Published: January 3, 2017
By Laura Beach
NEW YORK CITY – The Associated Press recently named Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer responsible for the Broadway hit Hamilton, entertainer of the year. He may also be the patron saint of the antiques industry. Packaged in fresh, new ways, history is selling again.
For two weeks in late January, New York will be awhirl with shows and sales, offering much of a historical nature to admire and buy. Sotheby’s is giving Alexander Hamilton marquee billing in the form of a staged presentation by Hamilton’s Tony-nominated set designer David Korins, who has created a multifloor installation at the company’s York Avenue headquarters. Viewing begins January 11. Additionally, Sotheby’s is kicking off its biggest Americana sales of the year with an archive of Hamilton-related letters and manuscripts on Wednesday, January 18.
In its own nod to the performing arts, Christie’s has invited the celebrated pianist Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner to play at its preview reception honoring Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts winners Brock Jobe and Leroy Graves. The event is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Wednesday, January 18. Sanchez-Werner will play a Steinway & Sons piano housed in an 1882 Aesthetic Movement art case made by the George A. Schastey firm. The cornerstone of a recent exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the piano is to be offered by Christie’s on January 20 with an estimate of $300/500,000.
What follows are highlights of the upcoming auctions, scheduled to coincide with the 63rd Winter Antiques Show, the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair, the Outsider Art Fair, the Art, Design and Antiques Show at Wallace Hall and the NYC Big Flea. The catalogs are all online, so get reading.
Chinese Export Art
Christie’s Americana Week sales encompass more than 750 lots expected to realize upward of $7.5 million. The Rockefeller Plaza auction house gets the ball rolling on Wednesday, January 18, at 2 pm, with Chinese export art. The session features approximately 200 lots, 93 of which are from the collection of Lorraine and David Popowich of Philadelphia. “They bought really wonderful quality porcelain in all the classic categories,” says senior specialist Becky MacGuire. Snuffboxes – 31 in all, stylistically varied and in a variety of mounts – are estimated from $1,500 to $10,000. From other consignors, an American Market punch bowl ($10/15,000), a match to one, now at Winterthur Museum, from the collection of H.F. du Pont, is painted with hunting and racing vignettes. It relates to a bowl owned by Philadelphian Samuel Morris (1734-1812), a member of the Gloucester Park Hunting Club.
Palmetto Hall: The Jay P. Altmayer Family Collection
Christie’s continues on Thursday, January 19, at 10 am with the contents of Palmetto Hall. The 1846 Alabama mansion was furnished by Mr and Mrs Jay P. Altmayer over 40 years with a mix of American, English and Continental art and décor. A painting by Richard Clague of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana ($120/180,000) hung near the Oval Office during the Carter administration. A circa 1815 Regency side cabinet by George Bullock is expected to fetch up to $100,000, as is a pair of Regency ormolu bottle coolers.
Courageous Spirits: Outsider and Vernacular Art
Featuring 70 lots, Christie’s dedicated sale of Outsider and vernacular art is planned for Friday, January 20, at 10 am. What specialist Cara Zimmerman calls “the most incredible” limestone lion, one of four carved by William Edmondson, two of which are in museums, is the show stopper. The circa 1937 figure is estimated at $200/400,000 and is accompanied by a photographic contact sheet showing artist and figure together. Another favorite is “Puma Kitten,” est. $30/50,000, by William Hawkins. Rounding out the selection are pieces by James Castle, Bill Traylor and Elijah Pierce. Consignors include the Marvill Collection and Dr. Kurt Gitter and Alice Rae Yelen. In a nod to the presidential inauguration, also on January 20, Zimmerman has included “Aero Trump” by Charles A. A. Dellschau. It is expected to bring up to $25,000.
Important American Furniture and Folk Art
Christie’s refined sale of important American furniture, folk art and silver from various owners on Friday, January 20, at 10:30 am and 2 pm, consists of 266 carefully selected lots. “The theme is condition, condition, condition,” says department head Andrew Holter. Seventeen lots of furniture collected by Metropolitan Museum of Art benefactor Mrs. J. Insley Blair lead. Christie’s sold a portion of the Blair collection in 2006 for what remains the highest grossing single-owner auction of American decorative arts. One “masterpiece,” says Holter, is a Chippendale blocked reverse serpentine desk-and-bookcase illustrated in Albert Sack’s The New Fine Points of Furniture ($50/100,000). A Philadelphia side chair with shell-carved ears is the mate to one at the Met ($20/30,000). “We also have an incredible pair of shield-back Salem, Mass., armchairs made by John Sanderson for John and Sarah Fiske. The carving is attributed to Samuel McIntire,” Holter says of the lot estimated at $10/20,000. From another consignor come two mid-Eighteenth Century Philadelphia Queen Anne figured maple side chairs in untouched condition with original rolled, sea-grass stuffing. Attributed to William Savery, they are expected to bring $80/120,000 apiece. Of Newport interest is a Chippendale carved mahogany tea table attributed to the shop of Joseph Sanford ($80/120,000). Paintings range from Rembrandt Peale’s 1859 portrait of George Washington ($150/250,000) to the folk likenesses of Mary Margaret Deuel painted circa 1829 by Ammi Phillips ($100/150,000), and John Brewster Jr’s ” Young Boy in Red Holding an Apple” ($60/90,000). “It’s your classic Brewster,” says Holter.
Important American Silver
“We have a nice group of Colonial American silver,” specialist Jill Waddell notes of Christie’s 68-lot session on the afternoon of January 20. Highlights include a pair of circa 1750 candlesticks by the New York smith Simeon Soumaine ($100/200,000). A pair of braziers ($100/200,000) have the distinction of having been made in 1724 by Boston smith John Burt for Harvard University tutor Nicolas Server, who received them as a gift from his students. From Boston’s Old South Church comes a wine cup by John Hull and Robert Sanderson ($150/200,000). Some of the early silver is from the estate of collector Eric Martin Wunsch. At the other end of the dateline, a Tiffany silver, mokume and mixed-metal three-piece tea set from 1878 is expected to sell for upwards of $60,000. A set 23 18-karat gold champagne coupes is estimated at $100/150,000. “They’re unbelievably chic,” says Waddell.
Old Master Drawings
Christie’s 130-lot sale of Old Master drawings on Tuesday, January 24, at 2 pm emphasizes Italian works. A drawing of a nude youth by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta may go for $300,000, while a drawing of a head of a young man by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo could reach $220,000.
Old Master Prints
More than 230 lots of Old Master prints go on the block at Christies on Wednesday, January 25, at 2 pm. Estimated at $200/300,000 is “The Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea,” a woodcut printed from twelve blocks, circa 1514-15, on twelve joined sheets of laid paper. From the Ford Foundation, the monumental print is after Titian. “Knight, Death and the Devil” by Albrecht Durer, an engraving of 1513, is estimated $150/250,000.
20 Rockefeller Plaza; 212-636-2000 or www.christies.com.
Americana Week at Sotheby’s encompasses more than 750 lots divided into six different sales. Calling the week “one for the ages,” American furniture and decorative arts department head Erik Gronning notes an emphasis on significant selections “anchored by an impressive number of distinguished private collections.” For more insight into the works on offer, plan to attend Sotheby’s Americana Week Symposium on Tuesday, January 17, from 10 am to 6 pm. Gronning, Jason Busch, Laura C. Keim, Andrew Richmond, Selby Kiffer, John Ward, Glenn Adamson, George Parker, Alan Miller, Ann Smart Martin and Robert Trent are scheduled to speak. RSVP 212-894-1597. The day concludes with a preview reception for the sales at 6 pm.
Alexander Hamilton Letters and Manuscripts
Sotheby’s starts its Americana week sales at 2 pm on Wednesday, January 18, with an important family archive of letters and manuscripts relating to Alexander Hamilton. The 77-lot trove touches on virtually every phase of the statesman and financier’s life. Leading the group is a previously unrecorded autograph draft of Pacificus Essay No. VI from July 1793 ($300/500,000). A lock of Hamilton’s hair accompanied by an autograph signed by Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton is expected to bring $15/25,000.
Collection of George S. Parker II, Caxambas Foundation
Starting at 10 am on Thursday, January 19, Sotheby’s 257-lot sale features the furniture-rich collection of George S. Parker II from the Caxambas Foundation. “He amassed a wonderful, early collection with the help of the furniture conservator and consultant Alan Miller,” Gronning notes. Previously on loan to the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the trove includes the only known example of a Queen Anne block and shell carved mahogany dressing table from Providence, R.I., ($300/500,000) and a pair of carved Philadelphia side chairs directly inspired by Thomas Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director ($200/300,000). A circa 1770 Philadelphia high chest of drawers with carving attributed to John Pollard is estimated at $400/600,000. There are also two Philadelphia hairy-paw pieces: the Joshua Eyre gaming table with carving by Richard Butts ($300/500,000) and a fire screen carved by Martin Jugiez ($60/80,000). Among early American portraits are examples by Copley, Charles Willson Peale, Stuart, Blackburn, Earl, Sully and Trumbull. The session also features silver by London smith Paul Storr and others.
Iris Schwartz Collection of American Silver
Iris Schwartz devoted decades to building a comprehensive survey collection of Eighteenth through early Twentieth Century American silver. The 270-lot assemblage comes to market on Friday, January 20, at 10 am. Leading the group is a rare pair of candlesticks by the New York silversmith Myer Myers ($150/250,000) and a square coffee pot by Charles Louis Boehm of Baltimore for the Ridgely family ($15/25,000). Also of note are an early Nineteenth Baldwin Gardiner tureen, antebellum Southern pieces and a set of 12 Tiffany enameled cups and covers for the Nevada tycoon John Mackay.
Featuring property from the collection of Joan Oestreich Kend, Sotheby’s will offer Important Americana from various owners, 412 lots in all, at 2 pm on Friday and 3 pm on Saturday. The sale gets going with silver. There are some exceptional early New York pieces, among them the circa 1700 Gerrit Onkelbag two-handled brandywine bowl ($300/500,000) and a circa 1710 tankard by Koenraet Ten Eyck of Albany, N.Y. Prints include a full George Catlin portfolio of 25 hand colored lithographs of American Indians. Leading furniture is the Nicholas Brown scalloped-top Newport Chippendale tea table, estimated at $800,000-$1.2 million. The sale continues with the collection of Joyce Volk, longtime curator of the Warner House in Portsmouth, N.H. The 3-foot-tall gilded and painted Goddess of Liberty with flag weathervane by J.W. Fiske Ironworks crowns the Kend collection ($100/150,000).
Ralph and Susanne Katz Folk Art Collection
Important American Folk Art, 162 lots in all, from the Ralph and Susanne Katz collection crosses the block at 10 am on Saturday, January 21. Foremost is a “View of the Berks County Alms House” by John Rasmussen. The 32-by-40-inch oil on zinc painting of 1880 is estimated at $80/120,000. Also of note are paintings by Thomas Chambers, Martin Ramirez, Ammi Phillips, Joseph Whiting Stock and Zedekiah Belknap. A painted fireboard from the Moses Martin house in Salem, N.Y., should bring $60/80,000.
E. Newbold and Margaret du Pont Smith Collection
Sotheby’s closes its Americana Week sales at 2 pm on Saturday, January 21, with the collection of E. Newbold and Margaret du Pont Smith. The 89-lot selection emphasizes outstanding examples of Eighteenth Century Pennsylvania fine and decorative arts, says Gronning. Highlights include a miniature William and Mary high chest of drawers ($80/120,000), a Queen Anne carved and figured walnut open armchair ($250/350,000), a Peter Stretch tall clock in a case by John Head ($150/300,000) and a Queen Anne carved and figured maple open armchair attributed to the workshop of Solomon Fussell ($60/120,000). A version of “Penn’s Treaty with the Indians” by Edward Hicks is expected to bring $800,000-$1.2 million.
Old Master Drawings
At 10 am on Wednesday, January 25, Sotheby’s will offer 158 lots of Old Master drawings estimated from $3,000 to $300,000. The strong British section includes drawings by J.M.W. Turner, William Blake and Thomas Gainsborough, plus a major watercolor of an Arthurian subject by Burne-Jones. There is also a preliminary study for a chiaroscuro woodcut by Parmigianino and a major drawing by Jacob van Ruisdael.
Master Paintings and Sculpture Evening Sale
Sotheby’s continues at 6 pm with its evening sale of master paintings and sculpture. The session features a group of Spanish works by or attributed to Velazquez, Zurbaran and El Greco, along with a full set of Francisco Goya’s “Los Caprichos” prints in their original binding.
Master Paintings and Sculpture Day Sale
Starting at 10 am on Thursday, January 26, Sotheby’s day sale of master paintings and sculpture features British portraits and shipping scenes, as well as a Fifteenth Century Nottingham alabaster altarpiece. There is also a tondo painting from the workshop of Botticelli.
Master Paintings and Nineteenth Century European Art
Sotheby’s wraps up its Old Masters week sales at 10 am on Friday, January 27, with almost 200 works spanning the centuries and the majority of Europe. In addition to Fifteenth through Eighteenth Century paintings, the session includes Nineteenth Century French, Italian, British, Dutch, German and Spanish paintings, plus a selection of sporting and maritime pictures.
1334 York Avenue; 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com.
Baal-Teshuva Collection of Modern Masters
On Wednesday, January 18, at 10 am, Roland Auctioneers is dispersing selections from the collection of the late Aviva Baal-Teshuva, a painter, and her husband, Jacob, an Israeli-born editor and appraiser. The couple took an interest in the work of Marc Chagall, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Mark Rothko and Jean-Michel Basquiat, among others. The sale consists of roughly 300 lots, many of them Modern and contemporary works on paper. They range from works by Picasso to Warhol and Koons, says gallery director Michael Podniesinski. There are also miscellaneous pieces of silver, small bronzes and studio pieces, and ancient roman glass.
80 East 11th Street; 212-260-2000 or www.rolandauctions.com.
European Decorative Arts and Old Master Pictures
On Wednesday, January 25, at 10 am, Doyle is offering English and Continental decorative arts and Old Master paintings culled from a variety of sources, including the New York apartment of Philadelphia designers Judie and Bennett Weinstock. A pair of Irish silver soup tureens by William Nolan is estimated at $20/30,000. A quartet of late Seventeenth or early Eighteenth Century allegorical marble busts depicting Africa, Europe, Asia and America may go for $120,000. Estimated at $30/50,000, a painting of the Virgin and Child with Saint Elizabeth is by the Flemish master Vincent Sellaer.
175 East 87th Street; 212-427-2730 or www.doyle.com.
Maritime Paintings and Artifacts
On Thursday, January 26, at 1 pm, Bonhams is offering 101 lots of maritime paintings and artifacts. Among the highlights are canvases by James and Thomas Buttersworth, Montague Dawson, John Steven Dews and the contemporary New Zealander Anthony D. Blake. Also featured are flags from J.P. Morgan’s steam yacht Corsair, estimated at $20/30,000, and a dockyard-style model of the American frigate Constellation, expected to bring up to $15,000.
580 Madison Avenue; 212-644-9001 or www.bonhams.com.
Art Nouveau Posters by Mucha and Contemporaries
On Thursday, January 26, at 1:30 pm, Swann Galleries will disperse the largest private collection of posters by Alphonse Mucha and other Art Nouveau masters to come to auction, a holding assembled by Maryland resident Harry C. Meyerhoff, who died last year. Mucha posters account for roughly half of the more than 200-lot sale. Notable works include Mucha’s 1911 “Princezna Hyacinta” and the circa 1899 “Bleuze – Hadancourt Parfumeur,” each estimated at $15/$20,000.
104 East 25th Street; 212-254-4710 or www.swanngalleries.com.
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