Published: April 27, 2021
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Santa Fe Art Auction
SANTA FE, N.M. – There is always time for giving back and Santa Fe Art Auction (SFAA) took that to heart when the firm ran an April 15 Timepieces and Luxury Accessories sale two days before a Community Benefit Auction on April 17.
Timepieces and Luxury Accessories
SFAA ran its first timepiece sale in December 2020 as the firm tapped into the rising market for luxury accessories. The April sale found its leader in a Roger Dubuis Hommage Quantieme perpetual white gold watch, which sold for $23,600. Circa 2005, the watch featured a black lacquer face with a subdial for the date, apertures for the day and month, and a moonphase and leap year indication. Dubuis is one of the few Swiss manufacturers that produce most of the calibre components in-house.
Other stellar watches included a $4,720 result for a white and yellow gold Cartier Ellipse model featuring a rare two-tone bezel. Circa 1978, the watch featured an aftermarket 18K yellow gold bracelet with ruby and sapphire cabochons. From Patek Philippe was a yellow gold converted pendant wristwatch with leather band that went out at $4,012. The enamel-face watch had a 32mm diameter and was of the Chronometre Gondolo model, circa 1910, making it among the oldest watches in the sale. The Gondolo collection was named after the Rio de Janiero retailer, Gondolo & Labouriau, Patek Philippe’s number one client at the time. The companies worked together between 1872 and 1927. Retailed by Bailey Banks & Biddle, circa 1910, was a white enamel Patek Philippe “Special” open faced watch that sold for $3,690. In 18K yellow gold, the watch featured an inscription for Wharton Allen, a wealthy Philadelphian.
Native American jewelry also found favor within the sale, with prized lots fetching admirable results. Selling for $8,260 was a 22K gold cuff bracelet with micromosaic inlay in turquoise, lapis, suglite, coral and opal, by contemporary Navajo makers Carl and Irene Clark. A Yei figure is seen inlaid to one section of the band, which fit a wrist size of approximately 6¼ inches. Carl was self-taught in 1973 and would, one year later, teach his wife. They are renowned for their “Micro-fine intarsia inlay” works, which can use as many as 5,000 stones in a single piece. Coming in at $3,304 was a pair of 22K yellow gold earrings from the makers, both of which featured Yei figures. A sterling belt buckle from the Clarks, also with a Yei, went out at $2,596.
At $7,080 was a Charles Loloma 14K gold ring with central turquoise stone and a lapis cabochon. Loloma’s jewelry is among the most prized artists in the category, notable for his use of exotic stones and gold, which was not previously used in Native American jewelry making.
Community Benefit Auction
The firm’s sale on April 17 raised nearly $500,000 for a New Mexico-based private charitable foundation dedicated to supporting local arts communities and families in need. “We have been slowly divesting the foundation of its inventory as it changes its investment strategy,” SFAA’s president Gillian Blitch said. “It continues to hand out grants, mostly to artists, but now to families and children in need. They also do hunger outreach and primarily service the New Mexico community. We did a large sale last year for them, we put a few items into our major sales, I’ll have some more in our upcoming Art of the West auction.”
Among them was a monumental Bert Geer Phillips (1868-1956) oil on board that sold for $75,000. It measured 24-3/8 by 75½ inches and was titled “After The Ceremony.” According to the artist’s son, Phillips remarked that it depicts Taos Pueblo women among wild plum blossoms in springtime.
“The timing was perfect because we are just coming into bloom in Santa Fe,” Blitch said.
Selling for $39,975 was “Parets VII,” a 1987 work by Helen Frankenthaler (1928-1987). The work was published by Polígrafa Obra Gráfica, which began publishing editions in 1964. The printer’s workshop has spurred editions for some of the Twentieth Century’s leading artists, including Joan Miró, Francis Bacon, Robert Motherwell and others. The print had been featured in an exhibition at Galeria Joan Prats.
A rather dark pastel on paper by Rebecca Salsbury James (1891-1968) went on to sell for $36,900. “Shell in Landscape” had been exhibited at the Harwood Museum in 2010. James was a self-taught artist whose initial marriage to photographer Paul Strand facilitated her association with Alfred Steiglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe, the latter who had an impact on the artist’s style of painting. James divorced Strand when she was 39 years old and would go on to become best known for her works on glass as well as her colcha embroidery.
An oil on canvas portrait of artist Sheldon Parsons by Ernest L. Blumenschein (1874-1960) brought $28,320. For a period of nearly 20 years after 1895, Parsons was a sought-after portrait painter who took commissions of President McKinley and Susan B. Anthony. When his wife died in 1912, he took his daughter to Santa Fe and is said to have never painted a portrait again after he experienced the luscious magnetism of the area’s landscapes. Parsons became a fixture in the area and was installed as the first director of the New Mexico Museum of Fine Art in 1918. Both he and Blumenschein were of the same circle in New Mexico, both charter members of the Taos Society of Artists.
Luminist painter Norton Bush (1834-1894) was represented by an untitled landscape scene created in 1870. The oil on canvas measured 24 by 36¼ inches with an absolutely stunning orange sky. It had once been in the Carl Dentzel collection and sold for $11,800. The influence of the Hudson River School is notable in the painting – Bush trained with Jasper Francis Cropsey – but its tall, slender trees and hanging vines with jagged peaks in the background indicate that the subject may be Central American, a place the artist visited repeatedly throughout his career.
All prices reported include buyer’s premium. For information, www.santafeartauction.com or 505-954-5858.
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