Published: September 14, 2010
Usually conducted as a two-day sale, an additional day was added to the schedule by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries staff for the annual Summer Feature Auction as they found their inventory chock-full of quality merchandise. Taking place Saturday, August 21, through Monday, August 23, auction house principal and auctioneer Kaja Veilleux hammered down nearly 1,500 lots over the course of the auction.
Veilleux was thrilled with the wide variety of items to be sold, and his enthusiasm spread rapidly among buyers as he strolled about the gallery and chatted with clients. A diversified lot of merch, much of which had been consigned in conjunction with the free appraisal days that are conducted at the gallery, items ranged from freshly picked Maine folk art to Orientalia, and also included an impressive selection of fine art.
While the selection of Americana was strong, it was the Orientalia that would steal the spotlight. “This is certainly going to be one of the rock stars,” commented Veilleux as he walked past a bronze Oriental covered incense burner of average height and appearance. “We have been getting calls from all over the world about that one, and I think there are at least ten phone bidders registered so far,” he said.
A couple of other pieces from the selection of Orientalia were also attracting attention, with Veilleux pointing quickly to a bronze bowl-form brazier and an enameled bronze human-form temple figure. Other highlights, according to the auctioneer, would include a Edward Lamson Henry painting, two watercolor Christmas cards from Andrew Wyeth and a wonderful American dressing table.
The crowd began rolling into the gallery early on opening day and preview was upbeat. Veilleux took to the podium right on time, and one of the first lots to exceed estimate was a pair of red painted leather fire buckets that brought $1,092. A couple of lots later, a unique Maine-made folk art whirligig with numerous animated men chopping, splitting and stacking wood was sold. Bidding on the brightly colored lot was spirited, with it selling at $3,450.
A vibrantly painted game board with checkers on one side and Parcheesi on the other did well, bringing $1,035, a burl bowl hammered at $575, and a neat sawbuck table in old blue paint realized $690.
A Federal dressing table in bird’s-eye maple with mustard and black painted striping and floral decorations on the drawers became one of the top lots among the furniture. Opening at $6,000, the lot bounced back and forth around the gallery and the telephones, finally selling at $13,800.
Other furniture included a sweet and delicate Sheraton one-drawer stand with thin reeded legs and a cookie-corner top that Veilleux had estimated at $4/6,000. The rare stand attracted a great deal of attention during preview, and once again as it crossed the block, selling at $8,337. A period bowfront inlaid Hepplewhite sideboard also went out above estimate at $6,900.
Another coveted stand in the sale was a Federal mahogany candlestand with delicate spider legs ending in a spade foot and a delicately turned urn-form shaft. The oval mahogany top was inlaid in satin birch with a vibrant sunburst pattern. Bidding on the lot was brisk, with it selling at $5,750.
Other American furniture of interest included a Pennsylvania dower chest in walnut with three lower drawers that realized $4,715, while a Pennsylvanian hooded settle bench in old black paint brought $2,760.
It was the end of the first session that would provide the real excitement for the day, and Veilleux’s predictions proved correct as the Orientalia “rockstars” made their showing.
The Orientalia began crossing the block slowly at first, but then as a concentrated group. The first of the lots to be offered would set the tone for the grouping, with a late Eighteenth Century Chinese monumental bronze temple figure of Quan Yuan rocketing past the presale estimate. The 43-inch-tall standing figure with enamel highlights carried an estimate of $10/15,000, yet that was quickly cast aside as a host of phone bidders jumped into the action. Moments later, Veilleux hammered the lot down at $33,850.
A 14-inch seated bronze statue from the late Ming period brought $14,375.
A Seventeenth Century oval dragon footed Chinese bronze brazier with dragon-form handles was another of the lots that attracted a huge amount of interest. With every phone line in the house occupied by hopeful bidders, the lot sold well above the $3/4,000 estimate when concluded at $36,800.
While the crowd was still abuzz, a Ming dynasty Chinese bronze incense burner was offered. The two-part gilt-bronze cask-form censer was oblong and stood on four dragon’s legs extending from dragons’ mouths and intricately molded with dragon handles and decorated with dragons swimming in seas on each of the sides. The censer was covered with a lid that was also elaborately decorated and featured a reticulated cloud surmounted by a reclining dragon. Measuring 12 inches tall and with the base portion measuring 11 by 6 inches, the lot was cataloged by Veilleux as “very finely rendered and in very good condition.”
With the full bank of phone bidders eager for action, Veilleux opened the lot, estimated at only $5/8,000, to the frenzied group and knocked it down a brief time later for $124,200.
A series of nautical paintings did well, with a painting of “The Action Between HM Frigates Indefatigable and Amazon and the French Droits de l’homme off Ushant, 13th, Jan., 1797″ opening for bidding at $20,000. It was painted by Derek Gardner, RSMA, several in the gallery hammered away at the lot, bringing the final price to $54,625.
Two Percy Sanborn paintings were offered, with the ship portrait of The Great Republic selling at $17,250, while the portrait of the Henry B. Hyde realized $18,400.
Other paintings in the auction included an attractive Charles Lamson Henry oil from 1913 titled “The Huckster” that sold between estimates at $42,125.
An oil on canvas laid on board of “Captain Joseph Anthony” by Gilbert Stuart did well. As the lot was offered, Veilleux noted that a miniature portrait of Anthony hangs in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. The stately painting by one of America’s premier portrait artists sold after somewhat tepid bidding, bringing only $29,900.
A Charles Warren Eaton oil on canvas titled “Fields at Dusk with Pines” had been consigned from a local Lincolnville, Maine, estate. The attractive painting attracted a great deal of interest, realizing $25,875.
Other items of interest included a pair of Sixteenth Century carved giltwood figures of the Virgin and a bishop that sold for $11,500.
A Patek Philippe lady’s watch produced for Tiffany brought $21,850, while a rubellite tourmaline and diamond ring fetched $10,350.
A large Judd Hartman bronze of a standing Indian sold at $25,300, and a Benjamin Chandlee tall case clock went out at $19, 550.
Two original watercolor Christmas cards by Andrew Wyeth saw active bidding. The first depicted a winter scene with a Quaker man and woman leaving a meetinghouse, signed on the reverse “Betsey and Andy, Warmest Greetings,” and the second card depicted leaves blowing in front of a snow-covered field and also inscribed “Betsey and Andy.” Estimated at $7/9,000 and $6/8,000, respectively, the lots sold at $12,650 each.
Prices include the premium charged. For additional information, 207-354-8141 or www.thomastonauction.com .
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