On October 30, Keno Auctions held its fall 2013 sale of Important Modern, Traditional, Native American, and Decorative Art at its Upper East Side headquarters, located at 127 East 69th Street.
“Overall, it was a great sale. There was a diverse range of offerings. Registered internet bidders from over 25 countries and extremely active telephone bidding were witness to the excitement generated by the sale. We were very pleased with the results!” said Leigh Keno, president of Keno Auctions. The sale total was $807,000.00, including buyer’s premium.
The top lot of the sale was an E. Howard & Co. Number 46 Astronomical Regulator Clock that has descended in the same family since it was purchased at a Georgia auction in 1919. “These clocks were rare then and they are rare now. This one is doubly rare because of its provenance and condition,” said Leigh. Two phone bidders drove the price up to $162,500.
Several of the objects were consigned from the Frederic Remington Museum of Ogdensburg, New York, including a collection of Native American items that were collected in the late nineteenth century. All of the objects attracted spirited bidding from multiple bidders. A Third Phase Navajo cochineal dyed chief’s blanket brought $35,000, a group of three early blankets took in $33,750, and a Crow gun scabbard circa 1880 was hammered down at $10,625.
About these objects, Leigh said, “the early date and authenticity of these objects was apparent early on, as we had massive interest in this group. A collection of fresh objects like this rarely come on the market, as it showed in the active bidding today.”
One of the most sought after lots of the sale was a flea market find: an over four foot tall zinc model of the Statue of Liberty commissioned by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (French, 1834-1904). The consignor was sure that he had purchased something special when he discovered it at the flea market for $200. Multiple bidders from the United States and Europe agreed, as Leigh hammered it down for $37,500.
Another recent discovery was a double portrait by the Chinese-American artist Yun Gee (1906-1963), whose scarce paintings were exhibited in an exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery in New York in 2005. The painting had been collected by a New York City couple, the Fishs, in the 1930s but had remained hidden in a relative’s collection until offered for sale this fall. Painted in the Fauvist manner in 1926, it garnered great interest in the run-up to the sale, and made $42,500.
In addition to the Gee, the sale featured a number of modern and contemporary works. A collection of six Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989) ink sketches, which he had given to his accountant, collectively brought $23,625, while a Charles Demuth (American, 1883-1935) watercolor made $16,250, and a large Esteban Vicente (American, 1903-2001) oil achieved $35,000. An iconic Wharton Esherick (American, 1887-1970) sheet music stand with beautiful lines sold for $23,750, while a Hans Wegner (Danish, 1914-2007) swivel chair in original condition made $16,250. A rare Alexander Calder (1898-1976) artist’s proof tapestry did well, bringing $12,500, a record for the form.
There was also a representation of traditional artwork, highlighted by the Haskell Collection of American and European painting from the Remington Museum. All of these pieces had not been on the market since the early 20th century. Works included a William Trost Richards (American, 1835-1905) oil seascape that sold for $31,250 and an Edmund Darch Lewis (American, 1835-1910) landscape that brought $20,000. From a private collection, came an elegant portrait by Charles Webster Hawthorne (American, 1872-1930) entitled “Morning Chocolate” that made $36,250.
Afterwards, Leigh Keno commented about the range of objects. “We had bidders from all over the world competing for a wide range of objects. Overall the bidding was strong, with the top prices paid for fresh, high quality objects.”
Keno Auctions next sale will be during Americana Week in January 2014. For more information visit www.kenoauctions.com or phone 212-734-2381.