Published: April 18, 2011
If good things come to those who wait, the buyer who acquired the top lot of Cottone Auction’s March 25′6 antiques and art sale was indeed very patient.
In the final hour of the two-day sale, which featured the estate of longtime collector and appraiser Stanley E. Lutomski, a fine still life by Maurice Prendergast crossed the block. The auction was already chock-a-block with fine antiques and paintings from the likes of Abbott Fuller Graves, Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall that all sold in the five figures.
Buyers sat up and took notice of the Prendergast, tying up five phone lines for this painting, which came in its original Charles Prendergast frame, and, other than some old touch-up to the borders, had no restoration or inpainting. The painting sold comfortably in the upper edge of its estimate, attaining $103,500. The painting had descended in the family of Lillie P. Bliss, one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Paintings dominated the auction’s top ten selling lots with Pablo Picasso’s “Le Chapeau a Fleurs,” a fetching linocut in colors from 1963, and hailing from a Buffalo, N.Y., estate, selling for $75,900. An Abbott Fuller Graves painting, “The Duck Pond,” being sold to benefit the Strong National Museum of Play’s collections fund, took $57,500.
Other fine art standouts included Marc Chagall’s “Temple and History of Bacchus, from Daphnis and Chloe,” that sold for $32,200 and Jozef Israels’ “Young Lady Knitting,” which brought $20,700. James McNeil Whistler etchings performed well, with an etching titled “The Riva, No. 2” bringing $18,400, “Long Venice” taking $26,450 and an untitled etching at $52,900.
The auction kicked off Friday, March 25, with the Lutomski estate. Stanley Lutomski (1943′010) collected art and antiques for decades, beginning with silver he would scout out from around the neighborhood as a young boy, bringing treasures home in his little red wagon. His estate accounted for more than 500 lots in the sale, taking up the entire first day and part of the second session.
The top lot from this estate was a Russian silver and enamel kovsh with a painted scene depicting a fox, 3½ by 3½ inches, that soared above its conservative $2/3,000 estimate to bring $69,000, while a Gorham Eric Magnussen Art Deco three-piece sterling tea set with matching tray with ivory and ebony handles sold for nearly ten times its estimate at $17,250.
Besides silver, the Lutomski collection was rich in Asian arts, most of which performed well above estimate. Standouts included a signed celadon compote with relief floral decoration, 2½ inches tall, along with two green glazed Oriental vases ($300/500) that soared to $46,000; a trio of Asian censors that surpassed their $500/800 estimate to fetch $41,400; and a pair of Chinese porcelain bowls with five-clawed dragon decoration ($800․1,200) that took $18,400. A Seventeenth⁅ighteenth Century gilt bronze Tibetan Buddha ($1/1,500) also did well at $37,375.
Also from the Lutomski estate was a grouping of bronzes and statues, led by the sale’s catalog cover lot, Harriet Frishmuth’s “The Wave,” which bore the Gorham Foundry mark and its original patina, doubling its low estimate to sell at $21,850. A few lots later, a rare Sixteenth Century enameled and gilt-bronze covered compote with allegorical figures took $25,300.
Moving to the fine art and antiques portion of the sale that followed the Lutomski estate, Tiffany was represented with a Tiffany Studios ten-light lily lamp, engraved and presented in 1911, that fetched $27,600 and a rare Tiffany chocolate pot of Moorish design, silver enameled and hardstone, which was hand chased and exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The pot that was in the Wadsworth family of Geneseo sold for $69,000, six times over high estimate.
Rounding out the auction was a room-size Serapi rug, Nineteenth Century, from an old-time Rochester, N.Y., collection, that went for $56,350, far above its $15/25,000 estimate.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
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