Published: April 3, 2001
SHAKER HEIGHTS, OHIO – Rachel Davis Fine Arts’ Works of Art on Paper auction was held at the Shaker Heights gallery on Saturday, March 10. Salvador Dali used the legendary battle of St George as the subject for his 1947 etching, published by the Print Club of Cleveland. Two phone bidders vied in as heated a conflict as St George had endured, on ultimately succumbing to a triumphant bid of $12,650.
Henri Matisse was another of the modern masters who created a work specifically for the Print Club, his ethereal 1932 etching, “Nu Pour Cleveland.” Matisse also received his due at the Davis auction, rewarded with a final price of $8,625. An 1893 lithograph by Matisse’s predecessor, Odilon Redon, created a minor furor in the level of interest that surrounded it. “Auricular Cell” aroused five phone bidders and numerous proxy bidders, finally attaching itself to a New York dealer for $3,750.
Edward Vuillard’s 1899 lithograph in colors “L ‘Arte” will grace a Midwestern collection at $6,325. Georges Braque’s 1934 etching “Femme Assise” gracefully sat slightly under estimate at $2,530. Marc Chagall’s 1964 lithograph “Profile with Red Flowers” faced low estimate at $4,900. Two rare works Chagall’s compatriot, the Russian Lazar El Lissitsky, specifically two lithographs and screenprints, once part of a folio of marionette designs intended for an operatic production, “Plastiche Gestaltung der Elecktro-Mechanischen Schaat” sold within estimate, both to the East coast, “Neuer” for $8,625 and “Globetrotter” for $9,200.
Another work created by a great American printmaker for the Print Club of Cleveland, Martin Lewis’ 1929 etching “Corner Shadows,” found its way into a local collection at $5,470. An etching that Lewis had published a year earlier, the 1928 “Under the Street Lamp,” sold to still another private collector for $6,325. Lewis’ fellow urban realist Reginald Marsh was well represented by an original drawing of figures frolicking on the beach, that sold for $4,600. Robert Riggs’ stark view of the fight game, depicted in his 1932 lithograph “On the Ropes,” sold for $4,600.
The regionalism of Thomas Hart Benton challenged the Davis’ estimates with “Island Hay” going for $1,840 and “After the Blow” for $1,725. Frank Benson’s 1922 wildlife etching “Salmon” swam up to $2,300; Isabel Bishop’s etching “Conversation” was deafening at $1,725; Isac Friedlander 1935 wood engraving “A Performance” took a curtain call at $1,265, better than double the high estimate; Angelo Pinto’s 1935 wood engraving “Shooting Gallery” decimated the $300 high estimate at a magnum price of $1,265.
The Japanese works that opened the Davis auction were not above obliterating estimate; most especially, two prints by Fukui, which did almost twenty times higher than the estimate at $2,300. Tsuguharu Foujita’s lithograph in color “Jeune Fille au Chat” sold for $1,265. Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s 1934 lithograph “South Berwick, Maine,” published by the Print Club of Cleveland left for New York at a bid of $1,150.
The contemporary section provided a final crescendo for the March 10 action, with the Wadsworth Atheneum portfolio, “Ten Works by Ten Painters” selling to one local collector for $5,750. A suite of ten lithographs by Robert Motherwell, published by the Hollander workshop preferred New York to Spain for $4,025. An untitled lithograph by Jean Arp virtually doubled high estimate at $1,265. In a final act of pre-sale estimate defiance, a delightful lithographic poster by Ben Shan, despite its somewhat low condition, stood up to the $200 high estimate at a final bid of $1,900.
All prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Rachel Davis will conduct its second works on paper auction of the spring season on June 2. For information, 216-791-6040.
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