Published: July 19, 2016
OAKLAND, CALIF., — While summer is often considered the doldrums for auction houses, Clars Auction Gallery defied conventional wisdom when it conducted its July 16 – 17 sale of fine art, decorative art, furniture, jewelry & timepieces and Asian art – and the results proved it a wise decision.
There was excitement and telephone bidding that was hot and furious when a rare painting by American tromp l’oeil artist, William McCloskey (1859-1941) came up for bid. The oil on canvas “Wrapped Lemons on a Tabletop,” 1888, was the subject of highly competitive bidding and substantially outperformed the $70/100,000 estimate to achieve $216,000—the highest price paid for a work by the artist in over five years, according to Rick Unruh, vice president and director of fine art at Clars. “Dealers and collectors are most definitely looking for fine art gems such as the McCloskey painting during these Summer months. There are approximately 100 known works by McCloskey and perhaps even fewer exist of his most desired and collectible subject matter. Having this painting featured as the highlight of our July auction proved to be a very good decision.”
Born in Philadelphia and trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, McCloskey still lifes epitomize a delicate execution and perfect realism that mesmerize the viewer. Many of the bidders were galleries in New York that specialize in exceptional late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century American fine art.
As Unruh said, “the outcome was more than exceptional for the seller in New Hampshire who decided to forego waiting until the fall auction season.”
The price given includes the buyer’s premium; a full review of the sale will appear in a future issue.
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