Published: November 14, 2023
Review by Carly Timpson; Catalog Photos Courtesy Heritage Auctions
DALLAS — Heritage Auctions conducted its “Pursuit of Beauty: Art Nouveau, Art Deco & Art Glass Signature Auction” action on October 26. It celebrated the partnership and competition of French and American artistry with the transformative styles of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and art glass throughout the Twentieth Century. The sale brought more than 2,000 live phone and online bidders for the 474-lot sale, achieving a total of $1,089,467.
Nick Dawes, the senior vice president of Heritage Auctions in New York, expressed pleasure in the sale’s success, noting that the Pursuit of Beauty sales used to occur two times a year. However, consistently selling more than 90 percent of lots and exceeding high estimates, the popularity of the Pursuit of Beauty sales have led Heritage to add a third sale to its annual calendar.
Standing out from the rest of the lots were lamps from Tiffany Studios. According to Dawes, these lamps generally do very well and bring lots of competition and in this sale, most of that competition was from private buyers.
The highest selling lot was the 1905 leaded glass and painted bronze Jeweled Geometric table lamp from Tiffany. Bringing $125,000, this lamp sits just under 30 inches tall and boasts a large shade of marigold and chartreuse leaded glass and a ring of Favrile glass “jewels” to cover its six sockets. A matching ring of blue, lavender and silvery gold “jewels” sits at the bottom of the reddish-brown patinated bronze base. This highly sought-after lamp has original “Tiffany Studios New York” etchings on both its shade and base. Dawes reported that “Tiffany lamps in general are popular, but one this large and impressive is somewhat unique for Tiffany.” This piece is even more rare since its “shade and base match and appear to have been an original set, never separated.”
Another similar table lamp from Tiffany Studios, a Dragonfly example, was the third-highest selling item of the day at $42,500. The Favrile glass shade of the lamp features seven teal, emerald and ruby dragonflies on a yellow background. The base of this lamp is vibrant gilt bronze with three sockets.
A floor lamp from Tiffany Studios also impressed buyers. Donning 12 iridescent Favrile glass lily shades and a molded gilt bronze base, this stunning piece was knocked down for $41,250. Ten of the lily shades are complete with “L.C.T. Favrile” markings. This piece came from an estate in New Jersey and was bought by a private collector. While a buyer can find one of these lamps at other sales, Dawes commented that it is rare to find one in such good condition with nearly all original Tiffany shades.
Another example of Art Nouveau work that sold well was the François-Raoul Larche (French, 1860-1912) Loïe Fuller Lamp, circa 1901. “This famous, iconic Art Nouveau lamp represents the American dancer Loïe Fuller who was a huge attraction at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.” Following her success, this series of lamps was designed in her image. Dawes says, “You don’t see many in excellent condition like this one.” The gavel hit $13,750 for this piece.
Exemplifying the beauty of art glass, the second-place lot, a Rene Lalique (French, 1860-1945) Poissons vase, found its home for $55,000. Dawes remarked that Poissons was “the highest priced, and arguably the best, piece of glass of the auction.” This spherical blown glass vase features several embossed fish in the exceptionally rare electric blue color. “These vases were made in a selection of different colors. Most often, if you find a colored piece, it will be red. Sometimes, they will be blue or green, but they just didn’t make very many in those colors.”
A circa 1898 Daum Nancy Algues et Poissons vase designed by Henri Bergé was sold to a phone bidder for $25,000. Dawes called this vase an example of “virtuoso” glassmaking as far as design and execution, noting its condition as museum-quality and very hard to come by. The decorative glass piece stood out with fine needle-etched and enameled sea life which appeared to be swimming beneath the stunning acid-etched and gilt seaweed draped over the neck of the vase. Similar Bergé pieces are highlighted in Daum: Mastery of Glass, from Art Nouveau to Contemporary Crystal.
In the sale, the Art Deco movement was primarily represented by bronze figures and furniture. Leading the category was an iconic mantel clock from Süe et Mare. This clock, Model No. 5524, circa 1923, closed at $11,250. The gilt bronze clock face is crowned with intricate floral design and supported by two round feet. Measuring 11¼ by 10¾ inches, the mantel clock includes an impression from Samuel Marti on the backplate which reads, “Samuel Marti, Medaille D’Or Paris, 7048.” The piece was shown with an original photograph of the item from 1924.
The highest-selling painting on offer “Nude male figure playing a lyre, accompanied by a tiger” by Italian painter Adolfo Magrini (1876-1957). Composed of oil on canvas and measuring 84 inches tall and 44 inches wide unframed, this piece finished at $10,000. Despite not being by an especially well-known artist, Dawes said the piece was one collectors of the Art Deco aesthetic were pleased to come across one in such size and quality.
Two lots from Zsolnay, the Hungarian-based stoneware company, saw unexpected success. Coming from the New Jersey estate of Angela Gross Folk, the Zsolnay Eosin glazed fish wall plaques, circa 1885, sold for $19,375, and a Zsolnay Eosin glazed vase, circa 1900, sold for $15,625. Both pieces have an attractive iridescent blue-green glaze and are in very good condition. “I was pleasantly shocked with the results because they did so well. It is rare and beautiful work, but I was surprised. Supply is low and demand is high. Museums want it and collectors want them, but supply is limited,” said Dawes.
The next iteration of Heritage Auctions’ Pursuit of Beauty sale will take place on April 18.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For information, 214-528-3500 or www.ha.com.
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
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