Published: July 28, 2020
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy South Bay Auctions
EAST MORICHES, N.Y. — An abstract expressionist painting by Esteban Vicente (Spanish/American, 1903-2001), “Three Kings Day,” 1967, led South Bay Auctions’ July 18 fine art, antiques and sporting art sale, finishing at $33,750 against a $10/20,000 estimate. The oil on canvas, 40 by 30 inches, was signed, titled and dated 1967 to verso, and sported labels from Robert Elkon Gallery, Marisa del Ray Gallery and Bertha Schaefer. An American painter born in Turégano, Spain, Vicente was one of the first generation of New York School abstract expressionists. His vocation stemmed from Sunday childhood visits with his father to the Museo del Prado from the time he was four years old. He began to draw when he was 16, although expected to follow family tradition and join the army, he spent only three months in military school before he decided to become an artist.
The sale totaled 303 lots and, according to co-owner Jean-Paul Napoli, was “eclectic by design.” These days it’s nearly impossible to know what is going to sell,” he told Antiques and The Arts Weekly. “We’ve had themed sales in the past — Americana or Midcentury Modern and the like — but we’ve settled on this strategy for now.”
It’s working. A buyer showed up for an Oriental rug with a lively design, which trounced its $250/450 estimate to finish at $5,700. It measured 5 feet 3 inches by 4 feet 5 inches.
Two online platforms were harnessed for the “semi-live” event, which also accepted phone and left bids. Napoli estimated that more than 60 percent of successful bids went the way of the internet.
There were several sporting rifles offered in the sale. “We have a strong following in the sporting area,” noted Napoli. Most notable was a Browning Diana grade marked V5 20 gauge, which sold for $5,000. The barrels measured 26-3/8 inches with a narrow vent rib, no middle bead and bored, and marked skeet in both barrels. An elaborate long tang round knob was profusely engraved by noted Browning engraver, J. Baerten. The engraving depicts pheasants on one side and flying ducks on the other. The scenes are depicted in a woodland and acanthus background. The highly figured round knob stock was checkered, wrapping around the top of the stock, just behind the receiver.
Another sporting arm, an Arrieta sidelock ejector model in 20 gauge, came out of the same private collection. It was bid to $3,240, while a Beretta Silver Pigeon II over/under sporting outfit went out at $2,250.
More abstract expressionist art was on order with a Charles Green Shaw (American, 1892-1974) work going out at $4,875. “Fusion,” an oil on canvas, was signed lower right, signed, titled and dated 1962 to verso. Gallery labels to verso included Bertha Schaefer and Fishbach. With minor dirt and grime that is the case with most estate paintings, this one measured 21 by 16 inches.
A large Georg Jensen hammered sterling silver bowl hit above its $500/700 estimate to finish at $4,750. It, too, sported minor imperfections such as scuff marks and a ding. At 5¾ inches high and with a 10¾-inch diameter, it weighed 44.5 troy ounces.
Other highlights in the sale included a pair of large Eighteenth Century English sterling silver sideboard chargers with scalloped edges, floral repousse and sunflower centers at $4,200; and an oil on canvas pastoral scene, “Le Geyt’s Pasture,” by Francis Cunningham (American, b 1931) earning $4,375.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house.
South Bay Auctions’ next sale — also promised to be eclectic — is set for August 22. For information, www.southbayauctions.com or 631-878-2909.
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