Published: September 6, 2022
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy of Amero Auctions
SARASOTA, FLA. – Amero Auctions presented its Late Summer 2022 sale on August 21, stocked with contents of the vast estate collected by a “gentleman lawyer” from New Rochelle, N.Y., although still not the entirety of his collection. The auction offered 545 lots of fine and decorative art from the Eighteenth through the Twentieth Centuries, with concentrations in the American, European and Asian schools. With 98 percent of the lots sold, the total for the sale was $681,000.
“We feel very lucky with all the jumps [in bidding],” said Alan Amero, owner and proprietor of Amero Auctions.
The top lot was a surprise to all and by far the highest earner of the sale; a pair of watercolor landscapes titled “Montana Home” and “Montana Hills” overshot its $5/7,000 estimate to achieve $54,400. The watercolors are attributed to Charles Marion Russell (American, 1864-1926) because one is signed “CM Russell” and the other “CMR,” both accompanied by bull skull outlines. Russell’s catalogue raisonné is not available online and the watercolors had not been submitted for verification at the time of the sale, but they were accompanied by their original signed receipt for $3, dated 1897. The pair sold to a private collector in Texas.
American fine art was strong in the upper ranks of the sale. A signed and numbered lithograph by postwar abstract expressionist Sam Francis surpassed its high estimate for $6,150, and a portrait of a woman with a bowl of fruit by Murray Percival Bewley did the same at $4,613. Bewley was a Texan artist from Fort Worth who studied in Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Paris. The majority of his subjects are portraits and nudes, and in this painting, he introduces a still life element to the composition. The painting came from the collection of Florida antiques dealer Hazel Hanlon, who passed away in November of last year. Following the sale, the new owner found a partial label on the rear surface, giving a clue to its exhibition history.
Figural decorative arts were popular in the sale, with two of the top pieces celebrating the creepy and the crawly. An unusual Austrian Loetz-style lamp with a bronze bat and dragon motif took third place in the auction, selling for more than five times its high estimate at $11,520. Another gilt bronze bat lamp sold for $3,200 ($2/3,000), yet this example was a rare hanging single-socket light fixture with a Gorham reticulated silver shade with beaded fringe. The Austrian lamp was followed by an antique Tiffany Studios leaded glass lamp screen in the shape of a dragonfly, made to hang on the finial of a shaded lamp and hover just below its rim, which buzzed up to $9,840.
Second in the top lots was an Eighteenth Century Italian commode painted with Chinese motifs of figures, landscapes, flora and fauna. The commode sold to the United States market for $13,530 and was also from the Hazel Hanlon estate. This was exponentially higher than the $400/600 estimate, and the lot also contained a 2004 receipt from Arthur James Galleries for $49,000.
Many lots of Asian decorative and textile arts outperformed their estimates during the sale. A group lot of a Chinese famille jaune vase and bowl was the highest of these, multiplying its estimate from $200/400 to an internet bidder for $9,600. The vase bore a four-character Tongzhi mark on its base, and the bowl also had a red four-character mark.
Two Chinese robes and a lot of embroidered robes and textiles were included in this auction; the most successful being a green silk robe with embroidered butterflies and flowering branches. From the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century, the robe had some condition issues including stains, tears and pulled threads, which did not hinder bidding. The green robe sold for $6,765, launching from its starting price to its final bid with no competition.
Amero Auctions’ Fall Finale auction will take place on October 23.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For additional information, 914-330-1577 or www.ameroauctions.com.
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