Published: April 7, 2020
MAMARONECK, N.Y. – There were no bidders in the gallery for Shapiro Auctions’ March 21-22 sale, but that did not put a dent in the firm’s ambition to sell 720 lots that weekend to bidders around the world through phone, absentee and internet bidding.
The top lot of the day was a 19-7/8-by-30-inch dated 1920 tempera and pastel on canvas by Russian artist Nikolai Roerich (1874-1947), titled “Secrets of the Walls,” that sold between estimate for $593,750. It came with provenance that reached back to 1920s Boston where it was exhibited at the Boston Art Club.
Other Russian artists that did well include David Shterenberg (1881-1948), who supplied a still life oil on canvas painting that brought above estimate at $406,250. In the 1920s, Shterenberg was part of the Parisian avante garde circle and associated with the masters therein. Around this time, the painting entered the collection of Twentieth Century American pianist and teacher Carol Robinson. Shapiro writes, “Robinson and Shterenberg met at a Parisian salon likely in 1925 or 1927, at which point this work, referred to as “Still Life” in Robinson’s biography Music and the Moderns: The Life and Work of Carol Robinson, entered Robinson’s collection, where it would remain for several decades.”
A massive oil on canvas work titled “Adam and Eve,” 105 by 125 inches, by Boris Anisfeld (1878-1973) bested the $30,000 high estimate to bring $131,000. The painting had been exhibited in the “Current exhibition of the Higher Art School at the Imperial Academy of Arts,” St Petersburg, 1909.
In decorative arts, a pair of Russian Imperial lidded crater vases, produced at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St Petersburg sold for $125,000. The 20-5/8-inch-high vases were from the period of Alexander II (1855-1881) and the firm said they were possibly based on a design by August Karl Spiess, with a similar sketch by Spiess in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum. A 1970s Cartier “Mystery Clock,” 9-7/8 inches high, went out between estimate at $250,000. The clock featured citrine, onyx, chrysoprase, silver and diamonds. Shapiro wrote, “The ‘Mystery’ clock, so called because of the illusion of floating hands, was conceived by Louis Cartier and the house’s clockmaker Maurice Coüet, with the first models produced in 1912. The clocks remain among Cartier’s most sophisticated luxury productions.”
A Chinese white jade figure of Buddha surprised it went over nine times its estimate for $75,000. The white jade figure of Buddha Shakyamuni sat on a gilt-bronze and enamel base and dated to the early Eighteenth Century. The figure rose 6-7/8 inches including base.
For additional information, www.shapiroauctions.com or 212-717-7500.
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