Published: November 3, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Heritage Auctions
DALLAS – On October 22, Heritage Auctions conducted the second of its twice-annual “Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass including Art Deco and Art Nouveau” sales, comprised of 465 lots that, at press time, had realized a total of $957,456, a number that doubled the auction’s aggregate low estimate. Nearly 94 percent of the lots found buyers, a statistic Nicholas Dawes, Heritage’s New York City-based senior vice president regularly achieves and one he attributes to conservative estimates with most of the lots being offered without reserves.
“When a sale doubles low estimate and sells nearly 94 percent, it is evidence of a strong demand and healthy market,” Dawes said, following up after the sale.
In characterizing some of the trends in collecting Art Deco and Art Nouveau works, Dawes had some interesting observations. While he is not seeing a wave of young collectors, he notices that those he does have gravitate toward Art Deco. “If anything is appealing to young collectors, it’s Art Deco. Furnishings and design are what people are buying.” In comparison, he noted that Art Nouveau still attracts “an older audience.”
Headlining the spring 2020 sale were a small collection of late Nineteenth Century cameo glass works by George Woodall for Thomas Webb & Sons, including one work that led the sale with a price of $118,750. As often happens, strong results can pay dividends in the form of future consignments and that was exactly the case in this sale, with two cameo glass vases by Woodall for Webb & Sons bringing the top two prices in the auction, the only such pieces in the sale. Both vases had been consigned by the Birks Museum at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., with the better price of the two – $50,000 – realized for a circa 1890 vase titled “At the Portal.” It was purchased by a devotee and collector of the work of Woodall for Thomas Webb & Sons who lives in the United States. By contrast, a buyer in the United Kingdom who had never previously purchased from Heritage paid $45,000 for a tricolor cameo glass vase titled “Cloches.”
In the spring 2020 sale, a Rene Lalique enameled and frosted glass “Oranges” vase from a New York estate brought $25,000; a private collector in the Northeast United States with a brown version contacted Heritage because of that result and their vase achieved $37,500 in this sale. “It was fresh to the market. With the rare brown color, we had a lot of competition on this; it just took off,” Dawes said. It was purchased by a collector of Lalique and Gallé from Moscow, Russia.
Heritage’s Tiffany and Lalique sales often feature a large variety of leaded glass lamps by Tiffany that are perennial favorites among collectors. In this edition, however, there was only one leaded glass table lamp on offer – a Dogwood example – but it finished with the fourth highest price in the sale, bringing the top end of its estimate and $18,750. It had been consigned from an old Brooklyn, N.Y., collection and Dawes speculated that it had never left the New York City area prior to the sale. It was purchased by a buyer in the United States who had never purchased from Heritage before. Other Tiffany lamps in the sale included a Tiffany Studios gilt-bronze and Favrile glass seven-light “Lily” lamp that made $12,000 and a circa 1910 Tiffany Studios Favrile glass and patinated bronze candlestick lamp that realized $4,750.
Works by Lalique – both old and more contemporary – populated the leaderboard. Four glass car mascots or hood ornaments were in the sale and were led by what Dawes referred to as “a great thing,” a circa 1990 limited edition Lalique clear and frosted glass “Spirit of Ecstasy” mascot on chromed metal stand, made for Rolls Royce, that finished at $18,750, selling to a collector in London.
Architectural pieces by Lalique saw strong competition. The cover lot – a circa 1921 Rene Lalique opalescent glass “Deux Sirenes” plaffonier or ceiling shade that Dawes said was “by far the most beautiful example of the plaffoniers Lalique made,” doubled its estimate and brought $12,500 from a buyer in the United States who has been a longtime collector of Lalique. A circa 1926 frosted and clear glass “Élegantines” chandelier rose to $7,500, slightly less than $8,125 realized for a glass and chrome “Seville” chandelier made after 1945. Of similar modern vintage, two pairs of glass and chrome “Faunes” door handles achieved $15,000.
The current demand for contemporary Lalique design can be seen in the results for two modern tables in the sale. A “Three Lionesses” clear and frosted glass and chrome coffee table, made after 1945, brought $15,000, more than twice its estimate; it was one of two modern Lalique tables in the sale, beating out a glass “Perles d’Eau” cocktail table of similar vintage that made $12,500.
A sizeable selection of the sale was dedicated to selling works from the Valerio collection, a long-time Florida-based retailer who specialized in Art Deco bronzes and glass. Dawes said the estimates were fair and, in some instances, prices realized were at or above retail levels, a trend he considered encouraging. The collection realized nearly $200,000, with a majority of lots exceeding their high estimates. Among the notable results from the 85 lots on offer were a circa 1930 bronze by Frédéric Focht (French, b 1879) titled “Force,” that achieved $16,250, while “The Release” by Alexandre Kelety (Hungarian, 1874-1940), finished at $8,750. A Lalique opalescent butterscotch glass perfume bottle for Morabito from the Valerio collection topped a large selection of perfume bottles consigned by various owners and brought $6,250, while a large collection of Le Verre Français in the sale was led by a Schneider overlaid, acid-etched, and wheel-carved glass “Cosmos” vase, circa 1930, that made $3,250.
A sale of Art Deco and Art Nouveau fine and decorative arts would be incomplete without works by such iconic artists as Icart, Mucha, Daum and Gallé, and this sale did not disappoint. Bringing $9,063 and what Dawes thought might be a record for the form was a Daum acid-etched and enameled glass landscape vase that saw much competition, and a strikingly different Daum inside-decorated and acid-etched glass vase, circa 1930, that also brought $6,562, “a very good result” in Dawes opinion.
Another piece consigned from the collection of the Birks Museum at Millikin University was an early Twentieth Century Gallé blow-out cameo glass “Plum” vase that ripened to $8,437, the highest price achieved for nearly a dozen lots of cameo glass vases by Gallé on offer.
The sale featured ten lots of posters and other lithographs by Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939), the best price of $5,500 was achieved for his 1897 lithograph on paper “Biscuits Lefèvre-Utile,” while a colored etching by Louis Justin Laurent Icart (French/American, 1888-1950) titled “Tabac Blond,” was a quintessential Art Deco image and brought $4,750 against an estimate of $800-$1,000.
Heritage Auctions’ next sale of Tiffany, Lalique and Art Glass, including Art Deco and Art Nouveau is scheduled for April 29.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Heritage Auctions is at 2801 West Airport Freeway. For information, www.ha.com.
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