Published: June 27, 2023
Review by Z.G. Burnett; Images Courtesy of Ahlers & Ogletree
ATLANTA, GA. — Ahlers & Ogletree’s three-session Summer Fine Estates & Collections auctions stretched from June 15 to June 17, offering more than 1,000 lots of fine and decorative arts from Europe, the United Kingdom, America and Asia. The first session focused on the collection of a North Carolina gentleman, and the following sessions grouped Modern art & design and period art & antiques. Other categories were peppered in throughout all three sales, and some of these ranked highly in the upper lots.
Fine art occupied the majority of the top bids, unusually led by a work on paper that sold in the second session. “Bora Bora,” a 1979 color lithograph by David Hockney (b 1937), was bid to $47,795. The signed and numbered lithograph was examined out of frame, showing some paper loss to the reverse but was in overall excellent condition. It was consigned from the Atlanta, Ga., estate of Joyce Lowenstein. Another signed and numbered lithograph by Fernando Botero (Colombian, b 1932) exceeded its estimate in this session to $6,655.
Following the Hockney in price were two works from turn-of-the-century American artists that both achieved $39,325 and came from the collection of Susan Levitt Barkoff and were previously owned by her father, Dr Irving Levitt of Michigan and New York. Levitt served on the collections committee of the Detroit Museum of Fine Arts, and was its first president of the “Friends of the American Wing,” among other philanthropic endeavors. The Leavitt family collection included works by American artists such as Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase and Theodore Robinson.
First in the catalog was “Woman With Teapot” by William W. Churchill (1858-1926), alternatively titled “Portrait of Lady with Pitcher,” from 1910. Churchill was part of the Museum of Fine Arts School, Boston, and oversaw the design and construction of Fenway Studios. Next was a pastel by Thomas Dewing (1851-1938), also from the Barkoff collection. Dewing studied in Paris before returning to New York, where he became a founding member of the Ten American Painters, along with Childe Hassam and Edmund C. Tarbell. Known as “Study in Orange and Rose,” the catalog refers to the pastel as a possible companion piece to Dewing’s “In Pink No. 11,” which was sold at Doyle in 2012. An 1888 etching signed by Homer from the Berkoff collection, “Mending the Tears” also did well at $10,285.
Other paintings by contemporary artists successfully sold during the second session. “The Valley in June” by John Meyer (South African, b 1942) from the collection of Atlanta’s Jillian Diamond was bid to $21,780. An abstract canvas by Tom Leiber (American, b 1949) achieved $9,075, followed in price by the architectural painting titled “Zippity” by French-American artist James Michalopoulos (b 1951) at $7,865. Additionally, the highest-selling mixed media work “Woman Playing Banjo” by Hugo Schreiber (Austrian/Hungarian, 1873-1950) sold within its $5/10,000 estimate at $7,260.
Sculpture was also popular with bidders. Second in the June 16 sale was the bronze “Two Torsos” by Henry Spencer Moore (British, 1898-1986) at $24,200. The bronze was cast at the Noack Foundry, Berlin, in 1962, and its original plaster cast is dated 1960. Another sculpture by Charles Robinson Sykes (British, 1875-1950) titled “Spirit of Ecstasy” was an oversized bronze created for a Rolls-Royce dealership, depicting the luxury vehicles’ hood mascot. Standing at 27 inches, the bronze flew to $22,990.
Furniture from the collection of a North Carolina gentleman dominated the first day’s sale, all of which sold within or above their estimates. The highest-selling lot was a pair of Kindel Irish Georgian camelback sofas, including five accent pillows, that was bid to $12,100. Next was a pair of Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century fauteuils attributed to Georges Jacobs (French, 1749-1814), their giltwood carved in the Louis XVI style offset by modern blue and cream color blocked upholstery achieved $10,890. Of three canopy beds that ranked high in the sale, a queen size “Louis XVI” giltwood tester bed from Alfonso Marina was the most successful at $9,075.
Two lots from the third day’s sale stood out among the more usual categories. Two pairs of Japanese “Big Eye” binoculars from a World War II battleship, including a tripod, sold together for $12,100. Next was a 1780 book by Thieleman J. van Braght (Dutch, 1625-1664) with the extensive title, The Bloody Scene or Martyrs Mirror of the Baptized or Defenseless Christians, Who Suffered and Were Put to Death for the Testimony of Jesus Their Savior, From the Time of Christ Unto The Year 1660. It was printed in Ephrata, Penn., by the United Brotherhood, and closed at $11,495.
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Ahlers & Ogletree’s next Fine Estates & Collections Auctions will occur on August 11. For information, www.aandoauctions.com or 404-869-2478.
September 19, 2023
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September 19, 2023
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