Rembrandt Peale’s iconic portrait of George Washington realized a new world record for a porthole portrait by the artist when it sold for $662,500- a record for a porthole portrait by the artist-to lead Heritage Auctions’ recent American art events in Dallas. Peale’s portrait of Washington was presented with his equally iconic portrait of Martha Washington, which reached $158,500. It followed other important offerings including John McCrady’s Steamboat ‘Round the Bend, a mammoth tribute — both figuratively and literally — to Southern regional art. At 14-feet wide, the 1946 commission for Delmonico’s Restaurant in New Orleans is recognized as McCrady’s most famous mural, helping it realize $542,500 — a new world record for the artist. Jerome Thompson’s 1865 oil on canvas titled Riverbank in Bloom sold for $512,500 to shatter its $8,000+ pre-auction estimate and set the new record for this artist.
Bloomberg News reports that Christie’s will hold its first auction in Mainland China this fall. In doing so it will become the first international auction firm to hold its branded events there. The article cites the European Fine Art Foundation which concludes the $13.7 billion market is the second-largest in the world. The move may begin a shift from Hong Kong as the center of the Chinese art market to Shanghai. READ THE ARTICLE
In some sense its nice when the lot you picked out of an auction turns out to be the top lot. That’s from an observer’s point only, however. Had I been bidding on the sterling silver two-handled presentation bowl with an inscription to Maestro Arturo Toscanini, I wouldn’t have been so excited to see the price climb out of the $4,000-$6,000 estimate range to reach $28,125 (including buyer’s premium).
That’s what the 1921 bowl brought at Doyle in New York today, however. More than 80 lots of property from the Collection of Arturo Toscanini met the hammer after being consigned by the the Estate of his Grandson, Walfredo Toscanini (the Maestro died in 1957).
Auction totals brought just under $200,000 against an estimate of $94,480-149,670.
Born in Parma, Italy, Toscanini was one of the world’s most prominent conductors of the 20th century. During his lifetime, he was music director at Milan’s La Scala, New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, and finally, the first music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Generations of Americans were introduced to classical music through his radio and television broadcasts and numerous recordings.
Whiting Sterling Silver Two-Handled Presentation Bowl Bearing inscription to Maestro Arturo Toscanini, 1921. Height 13 1/2 inches (34.3 cm), width 20 1/2 inches (52.1 cm), approximately 136 ounces. Doyle Auctions.
It wasn’t Texas art that brought Edward Denari to begin a collection. That credit goes to a work by John Singer Sargent and a docent at the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington D.C. It wasn’t early Texas art that he bought when he began that collection, but a work by tonalist master Birge Harrison.
But Texas art is where it lead.
Denari, at 91 years of age, was a guest speaker at the recent Texas Art Auction by David Dike fine art in Dallas. The one-time gallery-owner in Fort Worth spoke of his lifelong passion for collecting.
When he returned home from Washington and the insightful tour, Denari told his wife he wanted a collection. The collecting began with some guidance from dealer Joseph Sartor. According to Denari, Sartor started by explaining the need to learn to distinguish good art from bad art. Those attributes are comprised of quality, beauty and strength. The value of good art is determined by assessing three dimensions, aesthetic value, historical value and market value.
With that in mind, and a seascape by Birge Harrison in hand, he became convinced. There was one problem, he didn’t have the $800 needed for purchase. Sartor however let Denari take it home for just $35. When he asked why, Sartor told him because of the giant itch it would create.
The desire for more was created, and he went on to buy works by Robert Wood, architect Harwood K. Smith, Frank Reaugh, Blanch McVeigh and even James McNeill Whistler.
Much of it was bought below market value, and most of it has likely appreciated. It wouldn’t be the last time experts and collectors have passed over something later prized. A bit of knowledge and a quick informed assessment has often been used to compete with deep pockets. Value can go unrecognized.
“The art market can be inefficient,” Denari said comparing it to stocks. “I’ve never found a share of Wal-Mart in an antique shop.”
Despite some works surpassing high estimates in the auction, undoubtedly a few bargain purchases were also made. Denari’s words are certainly encouraging to both beginning and established collectors of Texas art and beyond.
A preview of Early Texas Art being offered in David Dike’s Texas Art Auction is on view this week in the Dallas Design District. The walls of the Wildman Art Framing building are filled with works by Otis Dozier, Everett Spruce, Dawson Dawson-Watson, Ed Bearden and others.
Not to be missed lots include Cactus in Bloom by Dawson Dawson-Watson (1939) estimated to fetch as much as $25,000. Several gentle pastels by prominent Texas artist Frank Reaugh are up for show and sale, some expected to bring as much as $10,000.In the regionalist category, a harsh landscape by Fort Worth Circle painter Kelly Fearing completed in 1941, the year he finished his education at the Louisiana Polytechnic Institute, could bring $15,000 or more. Railroad Yard in Snow by Ed Bearden (1951) presents an engaging work by one of the founding members if the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts. William Lester’s Alley (1947) is given a prominent place in the catalog, and for good reason. This Dallas Nine artist was included in the Exhibition of Young Dallas Artists at the Dallas Public Art Gallery in Fair Park way back in 1932. His paintings are held in the permanent collections of half a dozen museums including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Dallas Museum of Art.
There are of course no shortage of landscapes, including bluebonnets by Robert Wood, Eloise Polk McGill, Don Parks, Porfirio Salinas, Jesse Don Rasberry and Altie Slimp. Particularly stunning is the light captured in Grand Canyon by Dawson Dawson-Watson.
From still-life to abstracts this includes but a small sampling of the works of Early Texas Art available for show and sale in a wide-range of prices. It’s a great opportunity to stop and learn about Early texas Art and artists, as well as start or enhance a collection.
The preview is open through Friday with the auction being held at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The top lot at a recent sale of American and European works at Freeman’s was a work simply titled “Landscape.” The auctioneer says the work has generated significant interest since its publication in Freeman’s catalogue and was chased by bidders on the phone and in the room.
“Today’s results demonstrate that the demise of the 19th-century American art market has been greatly exaggerated,” says Freeman’s Vice Chairman and auctioneer Alasdair Nichol who adds the combination of quality and fresh to the market works are in high demand. The work has been in a private collection of a prominent New York family for decades.
Works by American painters Edwin Lord Weeks, George William Sotter and Edmund William Greacen also performed well.
If you’ve ever stood in a flea market and wondered what you were looking at, it might be a lot of money. Found at a Flea Market in Philadelphia for $200, a unique sculpture commissioned by Tiffany & Co. from one of the world’s foremost living silversmiths floored a standing-room only auction Tuesday at Freeman’s by climbing to an astounding $22,500.
The seller who first found it hiding inconspicuously amidst a pile junk on a flea market table was in shock. Initially, he’d had no idea what it was. Nor could anyone tell him. He’d just liked it for what it was–a beautiful abstract composition of swirling bands. Even so, at the time, $200 seemed a lot to pony up.
What emerged after polishing was a thing of beauty. And, more importantly, the faint impression of the initials “UV” emerged, in what he suspected–and indeed proved to be–a maker’s mark. It was a clue, but still all his efforts to identify it came to naught. That’s when he decided to bring it in to Freeman’s Auction in downtown Philadelphia for a complimentary assessment.
Freeman’s Silver specialist David Walker, who greeted him, had never seen anything like it, although he immediately recognized the quality of the piece. The good news that day was that it was solid sterling and not plate, as its discoverer had believed. It was then and there agreed that he would consign it to Freeman’s for sale to the highest bidder.
For one specialist at Freeman’s, however, that was only the beginning. Whitney Bounty in the American Furniture and Decorative Arts Department made it her personal mission to identify this piece and she spent many months following up on all leads. Once she identified it as having come from Tiffany & Co., still the elusive maker’s mark “UV” continued to haunt her. In time, the truth emerged from one of her many sources, and soon after a call came from the son of the very man whose design it was–internationally renowned architect, industrial designer, and sculptor Charles O. Perry (1929-2011)… And he told her all about it.
The piece is one of only six known examples of the design, commissioned by Tiffany & Co., which Perry titled Cassini after the Italian astronomer who inspired him, Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625-1712). Cassini believed that a planetary orbit could be along the intersection of a cylinder with a sphere. The composition this idea inspired was hailed a triumph. Large scale, steel versions of the Cassini sculpture are installed at the Civic Arts Complex in Ringwood, Australia; in East Moline, Illinois; and in a few private collections around the world.
“UV” is the mark of Ubaldo Vitali (b. 1944), among the greatest of 20th-century silversmiths. The man whose hands formed this piece is renowned as a master of his trade and is featured in multiple museum collections and exhibitions. Vitali is a fourth generation silversmith, who stamps his pieces with the hallmark once used by his father and grandfather. Having done work for Tiffany, Cartier, Movado, Bulgari and Steuben, he is in very high demand.
Almost 200 came to Doyle auction September 19 to listen to a panel discussion on the the evolution of Street Art. The talk preceded an auction of items in this inaugural category. Among the topics covered were the transition of Street Art into major galleries and museums and the globalization of Street Art.
Doyle’s Inaugural Street Art Auction October 16 showcased many of the most important artists in the history of Street Art and Graffiti, spanning the early 1980s to the present day. The sale totaled $129,179, with 70 percent sold by lot and value.
The top lot of the day was Natadora, a classic work by the late Margaret Kilgallen (1967-2001) that achieved a world auction record for the artist. Estimated at $5,000-7,000, the acrylic on wood panel sold to a buyer from California for a staggering $28,125. It almost tripled Kilgallen’s prior record of $9,560, which was set just last year. A tremendous talent, Kilgallen brought influences of Folk art into her work.
Also featured in the auction was a decoupaged Vespa scooter by Shepard Fairey (b. 1970) that more than doubled its estimate of $4,000-6,000 to fetch $12,500 from a New York buyer. Fairey came to global prominence with his Barack Obama “Hope” poster, which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
San Francisco native and Kilgallen’s husband Barry McGee (b. 1966), who evolved from Graffiti writer to respected contemporary artist, was represented by a late 1990s untitled mixed media work on metal that sold for $11,875 to a Brooklyn buyer, well over its estimate of $6,000-8,000.
Other artists whose works achieved auction records at the sale included Duster, Cody Hudson, David Choe, Todd James, Lamour Supreme & Mishka, and ASVP.
Bloomberg reports guitarist Eric Clapton is set to sell a painting by Gerhard Richter for as much as 20 times what he paid for it in 2001. Painted in 1994, Abstraktes Bild (809-4) is now valued at some $20 million and will be offered tomorrow at Sotheby’s in London. In 2002, a 40-year retrospective of Richter’s work was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and traveled to The Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpturen Garden inWashington. Produced as part of a concise series of four works numbered 809 in Richter’s Catalogue Raisonne, Sotheby’s says the monumentally scaled and richly chromatic Abstraktes Bild (809-4) ranks alongside the very highest tier of Richter Abstracts housed in museums internationally. Richter is regarded as the top-selling living artist.
Abstraktes Bi/d (809-4) by Gerhard Richter, 1994, oil on canvas, 225×200 em (Estimate £9-12 million/$14.1-18.8 million*) Image from Sotheby’s press release.
A painting by modern Chinese master Lee Man Fong topped estimates to bring $1,314,500 at Freeman’s on Sunday. Fong was a painter born in Guangzhou, China. he died in 1988. The auction house reports this is the fourth consecutive Asian Arts auction to achieve million-dollar-plus prices for top items. Other recent sales include a Ming Dynasty gilt bronze and cloisonné covered jar sold in March 2012 for $1.54 million, an Imperial jade seal that realized $3.5 million in September 2011, and a blue and white Ming-style vase in the March 2011 sale that went for $1.38 million. Freeman’s also says paintings overall did well and 18th-century jade continues to be outstanding. Quality ceramics from Ming to Qing are very strong. In snuff bottles, demand was high for top quality. Furniture and textiles also held their own. The one disappointment was glass. But other categories more than made up the difference.