Weschler's Capital Collections Estate Auction Features Iconic Josef Albers Painting

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  • April 30, 2013

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Josef Albers, Study for Homage to the Square: ‘Still Distant’ (est: $300,000-$500,000)
Hans Hofman, Orbiting Fragments #1289 (est: $8,000-$12,000)

A work from Josef Albers’ iconic Homage to the Square series leads the lot at Weschler’s Capital Collections Estate Auction, to be held in Washington, DC on May 17th at 10am. The German-American painter’s disciplined approach produced hundreds of these chromatic explorations, each one produced by hand and without the use of a straightedge. Albers was fascinated by the concept of color and how it was perceived, calling it “the most relative medium in art.” His Study for Homage to the Square: ‘Still Distant’ (est: $300,000-$500,000) displays the array of possibilities held in one hue.

The Albers work, along with a sizable portion of the sale’s contemporary paintings and sculpture, comes from the estate of Richard Madlener. The Chicago-born collector was based in Washington, DC until his death in 2012, and acquired many of his most valuable works during the heyday of the Washington Color School in the 1960s. Madlener was energized by the dynamism of the city’s art scene, dominated by the unconventional leadership of two museum directors, Jim Harithas of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Walter Hopps of the Washington Gallery of Art.

Madlener befriended many of the artists whose work he collected, such as Angelo Savelli, Tom Chimes, and John McLaughlin. Highlights from his collection include: Angelo Savelli’s sculpture, Camilla (est: $10,000-$15,000); Hans Hofman’s ink drawing, Orbiting Fragments #1289 (est: $8,000-$12,000); and Wojceich (Voy) Fangor’s oil painting, M2 (est: $20,000-$30,000). The collection also features an assortment of decorative arts, including Native American blackware pottery from the Southwest.

Louis XV Style Ormolu Mounted Parquetry and Marquetry Kingwood and Tulipwood Bureau Plat ($20,000-$30,000)

Notable furniture selections from Friday’s auction include a Louis XV style ormolu mounted parquetry and marquetry kingwood and tulipwood bureau plat (est: $20,000-$30,000) and an American oak congressional desk (est: $5,000-$7,000). The ornate bureau, mounted with ormolu medals and foliage, was adapted from Antoine Gaudreau's commode-médaillier, delivered in 1739 for Louis XV's Cabinet à Pans at Versailles. Gaudreau, a Parisian cabinetmaker, was the principal supplier of furniture for the royal chateau during the early years of Louis XV’s reign. The congressional desk was designed by Thomas U. Walter during his service as architect of the Capitol and manufactured by cabinetmakers Doe, Hazelton & Co. of Boston. This particular model was used in the House chamber from 1857 to 1873.

The jewelry department features several stunning diamond rings and bracelets, including an Edwardian tested 14-karat yellow-gold, white-gold and twin diamond ring (est: $10,000-$15,000); a 14-karat yellow-gold solitaire diamond ring (est: $20,000-$25,000); and a 14-karat yellow-gold and diamond line bracelet (est: $15,000-$25,000).

Exhibition for the auction will be held May 11-16 at Weschler’s second floor gallery, located at 909 E Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. Exhibition hours and a complete illustrated catalogue are available at www.weschlers.com.

Leigh Snitiker


Weschler's Auctioneers & Appraisers
909 E Street NW
Washington, DC
About Weschler's Auctioneers & Appraisers

Weschler's has been an auction tradition in the nation's capital for over 120 years, earning a reputation of trust and reliability. As one of the nation's leading auctioneers and appraisers and as Washington D.C.'s only auction house, Weschler's has been in the unique position to auction property from many prominent Washingtonians such as Katherine Graham, Honorable and Mrs. William McChesney Martin, Jr., Ella Poe Burling, Marshall Coyne, Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson, Ambassador and Mrs. Philip Bonsal, Lawrence Lomax, as well as furnishings from the Barney Studio House. Weschler's holds at least six Capital Collections estate auctions each season, featuring European & American furniture and decorations; paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture; jewelry, coins and watches; 20th century decorative arts; Asian works of art; and rugs, carpets and tapestries. To complement our Capital Collections estate auctions, every week Weschler's holds Metro auctions with offerings including reproduction furniture, period pieces, rugs, artwork, silver, jewelry, collectibles, books and general household goods.

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