Published: June 10, 2008
The auction market seemed exceptionally sound at CRN Auctions April 27 sale, where a packed gallery and jammed phone lines defied conventional economic logic. The offerings were choice and desirable and the results attested to their strength.
A Nineteenth Century Louisiana bayou landscape, an oil on canvas depicting cows beneath a tree festooned with Spanish moss by Richard Clague, generated significant presale interest and stirred up ten telephone bidders before selling in the room for $161,000. The painting came from a Connecticut estate and went to a New Orleans collector. Clague, born in New Orleans, trained in Paris, served in the Civil War and is considered the patron saint of Louisiana landscape painting.
Another Southern painting stirred things up when an 1888 St Augustine, Fla., street scene with figures and a mule drawn wagon by White Mountain and Florida artist Frank Henry Shapleigh brought an exceptional $103,500, one of the highest prices on record for the artist.
Other memorable lots included a winter landscape with a stream by Emile Gruppe that drew $20,130, “The Great Cliffs of Manan” by Lemuel D. Eldred that brought $16,100 from another phone bidder and “Rue de Paris et Place Vendome” by Edouard Leon Cortes that brought $11,150 on the phone. Charles H. Woodbury’s signed 1897 view of a white house on an inlet with sailing vessels realized $9,775, and William Pierce Stubbs’ ship portrait of the vessel A.H. Eaton was also $9,775.
“Black Boy, New Orleans, 1935” a portrait of a boy with a cat by Frederick Stallknecht Wight, went to another phone bidder for $8,050.
Auctioneer Carl Nordblom maintains a brisk pace, frequently leaving the indecisive in the dust. When an Italian bidder on the phone hesitated over an Eighteenth Century Italian scene with travelers on a road, a staffer blurted out, “Wait, he’s thinking in Italian!” It stopped Nordblom in his tracks and he sold the picture to the Italian buyer for $8,625. Another phone bidder took the bronze “Narcissus” by Italian sculptor Vincenzo Gemito for $5,750. A charcoal and crayon portrait of a woman by Diego Rivera was $7,475.
A China Trade view of the port of Macao and the Praya Grande fetched $13,800.
“Kitty,” a portrait of a 7-year-old girl in a white dress that was painted in 1888 in East Bridgewater, Mass., by Francis D. Millet, sold for $6,038. Millet died in the sinking of the Titanic . A summery scene of a boy and some cattle in a field by Louis Herzog realized $4,600.
The strength of the market for good material was evident across the board.
Eight phones chased a handsome copper New England codfish weathervane, but it sold to a dealer in the room for $74,625. Fresh off a Cape Cod barn, the vane had a fine verdigris color, retained some traces of gilt and had a wonderful expression. A fine A.L. Jewell copper weathervane in the form of a prancing horse sold for $10,875, and another in the form of Black Hawk, the Nineteenth Century Morgan trotter, realized $4,888.
A copper running stag vane with a cast head and old gilding was $8,575 to a phone bidder and a 36½ -inch copper quill vane fetched $3,105.
A pair of Nineteenth Century American zinc garden figures, one of which was signed “J.W. Fiske, Barclay St, NY,” of classically robed maidens sold for $6,325, and a Nineteenth Century pair of cast iron whippets that had been painted white brought $4,715.
A group of sailors’ valentines in hinged mahogany cases from a Watch Hill, R.I., house included four double examples that brought a total of $12,500. A miniature pair of woolwork ship pictures realized $3,565.
A yellow toleware glove box with transfer decorations of romantic scenes sold for $1,150.
Fine early Boston silver included a Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century engraved porringer by John Coney that brought $21,850 from Jonathan Trace, who also bought a large Russian silver tray made in 1853 by imperial silversmith Aleksander Kordes of St Petersburg for $8,050 and a Tiffany iridescent glass bud vase in a sterling mount for $2,990. A second Boston porringer made by David Moseley, brother-in-law to Paul Revere, garnered $2,013.
A Tiffany Studios presentation box with iridescent amber turtleback glass panels and a brass lid and ball feet sold to the phones for $4,025.
A pair of Queen Anne silver candlesticks on fluted petal bases was made in London in 1767 by Emick Romer. The pair brought $6,900 in the room.
A pair of Georg Jensen pomegranate silver two-light candelabra attracted much interest and realized $19,550 on the phone, and a large Japanese hammered and chased sterling footed charger by Bisansha drew $2,990 from a southeastern Massachusetts dealer. The New Hampshire trade got a Tiffany pair of chased compotes, also for $2,990.
Furniture more than held its own. A Boston Federal mahogany two-part secretary bookcase that was attributed to Thomas Seymour went to $9,200. A well-constructed New England Queen Anne cherry dish top candlestand on snake feet realized $4,600.
An Eighteenth Century Newport Chippendale mahogany dining table with reeded stop flute legs went to a phone bidder for $8,625, while a Hepplewhite sideboard was $3,450.
A Boston classical mahogany center table with a black veined marble top brought $4,600. It came from a consignor who bought it from Nordblom 14 years ago. A William and Mary maple ball foot chest sold for $4,600. A Connecticut Chippendale cherry serpentine chest with fan inlay was $7,475 to a phone bidder.
A 50-inch Simon Willard regulator wall clock was signed clearly and sold for $10,350. The bottom glass had been replaced. A New Hampshire Chippendale birch tall clock with grain paint and a painted memorial on the dial “Sacred to the Memory of George Washington” went for $7,475.
A 92-inch English George II tall clock with gilt japanning and an engraved brass dial was $6,325. An Eighteenth Century Dutch tall clock went to the phones for $4,025, and a 22-inch French Louis XV inlaid bracket clock and 14-inch bracket was carved with leaves and scrolling and went to a phone buyer for $3,910.
An English pair of 25-inch knife urns was $6,325, and a pair of Hepplewhite knife boxes with shell inlay went for $3,795.
Continental buyers were well rewarded and many pieces returned to their country of origin. A Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century Spanish walnut vargueno on stand was made in the Moorish fashion, fitted and decorated ornately with brass hardware with gilt and etched ivory. A Maine dealer beat out the international bidders when he bought it for $5,750. An Eighteenth Century Spanish colonial carved and painted santos retained the original paint, some gilding and glass eyes and realized $3,680.
An Eighteenth Century French fruitwood serpentine commode elicited $6,325 from a phone bidder, and a pair of French Empire gilt bronze chenets in the form of lions went to a left bid for $4,025.
An Eighteenth Century Italian rococo serpentine fall front desk with inlay and walnut veneer brought $13,225 from a Connecticut dealer, and an Eighteenth Century Italian baroque inlaid desk with a flat top overhanging three drawers above two others sold for $3,910. An Eighteenth Century Italian walnut trestle table sold for $7,188, and an Eighteenth Century Italian walnut commode was $5,750. A 77-inch Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century Italian walnut bench with four rows of strong brass studs and an iron trestle was $5,750. Most of the Italian pieces went overseas.
A 63-inch pair of ornate Italian figural bronze torcheres that were from the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century was $10,775, while a Nineteenth Century pair of Italian polychromed blackamoor wall brackets fetched $4,370.
An English George III satinwood card table with high-style painted decoration realized $5,750. A phone bidder captured a George III Chippendale camel back sofa with needlework upholstery for $5,175. An English mahogany bagatelle two-part games table with green felt, two cue sticks, nine balls and four ivory pegs attracted lots of interest and went out at $2,875.
An English pair of pearlware lions with vibrant polychrome sold for $5,750. A set of six Irish Chippendale carved mahogany dining chairs was $4,255.
All prices quoted reflect the 15 percent buyer’s premium. For information, 617-661-9582 or www.crnauctions.com.
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