The classic met the novel this week at auction, with fine and decorative arts from the new and old schools in session. Fine art included scenic and genre art from Jules Tavernier and Georges d’Espagnat and was joined by outsider Earl Swanigan and abstract artist Karel Appel. Chinese decorative arts were also prominent, along with a perhaps the cutest sculpture ever cast from Diego Giacometti. Read on for more.
Scroll Table Tops Brunk’s First $1 Million Asian Sale
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — In its first sale of 2023, Brunk Auctions’ Asian art sale on January 12 earned $1,330,129, the first Asian sale in the company’s history to break the seven-figure mark. At the top of the sale, with a price of $196,800, was a Chinese huanghuali scroll table that sold to a private collector. The table was one of nearly 400 lots, which also saw highlights in porcelain, paintings and textiles. For more information, 828-254-6846 or www.brunkauctions.com.
Nineteenth Century Italian Micromosaic Leads Winter Associates Auction
PLAINVILLE, CONN. — In a live auction on January 16, Winter Associates presented property from a variety of New England estates with an offering of Asian antiques, furnishings, woodblocks, sculpture, textiles and ceramics, along with early American and Continental furnishings, including museum deaccessions. An Italian micromosaic from the late Nineteenth Century (pictured) more than doubled its high estimate to reach $9,000. It depicted a young prince standing on a throne chair and kissing a hanging portrait of a young maiden while another young woman secretly watches from a doorway. An extremely comprehensive Canadian stamp collection from 1851 to 1984 in three albums achieved $7,800. For information, 860-793-0288 or www.auctionsappraisers.com.
Outsider Art Comes In From The Cold At Old Kinderhook Auction
VALATIE, N.Y. — Errol Farr, owner of Old Kinderhook Auction, said good prices were posted on January 10 for noted Outsider artist Earl Swanigan (American, 1964-2019) paintings in the small size range. “Pool Game,” an acrylic on thin plywood depicting a pool game among an anthropomorphic dog, rooster and moose, signed and dated lower right, 22 by 24½ inches, overall, finished at $2,375. “Skunk Attack,” an acrylic on Masonite depicting a black and white pig trying to outrun a skunk’s attack, took $1,688. Swanigan was a noted Outsider artist from Hudson, N.Y. The paintings came from the collection of a close friend and collector of the artist who is featured in a documentary about Swanigan’s work. For information, 518-852-4521 or www.oldkinderhookauction.com.
Eight-Day Gravity Clock Winds High At Dotta Auction
NAZARETH, PENN. — Dotta Auction conducted an antique and collectible clocks sale that closed on January 18. The sale featured a wide selection that included banjo, kitchen mantel, cuckoos, schoolhouse, novelty clocks and more. Topping the sale was an eight-day gravity clock that sold for $500. With skeleton movement and standing on a 9-inch circular base, the timepiece was 23½ inches tall, including its glass dome. Eight-day clocks only need to be wound once every week, and a gravity clock uses the energy of a falling weight to drive its mechanism. For more information, 610-759-7389 or www.dottaauction.com.
Decorative Arts Sell At Thomaston’s Practical Chic Auction
THOMASTON, MAINE — Thomaston Place Auction Galleries offered more than 300 lots on January 18 during the firm’s one-day “Practical Chic” sale. Not necessarily practical but certainly beautiful was a pair of Chinese dragon and phoenix vases that more than doubled their high estimate at $3,750 ($800-$1,200). The blue and white celadon porcelain baluster vases had elephant head handles with a raised ruyi band motif, showing a dragon and phoenix in pursuit of a flaming pearl. The bases were unmarked, but a craquelure surface showed the vases’ gentle age. For information, 207-354-8141 or www.thomastonauction.com.
Karel Appel Gouache Tops Benefit Shop Foundation Auction
MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — Karel Appel’s artworks are bold and colorful, so it was little surprise that buyers were immediately captivated by one of his gouaches as soon as the catalog went online for the Benefit Shop Foundation’s Red Carpet Auction on January 18. The untitled gouache of an abstracted figure by Appel attracted much presale interest in the weeks leading up to the sale. It went on to become the auction’s top lot, fetching $23,000 over the $5,000 high estimate. For more information, www.thebenefitshop.org or 914-864-0707.
Jules Tavernier Pastel Makes A Splash At Coyle’s Auction
MEDWAY, MASS. — French artist Jules Tavernier (1844-1889) was one of the American West’s foremost talents, with a natural ability that many believed was second to none. An important member of Hawaii’s Volcano School, he was employed as an illustrator by Harper’s Magazine, which sent him on a year-long coast-to-coast sketching tour in 1873. He ultimately ventured westward to Hawaii, where he made a name for himself as a landscape painter. One of his works, a pastel of a waterfall with Native American figure, was consigned from a local estate for Coyle’s January 17 auction. The 35-by-19½-inch, signed painting was purchased for $11,500 by a private collector. For information, 774-571-8263 or www.coylesauction.com.
Showplace Bidders, Yearning For Spring, Boost D’Espagnat Landscape
NEW YORK CITY — At Auctions at Showplace on Sunday, January 22, a colorful springtime scene painted in 1910 by Georges d’Espagnat (French, 1870-1950) and titled “Le Printemps” sold for $17,500 to a European telephone bidder. The painting, which measured 41 by 49 inches in a giltwood frame had recently been in a Park Avenue collection, also had provenance from Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris; Galerie des Granges, Geneva; and Alexander Kahan Gallery, New York. The painting is included in the Jean-Dominique Jacquemond archives and will be in the upcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist. For additional information, www.nyshowplace.com or 212-633-6063.
Cat Bronze Gets Purrfect Price For Michaan’s
ALAMEDA, CALIF. — Heading the January 20 Gallery Auction at Michaan’s Auctions was an 82-inch tall bronze after Diego Giacometti (Swiss/French, 1902-1985), which brought $18,450 against an estimate of $1,5/2,000. Dated 1967 and titled “Le Chat Maitre d’Hotel,” the large scale bronze work from a later casting, which depicted a cat standing on its haunches, had provenance to a prominent Mill Valley, Calif., estate. For more information, 800-380-9822, 510-740-0220 or www.michaans.com.
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