Published: September 15, 2020
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy of Kensington Estate Auctions
CLINTONDALE, N.Y. – An original Walt Disney Studios ink and watercolor drawing for The Talkies (cartoons), circa 1930-33, was loudly and clearly the top lot at Kensington Estate Auctions’ August 31 sale, a diverse offering that presented 180 lots of fine art, collectibles, decorative art, furniture, jewelry and Asian art and antiques.
Depicting Mickey and Minnie dancing, while Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle the Cow are playing instruments in the background, the drawing brought $3,120. From a private estate, it was annotated in pencil on verso: “Red-Aug/ M.M. On The Talkies/ Pgs. 50 & 51” and measured 16¼ by 16¼ inches framed.
“Bidders participating in Kensington Estate Auctions online auction have several entry points,” explained Lydia Orias, primary business partner at the firm. “Their bidding options include by phone, or they can leave us their bid through the various online portals we provide. We appreciated a combination of returning, loyal customers as well as new buyers. We understand the fragility of the global economy; consequently, we are all the more appreciative of our bidders and their payments. Our catalogs strive to span buyers’ interests and financial means.”
Property with provenance to the estate of actor, cabaret singer and Paul Cadmus’ (American, 1922-1967) muse and lover Jon F. Anderson was offered at this sale, with the highest selling lot found in an original crayon-on-gray paper work of a nude sleeping figure by Cadmus, 1967, which sold for $2,520. Measuring 18 by 25 inches, this drawing titled “Sleeping Figure” can be found on page 133 in Guy Davenport’s book The Drawings Of Paul Cadmus. The next lot was a Cadmus drawing of his partner Jon Anderson reading, seated in a rocking chair. Executed with colored pencils on paper, the 19-by-19¾-inch drawing was bid to $1,230.
Fetching $1,440 was an original letter ink-signed by Orson Welles (American, 1915-1985) in reference to his broadcast of War of the Worlds. Typed on the letterhead of the Mercury Theatre, 1450 Broadway, New York, Welles regretted causing discomfort to the listeners over the War of the Worlds broadcast. The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air, directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Welles as an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds (1898). It was performed and broadcast live as a Halloween episode at 8 pm on Sunday, October 30, 1938, over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. The episode became famous for allegedly causing panic among its listening audience. In good original vintage estate condition with a slight fold, the letter was from the estate of Gary Combs.
A painting, possibly Eighteenth Century, in the manner of Melchior D’Hondecoeter (Dutch, circa 1636-95) depicted a peacock and exotic birds in a garden landscape setting with a distant classical estate. The oil on canvas, 32½ by 40¼ inches framed, realized $1,353.
Chess was the theme of two notable lots in the sale. One, from a private estate, was an original autographed photocard of chess masters from the World Chess Congress conducted in Pasadena, Calif. – Pasadena 1932 International Chess Tournament – with original ink penned autographs of ten of the participating chess masters. Signatures included Russian Chess Grandmaster Alexander Alexhine, Arthur Dake, Issac Kashdan, Samuel Reshevsky, Reubin Fine, Bernstein, Borochow, Steiner and others. Endgame price for this lot was $1,353.
A wonderful chess set with pieces modeled as whimsical mice by Ernst Bohne and Sons, Thuringia, Germany, moved to $1,107. The finely hand painted circa 1930s porcelain mouse chess game with box featured maker’s mark on the underside of the figurines and came in the original box. There were no repairs, although part of a tail from the one of the Queens was missing.
An amazing rare ethnographic collection of photographs of the Tangkhul Naga Tribes (and Lushai, Kuki and Jaintia tribes) living on the India-Burma border during the first half of the Twentieth Century crossed the block, having come from a British family. With pen and pencil titles with inscribed location and descriptions of each photo on verso, the collection included a Paul Popper studio stamp; London. Images depicted village life, haircuts, trading, tribes in a valley, harvest, landscapes, superstitions, while highlights included government agents showing displeasure of tribal disregard of the edict against head-hunting (the Naga chief was known to have dozens of human heads in defiance of the government); a tribal house warning visitors of contagious disease, devastated village main street where spirits were said to reside and much more. Totaling approximately 150 silver gelatin press style prints, the collection finished at $923.
Finally, for contemporary art lovers, there were a couple of pieces by LA II from the early 1990s, including a graffiti painted found modernist mannequin bust, tightly tagged throughout, which earned $861, and a New York City urban graffiti painting, titled “LAROC,” painted on glass panel with black acrylic paint base tightly tagged throughout with silver metallic paint marker. At 23 by 29 inches, it left the gallery at $800.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For more information, www.kensingtonestateauctions.com or 917-331-0807.
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