Published: December 7, 2021
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Kaminski Auctions
BEVERLY, MASS. – Frank Kaminski battled a head cold during Kaminski Auctions’ annual Thanksgiving two-day event November 27-28 but said he was feeling better when we followed up with him after the final gavel fell.
“The collection of paintings and furniture from the Westport estate did very well. There were some surprises among the clocks, which is exciting, and shows a strong healthy clock market. There were some good buys on French furniture. I feel the market is pretty healthy. We had a lot of retail clients coming to the auction and buying.
“It’s an exciting time to be an auctioneer. I’ve noticed a renewed interest in antiques. We’re seeing more young people who like the convenience of buying online. They are masters of the internet.”
The Westport estate he was referring to crossed the block on the first day and made up most of the session, with the exception of some silver and wine lots that were from a different seller. Of the 400 lots on offer, more than 93 percent found buyers on the day of the sale. The estate was identified as the provenance of August van der Becq but Kaminski said the collection had been assembled by and inherited from Dr Stanley Goodman.
A watercolor landscape by Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American, 1858-1924) from the Westport estate was the highest price of the first day and sold to a phone bidder for $7,800 against an estimate of $5/8,000. The 10-by-13¾-inch work is included in Carol Clark’s 1990 catalogue raisonné on Maurice Brazil Prendergast and Charles Prendergast; a hardcover edition in a slipcover case accompanied the lot.
Bringing $7,200 – the second highest price of the first day and also from the Westport estate – was a large portrait of a young woman with a child. Painted by Felicie Fournier Schneider (French, 1831-1888), the oil on canvas painting was signed and measured 51½ by 38 inches; it sold to a New York trade buyer who was bidding on the phone.
Kaminski said that paperwork from the estate suggested Goodman had been a client at Sotheby’s Parke Bernet in the 1960s and a few lots in the sale included that provenance. Such was the case with a landscape with cows by Emile van Marcke (French, 1827-1890) that measured 28 by 40 inches, and which brought $5,700 from a bidder in the room.
More paintings from the Westport estate met or exceeded expectations, including three by Charles Emile Jacque (French, 1813-1884). His painting of sheep in an interior made $5,000, a similar subject that also included chickens in a stable flew to $3,360, and a pastoral scene with cows, sheep and a young girl sold for $2,520.
“The bronzes on the first day were a surprise,” Kaminski said. Ones from the Westport estate were largely animalier and figural bronzes. Among the former were a 17-inch-long roaring panther and 18-inch-long standing lion, both by Alfred Barye (French, 1839-1882), that bidders stalked to $5,000 and $3,000, respectively. Thomas Francois Cartier’s (French, 1879-1943) 20-inch-long bronze panther sold within estimate for $2,160.
There were 72 lots of clocks from the Westport estate on offer and all sold. Leading the group was an early Nineteenth Century Egyptian revival gilt bronze figural mantel clock made by Pierre-Guillaume Bausse in Paris; it sold to an online buyer for $5,625. An unattributed Nineteenth Century French ormolu bronze chariot clock brought $4,063, also from an online bidder. Rounding out the Westport clock highlights was a Nineteenth Century French lyre-form mantel clock with a dial inscribed “Festeau Le Jeune Paris” that made $3,600.
There were much fewer clocks on the second day of the sale, but one by Roxbury, Mass., clockmaker Aaron Willard (1757-1844) that had remained in the West Newbury, Mass., family that originally acquired it was one of the top lots of the day. It sold to a private collector from Ipswich, Mass., who was bidding in the room, for $12,000.
The top lot of the weekend was a Tiffany Studios lamp with turtle-back tile shade that brought $16,250 from an online bidder. It came from a Winthrop, Mass., collector who is the widow of a collector who had been a longtime client at Kaminski Auctions. The same seller sold a Handel lamp with mermaid base for $4,375, a Tiffany Studios bronze Aladdin-form floor lamp at $2,160 and a yellow Daum Nancy lamp at $180. A Pairpoint puffy lamp from the same seller did not find a buyer with an estimate of $3/5,000.
The best rugs in the sale came from a Fitchburg, Mass., collection, notably an antique Persian Ferrahan rug that brought $4,500, and two antique Persian Heriz rugs that each made $3,360.
“Furniture is still ‘off’ unless you have something really rare. Prices are still bargains,” Kaminski said of the current furniture market. Leading the category was an Eighteenth Century Federal bowfront mahogany and satinwood chest of drawers made in Portsmouth, N.H., around 1795. He had found it in Andover, Mass., and priced it at $4/6,000; it sold to a phone bidder for $2,760. Other results from the American furniture category include a Chippendale mahogany slant front desk with interior fan carved drawers from the same Andover estate. It brought $1,200. An Eighteenth Century New England Chippendale maple chest from a Beacon Street, Boston, collection, sold below estimate at $600.
The market for Asian works has been strong for some time and Kaminski had a few items in that category that capitalized on the trend. Online bidders paid $3,125 and $3,000, respectively, for a bronze Chinese Han dynasty hu, and a pair of Chinese throne chairs. The hu, or vessel, had provenance to London dealer, Michael Goedhuis; the chairs, which featured frames profusely inlaid with mother of pearl and marble seats and backs, came from a Swampscott, Mass., collection.
Fine art offered on the second day saw mixed results. A coastal scene by Raymond Dabb Yelland (American, 1848-1900) found a buyer for $3,000, the same price realized by Attilio Pratella’s Naples, Italy, street scene. The former sold below estimate, the latter at the high estimate. A river landscape, signed by George Inness and dated 1860, measured 16 by 20 inches and achieved $2,760. Kaminski deemed the $2,280 result for Charles Edwin Lewis Green’s farm landscape to be “reasonable.” An arguably better buy was the $780 paid for “Cape Cod Sand Dunes,” a 20-by-24-inch oil on board picture done by Edmund F. Ward (American, 1892-1991). Despite a Rockport Art Association exhibition label, a marine fishing village scene by Harry Aiken Vincent (American, 1864-1931) failed to find a buyer with an estimate of $3/5,000.
The next sale for Kaminski Auctions is the Annual New Year’s Auction, scheduled for January 8-9.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
For additional information, www.kaminskiauctions.com or 978-927-2223.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm