Published: April 5, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Stair Galleries
HUDSON, N.Y. – Stair Galleries’ silver sale on March 23 included a variety of tablescape objects, both practical and whimsical in nature. Fetching $10,000 and the top lot was a Buccellati silver flatware service for 12 comprising 104 pieces. A leading highlight from the Douglas S. Cramer collection sale, also conducted on March 23, was a pair of carved stone capitals that not only were in medieval style but turned out to be medieval period. A surprise, they sold for $23,000 to a new bidder, a private Connecticut collector.
Notable silver lots in addition to the Buccellati silver flatware included a set of ten Tiffany & Co. silver-gilt dishes and a similar dish that sold for $7,680. Each was marked “Sterling,” and one was monogrammed. Bringing the same price was an Alan Adler silver flatware service totaling 150 pieces and weighing 175.6 ounces. “We sold 103 out of 105 lots, exceeding the estimate,” said Lauren Anderson, Stair’s director of Exposition sales. Participating online were 118 bidders on Invaluable, 141 on Bidsquare and 331 on LiveAuctioneers. Additional highlights included a Georg Jensen silver pitcher, which rose to $4,800; a Tiffany & Co. silver globe box, estimated just $100/200, which rolled out at $1,536; and a Buccellati silver hammered ice bucket and cover, which similarly ignored a $700/900 estimate to finish at $4,160.
The Cramer collection was another in a long line of Stair’s niche specialty of presenting sales of “interesting things from interesting people with a quirky, sophisticated twist.” The session devoted to the collection totaled $470,528 with a 99 percent sell-through rate; only one lot was left unsold in the sale that attracted 700 registered bidders. The sale’s curator Muffie Cunningham, Stair’s director of decorative arts, said the strongest categories were furniture and modern works on paper.
“There was a very strong turnout for this sale with a lot of new buyers for us,” said Cunningham. “It was a mix of pieces from the famed apartment in River House, New York City, Martha’s Vineyard and Miami. We sold furniture designed by Michael Taylor and Mica Ertegun very well.”
Douglas Schoolfield Cramer (1931-2021) was an American television producer who worked for Paramount Television and Spelling Television, producing series such as Mission: Impossible, The Brady Bunch and Dynasty. A native of Louisville, Ky., and graduate of Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cramer was also one of America’s leading collectors of contemporary art. He became one of the founders of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and was president of its board of trustees from 1990 to 1993.
Cunningham said interest in a massive Sergio Rodrigues Jacaranda “Adolpho” desk was high before the sale, borne out by the fact that it surpassed its $3/5,000 estimate to finish at $20,480. Marked by hand “MeSA,” the 30-inch-by-7-foot-by-39-inch Adolpho model was designed in 1990 by Sergio Rodrigues in mahogany for Adolpho Bloch, the Ukrainian Brazilian owner of the Manchete TV and Editoria, located in the Flamengo Area in Rio. It was also produced in Jacaranda for Brazilian ambassadors and consuls outside of Brazil.
That there is still a market for period English chairs was made evident by the $19,200 attained by a set of 12 Regency dining chairs. Originally sourced from Niall Smith Antiques, the set included two armchairs, and there were three modern copies included in this lot.
Fetching the same price was an Italian marble fragmentary figure that came a David Hicks-designed Miami home. He bought it from a London dealer. Raised on a stand and measuring 17 by 9 by 7¾ inches, the figure had had its phallus restored.
Cunningham cited lots of Hollywood and New York City interest as to why a Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) signed photograph sold for $12,800 against an $800-$1,200 estimate. “Tea Party with Noel Coward, Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt,” a gelatin silver print, circa 1940, signed and inscribed “For Mr Preslodge” in ink, signed by Noel Coward, Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt, with the artist’s ink stamp and inscribed “341/14” on the reverse, went to new buyers.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.stairgalleries.com or 518-751-1000.
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