A trend in auctions these days is that the best is the best and the rest is the rest but for Clarke Auction Gallery’s December 2 sale, strong performers going well above estimate was the norm, especially for fine art and followed closely by robust results in jewelry and decorative arts.
“Prices on most of our top lots were through the roof with paintings and sculpture doing very well,” said owner and auctioneer Ronan Clarke. “We were thrilled that this was a very strong sale that performed well above expectation.”
Among the lots surpassing their estimates was the auction’s top lot — a marble sculpture, “Odalisca,” by renowned Italian sculptor Cesare Lapini (1848-1893). Lapini’s female figures, for which he is perhaps best known and admired for his delicate technique, are highly coveted by collectors.
The 53½-inch tall sculpture easily soared past its $6/9,000 estimate, and caused a bidding war between eight phone bidders, three in the room and several determined online buyers. “The action was hot and heavy on the floor and the phones until about $30,000, then it moved to the phone and Internet till $40,000,” Clarke said. “After that, two Internet platforms fought it out, with the lot finally hammering at $50,000, which is $62,500 with the buyer’s premium.”
The parade of marble sculpture across the block continued with an ancient marble torso, 51 inches tall, that performed above estimate at 11,250; a Niccolao Marchetti signed marble sculpture of Cupid, 31½ by 15 ¼ by 16 inches and dated 1838, that outdid its $2/3,000 estimate to achieve $9,375 and a large and impressive sculpture of a boy riding a swan by Professor Pasquale Romanelli (1812-1887) going out at $10,625.
Another fine art standout that left its presale estimate in the dust was an important oil on canvas painting by Gustave Jean Jacquet (French, 1846-1909), circa 1869-70, titled “Normande Young Girl Holding Chalice,” that brought came out a Connecticut estate. The 39½-by-28-inch painting was estimated at $8/12,000 but eager buyers pushed the lot to its final price of $31,250.
Also soaring over estimate was a Tiffany Studios Crocus table lamp, signed on the base and shade, having a 16-inch diameter, that earned $33,750, double its high estimate.
French cameo glass is a favorite among buyers here and routinely performs well; this sale being no exception. Leading this category was a choice 11-inch tall vase signed Galle, thought to depict Switzerland’s Lake Como and coming from a Long Island estate. It more than doubled its high estimate to bring $9,375. A 14-inch tall Daum Nancy vase having a landscape scene also performed well above estimate, earning $6,250.
Jewelry is a perennial strong seller at Clarke Auction Gallery and with the holidays mere weeks away at the time of the auction, perhaps bidders were considering gifts for that special someone. A platinum bracelet featuring ten marquis cut emeralds flanked by 12 bow-form pendants attained $11,875 and would certainly top anyone’s wish list. Clarke’s jewelry specialist Whitney Bria noted this piece had attracted much presale attention. “Emeralds and diamonds are timeless and this bracelet has that retro-yet-modern look,” she said. “The bracelet traces its provenance to a baroness and since it’s fit for royalty, it will certainly look great on the arm of a woman today.” Another top performer was a GIA-certified red coral beaded necklace with vintage graduated and knitted coral beads that more than tripled its high estimate to fetch $8,750.
Rounding out the auction were a pair of Nineteenth Century S. Kirk & Son coin silver ewers with heavy repousse decoration of churches and castles with figures and having ram’s heads to handles selling for $8,125 and a Midcentury Bakalowits & Sohne “Miracle” chandelier at $5,750, and a Pablo Picasso Madoura Pottery fish pitcher from 1952 that sold well at $5,500.
All prices reported include the 25 percent buyer’s premium.
For more information, www.clarkeny.com or 914-833-8336.
2372 Boston Post Road
Larchmont, New York
About Clarke Auction Gallery
Clarke Auction Gallery was started in Westchester, N.Y., in 1998. It is owned and operated by Ronan Clarke, an Irishman who started his career in Ireland and came to New York in 1988 via London. Since his arrival, Clarke has moved from being a picker to owning two retail Antique Stores and All Boro Estate Liquidators (As featured in NY Times, NewYorker, Cranes and Fox 5 News) to opening his own Clarke Auction Gallery which fast became Westchester's Premier Auction. Clarke Auction Gallery runs monthly to a packed house and is situated in the center of Larchmont, N.Y., just five minutes from the Metro North Station (30 mins from N.Y.C, 20 mins from Connecticut) and also on I-95 @ exit 17. Clarke Auction Gallery also serves a worldwide audience with its online gallery. For any information or personal help don’t hesitate to call us at (914) 833-8336 or you can email email@example.com.