Published: March 6, 2001
NEW YORK CITY – At Doyle New York and Bonhams & Brooks’ third annual Dogs in Art auction on February 13 – coinciding with the Westminster Kennel Club’s Dog Show at Madison Square Garden – a painting by Thomas Blinks of two English setters on a moor won “Best in Show,” fetching $96,000.
The sale was a success in the classic sporting dog category, with paintings of setters and hounds at work and at rest retrieving high prices. Smaller breeds such as the Pekingese, Clumber and King Charles Spaniels also performed well at the standing-room-only event.
According to Alan Fausel, Doyle painting specialist, “Sporting dog pictures with retrievers, hounds or setters by well-known artists usually command the highest prices at auction. They are followed by lap dogs such as spaniels, terriers and pugs, and on down the line with working dogs.”
Thomas Blinks (1853-1910) is one of the best-known Nineteenth Century dog portraitists. His paintings often depict sporting dogs in the field, characteristically posed on point. A classic example of his work could be seen in the canvas “Over the Brown,” of two English setters on a moor, the top lot. Competition was also fierce for another setter portrait, “Setter in a Landscape,” by American artist Franklin Whiting Rogers (born 1854), that sold for $40,250.
Bidders hounded nine works by renowned British artist John Emms (1843-1912). Emms was known primarily for his paintings of horses, hounds and terriers. Highlights of the Emms offerings included a group portrait of hounds and a hunt terrier, “Archer, Ajax, Nell and Snooker,” which sold for $74,000 (Snooker is the terrier). Other crowd pleasers by Emms were “A Hound and Puppies in an Interior,” depicting mischievous puppies about to get into people food, which was purchased for $40,250, and “Anticipation: Feeding Time,” that fetched $68,500.
Portraits of smaller purebred dogs were highlighted by “Two Pekingese” by Lilian Chevoit, which sold for $18,400, and Maud Earl’s (1864-1943) pet portrait of Rosalie, a Pekingese Champion, which brought $10,350. Other highlights of the sale included Philip E. Stretton’s (1884-1919) sentimental canvas of a terrier curled up on a huntsman’s coat, “Waiting for the Master,” that achieved $48,875, and a lounging King Charles spaniel by Thomas Woodward (1801-1952) sold for $46,000
Doyle New York sponsored a series of events for canine art fanciers prior to the sale. These included a walk-through of the exhibition with Fausel and Charles O’Brien, associate director of paintings at Bonhams & Brooks. More than 150 dogs and their two-legged owners attended a “Doggie Brunch” benefiting the ASPCA that was co-hosted by syndicated columnist Cindy Adams and her dog “Jazzy.” An informative slide lecture on dog painting by world-renowned authority of the genre, William Secord, was also well attended.
Preceding Dogs in Art on February 7 was Doyle New York’s Belle Epoque auction, where international collectors competed for lots from a single-owner collection of perfume bottles. Among the highlights, a Japanese bidder purchased a Rene Lalique perfume bottle design for $8,625.
Vintage art glass, pate-de-verre and antique and contemporary paperweights, furniture and decorations, including silver, porcelain, bronzes and carpets, were also offered.
Rene Lalique (1860-1945), acclaimed initially for his Art Nouveau jewelry and work in gold, produced thousands of designs for glass after 1900, with those for scent bottles being by far the most numerous. The top lot in this section of the sale was the aformentioned Lalique design, Bouchon Fleurs de Pommiers, circa 1919. It is of a clear and colorless glass, molded with a scalloped pattern and cascade stopper.
Another strong seller was Blue Lagoon, designed by Julien Viard before World War I and produced by Depinoix in 1919, for the first perfume of the Dubarry line. The clear and frosted glass bottle, capped by a kneeling Egyptian princess, was decorated with green patina and gilding, lotus flowers and fruit garlands. It doubled its high estimate to sell for $7,475. Another collector snapped up Mary Chess’ Souvenir d’un Soir (1956) for $5,175.
Competitive bidding drove the price of a Saint Louis carpet ground paperweight to $5,750. A signed Clichy checker paperweight, with different complex canes on an upset muslin ground, achieved $3,450 and a signed Baccarat close pack millefiori paperweight sold for $2,530.
Early Tiffany Favrile glass vases attracted bidder interest and two in particular soared past their estimates to capture the top lots of the sale. A beautiful Tiffany & Co. sterling silver mounted Favrile glass vase, with a neck worked with grape clusters, sold for $23,000. Eric Silver, Furniture and Decorations Specialist, discovered the vase during Doyle’s free “Tuesday Walk-in Appraisal Days.” In addition, a bid of $21,850 took home another Tiffany Favrile glass vase with a pulled design against an iridescent maroon ground. A price of $11,500 achieved for a signed Schneider glass vase.
Pate de verre means filling an empty mold with grains of glass and heating it until the grains fuse together to create a single form. Henri Cros is credited with its invention in the 1870s while he was employed at the Sevres porcelain factory. Featured in the sale were many examples of pate-de-verre by Despret, Daum, A.G. Argy-Rousseau, Almeric Walter and Decorchemont. A Henri Cros pate-de-verre plaque, depicting dancing nudes set on an Art Nouveau bronze stand, took the top lot in this section of the sale for $11,500. In addition, a pate-de-verre vase by A.G. Argy-Rousseau, molded with purple flowers and depicted on the cover of the auction catalogue, fetched $9,200.
Another rdf_Description discovered during a gallery appraisal day was a mid-Nineteenth Century Italian micromosaic plaque that realized $21,850. A sterling silver bowl designed by Henning Koppel for Georg Jensen in 1950 brought $18,400. Highlighting the furniture offerings was a Continental marquetry inlaid tall case clock that sold for $11,500, and a Louis XV style gilt-bronze mounted kingwood cylinder desk that fetched $21,850.
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