Published: February 3, 2004
Susanin’s Auctions took in more than $1 million during its Holiday Premiere Auction, making it the highest grossing single sale in the company’s ten-year history. The two-day event, conducted December 7-8, featured 483 lots of furniture, fine art, decorative art, silver and textiles in addition to 433 lots of fine antique estate jewelry.
One of the most anticipated lots of the sale was an oil on canvas by prominent muralist José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949), who is credited with leading the renaissance of modern Mexican art. The boldly colored painting, titled “Who Is Next,” measures 251/2 by 18 inches and depicts a group of men crowded around a table playing a game of chance with a pistol. The painting, which was owned by Cecil B. DeMille, was consigned to Susanin’s by the legendary filmmaker’s great-granddaughter.
As the Orozco came up for bid on Sunday afternoon, principal auctioneer Sean Susanin paused for a moment to allow his staff time to ensure that the seven phone bidders from all corners of the globe were ready to begin. Susanin opened the bidding at the presale estimate of $50,000 and a flurry of activity ensued. Within seconds, the figure escalated to $120,000, causing the phone bidders to drop out one by one. Valerie Carberry of Chicago and Jason Schoen of Miami, both successful gallery owners, were the only two left vying for the painting.
Susanin’s attention flashed from one side of the gallery to the other as Carberry and Schoen continued to bid against each other. Thirty seconds later, applause filled the room and Carberry’s winning bid of $240,000 set a new record as the most expensive painting sold at Susanin’s. (Previously, the record was held by John William Godward’s “Loosened Lace,” an oil painting sold in May 2003 for $144,000.)
Other fine art highlights of the sale include a 20- by 28-inch landscape by Theodore Clement Steele (1847-1926) that brought $30,000 against a low estimate of $3,000; Ernest Walbourn’s “Cottage Landscape with Figures,” which sold for $1,680 against a low estimate of $500; and an oil on canvas by Pierre DuMont (1884-1936) titled “Rouen Harbour” that went for $2,280.
Two sets of ten Japanese woodblock prints from Tokushi Katsuhira (1904-1971) drew considerable interest from bidders and sold for $2,640 and$2,880 against low auction estimates of $1,000 per set. A 241/4- by 36-inch oil on canvas by Alexander Dzigurski (1911-1995) titled “Ocean Grandeur” brought $2,400 against a low auction estimate of $1,000; and Leonard Woodruff’s “Pears,” an oil on canvas measuring 19 by 30 inches, sold for $1,560 against a low estimate of $600.
Interest was high on a collection of French furniture, resulting in winning bids that were at least double and sometimes triple the presale low estimates. Highlights include a 35-inch-high mahogany marble-top dresser with marquetry and ormolu detailing that sold for $9,600 against a low estimate of $1,500; a 62-inch mahogany bed that brought $1,440 ($450/650); and a pair of side tables with marble tops, inlay and ormolu detailing that brought $1,020 against a low estimate of $300.
Several French vitrines from the estate of Lillian Tunze were also offered. A 641/2-inch-high painted and giltwood vitrine, circa 1900-1910, sold for $1,680; a walnut vitrine with ormolu detailing, circa 1880-1890, brought $1,560; and a walnut tri-foliate form vitrine with ormolu detailing sold for $1,140.
Decorative arts highlights include an Eighteenth Century giltwood mirror with floral, shield and swag design details that sold for $1,140; three pietra dura plaques that brought $1,920; and a carved ivory and yellow gold elephant studded with diamonds, rubies and sapphires that went for $4,800.
A French marble and gilt bronze standish with matching candlesticks sold for $6,000; an Eighteenth Century Austrian carved wood figure of God the Father brought $1,200; and a pair of Italian gesso and wood book covers sold for $5,520.
A brass peacock-form table lamp brought $1,140; a Nineteenth Century Viennese enameled cupboard with gilt figural highlights and enameled panels sold for $7,800, and an automated singing birdcage by Bontems, Paris, circa 1900, sold for $1,560.
A collection of Peruvian silver did extremely well. Highlights include a late Eighteenth Century charger, $840; a Nineteenth Century epergne, $2,640; and a 141/2-inch covered tureen, $2,400. In addition, an 11-inch spice tower sold for $1,200; a document box measuring 41/4 by 101/2 by 71/4 inches went for $2,160; and a footed bowl brought $3,360.
The June Latta Antique Jewelry Collection presented fine jewelry from the estate of the longtime Park Ridge, Ill., resident. The Latta jewelry represents one of the finest single-owner collections of antique bracelets, rings, brooches, necklaces and cameos known to exist.
During the days and weeks leading up to the sale, Susanin’s welcomed more than 1,500 buyers from across the country who wanted to preview the entire collection, resulting in an unprecedented 850 absentee bids left at the gallery or online.
By 5 pm Monday night, more than 150 people filled the first floor of Susanin’s gallery, snacking on savory chicken salad croissants, champagne and Italian chocolates in between bidding on the nearly 450 lots of Victorian, Georgian, French, Continental and Austrian antique and contemporary jewelry. While the cameos and gold pieces in the collection were popular with bidders, the stars of the sale were the reptiles and insects.
An English green garnet and diamond salamander pin, circa 1890, brought $5,760 from a phone bidder, while another lucky phone bidder picked up a similar yellow gold, green garnet and diamond salamander pin for $3,600. A third salamander pin of yellow gold, garnet and pearls went for $3,120.
A yellow gold spider pin with opal, diamonds and demantoid garnets, circa 1910, brought $3,120; a silver on gold natural pearl and diamond fish form pin, circa 1890, sold for $2,040; a Victorian butterfly pin with mine-cut diamonds and emeralds, circa 1860, brought $1,560; and an insect pin with pink tourmaline, opal, rubies, emeralds and mine-cut diamonds went for $2,400.
A continental 14K. yellow gold, diamond and enamel bangle bracelet brought $2,280; an English 15K gold three-strand necklace with heart pendant, circa 1910, sold to an absentee bidder for $1,920; and another absentee bidder was successful in buying a rare Art Nouveau 14K yellow gold spider web form bracelet with diamonds and sapphires with matching earrings for $4,080.
An English monkey pin with sapphires, pearls, amethyst, emeralds and diamonds, circa 1880, sold for $1,800; an American gold chain necklace with 15 brilliant cut diamonds, circa 1920, brought $1,920; and a French gold musical pocket watch, circa 1890, sold for $2,640.
One of the most unique cameo sets in the Latta collection was a bracelet and brooch both with Etruscan work, circa 1870. Still in its original box, the set sold for $3,840.
An English malachite set comprising a pin, earrings and cuff links with its original box sold for $2,280; a pair of 18K yellow gold and enamel bangle bracelets, circa 1890, also sold for $2,280; and a Giuliano-style enamel necklace, circa 1890, in its original box went to a phone bidder for $4,800.
The collection included many rings. Among the highlights were a 4.73-carat platinum and diamond engagement ring that brought $21,600; a 2.15-carat white gold and diamond girdle ring that sold for $9,600; a stunning demantoid garnet ring, circa 1910, that fetched $4,800; and a custom-made 18K gold 2.75 carat pave ring that brought $3,600.
Prices reported include buyer’s premium.
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