Published: July 10, 2007
The market for bronze sculpture, flatlined for well over a decade, was jolted vigorously back to life on May 20, when the Reingold collection of American sculpture went on the block at Rago Arts and Auction Center.
Hundreds of bidders †in the room, on the phone and online †did the trick. When the hammer fell at the close of the 236-lot sale, a sales total of $1,327,410 had been reached † 11 percent over the high estimate with 94 percent sold by lot.
Records were set for works in bronze by more than 20 artists, including Allen George Newman, whose “Rough Rider” more than tripled its high estimate, selling for $22,800; Clio Hinton Huneker Bracken, whose center bowl sold for $7,200; James Lippitt Clark, whose “Rhinoceros” brought $21,600; Henri Crenier, whose “Boy and Turtle fountain” sold for $14,400; Max Kalish, whose “Working Man” sold for $25,200; and Haig Patigian, whose “Egypt Isis” sold for $36,000 against an estimate of $7/9,000.
Also setting records were works by Henry Hering, Giuseppe Moretti, Emil Fuchs, Bonnie MacLeary, J. Clinton Shepherd, Heinz Warneke, Joseph Jacinto Mora, Frank Luis Jirouch, Milton Hebald, Nathaniel Choate, Berthold Nebel, Enoch Henryck Glicenstein, Arline Wingate and Paul Fiene.
A numismatic record was achieved for a medal by Augustus Saint-Gaudens; his Women’s Auxiliary of the Massachusetts Civil Service Reform Association Presentation Medal sold for $10,800.
The first lots by Frederick MacMonnies set the strong tone for the sale with his “Pan of Rohallion” selling for $33,600 on an estimate of $15/20,000.
Also notable are the selling prices for “Theodore Roosevelt as a Rough Rider” by James Earle Fraser, $12,000; Gaston Lachaise’s “Isabel,” $45,000; and “Young Girl” by Bessie Onahotema Potter Vonnoh, $24,000.
The latter part of the sale concentrated on the more modern works favored by Eileen Reingold. “Ideal Head” by Elie Nadelman sold for $66,000. Warren Wheelock’s untitled nude brought $14,400; Boris Lovet-Lorski’s untitled head in stone, $19,200; Jose de Creeft’s untitled reclining nude, $16,800, and William Zorach’s untitled figure in stone, $8,400.
The Reingolds bought works by fine animaliers and prices reflected this, as well.
Charles Cary Rumsey’s “Walking Puma” sold for $12,000; Paolo Troubetzkoy’s “Wolfhound” for $8,400; Mohonri MacIntosh Young’s “Elephant” bookend for $11,400; Louis Paul Jonas’ “Hippopotamus” for $3,000 and “Morgan Le Fay” by Hazel Brill Jackson for $2,880. A sculpture of a “Yawning Tiger” by Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington did well at $12,000, as did her “Tribute to the Workhorse” at $14,400.
A number of the artists collected by the Reingolds had no auction records prior to this sale. This was no barrier to bidding; the quality was right. Nathaniel Choate’s “Camel Boy” sold for $10,200; Eileen Parnell’s “Lady Godiva” for $10,800 against a $1,2/1,800 estimate; and Selma Hortense Burke’s “Black Nude Reclining” for $8,400. There were stellar first sales, as well, for works in bronze by Michel Jacobs, Adolph Cashwan, Robert McKnight, Louis Slobodkin and Fausta-Vittoria Mengarina.
“We believed that this was the collection that would renew the bronze market if properly handled,” said Meredith Hilferty, director of fine art. “The Reingolds trusted us to do this when the major New York houses also wanted the work. To be able to deliver so definitely on our promise to them is highly gratifying, as you can imagine.”
Prices reported include the 20 percent buyer’s premium. For information, www.ragoarts.com or 609-397-9374.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm