Cleveland, OH - Gray's Auctioneers' Fine Furniture, Paintings and Decorations auction takes place on March 15 at 11am in Cleveland, Ohio. Live online bidding for this auction is provided by Live Auctioneers. Offering two sessions, the first for Fine Art, Furniture and Decorative Arts at 11am and the second for Fine Books, Autographs and No Reserve Books starting at 3pm.
With over 600 lots the auction highlights include lot 31, Tête de Femme, a charming, oil on canvas by Pierre-August Renoir which is catalogued in G.-P. and M. Dauberville's Renoir, Catalogue Raisonné des Tableaux, Pastels, Dessins et Aquarelles, Paris, 2010, vol. III, p. 349, no. 2298 (illustrated) and also in A. Vollard's Tableaux, Pastels et Dessins de Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paris, 1918, vol. II, pl. 78 (illustrated). This portrait was sold at auction at Christie's, in New York, in their November 11, 1997 auction, at lot 339; from thence to a private Northeast Ohio collector via Atlas Galleries, Chicago. Gray's is also delighted to offer lot 32, Henri Matisse's Danseuse au Divan from the "Dix Danseuses" series, a lithograph on arches paper from the set of ten. Signed in pencil and numbered 29/130 lower right and elegantly framed, this lithograph is also from the collection of the aforementioned private Northeast Ohio collector.
In addition to the Renoir and Matisse on offer in the paintings section of the auction, a wonderful, large, oil on canvas by Vasily Shulzhenko, titled, Bacchanal (Night of the Generals), is at lot 43. This is a striking painting with recognizable Soviet-era Communist Party figureheads cavorting drunkenly across the canvas. It is an intensely passionate critique of a party in chaos. Dated 1993 this painting was originally exhibited at the Maya Polsky Gallery in Chicago who currently still represents the artist.
1994 saw the loss of ceramicist Claude Conover, the Cleveland Art's Prize winner who was awarded the visual arts prize in 1983 for his bold and unique ceramic pieces, which reflect a strength of form and endurance unusual in the fragile field of ceramics. Lot 246 is one of Conover's impressively large pots. His work is described by the prize judges as follows, "Using his own clay "bodies" (basic forms), usually of stoneware and mostly monochromatic, Conover decorated the surfaces with cryptic scratches, stripes and hatchings. Although decorative in intent, the indecipherable incised lines on his ceramics suggest some prehistoric unreadable script. The resultant works evoke a timeless monumentality reminiscent of ancient vessels whose utilitarian purpose is now lost to us. Within this limited repertoire, he produced beautiful, eternal works of art....Conover's large impressive pots are his best work"
In the decorative arts section of the auction notable highlights include lot 239 a candelabrum by Jessie M. Preston, the early 20th century, Arts & Crafts, Chicago-based metalsmith. With a hint of Art Nouveau, Preston has designed a lotus flower and lily pad motif elegantly arranged on three varying planes at the end of three, sinuously intertwined arms, which rise from a circular base, encircled with a stylized, Japanesque, Koi fish and wave design, marked under the base with her monogram, a conjoined "J" and "P". The 2009 exhibition "Apostles of Beauty": Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago featured her jewelry and decorative artifacts, and included one of her signature candelabrum. Her work was described by Mary Adams writing in House Beautiful in 1901, as 'very attractive... [showing] both delicacy and force', clearly recognizing the artist's expert navigation between visual refinement and material strength.
Continuing the Art Nouveau theme are two lots from the Tiffany Studios. Lot 241 is a Tiffany Studios counterbalance bronze desk lamp, with green damascene shade with etched L.c.t. inside upper rim and on the underside of the base stamped "Tiffany Studios New York 416". Lot 242 is a Tiffany Studios bronze and favrile glass, three light lily lamp, with a weighted bronze base stamped "Tiffany Studios New York 320". Two of the shades are etched L.c.t, one shade lacks the makers mark.
Lot 299 is a bronze Arctic Club Medal commemorating Frederick A. Cook's reputed discovery of the North Pole dated Sept. 23 1909. Designed by Aleixo de Queiroz Ribeiro (AKA Alexis de Santa Eulalia). Only two of these medals were cast, the other is in the collection of the Missouri Historical Society. Frederick Cook was stripped of the honor of 'North Pole Discoverer' when his rival Robert Peary claimed the prize, disputing Cook's claim and disproving his data. The medal up for auction remained with the artist and his wife, Mrs. John B. Stetson, the widow of the Stetson Hat Company's founder. It has been consigned by their heirs.
The auction includes several silver lots including lot 263 a Georgian, sterling silver flatware service, Threaded Fiddle and Shell pattern, with 109 pieces in total, by various silversmiths ca.1809-1834. This silver service was made in London ca.1809-1834 with the mark of fifteen different silversmiths including Paul Storr. Assembled over time and purchased in England in the 1930's as a complete set by the consignor's family, there is so much history and superb silver-smithing in this set that the auctioneer has wisely set the estimate at $12,000 - 15,000.
All auctions nowadays would be remiss without a section of Asian decorative arts, and most notable amongst the Asian works of art at Gray's this month is lot 212, a superb pair of early 19th century Chinese cloisonné ginger jars, on a striking yellow ground depicting figures, and standing at 9 inches high. A whimsical collection of thirty lots of antique Chinese and Japanese ivory carved figures and netsukes precede the cloisonné jars, including lot 170, a delightful Japanese carving of a man carrying rabbits.
The experts at Gray's have put together a terrific auction and have included lot 233 a Navajo Third Phase Chief's Blanket, and lot 228, an H. B. Smith Company, Special Pony Star Safety Bike, 1885-1891, designed by George W. Pressey, in Hammonton, New Jersey. This is model number 3715, and is being sold together with a custom made museum stand. This competes the first part of this wonderfully eclectic auction.
The second part of the auction starts at 3pm on March 15 is dedicated to Fine Books, Autographs and No Reserve Books. There are over 300 lots in this part of the auction, with prices starting at $10 for wonderfully diverse box lots of books, ranging in subject matter from the arts of ancient Greece to monographs on famous artists and everything in between. A highlight of the Fine Books grouping is lot 378, a large folio, two volume set of John Boydell's. The Dramatic Works of Shakespeare. A collection of prints from pictures painted for the purpose of illustrating the dramatic works of Shakespeare by the artists of Great Britain, and published in London by John and Josiah Boydell, in 1803 and 1805. Despite some minor condition issues this lot should attract significant interest from collectors.
The March 15 auction will take place at Gray's spacious showrooms, 10717 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio at 11am. Live online bidding for this auction is offered by LiveAuctioneers.com, together with telephone bidding and absentee bidding offered directly through Gray's. The auction showrooms will be open for preview March 8 - 14, Monday - Friday, 11am - 6pm, Saturday March 10 by appointment, and closed on Sunday March 11.
Gray's Auctioneers and Appraisers are the only licensed, bonded and insured auction house in Cleveland holding monthly live auctions, and offering complimentary valuations every Friday between 11am - 4pm. Deborah J. Gray, auctioneer, opened her eponymous auction house in 2007 with her partner Serena Harragin, and together they have transformed the abandoned building that used to house a Citroen dealership into a driving force in the vibrant Cleveland Fine Art and Antiques auction market.
Auctions are held live monthly in our Cleveland auction showrooms with simultaneous global on-line bidding and telephone bidding. Live on-line bidding is available through Gray's Live and LiveAuctioneers.com. Gray's also offers other convenient options which include absentee bidding on our website, by phone, in person, via email, or by fax. The complete illustrated catalog for this auction can be found on Gray's web site at www.graysauctioneers.com and also on Live Auctioneers.