Grogan and Company Fine Art Auctioneers and Appraiser’s recent two day auction, held on May 21st and 22nd, was a great success, totaling 1.9 million dollars. The auction, conducted in two sessions over two days, included a large collection of 20th century art glass and Modern Art from the Estate of Beatrice Noble, a wide array of Furniture and Decorative Arts from various estates and collections and a fine selection of collector’s Oriental rugs.
The highlight of the auction was an extremely rare Ensi, woven by the Salor Tribe of East Turkestan in the mid 18th century. The scarcity of rugs by the Salor tribe and the uniqueness of the design resulted in an overwhelming response by rug collectors and scholars worldwide. The Ensi, measuring 5 foot 10 inches by 4 feet 4 inches, sold for $241,500 to the San Francisco and New Hampshire Rug Dealer, Peter Pap, acting as agent for a private collector. “I discovered the Ensi in West Hampton, New York, during a routine house call,” commented rug expert and President, Michael B. Grogan, "I was quite surprised when I came upon it, and it took me a few minutes to realize exactly how important it was.” The Ensi, one of several fine collector’s rugs offered, attracted an unprecedented number of inquiries and phone bidders, as well as scholars attending the exhibition to see the rare treasure in person.
The fine art highlight was Flowering Personnages, a colorful oil on canvas by Modernist painter Karel Appel from the Massachusetts Estate of Beatrice Noble. The painting, created in 1970, represents Appel’s return to using primary colors and bold shapes depicting the human form, a departure from his earlier period of rage expressionism. The 48 x 35 inch painting sold over the phone for $92,000 to a private collector who became aware of the paintings impending sale through Artfact, an on-line internet bidding service. The Noble estate totaled over $525,000 and was comprised of over 150 lots of 20th century Art Glass and Modern Paintings, Prints and Sculpture. The collection was assembled by Jacob and Beatrice Noble throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s with a large majority of the items acquired from New York and Florida Galleries representing emerging artists and glassmakers of the mid 20th century. Highlights from the Noble estate glass offerings included a con macchia vase by Fulvio Bianconi, one of Venini’s most successful designers. The 10 ½ inch amber glass vase, decorated with blue and brown forms inspired by the female form, sold to a New York dealer in the room for $33,350, against a $15,000-20,000 pre-sale estimate. The surprise of the sale came when a lot including a Carlo Scarpa Murrine Dish and a Venini Vase, estimated at $600-900, soared to $24,150. The Venini Clear Glass Vase, decorated with brown and yellow ribbons, bore an etched Venini stamp, making the vase and early and important example.
The sale ended on a high note, when a Fabergé Silver and Enameled Desk Clock, signed by Henrik Wigstrom, one of Fabergé’s most important workmasters, sold for $86,250. Finnish born Henrik Wigstrom became the head workmaster for Fabergé in 1903 following Michael Perchin’s death. This clock is listed in the Fabergé book as having been sold in 1914 by The House of Fabergé’s London store to Nancy Leeds. Nancy Leeds, aka Princess Anastasia, was an American socialite who moved to Europe soon after inheriting 29 million dollars from her husband William Bateman Leeds in 1908. Mrs. Leeds later married Prince Christopher of Greece, making her the first American woman to become a Princess of a reigning family in Europe. Due to the outbreak of World War I, the Fabergé store was closed in 1915.
A fully illustrated catalogue with results can be found at www.groganco.com. All prices include a buyer’s premium. For more information regarding the sale of an item mentioned or upcoming auctions, please contact the gallery at 781-461-9500.