Inspirations from the natural world led the charge across the block this past week with many surprising results. The Benefit Shop sold an elaborately decorated megillah scroll for an exponential sum compared to its estimate, and a flowery Mucha poster doubled its high estimate. Roland discovered a great sale with a Sri Lankan jungle scene and a stoneware jug with a perched cobalt bird design flew away from Casco Bay. Read along for more…
Roland In The Jungle
GLEN COVE, N.Y. – Roland Auctions conducted its monthly estates sale on November 5, with sales totaling $343,545. Adding significantly to this sum was the leading lot, an oil on canvas by Senaka Senanayake (Sri Lankan, b 1951). Senanayake’s work is characterized by lush, colorful flora and sometimes fauna. In this painting, three human figures are intertwined with the jungle or the bush-like landscape, with some of their limbs painted to match the surrounding trees and plants. The painting achieved $11,875 and was bought by a New York City collector. For information, 212-260-2000 or www.rolandauctions.com.
Bird Jug Stumps For Casco Bay
FREEPORT, MAINE – One of the highlights of Casco Bay Auctions’ fall Americana 2022 auction on November 12 was a 3-gallon stoneware jug with cobalt decoration of a bird perched, unusually, on a stump. Made by G.W. Fulper Bros in Flemington, N.J., and consigned from an Augusta, Maine, collection, the 15½-inch-tall jug was in excellent condition. Bidders took it from an estimate of $300/400 to its final bid of $1,063, from a Kansas City collector bidding online. For information, 207-370-4592 or www.cascobayauctions.com.
Motley Cruises To Lead For Mid-Hudson
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries presented more than 450 lots in its November 12 two-session estate auction, which saw as its top lot Archibald John Motley Jr’s (American, 1891-1981) “Bronzeville by Night,” which sold on its high estimate for $15,000. The 30-by-36-inch oil on canvas had been consigned by an art collector in New York and found a new home with an existing Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries customer in California. For information, 914-882-7356 or www.midhudsongalleries.com.
Contemporary Bead & Quill Work Pipe Bag Makes Best In Show At Soulis Sale
LONE JACK, MO. – A collection of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century jewelry, beadwork, masks, baskets, pottery, textiles and more was among the main attractions at Soulis Auctions’ November 12 sale. A Joyce Growing Thunder Fogarty (b 1950) beaded pipe bag with quillwork sold for $6,765 to the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. From the 40-year collection of Father Tom Wiederholt, the textile was a rare example of contemporary bead and quill work by the Assiniboine Sioux artist from Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. This pipe bag was first purchased by Santa Fe dealer Greg Stock at what is purported to be the artist’s very first public showing at the Santa Fe Indian Market, where she has since won Best in Show three times. For information, www.soulisauctions.com or 816-697-3830.
Mucha’s Princezna Hyacinta Takes A Bow In Poster Auctions International Sale
NEW YORK CITY – The 88th rare posters auction from Poster Auctions International on November 13 featured rare and iconic images from a century of poster design. The collection included Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern and contemporary lithographs as well as decorative panels and maquettes. From Alphonse Mucha, 33 rare lithographs were available, led by Princezna Hyacinta, 1911, which sold for $78,000, more than twice its high estimate. Described as one of Mucha’s best Czech posters, it illustrated the fairy-tale ballet and pantomime starring the popular actress Andula Sedlácková as the princess. The portrait of the actress is seen against a sky full of stars and encircled with dream images: the blacksmith’s tools, a gold crown, hearts speared by arrows of love, the sorcerer’s alchemical vessels and his strange monsters. For information, 212-787-4000 or www.posterauctions.com.
Calm Seas Belie Frothy Bidding For Agruimbau Yachting Scene
WINDSOR, CONN. – Selling for $3,900, four times its high estimate, at Nadeau’s November 12 contemporary and antique furnishings, decorative accessories auction was an oil on canvas of a yacht race by Peter Layne Agruimbau, a Connecticut artist. From a waterfront estate in Stamford, Conn., it was signed illegibly lower left and measured 28¾ by 31¾ inches. For information, www.nadeausauction.com or 860-246-2444.
Benefit Shop Rolls Out Top Scroll
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – The Benefit Shop Foundation conducted its monthly Red Carpet auction on November 16, assembling more than 800 lots from Tri-state and New England estates. The top lot of these was an antique handwritten Hebrew scroll of the Megillah, or Book of Esther, that sold for the epic sum of $91,590 against its $50-$200 estimate. The scroll appears to be vellum, with the text bordered by figural busts of elders (all male), vegetal and avian marginalia, as well as rondels of male and female characters. The scroll had one detached piece and some wear consistent with its “antique” condition, but not much else was disclosed about this fine example of Judaica. For information, 914-864-0707 or www.thebenefitshop.org.
Auctioneering’s Grim History At Nye & Company
BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – Nye & Company conducted its Property From a Private Collection: A 20th Century Machinal Delight sale on November 16, offering a curated selection of 385 lots, including coin-operated machines, typewriters, phonographs, cast iron banks and tin toys. However, the foremost of these was neither machinal nor a delight. Selling for $10,455 was an 1829 broadside from Savannah, Ga., detailing the auction of 40 enslaved people from the Ellis & Livingston Depot. The broadside is a sobering reminder of this stain upon history, showing language used to describe human beings as one would any other object in an auction today. The third highest selling lot at $7,995 was another broadside warning African Americans of Boston against conversing with watchmen and police officers, as they were authorized by the city’s government to act as “slave catchers” in 1851. For information, 973-984-6900 or www.nyeandcompany.com.
Material Culture Becomes House Of The Dragon
PHILADELPHIA – Day 2 of Material Culture’s sale of ethnographic arts and textiles on November 15 was led by a rare Chinese embroidered silk Dragon robe (Chaopao), Qing dynasty, selling for $21,250. Its selling point was its extremely fine craftsmanship, complete with gilt buttons. The silk is worked in couched gold threads and multicolored satin stitch with dragons amid clouds and other auspicious symbols, with lishui stripe at the waist and skirt bottom. The pleated, flared skirt incorporates 16 dragon roundels. For information, 215-849-8030 or www.materialculture.com.
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