Published: August 10, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Sloans & Kenyon
CHEVY CHASE, MD. – Sloans & Kenyon’s most recent catalog auction, conducted over two days, July 29-30, presented a wide range of fine art, antiques and collectibles that are the stock and trade of an estate auction house. There were a total of 218 treasures on day one and another 501 on the second day. Marking a milestone for the firm, the two-day catalog sale was the first to be conducted at its new premises at 5550 Friendship Boulevard, one mile south of its former location, also in Chevy Chase. The company was formed in 2003 when owner Stephanie Kenyon and two partners bought C.G. Sloan & Co. It now has 25 full-time employees and conducts several cataloged auctions each year.
In this most recent sale, which totaled $319,393 and sold through at a 91 percent rate by value, a pair of Eighteenth Century Chinese carved huanghuali wood “official hat” chairs more than septupled their high $4,000 estimate, finishing at $29,280. Top lot in the sale, the chairs were noted as property of an American diplomat stationed in China and were sold to a private New York City collector
There were other Asian lots that did well in the sale. One lot comprised a Chinese fu dog-form censer with gold inlaid highlights and bronze double-gourd shaped vase. Both Nineteenth Century, they soared from a $400/600 estimate to finish at $11,590. The fu dog was 7 inches long and the vase had a height of 5 inches. Another was a Chinese Tang cast bronze gui lift-top vessel that was lifted to $8,540. Oval with two handles, it featured archaistic relief decoration and was 9½ inches tall, 12½ inches long. A Chinese gourd-form cricket cage, Nineteenth Century was topped with a floral branch-carved and pierced ivory lift cover. It did not come with instructions on the care and feeding of crickets, but the 4-inch-high item was bid to $6,350, a nice surprise with a hefty premium over its $200/300 expectation.
There was a fun side note to this sale. Offered was a pair of portraits by Jacob Eichholtz (American, 1776-1842) depicting Phillip Reigart (b 1788) and Sophia Diffenderffer Reigart (b 1784). They were married in 1813. The artist, whose grandmother was Anna Catherine Reigart, stayed with the Diffenderffer family when in Baltimore to paint portraits of prominent Baltimore citizens. The portraits were purchased by descendants of the subjects, who paid $10,370 for the husband-and-wife likenesses. Eleven portraits by Eichholtz are in the Smithsonian (National Portrait Gallery) collection, Washington, DC.
The auction house attracts a good number of art pieces. In this sale, a painting by Indian artist Laxman Pai (1926-2021), an oil canvas titled “Spring” and depicting four female forms amid a colorful burst of paint strokes, rose to $5,715. Titled and dated 1963 on reverse, the framed painting measured 38 by 50½ inches.
Among sculpture highlights was an early-to-mid-Twentieth Century carved Italian white marble figure of a classical nude female kneeling atop an early Twentieth Century marble base. Reaching $9,150, it was cataloged as after Pietro Bazzanti (Italian, 1842-1881) and titled “Hockende Venus.” Its overall height was 59 inches, 35 inches of which was the statue.
Also notable and surprising in the sale were two Nineteenth Century Japanese carved boxwood netsukes. One was a seated boy pointing at his nose; the other was of a father with a boy pointing at his damaged eye. Both signed, one on inlaid ivory panel, the pair went out at $6,350.
After the sale, Stephanie Kenyon said, “We are delighted by the enthusiastic response to our new space and already have a busy auction schedule for the fall, including specialty jewelry auctions.”
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. The next sale is September 16-17. For information, www.sloansandkenyon.com or 301-634-2330.
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