BOSTON, MA: The Spring Auction was held at Grogan & Company’s Beacon Hill gallery on Sunday, June 14, 2020 with all bidding participation executed remotely via online, absentee, or telephones. The 468 lot live auction featured a well-vetted selection of fine art, jewelry, silver, and decorative arts. The sale saw active bidding from all platforms and totaled over $2,945,000, including buyer’s premium. Record levels of participation resulted in a 95% sell through rate with over 40% of the lots exceeding their high estimate.
The top lot of the day was a 4.81 carat Kashmir sapphire ring by New York’s late 19th/early 20th century jeweler, Marcus & Company. The fine Art Deco ring featured baguette and full-cut diamonds centering a cushion-cut sapphire of exceptional quality exemplifying the clean, bright, cornflower blue of sapphires from the Kashmir mines. The sapphire was accompanied by laboratory certifications from both the American Gemological Laboratory and the Gemological Institute of America. From the estate of a Baltimore, Maryland lady, Nannette Eleanor Hoover Campanella Dietrich (1930-2019), the ring quickly surpassed its estimate of $80,000-120,000, selling to a private UK-based buyer bidding over the internet for $237,500.
A French ca. 1860s bracelet that descended within the family of Tiffany & Company’s founder, Charles Louis Tiffany, captured interest by dealers, collectors, and institutions alike. The silver-topped-gold bracelet featured a fine woven-link design with applied floral-form vine decorations of diamond and pearls. While the bracelet did not bear any markings by Tiffany & Company, it was accompanied by its original box from Tiffany & Company’s Paris location at 56 Avenue de L’Opera. The conservative $3,000-5,000 estimate saw a final price of $37,500, selling to an institution.
The fine art offerings in the sale also attracted competitive bidders from around the globe. A portrait by John William Godward (English, 1861-1922) featured a striking young woman against Godward’s distinctive marble backdrop. Titled Untitled - Classical Beauty (C) and dated 1909, the 20 x 16 in. oil on canvas came from the estate of a local collector in Milton, Massachusetts. Godward painted at least 14 portraits of young beauties in 1909 – these 20 x 16 inch oil on canvas works were highly sought after by early 20th century collectors, as they continue to be today.
Art historian and scholar Vern G. Swanson, PhD. commented on Untitled - Classical Beauty (C), “This stunningly alive 'beauty' engages the viewer in an intimate yet virginal way. Her deep chestnut braided hair contrasts vividly against the white veined marble, and rich colours of her clothing. She wears a pink dress fastened at the shoulders with pearl fibulae. A moss-green shawl complements the pink dress attesting to Godward's innate ability to enliven his work with subtle chromatic choices. The artist understood his times, just enough, to imbue a more Aesthetic vision of Classical restraint.” This “beauty” exceeded its $30,000-50,000 estimate, ultimately selling for $109,375 to a private collector in the United States.
Another, more contemporary female portrait in The Spring Auction captured collector’s eyes. Gerta (dated 1964) by Gloria Vanderbilt (American, 1924-2019) is a 30 x 30 inch oil on canvas depicting Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Conner, cousin and friend of the artist and granddaughter of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (the founder of the Whitney Museum). Gerta is rendered in bold, contrasting dark and light swaths of colors and fills canvas the so much that her dark brown chignon bleeds off the top edge of the frame. Estimated at $2,000-4,000, a bidding war over the phones resulted in a final selling price of $53,125, which is a new auction record for the artist.
All prices include Grogan & Company’s 25% buyer’s premium. For full auction results, visit www.groganco.com.