Published: December 23, 2019
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Auctions at Showplace
NEW YORK CITY – On December 15, Auctions at Showplace presented a 350-lot estate sale featuring a multitude of items specially timed for the holidays, from objects d’art to luxury items. Showplace seeds its regular estate auctions with material gathered and assembled from estates throughout Manhattan and the metropolitan area, from the Upper East Side and beyond to the Hamptons. Categories represented include fine art, European and Chinese antiques, jewelry and Modern design. And while the firm maintains an eclectic approach with lineups that tap into a broad swath of collecting sensibilities, it is placing a heavier emphasis on luxury goods and designer-friendly categories, according to Keith Lebel. He said the firm is responding to the demand for first-class shopping in NoMad (North of Madison Square Park), the crossroads between Chelsea and the Flatiron District that has become a hub for upscale hotels, entertainment and restaurants. “I thought this sale was very successful, as it continues a direction that works well for us. We reflect the neighborhood we’re in – one that is growing with new retail, hotels and restaurants, but we will always feature an eclectic mix in order to appeal to a wide range of buyers.”
In the fall 2019, Showplace launched a substantial renovation project at its 40 West 25th Street location, marking the firm’s commitment to the city as a destination for fine art, luxury items, antiques and Midcentury Modern design. That upgrade and transformation will be showcased in May when the firm inaugurates the four-floor space as a sleek, state-of-the-art marketplace with galleries, displays and amenities.
The December 15 sale’s fine art selection featured paintings, sculpture, prints and photographs by artists like Joan Miro, Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Beach, Pablo Picasso, Alfred Burlini, J. Blanc Nino, Masaji Yoshida, Al Hirschfeld, Anton Refregier and George Schreiber, in addition to Nineteenth Century European works.
Topping this category and the sale overall was Miro’s “La Femme Des Sables” etching and aquatint, which sold to a New York City collector bidding online for $18,750. Signed “Miro” in the lower right corner and marked “HC” in the lower left corner, exhibition print (HC) from edition of 75, the piece’s framed dimensions were 25 by 37 inches.
Fetching $7,500 was Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) “Large Still Life with Fruit Bowl (Grande Nature Mort au Compotier),” 1947, a black and white lithograph depicting a vase of flowers and apples in compote. The litho was signed “Picasso” at left in blue crayon, edition 10/50, Bloch 425; Mourlot 73 and measured 26¾ by 31½ inches in its frame.
Masaji Yoshida’s (1917-1971) “No. 8,” abstract woodblock print in colors, signed in pencil lower right, edition 4/20, was a surprise hit and jumped from its $200/400 estimate to a final price of $1,500. “We were really surprised by the result for the Yoshida woodblock print,” said Lebel. “The composition is so exciting.”
About a dozen lithographs by Associated American Artists (AAA) were consigned to the sale. Established in 1934 in New York City and operating until 2001, the art gallery marketed art to middle and upper-middle class homes in the form of affordable prints. Six prints from the collection sold in this sale, according to Lebel, and others will be offered in subsequent sales. From the collection, works by Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton and George Schreiber performed well. Grant Wood’s “Approaching Storm” sold for $3,900; and Thomas Hart Benton’s “Arkansas Evening” brought $2,280.
Similarly, a trove of designer costume jewelry with many rare Chanel runway pieces, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld and others seeded this sale. More pieces from this private New York City collection will be offered on January 5, and some will cross the block in May when Showplace conducts its grand reopening sale. A runaway favorite in this category was a Chanel rare runway gripoix Byzantine Maltese gold-tone cuff bracelet, circa 1970, which went out to a phone bidder at $5,400. A Thierry Mugler (b 1948) modern chromed metal geometric arm cuff bracelet was clearly the most unique piece in the collection, and it sold for $4,800.
Among decorative arts and furniture, a J. Hall Paris French gilt-bronze figural clock made $2,375. A Camille Faure Art Nouveau floral enameled vase earned $2,000. Leon Rosen Pace midcentury swivel lounge chairs also went out at $2,000.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.nyshowplace.com or 212-633-6063.
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