Published: July 31, 2001
PITTSBURGH, PA. – Dargate Auction Galleries’ July 10 to 14 sale brought in over 700 registered bidders from the gallery and Internet combined.
While Pennsylvania buyers snapped up treasures from the first three days of the sale, Internet buyers from eBay Live Auctions and iCollector.com provided some bidding rivalry on the last two days of the auction.
The top lot of the sale came from a collection of eight works by Pittsburgh artist Henry Koerner (1915-1991). An overseas telephone bidder paid $36,400 for Koerner’s “Playing Pretend.” Impish children struck contorted poses within the oil on board composition while playing a game of “freeze.”
Other notable prices for the artist’s work included $8,500 to the same overseas buyer for Koerner’s oil on canvas titled “Young Man with Telescope, 1957.” Three tempera on paper works from the late 1940s were offered. “Germany Surrenders” depicted a G.I. on a park bench reading a newspaper with the same headline, and sold for $5,580 to the overseas buyer. “Hat Shoppers” sold for $5,580 to a New York buyer, and “The Empty Square,” which depicted a small girl skipping rope in a deserted city square, sold to the overseas buyer for $6,160. Three Koerner watercolors rounded out the collection, and brought $3,350 combined.
Koerner was originally from Vienna, but later settled in Pittsburgh. He was the last Pittsburgh artist to be offered a major solo exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in 1984. His works are included in several private collections and in the permanent collections of foundations, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Koerner also designed war posters and served in the US Army during World War II. He was a court artist for the Nuremberg trials, and also produced cover illustrations for Time Magazine. In 1991 at the age of 75, the artist was struck and killed by a car near Vienna, Austria.
Other regional artists fared well at the sale. Two early paintings by William Coventry Wall (1810-1886) exceeded their estimates of $4/6,000 each, selling for $10,575 and $14,100. Both paintings depicted fishermen perched upon rocks and set against greenery, water and buildings. W.C. Wall was born in Oxford, England, and later moved to Pittsburgh along with his brother, artist Alfred S. Wall. Wall is noted for his views of Pittsburgh and the surrounding vicinity.
Born and trained by her artist father, Joseph Woodwell, Johanna K. Woodwell Hailman also represented Pittsburgh as a notable woman artist. Woodwell Hailman lived her entire life in Pittsburgh, and was famous for her colorful paintings of flowers.
Dargate offered several of the artist’s works at the sale on Saturday. One set of four small oils dated 1907 depicting beach scenes sold for $5,580, above the estimated value of $300/500. Woodwell Hailman was heavily involved in Pittsburgh society and was a member of many professional artists’ organizations. She was featured in all but two Carnegie Internationals from 1896-1955.
A pair of octagonal bronze electrified table lamps by Oscar Bach sold to an out of state buyer for $8,800. The lamps rose from a stepped and pyramidal base and featured stylized trees on the front and back of each.
Bach was known for his work on several buildings in New York City including the Empire State Building. Bach also manufactured products for the home, such as the lamps featured in the sale. Also by Bach was a set of metal and enamel “zodiac” bowls, which sold for $470, and a fireplace tool and firescreen set for $1,645 to a Virginia buyer.
Another fine example of metalware was a pair of Arts and Crafts copper and enamel candlesticks. The candlesticks measured 20 inches high and had a hammered surface with green and red enamel accents at the tops. They were believed to have been made by the Arts and Crafts Shop of Buffalo, N.Y., which later became the Heintz Art Metal Shop. They sold for $1,880 to an Internet bidder in Oregon.
Several Tiffany rdf_Descriptions were offered at the sale, including a sterling silver pair of candelabra. The pair had two branches with baluster shafts and round stepped feet with removable bobeches. They dated from between 1907-1938 and sold to an Internet buyer in New York City for $4,400.
A Tiffany chiming shelf clock from the early Twentieth Century sold to a Pittsburgh buyer for $11,160. Black and rouge marble made up the body of the clock, which was decorated with applied bronze swags, rosettes and a mask.
A late Eighteenth Century Hepplewhite sideboard brought many lookers. The serpentine front and legs boasted mahogany, tiger maple and triple string inlay. The sideboard exceeded its estimate of $8/12,000, selling to a Pittsburgh buyer for $18,200.
A pair of Eighteenth Century American Chippendale knife boxes sold to a Connecticut buyer for $7,600. The boxes had double serpentine fronts with sterling silver escutcheon plates, and the outsides of the lids were inlaid with a stunning shell design and barber pole inlay. Each opened to reveal a compass star on the inside of the lid and original knife and spoon slots.
A Lalique “Poivre” vase sold to a New York City buyer for $2,900. The heavy vase was a modified stamnos shape made of thick, dark green glass and decorated with branches of pepper berries.
An American brilliant cut glass vase sold to a Pittsburgh buyer for $2,600. Hobstar and star cuts covered the entire surface of the 17-inch tall vase.
Jewelry included a pair of diamond stud earrings with a total of 3 carats in 14-karat white and yellow gold six prong settings. The estate stones had a clarity rating of VVS2 and a color rating of E. They sold to a Pittsburgh buyer for $10,575.
A Weller “Ardsley” two-piece console set sold to a Pennsylvania buyer for $440. It featured a kingfisher perched inside a bowl made of cattails and dated from the 1920s.
All prices reported include a buyer’s premium of 17.5 percent.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm