not surprising that not only did the sale see a good sampling but also demand and interest across the board. Leading the category, a handsome Nineteenth Century pine refectory table that had a 74-inch-long top with draw ends that stretched its $200/400 estimate to $2,250. The market for furniture seems strong, with a Nineteenth Century Louis LVI-style mechanical cylinder desk closing out at $813, just ahead of an Eighteenth Century German slant front bureau with serpentine front that made $750. A group of two stools – both with stretcher bases and dating to the Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century – more than doubled the low estimate at $688.
A trend seen at auctions around the United States in the past year or so has been an increased interest in, and demand for, large sets of porcelain and glass such as might be used for entertaining. The top price for porcelain was $2,000, achieved for a 66-piece Puiforcat Limoges dinner service in the Kan Sou pattern. Twelve Simon Pearce handmade crystal goblets would look lovely with the set, as would 11 Baccarat crystal wine glasses. The former brought $500; the latter made $438. A slightly smaller group of ten Lalique stemware also presented well, earning $375.
A Benny and Co stainless steel watch with floating diamonds had the high ticket for estate jewelry, followed at $875 by a 14K gold and diamond ring of indetermined carats, while an 18K and sterling silver butterfly brooch with citrine and other stones flew to $500.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium. Thos. Cornell Galleries’ next sale is scheduled for Sunday, August 28. For information, www.thoscornellauctions.com or 631-289-9505.
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