Published: December 28, 2010
New England estates and collections supplied the material offered to a full house of collectors and dealers at the Carl W. Stinson November 21 auction.
The location, the gallery of auctioneer Denise A. Ryan in Wilmington, is a change for the Stinsons, who have conducted auctions at the Hillview Country Club in North Reading for many years. Hotels and clubs with sufficient space to accommodate an auction preview and sale and with efficient loading facilities are increasingly more interested in weddings where the food and beverage consumption are far more profitable. The new space is better geared to an auction.
Paintings drew the most interest and the highest prices. An interior scene of a reclining nude model with an artist at work in the distance by Vienna-born artist Joseph Floch is headed back to Austria after selling for $29,500. The Modernist painting came from the Newport, R.I., residence of a New York family unsure whether it was even worth sending to auction.
A pair of oil on board marine paintings by Robert Salmon that had descended from the Crowninshield family of Salem brought $17,700. The pictures, each depicting ships just offshore, and one of which was titled, “Boat Coming In,” retained a loan label of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and labels indicating Motley family ownership.
English artist James Ward’s 1824 “Collecting the Bag” a scene of two men gathering birds came from a Cape Ann estate and sold for $2,360.
Nineteenth Century English watercolorist William Callow’s Venetian scene of the basilica Santa Maria della Salute sold for $1,652. The painting had been a gift to Kate Pulitzer Freedberg from the collection of her father, professor Sydney J. Freedberg, on the occasion of her marriage.
A cut-paper work by the multitalented Oklahoma-born artist Joe Brainard evoked a Vermont meadow with delicate layers of flowers and grasses and sold for $2,655.
The 1963 abstract oil on canvas “Dawn #20” by Japanese American artist Yutaka Ohashi sold online for $1,652. Ohashi was born in Hiroshima in 1923.
The bronze “The Hunting Dogs” by Nineteenth Century French sculptor Jules Moigniez had been presented to Major James H. Keough, one of the most skilled marksmen in the world, as a prize in an international competition. It brought $3,776.
A bronze figural group comprising a seated woman with two cherubs on a pink, gray and white marble base was signed Thomire (Pierre Philippe Thomire, son of Luc Philippe Thomiere) and sold for $2,714.
A collection of early Liberty Indian head golf coins brought $18,526 from a mix of eager buyers online, on the phone and in the gallery. A 1913 $20 standing Liberty gold coin sold for $2,006.
Carved ivory material included a late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century German ivory tankard that was carved extensively and which brought $5,900 from an Internet bidder. It had been the property of one Enoch Mettler Davis. A Twentieth Century 31/8-inch ivory kneeling nude on a green onyx base by German artist Ludwig Walther sold online for $2,590.
Asian works of art included a six-sided Satsuma vase that attracted high interest and sold on the phone for $3,068. Two similar Qianlong dynasty blue and white garden seats from a Boston area house sold for $2,950. An 11¾-inch Chinese ivory vase with carved floral decoration brought $1,062.
A pair of Chinese ivory carved figures on horseback marked “His Majesty” and “Her Majesty” and each bearing a sword had some losses †she was missing part of her arm and a horse was missing part of an ear and the plume on its chest. The pair, from a Newport house, sold online for $1,770.
Fetching $9,440 was a Tiffany Studios bronze table lamp with a linenfold shade with a 1932 patent application date. Bidding on a Tiffany glass vase in green with white dots opened at $4,000, and the item sailed to $5,900 from a phone bidder. A Tiffany Studios blotter in the Zodiac pattern fetched $236.
Other lighting lots of interest were a pair of classical bronze Argand lamps from J.B. Jones of Boston that sold for $944 and a set of four wall sconces, each of which had two lights, with clear and colored crystal drops that sold for $826. A set of three three-socle sconces decorated with metal, glass and porcelain fruit, flower and foliage had some imperfections but sold for $354.
An Art Deco pair of folding bifocal spectacles with undecipherable marks, possibly for Faberge, made of platinum or 18K gold, 90 small diamonds and a pearl fetched $2,950. The glasses came from the estate of Kate Pulitzer Freedberg, granddaughter of Ralph Pulitzer and Margaret Leech Pulitzer, as did a Cartier yellow and rose gold box with diamond mounts inscribed, “To Peggy Leech with love from Ralph Pulitzer, Feb. 14, 1928,” together with a monogrammed gold fountain pin that sold for $3,835. A Cartier gold and enamel oval box from the estate of Kate Pulitzer Freedberg with her monogram in diamonds was $3,245 from the same buyer.
Star of the furniture across the block was a 33-inch Chinese zitan stand with extensive grapevine carving and a marble top that went for $8,190 to a Hong Kong buyer online.
A Massachusetts Chippendale mahogany bonnet top highboy sold for $5,605. It had descended in the Hooper-Wheeler family of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. A Hepplewhite mahogany chest, circa 1790, with paint decoration, together with a mirror, a side chair and a painted ladder back chair, sold for $1,416. An accompanying 1928 letter about the piece from William Hooper to his niece, to whom he bequeathed it, noted that it had been appraised recently for $2,000. Hooper had purchased the highboy on the occasion of his 1880 marriage.
An early Nineteenth Century French Louis XVI fruitwood commode with three drawers sold on the phone for $3,540, while a large Eighteenth Century French fruitwood commode, also with three drawers, realized $2,655. A mid-Nineteenth Century French figured walnut bibliotheque in two parts with secondary oak wood and glazed doors elicited $826. A Continental commode with a marble top went to a Florida buyer for $2,773, and an Italian miniature chest with three drawers and marquetry inlay had some veneer loss and bubbling, but managed $1,121. A Northern European Provincial-style fruitwood slant lid desk on cabriole legs was also $1,121.
Bringing $1,180, a Federal mahogany secretary bookcase with maple inlay, circa 1800, came from a Wellesley estate.
Dining chairs in a set of ten circa 1900 mahogany examples included two arms and sold for $1,638, while a large mahogany dining table, circa 1888, with paw feet and leaves that extended to 92 inches, brought $1,180. Both went to a North Carolina bidder online.
Morality was somewhat undervalued: a bound and printed copy of the Reverend Cotton Mather’s 1725 sermon “The Important Duty of a Timely Seeking of God,” published in 1727 by S. Kneeland and T. Green, sold for $708. So was history: a four-page Napoleonic letter fetched $189.
A large (57 inches) model of a Maine bank fisherman, patterned after the Bucksport vessel Lizzie Lee , made by Joseph M. Gray, also known as Captain James Gray, keeper of the Bass Harbor Head Light, sold for $2,950.
As a warm-up to the auction, the Stinsons sold between 50 and 100 uncataloged items that provided some real bargains. No Internet or telephone bidding was permitted for these lots, which took an hour to sell. A handsome, but not old, Chinese pictorial carpet with images of cranes sold for $1,890. Found in a house in the South End of Boston where it had always stood, an Empire mahogany secretary desk realized $440. A box of pieced quilt tops was also a good value at $1,416, as was a box lot of Civil War glass negatives that sold for $472.
All prices quoted reflect the 18 percent buyer’s premium. For information, 781-944-6490 or www.stinsonauctions.com .
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