Published: March 20, 2007
Neal Auction Company’s winter estates auction on February 3‴ served as a demonstration of a healthy marketplace and turnout was unexpectedly high, even on Super Bowl Sunday.
With 833 lots selling with a presale low estimate of $1,500,000, the sale realized a final total of $1,900,000. Interest in every category was both consistent and strong. With a few notable exceptions, the items being offered were furniture and decorative arts from various estates.
Having set the bar on paintings by Louis Oscar Griffith last December by achieving an auction record of $275,000 for “The Start,” a rare collaborative painting by Griffith and fellow artist Robert Grafton, a Louis Oscar Griffith (1875‱956, active New Orleans, 1916‱917) oil, “Unloading the Banana Boats, New Orleans Dock,” received considerable attention when it hit the auction block, February 3.
With a strong presale estimate of $75/125,000, the Griffith painting achieved $113,000, making it the highest price ever paid for a work painted by the artist at auction. After the auction, Neal Alford, president and founder of Neal Auction Company, said, “this Griffith was one of the most vibrant paintings I have seen in years.”
The other Louis Oscar Griffith offered was a small oil on canvas, “French Market, Vieux Carre,” which fetched $23,500.
Art highlights included Walter Inglis Anderson’s (Mississippi, 1903‱965), watercolor, “Shrimp and Pufferfish,” that fetched $13,500; Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer’s (New Orleans, 1912‱997), “Abstraction,” which realized $15,900; and a Nineteenth Century American School, painting of “The Paddle Steamer Challenge,” which garnered $12,900.
Neal Auction Company’s offering of photography lots was small but noteworthy. The highlight was a Robert Mapplethorpe (1946‱989) silver gelatin print, “Orchid,” 1988, which achieved $9,400 †a Southern record price for a Mapplethorpe.
Clarence John Laughlin’s (Louisiana, 1905‱985) “Bird of the Death Dream,” a later print from the 1953 negative, sold well above its high estimate at $1,960.
Art pottery highlights featured Part II of the Charles and Susan Murphy Collection of Newcomb pottery, including a rare pair of matte glaze candlesticks that more than doubled its presale low estimate. Decorated by Sadie Irvine, the candlesticks lit up for $10,900. A Shearwater Pottery green and tan glazed “Earth, Sea and Sky” vase sold for $11,160. The entire Murphy collection achieved in excess of $355,000.
Among furniture offerings, two Pottier and Stymus pieces took the vanguard. A labeled American Renaissance walnut and burl walnut bedstead, inset with a porcelain plaque painted with the figure of Sleep, achieved $19,975, while a Neo-Grec inlaid, ebonized, porcelain-mounted, burl wood and rosewood center table realized $17,625.
Furniture highlights included an American rococo carved walnut center table, attributed to Alexander Roux, which achieved $17,265; a late George III carved mahogany partner’s writing table at $10,870; an American classical mahogany mixing table attributed to Anthony Quervelle at $9,100; a 1906 Steinway and Sons carved mahogany grand piano at $19,975; an American rococo carved and laminated rosewood parlor suite, attributed to John Henry Belter, at $17,625; and a Neoclassical specimen marble and gilt bronze gueridon at $12,925.
Of local interest was an American rococo carved rosewood armoire, labeled “William McCracken, 45 Royal Street, New Orleans,” which, against a presale estimate of $4/6,000, realized almost $10,000.
The auction saw high interest in every category, including decorative art offerings, which were led by a 17-inch-long German porcelain figural group of leopards, circa 1914, by the Schwarzburg Workshop for Porcelain Art that achieved $7,340.
Neal Auction Company’s next auction will be April 14‱5 and will include property from the estate of the Reverend Dr W.A. Criswell of Dallas, Texas.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. Neal Auction Company is at 4038 Magazine Street. For more information, 504-899-5329 or www.nealauction.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm