April weeks bring May antiques. The weeks leading up to the May 18th sale at Clarke Auction have shown as much. A number of important estates being handled by Clarke Auction at the close of April will be represented through the offering of a bouquet of items in the mid May sale and encompass the full spectrum of item categories, from fine art to Asian.
The fine art selection at Clarke will open with an expansive collection of nearly 150 portrait miniatures of exceptional quality. The consignor gathered English, Continental, and American portraits on bone, ivory, or card, dating from the 16th century to the 20th century. The impressive collection includes a number of renowned portrait painters such as, William Wood, David des Granges, Bernard Lens III, Phillip Jean, William Grimaldi, Richard Cosway, and John Smart. A number of the charming paintings are housed in original locket cases with glazed reverses revealing plaited or beautifully curled hair adorned with pearls and monograms. The cherished compilation once decorated the walls of the collector’s home, a manifestation of his passion for these portraits for which he paid several thousand dollars apiece. Now ready to sell, this collection will be offered in 40 lots, some carefully grouped and others sold individually.
An interesting and varied selection of fine art will follow the miniatures. The 19th century oil on canvas of the ship “The Mary Hasbrouk” at sea by Sheppard will be offered with a $1,000/$1,500 estimate. A large 19th century oil on canvas of Diana the Huntress depicted as a traditional reclining nude from a Rye, NY estate will be sold at an estimate of $1,500/$2,500. Also a wonderful and delicate Arthur Grimm 1908 Parisian street scene from a local estate is offered at $800/$1,200. Additional fine art offerings will include two Robert Decker oils, a grouping of C.C. Beal watercolor and gouache illustrations, and more.
Graphic works include a stamped, and pencil numbered, screen-print by Andy Warhol entitled “Paris Review.” The excellent condition of the print and the current market popularity of the artist support a reasonable $2,000/$3,000 estimate at auction. Also in the selection, an Alexander Archipenko lithograph entitled “Coquette” with a conservative estimate of $800/$1,200. Prints by Alexander Calder, Louis Icart, Marc Chagall, Kandinsky, and a collection of vintage circus posters will also be offered in the sale. Also of interest and importance in graphic works, a rare etching by WPA artist Anthony Velonis entitled “Loading Ice, Fulton Fish Market Dock,” is offered. The work is of historical significance as it captures a valuable part of New York’s past and it should do well in the sale.
Another form of fine art that will be well represented in the sale is sculpture. The $6,000/$9,000 massive mixed metal work by Italian Francesco Somaini is the headline sculpture lot. The large piece is captivating and from every angle and is an example of sculpture as a contribution to the progressing ideals of midcentury abstractionism. Also in sculpture, a bronze modernist figure by Jose Planes on marble base ($800/$1,200) will be offered. The figure has a beautiful green patina and opposes the harsh protrusions of the Somaini. Each is beautiful in its own right, but they are just a portion of the great sculptures offered on May 18th.
The midcentury selection is one of the strongest of the year, boasting some of the highest quality pieces by some of the most important designers of the day. The featured lot in the selection is a Poul Kjaerholm PK-61 coffee table with Cippolino marble top. Kjaerholm’s designs have been steadily become more desirable in the market as people are continuing to recognize his forethought and streamlined architectural elegance in design. The conservative $7,000/$9,000 estimate at auction for the piece should make for one of the most exciting lots to watch in the sale.
Another Danish designer that will be featured on May 18th shares both an affinity for elegance, and a first name. Poul Norreklit’s rosewood and Lucite desk is one of the favored lots in the midcentury selection and includes several rare pieces that increase its appeal. The specific desk featured in the sale, usually seen as a single floating desk with rosewood top and drawers on Lucite base, is complete with a rosewood one drawer side extension and a rosewood tambour top rolling file cabinet. Both collectors and dealers alike should be all over the highly conservative $2,000-$3,000 estimate.
The midcentury market has room for quality that reaches far beyond the borders of Denmark, which is why the works of George Nakashima and Paul Evans are also highly coveted and valuable at auction. Clarke will offer a George Nakashima for Widdicomb “Sundra” signed and stamped coffee table at a $2,000/$3,000 estimate. The table is clearly and completely labeled and marked including the Nakashima stamp to the underside.
From the same estate as the Nakashima table is a pair of polychrome and sculpted metal cube form end tables by Paul Evans. The pieces are unmarked but undeniably Evans, complete with slate tops. In nearly untouched condition, the pieces are a fantastic example of the variable styles that the midcentury market bears. The pieces are estimates $4,000/$6,000 as a pair.
Other known and important works by midcentury designers in the May 18th sale include a rocking chair and coffee table by Adrian Pearsall, an original “Bird Chair” and ottoman by Harry Bertoia for Knoll, a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona coffee table, a mother of pearl and brass John Stuart game table, several beautiful pieces by Karl Springer, an d many more.
Decorative arts and antiques will also be an important selection, including several pieces of interest. A French exhibition quality floor stereoscopic viewer with over 200 views, many of which are New York City scenes, is a featured example of old technology at an estimate of $2,000/$3,000. Also in the camera and technology genre is a Linhof Kardan GT 4x5 to be auctioned at $2,000/$3,000, and several other important and rare camera lots.
Continuing in the decorative selection is a marvelous and large reverse painted and leaded glass window depicting cherubs and what appears to be a depiction of Psyche. The window will be sold at an estimate of $3,000/$5,000.
Jewelry may prove to be most successful on May 18th at Clarke, especially with the offering of several high value and excellent pieces. The featured lot is a David Webb 18kt graduated link bracelet estimated at $8,000/$10,000. The piece is stamped “Webb 18k” and is approximately 67.3 dwt.
Close behind with a respectable estimate of $4,000/$6,000 is a Cartier 18kt and diamond “Love” bracelet. The flat bangle bracelet has a great screw motif and is set with 6 diamonds. Other important jewelry lots include a retro 14kt two tone link bracelet ($2,000/$2,500), a 14kt diamond and gem brooch ($2,000/$3,000), a compact with rubies and diamonds ($2,000/$2,500), and a Mugal style bracelet ($2,000/$2,500).
Sterling will also contribute to the success of the May sale through the beautiful selections of items like a .800 silver 5 piece German tea set estimated at $2,000/$2,200, a Kirk “King” flatware set estimated at $2,000/$2,500, and many more.
There will also be many lots of Asian antiques and artworks to discover, as well as many additional lots in all genres.
In order to view the extent of the sale, please visit the catalog on www.ClarkeNY.com. In-house previews will be held Friday and Saturday, May 16th and 17th from 12pm to 6pm. Previews will continue on Sunday, May 18th (day of sale) from 10am to 12pm (start of sale). For bid registration call the gallery at (914) 833-8336.