NEW ORLEANS, La. – Original paintings by renowned Southern artists William Aiken Walker and William Hemmerling, a mug and a vase from the studios of George Ohr (the “Mad Potter of Biloxi”), and a stunning five-piece Mexican sterling silver coffee and tea service by Maciel are just a few expected top lots in Crescent City Auction Gallery’s upcoming Winter Estates Auction.
The major two-day sale, slated for the weekend of January 27th and 28th, will be held online and in Crescent City’s gallery, located at 1330 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. In all, 1,185 lots will cross the auction block, including French and American period furniture, original artwork, fine estate jewelry, Russian icons, bronzes, silver, clocks, lamps and lighting, pottery and more.
South Carolina artist William Aiken Walker (1838-1921) has been featured in past Crescent City auctions. His 19th century oil on board titled Cabin Scene, signed lower left and measuring 8 ¾ inches by 11 ¾ inches, has a pre-sale estimate of $12,000-$15,000. Walker is best known for his moving depictions of the lives of poor sharecroppers in the post-Reconstruction American South.
Another featured artist, Louisiana folk artist William “Bill” Hemmerling (1943-2009) painted the New Orleans 2005 Jazz Festival poster and was a perennial favorite of Jazz Fest art aficionados. He was prolific, and his legions of fans are nothing less than devout. His signed 2007 acrylic on panel titled Boiled Peanuts, 37 ½ inches by 10 ¾ inches, should change hands for $4,000-$7,000.
George Ohr (1857-1918) was another one of the region’s more colorful and eccentric characters, an American ceramic artist whose innovative experimentation with modern clay forms at his Biloxi studio led to his being regarded as a precursor to the American Abstract-Expressionist movement. Today, his pieces are rare and highly coveted by collectors. Two are in the auction.
One is a mug, fired in 1896 of high glaze waisted form, 6 ¼ inches tall, with the side having an inscribed presentation for Joseph Jefferson. The other is a high glaze bottle form, made circa 1897 and with the bottom inscribed “Jules Gabry, First Place, July 1897,” the side inscribed "Jules Gabry Born in France 1829 Suiside(sic) in Biloxis Water, Poverty cause, July 15, 1897," and signed "G Ohrs.” Both have estimates of $1,500-$2,500. Gabry was Newcomb College’s first potter (1894-1895) and was living with the Ohr family at the time he committed suicide.
The Mexican sterling silver coffee and tea service by Maciel was made in the mid-20th century and has a total weight of 176.83 troy ounces (est. $3,000-$5,000). The tray is 18 inches in diameter. The jewelry in the auction is a dazzling assemblage of tanzanites, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, alexandrite, emeralds, South Sea pearls, Victorian bracelets and other fine pieces.
It wouldn’t be a Crescent City auction without French period furniture, and this sale’s got some wonderful pieces, to include an unusual 18th century Louis XV style carved cherry double-door armoire (est. $1,200-$2,000); and an outstanding pair of circa 1860 Louis XV style carved pine architectural doors, with frames at 116 inches tall by 40 ½ inches in width (est. $1,200-$1,800).
Also offered will be an impressive 19th century French carved walnut Gothic style buffet a deux corps (two-bodied buffet), 86 inches tall (est. $1,200-$1,800); a 19th century French provincial carved walnut tester bed, 88 ½ inches tall by 71 ½ inches long (est. $1,000-$2,000); and a 19th century unusual and lovely French carved mahogany Renaissance style desk (est. $800-$1,200).
The list of original artworks by local and regional artists is also impressive, and will be led by a circa 1970 oil on board painting by Louisiana folk artist Clementine Hunter (1887-1988), titled Cotton Pickers (est. $3,000-$5,000). Also offered will be a group of 13 pieces of porcelain fruit and vegetables by Alabama artist Mary Kirk Kelly (est. $600-$900).
New Orleans artists will include Knute Heldner (1877-1952), whose signed oil on board titled Cabin in a Bayou with Black Man in Pirogue, should rise to $2,500-$4,500; George Bauer Dunbar (b. 1927), whose encaustic 1980 work Abstraction has an estimate of $800-$1,200; and David Harouni (b. 1962), who has two offerings in the sale: Ball Gown and High Heels. Both are oil on Masonite works, artist signed and housed in arched gilt frames (each est. $1,000-$2,000).
Additional artworks will feature an oil on Masonite by the German-born American painter and teacher Henry Hensche (Mass., 1899-1992), titled Eclectic (est. $4,000-$6,000); a 1981 oil on canvas by Ghanaian artist Ablade Glover (b. 1934), titled The Conversation (est. $4,000-$6,000); and a 19th century unsigned oil on canvas after the Portuguese Neoclassicist painter Francisco Viera Portuense (1765-1805), titled Music’s Allegory, expected to hammer for $1,500-$2,500.
The fine selection of cabinet bronzes will include a figure on a gured violette marble base by Joe Descomps (Fr., 1869-1950); a work by Spiro Schwatenberg (Germ., 1898-1922), a figure by Pierre Felix Fix-Masseau (Fr., 1869-1937); and a work after Alphonse Alexandre Arson (1822-1880), the Parisan-born sculptor best known for his depictions of birds and other animal subjects.
Offerings from Tiffany Studios will feature a circa-1900 bronze desk lamp, 11 ¾ inches tall, expected to breeze to $2,000-$3,000; and an early 20th century Favrile glass vase, 6 ¼ inches tall (est. $500-$700). The clocks category will be led by an unusual 19th century French gilt bronze mounted white marble open escapement portico clock made by Samuel Marti (est. $800-$1,200).
A stellar collection of Russian icons will include The Virgin of Kazan (Moscow, 1893, by Ivan Khlebnikov); The Virgin of Kazan (Moscow, late 19th century, also by Ivan Khlebnikov); Christ Pantocrator (Moscow, circa 1908-1917); and Saint Vladimir (Moscow, made circa 1908-1917).
Also up for bid will be a 19th century American cast iron sugar kettle with a flared rim, made in Louisiana (est. $1,500-$2,500); a circa-1870 American carved mahogany marble-top center table (est. $500-$900); and an early 19th century Dutch inlaid mahogany commode (est. $500-$700).
For those unable to attend in person, online bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Previews will be held Thursday, Jan. 18, through Friday, Jan. 26 (except on Sunday, when the gallery is closed), from 10-5. An evening preview will be held Wednesday, Jan. 24, lasting ‘til 7 pm (all times Central). Absentee and phone bids will be taken ‘til Jan. 26.
A printed catalog is available on request. Crescent City Auction Gallery is always seeking quality consignments for future auctions. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (504) 529-5057; or, you can send an e-mail inquiry to email@example.com.
For more information about Crescent City Auction Gallery and the upcoming Jan. 27-28 Winter Estates Auction, please visit www.crescentcityauctiongallery.com. Updates are posted frequently.
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Crescent City Auction Gallery
1330 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana
Crescent City Auction Gallery
P: (504) 529-5057