Published: May 12, 2020
LITCHFIELD, CONN. – A new way of life has emerged from the events that have occurred in recent months, and in an instant, hosting an online auction has changed from being an option to becoming a necessity. The onset of the COVID-19 situation has brought uncertainty for many small businesses, and auction houses worldwide are adjusting their operations to accommodate online sales and stricter safety-conscious operating procedures. While an online auction may not be a new concept for many, operating safely during a major pandemic is a new challenge to navigate.
Litchfield Auction’s April 29 sale was conducted in the format of a live auction, complete with phone bids, and online bidding on LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable and was hosted through their partner Capsule Auctions’ new website. With a large audience watching online, bidding was enthusiastic, and the sell-through rate for the auction surpassed 90 percent with nearly 50 percent of lots selling above the high estimate.
President Nick Thorn was pleased with not only the results of the sale but also the caliber of estates and collections that were offered. “The sale included a significant Wedgwood collection, property from the estate of Edward Bazinet and the continuing liquidation from the estate of a major NYC modernism dealer, as well as inventory from a fourth-generation fine art gallery that has closed its doors.”
The top lot in the sale was an Irish-style white painted and marble top console table. Fine details included intricate foliate carving to the apron and animal form “hairy” legs ending in a paw-form foot. The table was one of many highlights from the estate of Edward Bazinet, founder of Department 56 collectibles. With a modest starting price of $300, bidding on the table took off on auction day. After 53 bids were placed it sold for $11,700 to an online bidder in New York City.
Modernism formed a large portion in the sale that saw heightened bidding. Furniture included a Christian Liagre at Holly Hunt black Pirogue bench from the Bazinet estate that sold for $5,070; a group of three midcentury wicker and wrought iron side tables that brought $3,770; a pair of 1930s Art Deco white painted armchairs that finished at $3,120; a pair of Art Deco tiger maple tub chairs that closed for $2,860; and an Edward Wormley for Dunbar tripod side table that sold for $2,210.
Midcentury design featured a marbleized ceramic dinner service that brought $4,160; an Art Deco painted and silver patinated folding screen closed at $4,030; a 1930s Jacques Adnet chrome and glass desk lamp realized $2,600; a Fritz Breuhaus chrome lamp, circa 1925 made $2,210; a Brutalist-style bronze garden stool brought $1,690; and a Charles & Ray Eames FSW-6 walnut room divider finished at $1,300.
Highlighting the fine art section of the sale were paintings by Max Moreau (Belgian, 1902-1992), including “Paris au Moulin de la Galette,” circa 1959, which achieved $5,330, and another Parisian street scene that brought $1,430. Other top works included two paintings by Malva (Omar Hamdi) that each sold for $1,820; “Wild Seas of Amalfi Coast” by Claudio Simonetti closed at $1,560; and four bronze equestrian figures by Maurice Giraud-Riviere made $1,690.
A featured portion of the auction was the first installment a large single-owner collection of Wedgwood from Long Island, N.Y., which included more than 100 lots comprised of more than 350 items. A pair of black basalt busts of Mercury & Minerva took the top slot in the Wedgwood category, selling for $4,030. Other highlights featured a rosso antico sphinx for $2,080; a tricolor jasperware Zodiac vase, $1,820; a black basalt two-handled vase on plinth, $1,105; two Mythological plaques, $1,040; and at $975 each, a dark blue jasperware barrel keg, a large rosso antico ewer and a black basalt sphinx. The second part of the collection will be featured in an auction later this year.
Other antiques and decorative arts included a Japanese bronze and wood Meiji period figure that sold for $1,950; a Reed & Barton five-piece sterling silver tea and coffee service at $1,690; a set of 18 Baccarat Harmonie old-fashioned glasses, $1,690; a Nineteenth Century French provincial cream painted dryer, $1,560; a matched pair of midcentury painted pedestals, $1,300; and a rare high wheel Velocipede by Victor, circa 1885, reached its median estimate and rolled off the block at $1,560.
All prices cited include buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
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