Keno Auctions Announces Fall Sale of Important Modern and Contemporary Fine Art & Design, October 1

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • September 26, 2014

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Ruth Asawa (American/Japanese, 1926-2013) “Hanging Five-Lobed Continuous Form with Spheres Inside Four of the Lobes, Two of the Inside Spheres Containing Spheres within Them,” c. 1954, iron and brass wire
Keno Auctions

Keno Auctions is pleased to announce its upcoming sale of Modern and Contemporary Fine Art & Design on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, at 127 East 69th Street at 12 Noon. 50 lots will be offered, featuring stellar examples of modern and contemporary design with a small but superb selection of 19th century paintings.

“We are very excited to present our first sale of Modern and Contemporary Fine Art and Design,” says Leigh Keno, of the eponymous full-service auction house, referring to his 50-lot sale, which will take place in the intimate gallery setting of his late 19th century Upper East Side townhouse. This sale will showcase the best in modern and contemporary furniture by such design luminaries as Gio Ponti, Carlo Mollino, Wharton Esherick, and Zaha Hadid, as well as several important works by American art and design icons including Alexander Calder, Ruth Asawa, and Cindy Sherman, including significant treasures from the John W. Freeman collection.

According to Keno, Mr. Freeman has had a life-long interest in Modernism--particularly sculpture-- and his friendships with many artists over the past six and a half decades, including Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson and Elie Nadelman is evidenced by their gifts to him including a set of spiral silver cuff links made by Calder in 1955, as a 27th birthday present for Mr. Freeman. (This work is registered in the archives of the Calder Foundation, New York, under application number A267 95. In 1954, Mr. Freeman purchased a monumental 103-inch by 21 inch woven iron and brass wire hanging sculpture by the important Japanese-American artist Ruth Asawa, from her first solo exhibition at Peridot Gallery in New York.

Mr. Freeman recalled that on the night of the party when Calder gave him the cufflinks ($4,000-8,000), one of the things the artist first noticed, hanging at the end of the long living space, was a nearly nine foot high hanging sculpture by Ruth Asawa “I think that he was quite impressed by the piece; I doubt if he had seen her work before,” says Freeman.

In addition, from the Estate of Dr. Alfred Ziviello, a longtime client and friend of Leigh Keno comes an impressive collection of modern art by important a 1980 Monotype by Sam Francis and a unique, incised and glazed ceramic dish created in 1953 by the famous French artist, Marc Chagall.

Here is a sampling of several of the top featured lots:

*Ruth Asawa (American/Japanese, 1926-2013) “Hanging Five-Lobed Continuous Form with Spheres Inside Four of the Lobes, Two of the Inside Spheres Containing Spheres within Them,” c. 1954, iron and brass wire H. 103 in.; Diameter at base 21 in. (Estimate: $100,000 - 200,000)

*Cindy Sherman (American, B. 1954) Untitled Film Still #39, 1979 gelatin silver print Signed, dated and numbered by artist in pencil on reverse, signature, “1979” and “1/10, Edition 1 of 10, Image: 9½ x 6 inches, Sheet: 10 x 8 inches. Early photographs by Cindy Sherman, one of the most influential American living artists, rarely come to the marketplace (Estimate: $80,000 – 120,000)

Cindy Sherman (American, B. 1954) Untitled Film Still #39, 1979
Keno Auctions

*Wharton Harris Esherick (American, 1887-1970) A Dining Table, made as a labor of love for Hannah Weil Fisher, Paoli, Pennsylvania, 1930, Oak and pearwood. Incised to edge of top “TO HANNAH WHARTON ESHERICK+ YORK” and on top surface dated “MCMXXX,” H. 25 in.; W. 73 ½ in.; D. 27 in. (Estimate:  $80,000-120,000)

*This low table by Carlo Mollino Model #1114. c. 1950 is beautifully conceived to resemble a reclining female and is constructed of Acero (Italian maple), Mollino’s furniture is among the most sought after in the world. A very small number of these tables were made; this example retains its original finish on the Acero. (Est: $70,000 -100,000)

*Zaha Hadid (Iraqi/British, b. 1950), the internationally renowned architect designer produced Gyre lounge chair from the Seamless Collection, Manufactured by Established & Sons, London, England, 2006, polyester resin and polyurethane lacquer, Edition 6 of 12, Underside with two brass roundels impressed with “Designed by/ZahaHadid/Seamless/2006/Gyre 6 /12” and “Established/& Sons/British Made,” H. 25 in.; W. 94 in.; D. 72 in. The present example, number six from the edition of twelve, is one of the five designs by Zaha Hadid for her Seamless collection. The collection, manufactured by the London based design company, Established & Sons, features five furniture forms each made to order in an edition of twelve, which were offered for private sale at Phillips in New York in 2006. The series is comprised of a chaise, shelves, a pair of stools, a cabinet and this lounge chair. (Estimate: $50,000-80,000)

*Tiffany Studios (1902-1932) ‘Dogwood border’ table lamp, c. 1910, leaded glass and patinated bronze, Impressed on base “Tiffany Studios / New York / 531” and "Tiffany Studios / New York / 1491” on shade H. 29 ½ in.; Diameter 20 ½ in. carries an estimate of (Estimate: $30,000 - 50,000)

Wharton Harris Esherick (American, 1887-1970) A Dining Table, made as a labor of love for Hannah Weil Fisher, Paoli, Pennsylvania, 1930
Keno Auctions

Two stunning 19th century paintings are also featured in the sale:

*Hendrik Willem Mesdag (Dutch, 1831-1915) Return of the Fishing Fleet at Sunset, 1873, oil on canvas, Signed and dated “H. W. Mesdag 1873” lower left, 27 x 34 ½ inches (Estimate: $50,000 – 100,000)

This stunning painting by Mesdag has been a private collection for more than a century. The original owner, Edouard Pierre Albert Thys (1868-1914), was a leading citizen of Antwerp and banker during Belgium’s belle epoque before the First World War.

Importantly, “Return of the Fishing Fleet at Sunset” is related to a sketch entitled Bomschuit op het strand featured in J. Poort’s catalogue raisonné, now in the archives of Museum Vlaardingen in Holland.

*Seymour Joseph Guy (American, 1824-1910), The Piano Lesson c. 1884, oil on board, 16 1/8 x 12 inches (Estimate: $8,000 - 12,000)

The Piano Lesson dates from about 1884. The two figures in the composition are closely related to the pair of mother and daughter that appear in See-Saw Margery Daw (1884, Location Unknown – reproduced in American Paintings from the Landon Collection[ Charlotte, North Carolina: Mint Museum, 1979], p. 51) which also explores the subject of motherly affection. The models for the figures are not known, but it is likely that the young girl is one of the artist’s nine children – who formed a veritable storehouse of potential models for his brush. As in many of Guy’s works, a beautifully designed and well-crafted piece of furniture (here a piano) appears in the right foreground, and leads the viewer’s eye into the composition while forming a fascinating structure in its own right.

Also in the sale are two paintings of note from the estate of Dr. Alfred Ziviello:

*Martha Walter (American, 1875-1976) Crowded Beach, oil on board, Signed “Martha Walter,” lower left, 14 x 18 inches (Estimate: $5,000- 10,000)

*Sam Francis (American, 1923-1994) Untitled, 1980 monotype with dry pigments, inks, and oils on handmade paper Signed in pencil “Sam Francis” lower right Inscribed in pencil “EXP-SF-37-02- ‘80” on verso, lower right 30 3⁄4 x 25 1⁄4 inches (Estimate: $12,000 – 18,000). Executed in 1976, this work is identified with the interim identification number of “SFM80-875” in consideration for the forthcoming Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Unique Works on Paper. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.

And from the estate of Herman Krawitz, are paintings by the Israeli/American artist Boaz Vaadia (born 1951). In 1986, Krawitz’ purchased two works by Israeli-American artist Boaz Vaadia at one of his first New York City exhibitions. Vaadia incorporates refuse material from the area surrounding his SoHo studio such as slate, shingles, boulders and bluestone to create figural sculptures with universal features.

*Solomon, c. 1986, slate, Signed with artist monogram “VB”, bluestone,
H. 13 in.; W. 4 in.; D. 8 1⁄4 in. With a wooden stand custom built by artist. Wooden stand dimensions: H. 43 1⁄2 in.; W. 8 1⁄2 in.; D. 4 1⁄2 in. (Estimate: $5,000 – 10,000)

Made for his first exhibition of “Layered Works” held in 1986, this unique sculpture was later cast by Vaadia in an edition of seven bronzes with two artist’s proofs based on this prototype.

About Keno Auctions

Keno Auctions, a premier full-service auction house headquartered at 127 East 69th Street in Manhattan, specializes in a variety of categories including, but not limited to, fine art, jewelry, furniture, decoration, and Asian works of art. From Rembrandt to Calder, from Cartier to Tiffany, the auction house has presented the finest objects at auction, with record-breaking results. Cultivating a broad collector base for accessible works has secured Keno Auctions a distinctive place within the art market.

With more than 40 years of experience in the art world, founder Leigh Keno has assembled an exceptional client base of buyers and sellers, as well as, an eminently qualified network of top-notch experts and specialists involved in the disciplines of paintings, furniture, decorative arts and jewelry. Through their longevity in the business, these experts and specialists visit collections and clients advising them on how best to navigate the marketplace.

Keno Auctions works with estate executors, fiduciary advisors and private clients who regularly use their valuation services to provide comprehensive appraisal and auction opportunities. Through their meticulous, well-researched assessments, Keno Auctions has earned the company a distinct reputation for expertise, dependability and integrity, resulting in attracting a broad base of buyers and consignors from around the world.

Please Note:

Estimates do not include buyer’s premium.  Sale totals are hammer prices plus buyer’s premium and do no reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

To request a catalog or view the sale on-line, visit: or phone 212-734-2381. 

Sale Date:  Wednesday, October 1 at 12 Noon. Doors open on Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. If necessary, items may be previewed during auction.

Exhibition Preview:  Friday, September 26 through Tuesday, September, 10 a.m-6 p.m.; Wednesday, October 1, 9-11 a.m.

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