Published: September 29, 2020
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy J Garrett Auctioneers
DALLAS – Items from the estate of the late Texas and Oklahoma oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens – plus pieces from the stately R.L. Thornton Chateau mansion just outside of Dallas and other prominent estates – were packed into a four-day “Texas Billionaires” auction that ran September 12-15 by J. Garrett Auctioneers. Conducted online only, with phone and absentee bids accepted, more than 2,300 lots came up for bid over the course of the four days.
A marble and bronze depiction of Othello by Pietro Calvi (Italian, 1833-1885) started the series off with a bang on the first day, realizing $102,400. The museum-quality sculpture, executed in Milan, circa 1870, is 36 inches tall and includes the rare original handkerchief and a bronze lion placard with inscription. “It is going to a gallery in London and we are very thrilled,” Julie Garrett VanDolen told Antiques and The Arts Weekly. “We consistently hovered around 1,200-1,400 watchers the entire four days, even on a Monday and Tuesday,” she added. “We are thrilled as a small, family auction house. Definitely our all-time record.”
Also on day one, a Turkish Kum Kapi prayer rug with gold threads rose to $60,800. Woven with silk, gold and possibly metal threads, the rug was characterized as a rare midcentury copy of the original to the auction house’s knowledge.
Fine art in the sale was led by a painting by Guy Carleton Wiggins (American, 1883-1962). The artist’s 20½-by-24½-inch oil on panel of a New York City street scene – “Winter At 57th And 5th” – was bid to $54,400. Signed front and back and dated 1948, the work is included in the catalogue raisonné for the complete works of Guy Carleton Wiggins. Son of renowned Barbizon painter Carleton Wiggins, Wiggins was president of the Connecticut Academy Of Fine Arts and a member of the Old Lyme Art Colony. His works can be seen in the collections of the Art Institute Of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Wiggins was the youngest American artist to be accepted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection, at the age of 20.
On the sale’s second day, a Cartier 18K chronograph Pasha diamond watch sparkled to $41,600. A midsize model, the timepiece had diamonds added to its bezel and bracelet by Renaissance NYC to Cartier specifications. It came with its original box.
More bling crossed the block as an 18K gold 4-carat diamond ring realized $25,600. A certified appraisal had put the value of the size 8 ring at $54,300.
The next three high performing lots were the stuff that Texas billionaires live for. Fetching $25,600 was an Italian water gilt Venetian bed. Festooned with ornate carving and columns and with a decidedly nautical theme, the antique bed would accommodate a box spring and mattress up to 86 by 72 inches, its headboard was 80 by 77 inches and its footboard was 40 inches high.
A 1925 Buick four-door convertible touring car, also at $25,600, was another plaything for its well-to-do owner. The car has modifications to body, interior and motor, and the auction house made it available for full inspection during preview with mechanics welcome to assess its bona fides.
Finally, a rare pair of Italian water gilt commodes went out at $24,320. With fitted porcelain interiors, high rococco detailed carvings and polychrome detail, the late Nineteenth Century pieces each measured 15¾ by 14½ by 50½ inches.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.jgarrettauctioneers.com or 214-943-7801.
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