Published: April 6, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Cottone Auctions
GENESEO, N.Y. – There were 210 lots that crossed the block at Cottone’s fine art and antiques sale on March 27. The sale totaled $1.6 million, with a sell-through of 95 percent. Registered bidders were equally distributed in-house and on two online platforms, totaling approximately 3,000.
Leading the parade was a rare Tiffany Studios New York Pond Lily table lamp that outshone its $60/80,000 estimate to finish at $143,750. It was at the head of the procession, but in no way a solo act. Four additional Tiffany lamps were among the sale’s top sellers along with a Handel reverse painted Parrot example.
You could say “lighting strikes again.” Tiffany Studios lamps were strong at Cottone’s November 2020 sale, when they took four of the top five lots, among them a Maple Leaf floor lamp on a bronze base that sold for $75,600. And in March 28, the firm offered in an online-only format the collection of Dr Ronald and Krista Reed, with works by Tiffany plentiful in the sale, including the highest price of $91,450 for a Tiffany Studios Rose table lamp.
The top Tiffany in the most recent auction was an early Twentieth Century example sitting on a bronze decorated cushion base with reddish-brown patina, its shade impressed “Tiffany Studios New York 1490-8” and its base impressed “Tiffany Studios New York 9931.” With a height of 26 inches and a shade diameter of 20½ inches, the lamp came out of a Winter Park, Fla., collection. A California private collector was the winner.
A Tiffany Studios New York Daffodil table lamp was bid to $61,200. It came out of a Connecticut collection and had been referenced in Alastair Duncan’s Tiffany Lamps and Metalware. Also early Twentieth Century with leaded glass and patinated bronze, its brownish-red patinated urn-form “Crutch” base cradled a shade impressed “Tiffany Studios New York 1449.” It was 23 inches high with a 16-inch diameter shade.
An American collection contributed a rare early Twentieth Century Tiffany Studios New York Tulip table lamp. Fetching $42,000, it featured a 14-inch shade on a 20-inch-high base. Leaded glass and patinated bronze, its base had a reddish-green patina.
From the same collection and selling for $27,500 came another rare Daffodil table lamp with an early and rare design, leaded glass and patinated bronze on an oil lamp base, with an early Tiffany Studios tag and numbered “D435.” Standing 16 inches high with a 14-inch-diameter shade, it had a brownish-green patina and its base was impressed with the Tiffany decorating monogram.
The remaining top Tiffany was a Swirling Leaf table lamp with a gilt-bronze enameled Arts and Crafts base, 24-inch shade and 18-inch-high base.
An early Twentieth Century Handel reverse painted Parrot lamp with chipped ice shade, signed and numbered “Handel 6814,” 22½ inches high with 18-inch diameter shade flew to $18,600.
Beyond the antique lighting, collections of Modern art from the estates of both Dr Seymour Ira Schwartz of Rochester, N.Y., and Dr Eugene L. Gaier, of Buffalo, N.Y., soared past their high estimates with women artists stealing the spotlight.
Topping the sculpture category at $51,600, more than five times its high estimate and a setting a record, according to Cottone’s, was Dame Elisabeth Frink’s, R.A. (British, 1930-1993) “Birdman I,” which went to a private Texas collector. The bronze, edition 1/6, depicting an elongated, armless human figure standing at a tilt, exhibited a greenish-black patina and stood 21 inches high. It came from the estate of Dr Eugene Gaier, Buffalo, N.Y. Many of Frink’s sculptures revealed her fascination with the human form, especially falling figures and winged men. Male nudes had mask-like features, attenuated limbs and a pitted surface, as in this example.
Another sculpture highlight was a bronze with two-toned original patina, “Les Armes D’Achille” by French academic artist Mathurin Moreau (1822-1912) commanding $24,000. He was the son of noted sculptor Jean Baptiste Moreau. In 1841, he entered the École des Beaux Arts in Paris and, the following year, won the Second Grand Prix de Rome with his sculpture “Diodemus removing the Palladium.” Several of his works remain on public display in Paris, among them Cologne on the facade of the Gare du Nord train station.
Charles Ephraim Burchfield (American, 1893-1967), a visionary artist known for his passionately rendered watercolors of nature scenes and townscapes, was represented in the sale by “Oat Field,” a watercolor and gouache over graphite on paper. It bested its $15,000 high estimate to finish at $42,000. Signed and dated “Chas Burchfield 1917” lower right, it had an exhibition history of “Charles Burchfield, Early Watercolors” at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y., in April/May 1962. In addition, his paintings are in the collections of more than 109 US museums, with exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hammer Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as other prominent institutions. The painting’s dimensions were 19 by 24½ inches and it came from an estate in Buffalo, where the largest collection of Burchfield’s paintings, archives and journals are in the collection of the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
A Modernist oil on canvas cityscape by Edmondo Bacci (Italian, 1913-1989), “Avvenimento 7R, Venizia,” was bid to $37,200, a fourfold premium over its high estimate, won by an Italian bidder. Signed and dated “E. Bacci 1953” lower right, the 39-by-56-inch work had been exhibited at Colgate University Art Gallery.
Similarly, Bridget Riley’s (b 1931) untitled (Fragment 4/6), an optical portrait of zeros, left its $5/8,000 expectation far behind to take $32,400. The 1965 screenprint on plexiglass was signed and dated “Riley ’65” lower left, edition 67/75 and measured 27¼ by 26 inches.
European artists making notable prices included Belgian René Magritte (1898-1967) with “Paysage de Baucis” (Self Portrait with Hat), which realized $30,600, two and a half times the high estimate for the 1966 signed etching measuring 8½ by 6¼ inches; Pierre Soulages (French, b 1919) with two works, “Brown and Black Composition,” going out at $16,200 and “Composition #3” changing hands at $22,800; and Spain’s Joan Miró (1893-1983) taking $11,100 for “L’Adorateur du soleil” (Sun Worshipper), an etching, aquatint and carborundum in colors, signed and dated 1969, 38 by 23 inches.
There was more fine art. An untitled 1950 piece by Michael Goldberg (American, 1924-2007), oil on paper, 3-7/8 by 10-15/16 inches found a buyer at $23,400, while Grace Hartigan’s (American, 1922- 2008) expressive 1972 mixed media, gouache and collage on paper, “The Fire Engine,” 30 by 22 inches, jumped its $5/8,000 estimate and raced to $24,600. “Brews,” 1970, by Ed Ruscha (American, b 1937), screenprint in colors on woven paper, edition numbered 44/75 and printed and published by Alecto Studios, London, 23 by 32 inches, came to a head at $8,700.
Furniture highlights in the sale included two American case pieces. A rare Chippendale cherry chest on chest attributed to late Eighteenth Century cabinetmaker and furniture maker Eliphalet Chapin of East Windsor, Conn., more than doubled its high estimate to finish at $27,000. With provenance that included the collection of Israel Sack, it featured carved fretwork and scroll top with mellow patina. Dimensions were 81 by 38½ by 19½ inches.
An Eighteenth Century Boston Queen Anne highboy, circa 1735-50, was in mahogany with bonnet top, broken arch pediment, carved double fan, cabriole legs, rare carved shell knees and pad feet. The 88-inch-high piece had been purchased in the early 1990s from Philip H. Bradley Antiques, Downingtown, Penn., and brought $24,600.
A Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) Peacock chair, circa 1921, in oak with original vinyl upholstery that was made for the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, sold for $21,600. It was once owned by Wright’s pupil, Edgar Tafel, and was ultimately acquired by a private institution where it will likely return to public view.
Additional sale highlights were a rare 6.96-carat Lightning Ridge black opal in an 18K gold and diamond pendant, $21,360; a rare three-piece garniture gilt-bronze japonisme clock, $13,200; a Russian imperial hand painted porcelain plate, $13,200; and by John Cage (American, 1912-1992), “Page 69, From Concert For Piano and Orchestra,” $8,400.
Speaking after the sale, Matt Cottone said, “We are always grateful to the families and estates that have confidence in us and entrust us with their merchandise.” The firm’s next sale, set for May 7-8, will feature its usual eclectic fare but also clocks, toys and trains.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For additional information, 585-243-1000 or www.cottoneauctions.com.
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