Published: October 24, 2006
The liquidation of a major private collection from the Rheingau containing furniture and works of art from the classical revival period enabled Nagle Auktionen’s 500th Anniversary Auction of Art and Antiques to get off to a positive start. A large number of dealers and collectors from France, Italy, Russia and overseas, who had obtained an impression of the quality of the pictures, furniture and handcrafted objects during the preview, registered for September 20 sale, most of them intending to submit telephone bids.
Bidding was brisk, nearly every lot in the auction was knocked down, and at prices far above the modest estimates. The highest knockdown price was obtained by a marble sculpture made by Joseph Chinard. Following a vigorous round of bidding, his 21-inch-high “Jupiter as Bull,” signed and dated 1785, went to an international dealer for $260,000. As far as the paintings were concerned, two oval architectural capriccios of classical ruins, a sarcophagus and figures attributed to Marco and Sebastiano Ricci took first place. They went together for $218,000 to a foreign buyer. Andrea Appiani’s signed “Portrait of a Young Lady in an Empire Dress” was bid up by the Italians to a hammer price of $143,000. Thus the special auction lasted until well into the evening and did not end until nearly 10:30 pm.
The actual anniversary auction of art and antiques began the next day with Russian works of art. Here a punch bowl caused a commotion right at the outset. This very rare part-gilded silver, cloisonné enamel and gemstone bowl made by Fedor Rückert for Fabergé in 1907 came from a longstanding German family and went to a Russian buyer for $402,000. A Russian military plate, 9 1/3 inches in diameter, from the Imperial Manufactory in St Petersburg brought $60,000, while a large chocolate cup and saucer came up to nearly $37,000, as did a porcelain painting showing a mounted Russian huntsman.
The European works of art category was also able to chalk up some real highlights. A rare Augsburg rhinoceros horn and vermeil figural goblet from around 1700, a museum piece formerly in the collection of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and later in a collection at Friedenstein Castle in Gotha, was taken over by the German trade for $100,000. A lidded coin tankard 15 ½ inches high from the Stuttgart court jeweler Eduard Foehr, dated 1882, went for $80,000 to a German customer. A pair of three-flame rococo candelabra, Augsburg 1773–75, were bid up by a dealer to $28,500. A large vase of KPM porcelain with views of Berlin, circa 1835, brought in $33,500.
The varia category also had a highly desirable object on offer in the form of a double-handled Gothic mortar from St Peter’s Monastery in Erfurt, circa 1400. This coveted bronze mortar was awarded to a German room bidder for $75,000. A rare Sixteenth Century pomander also went to a German room bidder for $28,000.
The first lot number of paintings by Old Masters also proved to be an attraction. The portrayal of the “Dwarf’s Life” attributed to Enrico Albricci, which was consigned from an old Hessian collection, went to the international trade after an enthusiastic round of bidding for $60,000. The largest increase ensued for a painting of the Stuttgart-born painter Johann Friedrich Grooth, who in 1746 became court painter to Czarina Elisabeth Petrovna in St Petersburg. His depiction of a white peacock and a duck in front of a plinth, possibly a replica of a larger painting in the Catherine Palace, was knocked down to a Russian buyer for $109,000.
The Russians were also in the lead as far as paintings of the Nineteenth Century were concerned. Two landscapes, monogrammed “PV” and titled “Archipovka” and “Yermak” in Cyrillic letters, each measuring only 9 by 17 ¾ inches, were raised by Russian bids to $285,000. Presumably, the painter is Petr Petrovich Vereshchagin (1836–1886), who commands a high price on the international art market.
Sculptures sold well. A 7-inch-high wood bust of Jacob Fugger II, formerly attributed to the carver Conrad Meit, was bid up to $117,000 by a German customer. The same amount was brought in by a 24-inch-high figure of the resurrected Christ from the workshop of Tilmann Riemenschneider, which went to the international trade. A Madonna with child from around 1510, which stands in close proximity to the Master of Rabenden, likewise went abroad for $60,000.
In the furniture category, a secretary desk with a swivel tabernacle top, originally from Kaisheim Monastery near Donauwörth and later owned by the Stuttgart family of Dr Werner Fleischhauer, former director of the Württemberg State Museum, achieved the highest knockdown at $84,000.
A pair of naturalistic console tables, polychrome painted and parcel-gilt, made in Italy at the end of the Eighteenth or the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, were knocked down to a German buyer for $25,000.
The auction’s particularly special items also included a collection of more than 50 rings dating from antiquity up to the Twentieth Century. The costliest specimen was a gift ring of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, with a double golden monogram under the crown on a cobalt-blue, translucent enamel background. The ring, decorated with cherubim and studded with 18 old European cut diamonds came up to $11,700. An English signet ring made of gold, cautiously described as Fifteenth or Nineteenth Century, brought in $10,700.
On the whole, the 500th anniversary auction turned over $10.3 million. The total value of the estimates amounted to $6.4 million. Hence the sales quota by value was 160 percent — making the auction at Nagel Auktionen a great success as well.
All prices reported are converted from euros to US dollars and include the 33 percent buyer’s premium. For information, 11 649 69 0 or www.auction.de.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm