Published: August 23, 2016
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Charlton Hall’s Six Centuries At Auction on July 21 was the first of three days of auctions at the venerable auction house, which ended on July 23 with movable books from the Simon B. Offit collection online.
The extensive Offit collection, which included Judaica, paintings, decorative arts and glass was just one of several in the sale; others included the Lillian Strauss Goodman estate collection of fine jewelry, the J.B. and Dorothy Fuqua collection of Asian antiques, art, carved jade, porcelain, ceramics and mixed metals, as well as several other private collections.
While the day began with Judaica and moved into furniture and decorative items, the star of the auction came to the block about an hour after the start — an oil on canvas painting by Guillaume Seignac (French, 1870–1924), “Indolence,” which went well over its $50/70,000 estimate to achieve the world auction record price of $252,000. The signed painting was bought circa 1950 in New York City by the father-in-law of the consignor, a South Carolina private collector. According to the auction house, the 41½-by-52½-inch oil on canvas was purchased by a Chinese private collector.
Another painting also far exceeded its estimate when it realized $67,200. From a French private collector, Conrad Wise Chapman’s (1842–1910), “Valley of Mexico,” came to the block with a $10/15,000 estimate. The 27-by-33½-inch framed and signed oil on panel is going to a private collector in Texas.
Perhaps in every auction there is a “sleeper” lot, and this sale was no exception. A Chinese watercolor painting of two lovely ladies in a garden surrounded by a trellis of blooming vines caught the eye of a collector in New York. Strong bidding pushed the 55¼-by-29-inch Qing dynasty painted silk work from the Fuqua collection far beyond its $400/800 estimate to close at $15,600.
From the Offit collection and going to a New York dealer was a painting by Mary Abbott (b 1921). The untitled abstract oil on canvas realized $12,000, although the estimate was $2/4,000.
In Judaica, a Besamim spice tower, probably Nineteenth Century German, with a banner above a tiered bell tower left its $800 high estimate in the dust when the 9-inch mixed-metal tower with figures and spice compartment sold at $2,700.
Then an Eastern European mixed-metal megillah (scroll) dated 1890 (Jewish calendar 5651), with an openwork stylized crown top with fruit finial case and intricate scrolls and filigree sold at $2,200.
Several lots of fine jewelry, many from the Strauss Goodman collection, were among the top lots in the auction. But the most excitement came early in the sale when an Art Deco platinum and diamond pendant/brooch on a necklace flashed on the screen. With almost 6,700 registered bidders inhouse, online and on the phone, multiple bidding platforms were engaged and the opulent necklace that had once adorned Lillian Strauss Goodman’s neck sold to a private Georgia collector for $32,400.
Among the other jewelry lots, two from private collectors brought $11,400 each: one an Art Deco platinum and diamond engagement ring and the other a pair of diamond earrings. An Art Deco solitaire diamond ring sold at $10,200, a diamond Riviera necklace from a local private collection sold at $9,000 and a pair of Art Deco platinum, diamond and pearl chandelier earrings went to a private California collection at $6,000.
When talking about the sale, Kinga Bender, fine and decorative arts director at Charlton Hall, said that there were bidders “from six continents and 77 countries (missing Antarctica, besides shipping would be impossible), and in the United States, 35 states participated in this auction.”
She also told a back story on one lot in the auction. A pair portraits by Horace R. Burdick (American, 1844–1942) of John Conrad Zimmerman (1802–1875) and his wife Selina Pierce Wannamaker Zimmerman (1810–1889) of Glenn Springs, S.C. The pair was estimated at $2/3,000. Zimmerman was one of the largest landowners in Spartanburg County, owning the Zimmerman plantation and the Zimmerman house, a famous Glenn Springs Hotel and Spa during its heyday. In 1982, the Zimmerman house was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The portraits were consigned by a Tennessee collector and were purchased by a descendant of the sitters, the Zimmermans, “not an art collector, but a member of the family” Bender said, for $10,200.
The auction was replete with a variety of objects, from a Queen Anne chinoiserie and red-lacquer bureau bookcase that was purchased by a decorator in Alabama at $12,000 to a Chinese bronze Guanyin that was offered with a $300/500 estimate. Several collectors were interested and a bidding war ensued that ended with a Chinese collector winning the piece at $9,000.
A pair of Georgian Derbyshire Spar highly variegated “Blue John” candlesticks, circa 1800, 9½ inches from the Offit collection opened with a $2/3,000 estimate and sold to the trade at $8,400. Also from the Offit collection, a local collector won a Dale Chihuly Macchia art glass bowl for $6,600. A Lalique crystal model, “Tete de Cheval,” from a museum collection, sold to a California collector at $7,200; a Kirk & Son sterling footed and handled basket was purchased at $7,800 ($2,5/3,500); an oil on canvas titled, “Rencontre” by French artist Jean Jansem (1920–2013) realized $8,125; and William Aiken Walker’s (1838–1921) oil on board, “Lowcountry Cabin, Wash Scene,” sold at $8,400 to an Ohio collector.
All the prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 803-779-5678 or www.charltonhallauctions.com.
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