Paul Jenkins – Rest in Peace

14 Jun

AbEx artist Paul Jenkins died Saturday in New York.  He was 89.

Jenkins was a friend and contemporary of Jackson Pollock before moving to Paris in 1953, where he became close with Jean Dubuffet, Mark Tobey, and other members of the French avant-garde.  His abstract paintings, full of thick and brightly colorful brushstrokes, were the subject of a major retrospective in 2007 at Lille’s Palais des Beaux Arts. 

Heritage has sold several of the artist’s works over the years – always bringing strong auction prices.  I love his works.  His application of color on canvas is thought-provoking and not overdone.  The color combinations are bright and cheerful. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

 

 

 

 

 

 

How big is your wall?

6 Jun

Custer’s Last Rally, 1881, John Mulvany ‘s epic 11 x 20 foot oil painting will sell at auction on June 10 at Heritage Auctions, part of the company’s Legends of The Wild West Signature® Auction. The painting, a truly blockbuster achievement, represents one of the great “One-Hit Wonders” of American painting and a cultural phenomenon in its time. The painting is expected to bring $200,000+ and is part of a special Custer grouping in the auction.

That’s right 11 x 20 feet!  It’s a monster artwork.

For some years Mulvany scratched out a living as an artist, mainly doing portraits. In 1879, he was inspired to paint a definitive scene of the Little Bighorn battle, in which George Armstrong Custer perished with his entire command.  Custer is strong and determined as the focal point with all of his adjutants, facing death bravely, with defiance, and hopeless surrounded by scores of attacking Indians.  It took two years to complete and immediately achieved wide recognition. The first major exhibition of the work occurred in New York City, where it created a sensation.

As Tom Slater notes:  There were no movies back then, certainly, and no pictures of the battle, and yet Little Bighorn loomed huge in the recent memory of the nation. People were simply clambering to see this painting as it brought to life all the frantic combat which the public had envisioned at Little Bighorn.

Large crowds paid an admission price of 50 cents (25 cents for children) – no small sum in its day – to gaze, mesmerized, at the painting. Walt Whitman waxed poetic about it in a published review; Custer’s widow, Libbie, was said to have swooned at the sight of it. A popular print of the painting was made and sold and, for a decade, periodic additional exhibitions helped provide Mulvany with a livelihood.

Over the years it has had periods of exhibition interspersed with long years in storage. In 1926, it was on display at the Heinz Ocean City Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey. In the 1950s it was shown for several years at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum and, most notably, in 1967 at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. In recent years it has been intermittently on the market, though, always with a seven-figure price tag.

In 2009, eminent art appraiser Paul Rossi, former director of the Gilcrease Museum, declared the work to be “an invaluable collector’s piece in American Western art and a true national treasure.”

UPDATE:
Custer’s Last Stand made the front page of the Dallas Morning News online version!  Click HERE to read on.

UPDATE TWO:
SOLD for $239,000 including buyer’s premium.

Happy Birthday Mr. Faberge!

30 May

In honor of Carl Faberge’s 166th birthday (after a little reminder from Google) - I thought I would share my favorite piece from his workshop. 

I was at Christie’s when this piece sold in 2002.  The Antiquities department sat between the Russian and Silver departments, so I usually got to see alot of cool things come through. 

Nothing was more fun than the Winter Egg.  It’s stunning.  I’d never seen such workmanship before!  And yes, I got to hold it.  Imagine that – holding a piece that was once held by the last Russian tsar.  What history!  And that history can be traced for almost 100 years, from the Faberge workshop in 1913 to its current location in Qatar.

Enjoy!

 

A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FABERGÉ IMPERIAL EASTER EGG WITH ORIGINAL SURPRISE GIVEN BY TSAR NICHOLAS II TO HIS MOTHER, THE DOWAGER EMPRESS MARIA FEODOROVNA AT EASTER 1913
workmaster Albert Holmström, St. Petersburg, designed by Alma Theresia Pihl, the surprise engraved FABERGÉ 1913

On a rock-crystal base formed as a block of melting ice, applied with platinum-mounted rose-diamond rivulets, the hinged rock-crystal detachable egg held vertically above by a pin and with rose-diamond set platinum borders, graduated around the hinge and enclosing in the top a cabochon moonstone painted on the reverse with the date 1913, the thinly carved transparent body of the egg finely engraved on the interior to simulate ice crystals, the outside further engraved and applied in carved channels with similar rose-diamond set platinum motifs, opening vertically to reveal the surprise – a platinum double-handled trelliswork basket, set with rose-diamonds and full of wood anemones, suspended from a platinum hook, each flower realistically carved from a single piece of white quartz with gold wire stem and stamens, the centre set with a demantoid garnet, some carved half open or in a bud, the leaves delicately carved in nephrite, emerging from a bed of gold moss, the base of the basket engraved FABERGÉ 1913
overall height of the egg 5 5/8in. (14.2cm.); height of the egg 4in. (10.2cm); height of the surprise 3¼in. (8.2cm.)

Provenance

Tsar Nicholas II
Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Easter 1913
Wartski, bought in the Soviet Union in the late 1920′s
Acquired by Lord Allington in 1934
Sir Bernard Eckstein
Sotheby’s London, 8 February 1949, lot 128
The Late Bryan Ledbrook
Anonymous
Christie’s Geneva, 16 November 1994, lot 464, sold for $5,587,308 (SFR 7,263,500) world record price for a Fabergé item sold at auction
American private collector
Christie’s New York, 19 April 2002, lot 150, sold for $9,579,500
Qatari private collection

 

 

Warhols and Monkeys and Scribbles, oh my!

21 May

Tomorrow marks the Spring 2012 Modern and Contemporary Art auction.  Frank Hettig has put together a charming sale of works by the biggest names in modern and contemporary art.  On to the details…

170 lots
$1.8 – 2.5 million pre-sale estimate

Top lot:

ANDY WARHOL (American, 1928-1987)
Superman (from Myths), 1981
Color screenprint with diamond dust
38 x 38 inches (96.5 x 96.5 cm)
Ed. 113/200
Signed and numbered lower right
Estimate: $80,000 – $100,000

What’s not to love?  It has diamond dust to make it sparkle!

SOLD: $146,500 including buyer’s premium

Ones to watch:

ANDRÉ LANSKOY (French, 1902-1976)
Untitled, 1956/1957
Oil on canvas
77-1/4 x 38-1/4 inches (196.2 x 97.2 cm)
Signed lower left: Lanskoy
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000

 A very nice abstract, for a very nice price. The phone bidders are lining up!

SOLD: $107,500 including buyer’s premium

DONALD ROLLER WILSON (American, b. 1938)
Gladys and Cookie, 1999
Oil on canvas
15-1/2 x 11-1/2 inches (39.4 x 29.2 cm)
Signed and dated along lower left canvas edge: Donald Roller Wilson. 1999/39
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

Is it the smoking cat or the monkey with the big bow that has everyone LOVING this piece?

SOLD: $21,250 including buyer’s premium

Big maybe:

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT (American, 1960-1988)
In Color, 1986
Oil, acrylic, oilstick and mixed media on paper
24 x 26-1/2 inches (61.0 x 67.3 cm)
Estimate: $120,000 – $200,000

It’s typical of the artist’s work…..but does anyone care?

UPDATE:  bought in

Money Words

17 May

I just discovered the artworks of Justine Smith, and I think she’s brilliant.  Yes, her works are created with a political edge to them and are her statements on how money touches all aspects of our lives, rather than a lazy day do-it-yourself project.  But they are graphically stunning and inspire me.

I’ve always loved foreign currency – bright colors, big graphics, and so different from our own boring dollars.  But what do you do with a handful of cash that you can’t spend?  You can turn it into art!

A few of my favorite things…

17 May

The upcoming auction of 20th Century Design on June 13th is shaping up to be my favorite sale of this year.  I want it all!  And it just so happens that I have a birthday coming up….

Here are a few of my favorite things….well my favorites as of today….

A PAIR OF CAT BOOKENDS AND CAT DOOR STOP DESIGNED BY WALTER VON NESSEN FOR CHASE BRASS AND COPPER
Designed by Walter Von Nessen (American, 1889-1943)
Manufactured by Chase Brass & Copper Co., Waterbury, Connecticut, circa 1935
Estimate: $600-900, opening bid $300

Great looking cats!  I love the simplistic forms.

SOLD for $625, including buyer’s premium.

 

A GERMAN AMBER AND SILVERED METAL TABLE CLOCK ATTRIBUTED TO NAUJOKS, MANN AND GEDUK
Koenigsberg, Germany, circa 1940
Estimate: $1200-1800, opening bid $900

The amber in this clock seems to just glow….very elegant and modern!

SOLD for $2,125, including buyer’s premium.

 

A FOUR PIECE MANNING BOWMAN CHROMED METAL AND BAKELITE COFFEE SET
Manning Bowman Company, Meriden, Connecticut, circa 1928
Estimate: $100-200, opening bid $1

A great looking set from 1928 that’s affordable?  Sold!

SOLD for $200, including buyer’s premium.

 

AN AMERICAN WOOD AND CHROME BARTENDER-FORM CIGARETTE DISPENSER AND LIGHTER
Maker unidentified, American, circa 1930
Estimate: $300-500, opening bid $150

How much fun would this guy be at my next cocktail party?

SOLD for $406.25, including buyer’s premium.

 

AN AMERICAN THREE PIECE GLASS MARTINI SET
Maker unknown, American, circa 1935
Estimate: $25-50, opening bid $1

LOVE!  The perfect martini set…..now if I could only convince a colleague of mine to share his martini recipe….they’re lethal!

SOLD for $237.50, including buyer’s premium.

I’m sure I’ll be posting more of my favorite things in the next few weeks.  The sale has a great mix of interesting items in good condition in all price ranges.  I’ve been saving my pennies all year for this sale.  It’s going to be fun!

American & European Art Auction Recap

16 May

Yesterday’s American & European Art Auctions were a mixed bag.  Some big hits and more than a few misses peppered the three sessions.  Overall, the sale total was just north of $5million including buyer’s premium, which fell below the agressive $8million low estimate expected for the auctions.

Overall:
65.5% by lot
58% by value
$5,007,313 total sales

 

The highlight of the day was William Adolphe Bouguereau’s lovely Fishing for Frogs, a large oil on canvas from 1882.  Three bidders tried to take this work home, with the winning client spending $1.5million hammer, $1,762,500 with premium, to make it his.

Throughout the day, there was quite alot of chatter around that clients were saving their pennies for the last session of the night.  The Jean and Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust Collection was a resounding success, with 164 of 188 lots selling for just over $1million.  We were very pleased with the results, as multiples bidders were spending freely to obtain an artwork from the collection.  The top lot in this session was Sanford Robinson Gifford’s glorious View from Above, Kaaterskill Cove from 1860.  Estimated at $5,000-7,000, the bidding soared quickly to the final price of $68,500.  Throughout the 3-1/2 hour session, I was bidding with many clients who knew Graham Williford and shared their thoughts and stories with me while waiting for their turn to bid.  It seems like he was very well beloved by his friends, though one client mentioned that Williford was great, but don’t get in his way while he was trying to buy a painting!  I know the family is pleased with the results of this auction and knowing that the works are now being shipped off around the country to other great homes and collections.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.