Monday, August 2, 2010

Upstairs Downstairs..An Update

A Crazy New Staircase. I love the look of it but not sure I'd climb it without a rail. I'm sure its not finished, I hope. Of course you can see from an old post that the idea is hardly new.

From Gizmodo: "These are the stairs of the new Salvador Dalí museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Encased in 18-inch thick concrete walls, it can resist a 165mph Category 5 hurricane without blinking.The director of the museum says that the architecture "combines elements of the classical and the fantastical," like Dalí's own work. I will believe it when everything is covered in gold and time begins to melt. [Archdaily]

I have always had a love of staircases and thought that this would make a great subject for a posting here at Homer's Odd. My first memory of a staircase was of course sitting at the the top of the front hall stairs while the folks were having a party down below and wanting to be a part of all the fun until being told upon being caught, to get back to bed.

Staircases are grand and sweeping or they can be narrow and steep. Each design has it's own purpose and reason. The classic television series "Upstairs Downstairs," showed the importance of the staircase in Edwardian London.

Staircases are escapes or the route to love.

In my travels around the world, I have seen and climbed some great staircases. Starting from the Acropolis to St. Peter's, to Borobodur and Buckingham Palace.

These steps have always captured a greater moment in my memory than the place itself. It made me think. Why are stairs so important? A few thoughts come to mind. When climbing a new staircase you are rising, you are entering. It is unknown, it is a new experience. Your heart beats a bit faster, your eyes widen, the stairs are the cause.

Staircases are simply a functional architectural necessity to get you from one level to the next. They do however transcend their purpose in so many ways. They can denote class stratifications, they are pulpits, lecterns, they are structures used for grand ceremonial occasions.They are places of historic importance, they are the place where time changes. They are the spot where once your little girl bounced down in her pj's to where she threw her bouquet on her wedding day.

Staircases are where inaugurations are held or great civil rights speeches are given. I believe we choose staircases to hold these important functions because they symbolize transcendence. They allow the speaker and the audience to believe that we can achieve what is spoken. That is what makes stairs important. Be they wooden or marble I love to climb them. Here are a few pictures of great staircases.

Angor Wat

A Crazy Staircase

Grand Central Station New York City

Tulip Staircase Queens House Greenwich

Buckingham Palace Grand Staircase

Bovolostaircase Venice

Chambord by Da Vinci

The Exorcist Staircase, Georgetown

The Titanic Staircase

Survivors Staircase World Trade Center

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Art's New Winners and Losers

Art's New Winners and Losers
Sales are rising, but the recovery is leaving some artists behind. Why Renoir and Calder are up, and Munch and Hirst are down

Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2010

"The bidding has started up again and prices are rising. Now, as the dust settles from the art-market upheaval of the last few years, a new art landscape is emerging.
The New Art Market's Ups and Downs

The major spring auctions wrapped up this week in New York with sales that nearly tripled last year's totals. A few artists appeared unaffected by the recent ups and downs of the market. A Picasso painting sold for $106.5 million, setting an auction record, and Andy Warhol's "Self Portrait" sold for $32.5 million, more than twice its high estimate.

But the playing field has been transformed by recession, and dozens of other top artists have been boosted or derailed by the boom-and-bust cycle. Some of the biggest stars from the art market's peak, such as Richard Prince and Damien Hirst, have been largely absent from auctions recently.

On the rise are Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and Salvador Dali, names that a few years ago were unfashionable in some art circles. In recent years, some Western buyers dismissed their work as passé —crowd-pleasing but uninteresting. New art collectors, however, tend to gravitate to the European Impressionists that are pretty and accessible. Newly wealthy Asian buyers have been bidding up Renoirs and Monets.

See a graphic about art's new winners and losers.

Market fluctuations can spark larger shifts in art-world taste. The Gagosian Gallery, a leading dealer of modern and contemporary art, mounted an exhibit of late-period Monets in New York this month—a move that the gallery says would have been unlikely a few years ago.

New York's chief auction houses, Sotheby's and Christie's International, say prices for any artist are heavily contingent upon the whims of supply. It's a rare occurrence that a seller consigns a work as important as Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust," last week's $106.5 million sale.

Still, a sweep of the spring auction results reveals fresh clues about which artists collectors feel more, or less, confident in now. "Before the crisis, people were buying everything," says David Nahmad, a modern-art dealer with galleries in New York and London. "Now, they're more selective."
[ADVISER5] Sotheby's

Pablo Picasso: 'Woman with a cat sitting in a chair,' priced to sell for $15 million, sold for $18 million at Christie's.

In all, Sotheby's and Christie's International brought in about $1.1 billion combined from their semiannual New York sales of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art, up from $408.8 million last May but down from their $1.4 billion peak two seasons ago.

As the auctions wrap up, here's a look at who's soaring and who's struggling in the new art market.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Dealers say Renoir's soft-focus depictions of Victorian women and children are a favorite of Asian collectors, who have begun buying up iconic pieces from the Western canon. They're starting, as many new buyers do, with the broadly appealing Impressionists. Renoir's prices are lower than those of older peers like Monet.

Last November in New York, a Japanese collector paid Sotheby's $2.8 million for Renoir's "Woman with a White Hat," and minutes later a Chinese collector bidding over the telephone paid $962,500 for his "Still Life with Apples and Pears."

View Full Image

Claude Monet: Last week, Sotheby's sold 'The Effect of Spring at Giverny,' for $15.2 million, the seventh-highest price ever paid for a Monet at auction.

Claude Monet

The master of Impressionism seems to sell best during the uncertain days of a new auction cycle, when collectors prefer to stick with classics. At the start of the last market swell in 2005 and 2006, at least 18 of Monet's speckled pastorals sold for more than their high asking prices at major evening auctions, according to Art Research Technologies, a firm that tracks auction sales. On May 5, Sotheby's got $15.2 million for "The Effect of Spring at Giverny," the seventh-highest Monet to ever sell at auction. An Asian collector bidding over the telephone got that work.

Prices for Monet's paintings dated after 1905 are also expected to benefit from the high-profile show that opened this month at the Gagosian Gallery. Last spring, around 100,000 people visited the gallery's show of late Picassos, and dealers have subsequently credited the show with increasing demand for Picasso's later works.
[artmarket] Christie's

Alberto Giacometti: Number of his works that sold for over $20 million last week in New York: 3.

Alberto Giacometti

This onetime favorite of European collectors has gone global, with bidders from the U.S. and Russia joining in and pushing up his asking prices, dealers say.

Three months ago, Sotheby's in London sold his "Walking Man I" for $104.3 million, a record at the time for a work of art at auction. The buzz from that sale gave confidence to bidders during this latest round in New York: On May 4, Christie's sold Giacometti's bust of his brother, "Big Thin Head," to art adviser Guy Bennett for $53.2 million, over its $35 million high estimate.

Alexander Calder

The Philadelphia sculptor of kinetic abstract sculptures has floated above the recession. He had a banner year in 2009, with a record $41.5 million worth of his art selling at auction, according to Artnet, a firm that monitors sales. Six of his priciest pieces sold during the doldrums, including the 1934 mobile, "Five Pieces of Wood," which Sotheby's in London sold last June for $4.2 million. On Wednesday, another pair of mobiles sold for a combined $5.2 million.

American collectors say part of the reason for the strong sales was that the artist had been undervalued for too long, a fact that became clear as other art prices dropped. Compared to Jeff Koons's $25.7 million "Balloon Flower (Magenta)," Calder's dangling wire pieces still appear to be a good value, dealers say.

Jasper Johns

Rarity helps, especially in a recession. Between 2005 and 2009, nine works by this Pop pioneer wound up in the auction houses' major evening sales and they all sold, for roughly $13.3 million combined. That same number of pieces hit the evening sales this past week, thanks largely to a consignment of pieces owned by the late author Michael Crichton.

It proved a bonanza: Johns's "Flag" sold to New York art adviser Michael Altman for $28.6 million, above its $15 million high estimate. The Crichton works may also have spurred other collectors to offer up their pieces by Johns, including "Figure O," which sold for $4.1 million.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

The graffiti-influenced 1980s artist is the recovery's comeback kid. After his brightly colored paintings pushed above $14 million in early 2007, collectors watched his prices plummet.

Now, Basquiat's asking prices have dropped to between $2 million and $6 million and American Baby Boomers appear to be rushing back in to take advantage of the lower price tags. On Tuesday, Christie's asked at least $3.5 million for his "Man Struck by Lightning—2 Witnesses" from 1982 but got $4.8 million for it.

Basquiat's 1983 depiction of a saxophone player, "Untitled (Stardust)," also sparked a dogged bidding war at Sotheby's on Wednesday, ultimately selling to a woman in the salesroom for $7.2 million. The piece was set to sell for up to $6 million.

Kees Van Dongen

Last fall, this Dutch master of Fauvism seemed poised to enjoy a surge when Sotheby's in New York sold his creamy spare portrait, "Young Arab," for a record $13.8 million. Russian buyers were flocking then to his emerald-and-navy portraits of women. Since then, however, Russian collectors seem to have shifted back to homegrown favorites with a similar palette, like Natalia Goncharova, and U.S. buyers haven't stepped in to fill the void.

Sotheby's got $3.7 million for Van Dongen's "Woman with a Hat of Roses" on May 5, but another Van Dongen consigned to that sale was withdrawn by the seller at the last minute. In all, seven paintings by the artist have gone unsold this auction season, up from three last year, according to Art Research Technologies.

Pierre Bonnard

Sometimes collectors get spooked by an artist, even one firmly ensconced in the art-history textbooks. Between 2005 and 2006, at least 23 paintings by the French artist sold within or above their estimates at the auction houses' major evening sales. These included a lush view of "Two Fruit Baskets" that sold in November 2006 for $8.5 million.

Demand took a sharp turn last fall, however, after Sotheby's got no bids for Bonnard's "Nude Profile," which was priced to sell for at least $1.25 million. On May 5, another Bonnard went unsold, this time a Parisian street scene from 1904, "The Boulevard Outside: The Corner of Clichy Boulevard and Douai Street." Christie's sold a Bonnard, "Deadlock or Lane (Le Cannet)," from the Brody collection for $842,500 on May 4.

Mr. Nahmad said newer buyers may not be as familiar with Bonnard's oeuvre but added that the artist was more likely suffering from "bad luck."

View Full Image

Edvard Munch: Number of his works that failed to sell at auction between 2007 and 2009: 0. Number of works that failed to sell this spring: 3.

Edvard Munch

Do collectors love this Norwegian artist when he's not screaming? Weeks after Lehman Brothers floundered in 2008, Munch's "Vampire" sold at Sotheby's in New York for $38.1 million. The work, depicting a red-haired woman hovering over a man in a black suit, was considered a masterpiece. It was also replete with the artist's dark and twisted signature imagery.

Since then, Munch works featuring happier subject matter have stumbled at auction. These include "Fertility," the $25 million field-couple scene that failed to sell at Christie's. The following night, Munch's 1916-17 image of a blue-eyed young girl sporting a bow in her hair, "Nude Half Figure," was expected to sell at Sotheby's for at least $1.6 million. It stalled at $1.4 million.
[artmarket] Sotheby's

DAMIEN HIRST: In 2008, $270.7 million worth of his art sold at auction. In 2009: $18.3 million.

Damien Hirst

The British artist who famously sold off $200.8 million worth of his own art at Sotheby's in London hasn't turned up much at major auctions since. Katherine Jentleson, head researcher with Art Research Technologies, said the milestone Sotheby's sale "severely diminished demand" for his works.

The hiatus may serve his market in the long run, since the appearance of rarity tends to whet collectors' appetites. But for now, his switch from ubiquity to virtual absence is hard to miss. In this latest round of sales, he only had one piece on offer in the important evening sales held by Sotheby's and Christie's. Sotheby's got $782,500 for his 2006 "The Trees the House," which uses butterflies to recreate the look of a stained-glass window. Two years ago, his major butterfly pieces were selling for as much as $4 million a piece. A spokeswoman for the Gagosian Gallery, which represents Mr. Hirst, said his paintings and sculptures are selling well privately, including a show last fall in New York that "sold out."

Richard Prince

During the peak years of 2006 and 2008, prices for Mr. Prince's work soared. In 2008, the artist's works sold for a combined $68.3 million at auction, but signs of trouble began to emerge: That year, at least nine pieces sold for less that their low asking prices, indicating that buyers and sellers were no longer in agreement on where his auction prices should be set. Last year, his auction sales total fell to $11.7 million, according to Artnet, likely an indication that fewer sellers wanted to risk offering Princes that might not sell. A spokeswoman for the Gagosian Gallery, which represents Mr. Prince, says the artist's prices and sales are fine.

Mr. Prince has one group of influential supporters: museum curators. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis recently mounted major Prince shows. Christie's sold one of his paintings, "Ranting and Raving," on Tuesday for $722,500, just over its $600,000 low estimate.

Correction & Amplification:
Gagosian Gallery represents the artist Richard Prince. A previous version of the article incorrectly said the Barbara Gladstone Gallery represented Mr. Prince."

Write to Kelly Crow at

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Always Wonder Too

The Coy Art of the Mystery Bidder

New York Times May 7th, 2010

If you follow art auctions even peripherally, you know that each one leaves a trail of question marks. Who bought the van Gogh? Who bought the Johns? We would very much like to know. Sooner or later we usually do.

But last week, when an anonymous telephone-bidding buyer paid $106.5 million for a 1932 Picasso — the highest price ever for a work of art at auction — the secrecy felt especially irksome. Who bought the painting repeatedly defined by Christie’s as a “trophy” with the tremendous visual impact that is now being called “wall power”? Who had the willpower to keep mum? To abstain from indulging fully in the spectacle of such a public act of acquisition? One — nearly everyone — itched to know; in fact, felt robbed of a crucial piece of the action. In other words, as with the season’s finale of one’s most addictive television show, one felt thoroughly and adroitly manipulated.

The superrich have always sent very public mixed signals about their need for privacy. In this case the headline-making price and the anonymous buyer made that paradox and its manipulative aspects especially clear. But how private does someone who buys a painting at public auction for a world-record price want to be?

Was it a Russian oligarch who didn’t want to call attention to himself, for fear of home invasion or too much unfriendly attention from Vladimir Putin? Was it a genuinely modest art lover who desired this particular Picasso beyond all else, would pay any price for it and wanted nothing so much as to quietly take it home, to an undisclosed location? More likely, it was someone in the vast gap between these extremes, perhaps someone with vast sums of money stashed in a Swiss bank account or a dubious tax shelter.

For a minute or two, I felt that the insistence on anonymity might qualify as mildly admirable behavior under the circumstances. It suggested that buying the picture, “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust,” wasn’t done just or even primarily for the attention. I thought of the relentless legacy opportunities that museums are pressed to create, slapping the names of trustees and donors on galleries, wings, auditoriums, facades, directorships, curatorial positions. (So far, I think, only full curatorial positions. I have yet to come across a Your-Name-Here Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art.) I remembered the enormous new wing of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, designed by Herzog & de Meuron and paid for by a family that preferred to remain anonymous. I wished someone like that would give $100 million to the New York Public Library and just let it go at that, no strings attached. Even more fatuously, I also wished that the Brody family, which put the Picasso on the block, had given it to a museum, settling for 50 years of private pleasure from a painting they loaned to an exhibition only once, plus their name in perpetuity on a modest pasteboard wall label.

That snapped me out of it. Strictly enforcing one’s privacy — at a time when so much goes public as fast at it happens — may be the ultimate public display of power, and thus the most erotic. The buyer is the puppet master whose puppets are the in-the-know few at Christie’s, from the top rank to the guy on the phone in the auction room relaying the bids. The rest of us don’t even need strings to be jerked around.

We look on, gape-mouthed, as the figure rises and then clamor to know. We think we are the observers, but actually we are the observed. It is Buyer X who is most in control and who therefore derives the greatest pleasure from the actual transaction. Anonymity only makes it that much more pleasurable and voyeuristic.

In this scenario, full disclosure becomes the relatively more admirable alternative, much the way it is with Oscar winners: someone standing teary-eyed at the microphone, saying how thrilled and humbled he is to be the owner of this fantastic painting. (“I’d like to thank my hedge-fund manager.”) Such openness might have given the event a veneer of normalcy. And it might have put our attention back on the art itself and made the whole thing less of a circus. But the art world and the world at large are now back in their boom-time positions regarding auctions, which is watching the money, oohing and ahhing and making the spending of it that much more of a turn-on.

Roberta Smith is an art critic for The Times.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

So You've Decided That The Stock Market Is Not For you

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- "A 1930s Bugatti has sold for about $30 million to become the world’s most expensive car -- with dealers predicting more records as billionaires look for alternatives to risky financial investments.

The Type 57SC Atlantic was bought in a private transaction for nearly as much as its asking price, dealers with knowledge of the matter said. The coupe had been owned by the New Hampshire-based neurologist Peter D. Williamson, a former president of the American Bugatti Club, who died in 2008

“Interest rates are low and some people have made a lot of money over the last year,” said John Collins, of U.K.-based Ferrari dealers Talacrest 2000 AD Ltd. “They want to buy real assets that have a limited supply and that won’t go down in value. Modern art and classic cars are tracking each other at the moment.”

Wealthy individuals are increasingly looking at physical objects such as art and cars because stock markets remain turbulent, dealers said. A 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso sold at Christie’s International in New York for $106.5 million on May 4, setting a record for any artwork at auction."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Keno Auctions Off to A Good Start

From Luxist:
"The first auction from the Leigh Keno's new Keno Auctions house has brought some big results including the sale of one very expensive Chippendale chest. The auction was held last weekend in Stamford, Connecticut and had two sessions. The first part, the collection of H. Robert Leese of Pennsylvania, consisted of 178 lots, all of which sold without reserve. During the second session the James Beekman Chippendale carved mahogany chest of drawers from the shop of Thomas Brookman with carving attributed to Henry Hardcastle came up for bid. Antiques and the Arts reports that this New York chest, circa 1752 was estimated at $200/600,000 but sold for $1.428 million, setting a record for a New York piece of furniture.

The third session on Sunday brought the second highest price in the sale, when the portrait of Anna Brodhead Oliver circa 1743 was sold without reserve to David Schorsch of Woodbury, Connecticut, for $1,118,600. The estimate was just $40/80,000 and the portrait was the property of a descendant of the sitter. Leigh Keno said that the auction brought in a total of $5,818,460 including the buyer's premium but that four major postsale offers pending will boost the total to $6.014 million.

The blond twin Keno brothers are experts in American furniture and have often appeared on "Antiques Roadshow." Both Leigh and Leslie Keno have been interested in rare Americana since they were kids and have been involved in the antiques business since their teenage years and Leslie Keno was in the audience for this auction. The pair recently announced their own furniture line."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A DC May Auction at Weschlers

Weschlers Auction House here in DC is having a nice sale this May 15th. I've picked a few pieces for your pleasure and the full catalogue is here.

I know my posts have been rare as of late and I hope that will change but life has been very busy and well, my colleagues, you know how much time this takes.Enough said.

I think there are some great buys here. Lets take a look. Cheers, Homer.

Lot 47
Kazutoshi Sugiura (Japanese b. 1938)
Iris No. 24
Woodblock print with gold metallic embellishments, 1980-1981, signed K. Sugiura and dated in pencil l.r.; also titled in Kanji and numbered 39/95 in pencil l.l. Framed.*
23-1/4 x 16-1/2 in (591 x 419 mm)
Estimate $500-700

Lot 86
American Silver Three-Piece Tea Service
Canfield Bro. & Co., Baltimore, Circa 1850
Consisting of a teapot, covered sugar bowl and a cream jug; each having an octagonal form engraved with scrolling floral sprays enclosing a shaped reserve with an arm and sword crest, the reverse with a blank reserve. Each impressed CANFIELD BRO. & CO, 2 and with a Gothic M within an oval reserve. Each with removed monogram or crest.
Height of teapot: 7-3/4 in (19.7 cm)
Total gross weight: 56.7 oz
Estimate $800-1,200

Lot 91
Set of Seven English Silver Plate 'Fox' Stirrup Cups
20th Century
Each of typical form; six engraved with monogram D.F.M., the seventh engraved BRIAR PATCH/ '49. Unmarked.
Height: 5 in (12.7 cm)
Estimate $400-600

Lot 181
Pair of French Art Deco Style Faux Ivory Inlaid Palisander Wood Nightstands
Post 1950
Each having an open niche and chrome-plated knob pulls; the first with two drawers, the second with a panel door. Each with minor abrasions to top; pulls with wear to plated surface.
Height: 24 in (61 cm); Width: 17-3/4 in (45.1 cm); Depth: 17-3/4 in (45.1 cm)
Estimate $500-700

Lot 195
Dutch Neoclassical Style Marquetry and Rosewood Crossbanded Satinwood Demilune Side Table
Early 20th Century
Having two marquetry tambour doors opening to view a divided storage compartment. Some losses to veneer; repairs to openwork skirt.
Height: 30-1/2 in (77.5 cm); Width: 30-1/2 in (77.5 cm); Depth: 16 in (40.6 cm)
Estimate $500-700

Lot 214
Italian Baroque Walnut Armadio
Composed of 17th-18th Century Elements
The two raised panel doors enclosing a divided interior each with five beige cloth-covered shelves.
Height: 92-1/2 in (235 cm); Width: 89-1/2 in (227.3 cm); Depth: 18 in (45.7 cm)
Estimate $10,000-20,000

Lot 220
Pair of Deruta Maiolica Blue and White Pictorial Chargers
20th Century
Each depicting deer within a scrolling foliate ground continuing to a flowerhead border within a scalloped edge. Verso of each inscribed in underglaze blue Deruta. One with repaired chip to rim; each with some chips and wear to glaze at rims.
Diameter: 15-1/4 in (38.7 cm)
Estimate $1,000-1,500

Pair of Herend 'Rothschild Bird' Table Lamps
Each with overall molded basketweave pattern.
Height of porcelain: 11 in (27.9 cm)
Estimate $500-700

Lot 255
George III Walnut High Chair
Circa 1760-1780
Having a screw-off arm rail over a beige and rose bird brocade silk upholstered slip seat and an adjustable foot rest. Repairs.
Height: 38 in (96.5 cm)
Estimate $700-900

Lot 268
George III Style Ebonized Wood Inlaid Mahogany Sideboard
Last Half 19th Century
Having a mahogany crossbanded top above a central crossbanded drawer flanked by a bipartite partial lead-lined bottle drawer and a panel door. Scattered repairs and losses to crossbanding and veneer.
Height: 28 in (71.1 cm); Width: 72 in (182.9 cm); Depth: 25-1/4 in (64.1 cm)
Estimate $1,500-2,500

Lot 271
George III Style Satinwood Inlaid Mahogany Bachelor's Chest of Drawers
Last Half 19th Century
Scattered repairs and losses to veneer; brasses replaced; pull-out sleeve lacking one pull.
Height: 35-1/2 in (90.2 cm); Width: 36-1/2 in (92.7 cm); Depth: 19 in (48.3 cm)
Estimate $700-900

Lot 277
George III Style Marquetry Satinwood Tambour Writing Desk
Late 19th Century
Having a frieze drawer pulling out to activate the tambour top enclosing an arrangement of three pigeonholes over three pen and ink bottle wells; the fold-out lid with marquetry musical motif.

Regency Style Yewwood Library Step
Circa 1900
Each tread inset with gilt-tooled greenish-brown leather. Top tread with one end cracked; repairs to post.
Height: 66 in (167.6 cm); Width: 20 in (50.8 cm); Depth: 27 in (68.6 cm)
Estimate $500-700

American Stained Maple and Pine Tavern Table
Pennsylvania, Late 18th-Early 19th Century
Interior of drawers painted salmon. Brasses replaced.
Height: 31 in (78.7 cm); Width: 60 in (152.4 cm); Depth: 32-3/4 in (83.2 cm)
Estimate $600-800

Federal Figured Maple Chest of Drawers
Pennsylvania, Circa 1820
Case possibly modified in size; some cracks to top; brasses replaced.
Height: 38-1/4 in (97.2 cm); Width: 30 in (76.2 cm); Depth: 20-3/4 in (52.7 cm)
Estimate $1,000-1,500

Maison Baguès Style Brass and Glass End Table
Circa 1950s
Having a round, black glass top raised on three bamboo-molded legs.
Height: 19 in (48.3 cm); Diameter: 15 in (38.1 cm)
Estimate $300-500

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Few April Auctions

Mid April auctions abound and I've looked through three catalogues to find a few nice pieces for your perusal. Lets start with Doyle's auction tommorrow.

Lot 16
Richard Hayley Lever
American, 1876-1958
High Tide at Dieppe, 1902
Signed Hayley Lever (lr)
Oil on canvas
10 1/4 x 12 1/8 inches

Born in Adelaide, Australia, Hayley Lever demonstrated artistic ability at an early age. Traveling to England in 1893 to study art, in 1900 he moved to the artists' colony of St. Ives, in Cornwall, studying painting with Julius Olsson and Algernon Talmage, and painting impressionistic views of the town and harbor that established his reputation in England. Over the next decade, he also made excursions to coastal locales in France, such as Dieppe, Honfleur and Concarneau, painting marine subjects such as the present work.

Invited to exhibit at the Carnegie International Exposition in Pittsburgh in 1910, Lever submitted a St. Ives subject. Critics praised his sense of design, and his ability to evoke a sense of place. Around 1912, at the suggestion of American artists including Gardner Symons and Ernest Lawson, Lever traveled to New York; he spent the remainder of his career in America.
Estimate $1,500-2,500

Inscribed on the lining at reverse, High Tide, Dieppe, France, 1902. Lined. Areas of inpaint at upper right and left corners. Some pigments fluoresce under UV examination, including the signature.

Lot 385
Chinese Export Porcelain Covered Sauce Tureen and Stand
Circa 1830
Painted with brown floral sprays, heightened in gilt. Length of stand 8 1/2 inches.

The Elinor Gordon Gallery Collection

Estimate $600-900

Lot 370
Chinese Export Famille Rose Porcelain Wine Cooler
Painted with figures in an interior. Height 8 inches.

The Elinor Gordon Gallery Collection

Estimate $600-900

One side is broken into multiple large pieces and restored with re-painting starting with the tree on the left side down through the man in gray to the man in the yellow pants continuing through the lady in pink and through the shoulder and face of the woman and blue up to the top rim. One side pink panel restored from top to bottom and the handle.

Lot 207
Georgian Style Mahogany Upholstered Settee
Early 20th century
Raised on square tapering legs ending in spade feet. Length 7 feet.

Estate of Sara K. Greene

Estimate $700-1,000

Lot 192
English Green Painted and Gilt Decorated Tole Display Canister
With a glass insert front, inscribed 21-22 Bristol. Height 16 inches; Together with a Brass Chamberstick.

Estate of Sara K. Greene

Estimate $100-200

Classical Mahogany Sideboard
19th Century
The bow front center surmounted by a backsplash and flanked by two pedestals, above three frieze drawers, over two cupboard doors and two deep drawers, each pedestal enclosing a single drawer and a long cupboard door, raised on turned legs. Height 50 1/2 inches, width 6 feet 6 1/2 inches, depth 20 1/4 inches.
Estimate $1,500-2,500

Legs probably replaced.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Great New Blog "DC By Design"

I've been away. I promised a few weeks back that I'd send my congrats to a great new addition to the DC design, arts, and architecture blogger society.

However, my timing couldn't be better because Jennifer Sergent's new blog, " DC by Design," has a great new post on this year's DC Designer Showhouse, 2010. The Showhouse opens to the press tomorrow morning and regular work duties will keep me away, but I hope to cover the show in the near future. I know however that Jennifer will keep us up to date on all the exciting news from this worthwhile event. Cheer's Jennifer, and great good luck in this new adventure.

Althorp House Auction

Paul Fraser Collectibles:

"Princess Diana’s Rubens for sale in $29m Spencer estate auction

From the childhood home of the People's Princess, this Peter Paul Rubens painting is up for sale

Around $29m of possessions owned by the Spencer family, relatives of the late Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, will be sold in London this Summer.

Rubens' painting, A Commander Being Armed for Battle, will take pride of place in the auction with a pre-sale valuation of £8m-12m.

In December last year, a re-discovered unfinished portrait of a lady by Peter Paul Rubens was usurped as the top lot at a Sotheby's Old Master and British paintings auction.

(In the end, the surprise highest-grossing lot was a self portrait by Van Dyke, that sold for an incredible £8.3m.)

Later this year, the Spencers' painting will sell among 600 other lots in the sale according to a statement by Christie's.

Rubens' A Commander Being Armed for Battle, priced £8m-12m

The Spencer family's heirloom sale will also include more than a dozen 19th century carriages.

Since 1998, the family's Althorp Estate has hosted its Diana: A Celebration, an exhibition commemorating the Princess of Wales' life.

Proceeds from the sale will fund extensive restoration work to the Althorp Estate.

Naturally, any memorabilia associated with Princess Diana, is both valuable and sought-after.

Diana artefacts currently available on the market also include signed photos of Prince Charles with Diana; one with a baby Prince William; and one with both William and Harry.

At present, Diana autographs can command values anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 or more - with Royal autographs boasting a provenance far superior to other celebrity memorabilia."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Holy Cow Batman!! Updated. It's Superman's Turn

BBC News :First Superman comic sold for $1m

A copy of the first comic to feature caped hero Superman has been sold on the internet for $1m (£646,000).

The 1938 edition of Action Comics No 1 - which originally sold for 10c - was sold by a private seller to a private buyer, neither of whom was named.

Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the US auction website Comic Connect, said it was "the Holy Grail of comic books".

The sale smashes the previous record price for a comic book of $317,200 (£205,000) in 2009.

That was also a copy of Action Comics No 1, but in poorer condition.

Mr Fishler said the transaction happened minutes after the issue was put on sale at around 1030 local time (1530 GMT) on Monday.

He said that the seller was a "well-known individual" in New York with a pedigree collection, and that the buyer was a known customer who had previously bought an Action Comics No 1.

'A milestone'

"The opportunity to buy an un-restored, high-grade Action One comes along once every two decades. It's certainly a milestone," said Mr Fishler.

He added: "It is still a little stunning to see a comic book and $1m in the same sentence."

About 100 copies of Action Comics No 1 remain in existence and only two of those have a grading of 8.0 - very fine - including the one sold on Monday.

The previous record-holder had a grading of 6.0.

The cover of the rare issue pictures Superman lifting a car over his head, DALLAS, TX -- "When a truly exceptional copy of Detective Comics #27, the very first appearance of Batman, is auctioned by Heritage Auction Galleries in its Feb. 25 Signature® Comics & Comic Art Auction, it will set two important marks:

It will, more than likely, become the single most valuable comic ever offered at public auction. Though it's being sold with no reserve and no minimum bid, it's expected to bring at least $300,000. The current record for a comic sold at auction stands at $317,000, for a copy of Action Comics #1, sold last year at another auction house.

The other question the auction will settle, at least for the time being, is one of the great debates of Pop Culture: Who is worth more today, Batman or Superman?"

Heritage Auctions Press Release: "...When this issue was released with a May 1939 cover date, Superman was the only other superhero on the stands, save for the now-obscure likes of the Arrow and the Crimson Avenger. So it's no wonder that the striking cover by artist Bob Kane made a strong impact. It has taken its place as one of the most famous covers in the history of comics. Kane and writer Bill Finger (generally credited these days as a co-creator of the character) produced a hero to rival Superman without imitating the earlier character. As Jim Steranko noted, "Superman had given DC its strength, but Batman gave it tone. Of course, Superman was more impressive... but Batman was more fascinating."

"The Bat-Man" appeared in a six-page story that also introduced the character of Commissioner Gordon. The second-to-last panel revealed that this mysterious figure was in fact Bruce Wayne, introduced earlier in the story."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A No Reserve Auction In New Jersey. Some Good Guessing Some Bad

The crazy world that is DC these last few weeks continues. Last night I headed home via the bus up Wisconsin Ave. Its not much more than two miles between the store and home. It took me an hour and a half. This city is still a mess and all this has been keeping me from my duties. Its called exhaustion. At any rate I reviewed Rago's auction results and I was pretty good at most guesses and bad at a few.

There were some great deals and it shows that our economy is still creating environments for great buys. Here again are my bids and what the items sold for. That was fun!
Sorry about the size of the pictures. Blogger software problems.

On February 12th and 13th, Rago's Auction House in Lambertville, NJ, is holding a big no reserve auction. No reserve means that there is no minimum that the auctioneer won't accept. As a result there no estimates as to where the bidding should begin. This makes for great fun amongst us auction hounds and can, with the right circumstances, result in a great buy.

Since there is no minimum bid denied to start the lot, the first offer can be way low. If there aren't enough people interested in the item, that price can stay low. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. This is a big auction so the chances for the great buy are good.

This a very large auction and a reflection of the the times. People are selling their treasures. Its not a fire sale, but obviously the house has many items it wants off the inventory list. Folks, this is an opportunity to grab something that might be on your list for a great price.

So this could be fun and a bit o'work and embarrassment for your friend Homer. I'm going to take a guess at what I think these items are worth. Most of them are outside my area of expertise, okay I'm Nooo appraiser but I have been doing this for awhile so I have "minimum" confidence..yea that was a pun. I'd love to hear what your estimate thoughts would be.This will makes the comments section funto read. Its a huge catalog which you can view here. I chose just a few items that I'll keep my eye on. Lets look.

Lot 178: TWO AMERICAN SILVER TANKARDS R & W Wilson octagonal coin silver tankard with engraved floral motif, Philadelphia, ca. 1825-1846 together with a Victorian sterling tankard with unknown hallmarks...
My bid is $800.00
SOLD FOR $336.00. Boy was I off there. Not a good start.

Lot 200: MIES VAN DER ROHE Pair of chrome and wicker lounge chairs. 34" x 21 1/2" x 30"
My bid $1,600.00
SOLD FOR $1,708.00. A good guess. Whew.

Lot 242: GLENN APPLEMAN Red ceramic Packard cookie jar. Dated 1980. Signed Appleman. 8 1/4" x 16" x 9 3/4"
My bid $300.00. Remember Warhol! That would be a great buy.
SOLD FOR $458.00. Not a bad guess.

Lot 328: DONALD DESKEY / BENNETT Pair of brass and enameled cast iron andirons. 15" x 8" x 17 1/2"
My bid $250.00. They look like aliens! Live Long and Prosper.
SOLD FOR $366.00. I might have stayed in too $300.00.

Lot 334: GILBERT ROHDE / HERMAN MILLER Pair of mahogany, burled walnut and rosewood etageres with steel pulls and interior adjustable shelves, each with glass doors and single shelf...
My bid $2,000.00. Electic mid century. Yea baby!
SOLD FOR $1,220.00. Went too high for those.

Lot 339: ART DECO Pair of club chairs upholstered in forest green leather. 34" x 32" x 34"
My bid $3,500.00. I love them, very Astaire/Rogers.
SOLD FOR $732.00. My goodness, perhaps they weren't in good shape. My bad.

Lot 352: FREDERICK WEINBERG (Attr.) Four faux bamboo bar stools with enameled steel bases and vinyl upholstery. Unmarked. 30 1/2" x 16 1/2" sq
My bid $900.00. Very Mrs. Robinson. I'd put faux leopard on them and have a Manhattan.
SOLD FOR $397.00. Somebody got a great buy.

Lot 429: MODERN Console table with glass top on enameled steel base. 29 1/2" x 48" x 16"
My bid $600.00. Its a classic, you could put that anywhere.
SOLD FOR $366.00. A steal!! I'm not doing well am I?

Lot 589: HARVEY PROBBER Cabinet with two leather-covered sliding doors concealing three drawers on one side and single shelf on the other, over a lower shelf on tubular brass legs...
My bid $800.00. Again, yeaa baby. Very "What is James Wearing."
SOLD FOR $183.00. OH MY way off.

Lot 593: BAKER Solid brass and glass tray table, its base in a bamboo pattern. Unmarked. 18 1/2" x 37 3/4" x 24"
My bid $999.00. My favorite piece. A total I ruined my bid.
SOLD FOR $427.00. I missed it, I missed it!!

Lot 861: MCHUGH (Attr.) Settle with reverse tapered posts and X-shaped arm inserts. 36" x 62" x 26 1/2"
My bid $400.00.
SOLD FOR $458.00. Finally, pretty close.

Lot 915: WELLER FOREST Two trumpet-shaped vases and a pitcher. Hairline to rim of pitcher. All stamped Weller. Pitcher: 5 5/8" x 6 1/2"
My bid $1,700.00. A roadshow favorite. Yawnnnn
SOLD FOR $397.00. What do I know?

Lot 1007: TANG STYLE Pair of carved wood red lacquered horses. 30 1/2" x 36" x 14"
My bid $400.00. That would be a great buy. Fingers crossed.
SOLD FOR $122.00. A decorative steal. Darn they went for nothing.

Lot 1013: ASIAN Two Chinese porcelain jardinieres or goldfish bowls, 20th C. Tallest: 12 1/4"
My bid $400.00. Low I'm sure.
SOLD FOR $61.00. Yes $61.00.

Lot 1073: NINE PAIRS OF BOOKENDS Shakespeare, Recumbent Lions, Town Crier, Bradley and Hubbard Book Reader, Liberty Bell, Native American and others, 20th century, tallest 7"..
My bid $489.00. I might be close, what do you think?
SOLD FOR $397.00. Close.

Lot 1077: BURL WOOD BOWL Shallow with much interior wear, uncertain origin and age. 10 1/2 X 3 1/4"
My bid $450.00. Could be way off.
sold for $397.00. I surprised myself.

Lot 1127: RICHARD GINORI Tea set with service for eight includes teapot, sugar, creamer with underplate, demitasse with saucers and cake plates. Marked Richard Ginori Italy...
My bid $1,200.00. Pretty set.
SOLD FOR $976.00. Good guess Homer.

Lot 1133: MINTONS FOR TIFFANY & CO. Gilt decorated porcelain dinnerware. Thirty-nine pieces include thirteen bowls, fourteen salad plates and twelve bread plates.
My bid $2,000.00. Can't put it in the dishwasher!
SOLD FOR $732.00. A deal I'm sure.

Lot 1167: BRONZE Pair of stylized conch shells. Each: 4 1/2" x 7" x 5"
My bid $300.00. Just like them.
SOLD FOR $976.00. Guess I wasn't alone in liking them.

Lot 1217: DECORATIVE Side table with white and blue porcelain trivet. 17" x 14" x 10 1/2"
My bid $250.00. That would be fair.
SOLD FOR $244.00. Right on the money.

Lot 1248: OCEANLINER DECK LOUNGE CHAIR, c. 1910 folding hardwood lounge with caned seat, back and foot rest. Provenance: Pacific & Orient ocean liner. 31" x 60" x 23"
My bid $425.00. Thinking bout trips past.
SOLD FOR $427.00. A great way to end my guessing game!

I don't think I did too bad and it was a fun challenge.