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Americana Week – Best of Christie’s Auction

In preparation for Americana Week, I did some research on what typically can be found in Americana art. What I found is that there are a lot of items that capture American history and culture, and no, every Americana item doesn’t feature the American flag (or other patriotic themes) or pictures of rural Midwest life, though these two themes are prominent.

Christie’s Auction will be featuring Americana that doesn’t fit neatly into the above mentioned themes, but still has a strongly American aesthetic. The featured auctions will be held in New York, January 16 – 18. There are four auctions that will feature Americana art and highlight some of the jewels that were produced and collected over the past 400 years.

The first auction is Little Cassiobury: The Collection of Susan Lyall, to be held on January 16 at 10 AM EST. The items were formerly owned by Susan Lyall, a garden furniture designer and philanthropist. The collection has over 200 items from Lyall’s personal collection of art and furniture.

My favorite piece from this collection is the William IV brass lantern. Despite being nearly 200 years old, this lantern would still be a charming addition to a lot of different decorative themes.

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William IV Brass Lantern (circa 1835)

Next up is the Chinese Export Art Featuring the Hodroff Collection Part IV. This auction is scheduled for January 17 at 10 AM EST. The items are Chinese in origin but, as you can tell, the fascination with Asian art is distinctly American, to the point where Chinese art can be featured during an Americana-focused auction and it makes sense to knowledgeable collectors! Many American families have extensive Asian art collections and the Hodroffs were no exception: Leo and Doris Hodroff’s collection is featured in multiple museums across the US.

My favorite lot from this auction is A Famille Rose Mancerina. I’d never heard of a mancerina before, but after seeing this beauty, I knew I had to know more. Mancerinas are serving trays designed to hold a container of chocolate. The ornate well in the center is where the chocolate container would have been placed. This isn’t a common household item now, but imagine how nice it would be to own something this historical and charming. It could fetch upwards of $2,500, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went for much more than that.

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A Famille Rose Mancerina (Qianlong Period, circa 1770-1780)

The next auction is spread out over two days – January 17 and 18, at 3 PM and 2 PM EST respectively. The largest of Christie’s Americana auctions, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver and Prints will bring nearly 300 lots to the public. This collection has a plethora of exquisite household items, so it may take you a while to go through all of the offerings.

However, after looking through the entire collection, I kept finding myself returning to look at the American Silver Fruit Bowl. This piece, from Tiffany & Co., has mesmerizing filigree and finely depicted vines, leaves and raspberries. I was surprised to see the estimate go up to only $3,500: I anticipate this one will sell for less, but likely not by much.

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American Silver Fruit Bowl (Mark of William Gale for Tiffany & Co., New York, circa 1860)

The final auction is Outsider and Vernacular Art on January 18 at 10 AM. This auction will feature art with a folksy touch and distinctly American themes. The art reflects different movements, periods of time, and various media. There are also pieces by living artists included in this sale, so there is an opportunity for novice collectors to purchase works when the prices are less prohibitive.

I found myself completely enchanted by Portrait of a Young Girl, 1950s by Morton Bartlett. I’m unsure who the model was for this work, but her facial structure and complexion reminded me of a young girl I know that has albinism. This painting made me think about the albinos in different African countries who have had to flee for their lives for fear of being hunted for their limbs (in Tanzania and Malawi specifically, albinos are fiercely targeted). I’d rather not go into detail about the human rights travesty happening to Africans with albinism, but I couldn’t help but think of them when I saw this painting. The high estimate of this is $8,000, and, if I had the resources available right now, I’d certainly bid on this beauty.

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Portrait of a Young Girl, 1950s by Morton Bartlett (1909 – 1992)

That’s my quick overview of the Christie’s Americana auctions. You can check out the lots by clicking any of the hyperlinks above, and see what items interest you. If you find something that you love, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

 

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Gearing Up for Americana Week and Luxury Vehicle Auctions

Happy Friday, friends! Well, we’re near the end of December again, so that means that most of our favorite auction houses – Christies, Sotheby’s, BonhamsFreeman’s and Doyle – are on break until January. However, the previews for the upcoming January 2019 auctions are up, and the offerings are VERY tempting.

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The week of January 13 to 19 is Americana Week, and the participating auction houses are offering some of their best Americana collections, including belongings cherished by Nelson and Happy Rockefeller. Alongside Americana Week, Arizona will be hosting luxury car auctions in both Phoenix and neighboring Scottsdale. January is shaping up to be an exciting month in the auction world, and I’m looking forward to share my personal picks from each of the major auctions.

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Admittedly, Americana Week doesn’t hold the same sway that it did in previous years. This article by Madelia Hickman Ring over on Antiques and the Arts Weekly discusses the evolving nature of selling and promoting Americana. I think that this shift in collecting interest is reflective of globalization and the idolization of anything “exotic” and foreign, amongst other things. However, that’s not the point of this post: the point is, there is ART being auctioned, and I’m going to comb through the lots and show you all what caught my eye in upcoming posts.

Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

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Christie’s Impressive Impressionist Auction

I’m no art expert, but I’m anticipating that Christie’s upcoming “Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale” auction will be the topic of discussion for many art connoisseurs in the weeks and months to come. The auction will be held on November 11 at 7 PM EST at Christie’s New York.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait de Mademoiselle Yvonne Lerolle

The sale doesn’t have an abundance of lots – only 61, at last count – but each piece is highly collectible. All of the artists featured are what most people think of when hearing the word “artist”: Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Dali, etc.,. With these famous names on display, it’s no wonder that this auction doesn’t need many pieces to get a lot of buzz.

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Tamara De Lempicka, Femme a la Colombe

The sale is part of 20th century art week and the offerings do not disappoint. Most of the lots will be sold of the 7-figure or higher price point. This auction is not particularly for newbie collectors: only serious connoisseurs will be bidding here. However, I think that viewing the art would be a great education for anyone that wants to know more about some of the more famous names in art.

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Vincent Van Gogh, Coin de jardin avec papillons

I’m fascinated by the fact that the auction will feature Picasso paintings of each of his most famous muses: Francoise Gilot, Marie-Therese Walter, and Dora Maar. Also, the painting by Vincent Van Gogh that will be sold is a true treasure: I know that will make some collector very happy. There really are too many good items to post them all in this post, so make sure that you check out Christie’s online catalog.

(Left to right) Pablo Picasso, Portrait de Francoise Gilot, Femme au beret orange et au col de fourrure (Marie-Therese), Buste de Femme (Dora Maar)

I won’t be able to make the trip to New York to see these works in person, but I’m including in this post some of my favorites from the auction. Enjoy and, if you can swing by Christie’s, go check out these treasures in person!

Talk to you all tomorrow!

 

art · international

My Top Picks from Christie’s Asian Art Auction, Part 1

Happy Monday, friends! Of all of the Asian Art Week auctions being held during the first half of September, no single auction house has as many events as Christie’s. Christie’s is having eight events – far more than I could comfortably put in one post. I will be breaking my top picks into two different posts, as there is no way that I can adequately discuss all of the events without separating them a bit.

Christie’s kicks of Asian Art Week with one auction on September 11 and three on September 12th. The first auction is Fine Chinese paintings, with pieces created during multiple dynasties and previously held in prestigious private collections. This one has 132 lots: a substantial amount for an auction that leads a week of activity. My favorite piece from this collection is Traveling in Autumn by Li Xiongcai (1910 – 2001). Whenever I think of autumn, I think of vividly colored trees and a tinge of warmth in the landscape. However, Xiongcai’s work evokes the feeling of late fall: cooler temperatures, barer tree, and only glimmers of the copper-hued leaves that were in place just weeks prior. This more somber depiction of autumn is unique and refreshing, and, since it could easily sell for over $15,000, it’ll probably be a popular painting among the bidders.

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Li Xiongcai (1910-2001), Traveling in Autumn

After a full night’s rest, bidders can get ready for some whirlwind activity on September 12, when Christies will be hosting three Asian art auctions. The first auction – South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art – starts at 10 AM, and it sure to bring out some unique buyers. With a little less than 100 items up for auction, this sale may be brief but it will no doubt also be impactful, as the items being auctioned reflect a typically underrepresented group of artists and artisans. My favorite piece from this collection is Untitled (Street Scene) by Syed Haider Raza (1922-2016). While Raza was born in India, he spent most of his adulthood in Paris. I saw shades of Post-Impressionism when I looked at the setting and brushstrokes features in this painting. This painting could easily sell for $35,000 or more.

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Syed Haider Raza (1922 – 2016), Untitled (Street Scene)

If contemporary art isn’t your cup of tea, bidders can check out The Ruth and Carl Barron Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles: Part VI. I’m not a huge fans of snuff bottles but I can appreciate the artistry of them. My favorite is the Molded and Carved Biscuit Snuff Bottle featuring an elaborate dragon carving on the exterior. The dragon is depicted as it catches a flaming pearl in its mouth, and its body and tail are set against a carved background of clouds and fire. It’s quite an eyecatching piece, and is estimated to be auctioned somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000.

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Molded and Carved Biscuit Snuff Bottle (Wang Bingrong, Jingdezhen Kilns, 1820 – 1850)

Finally, the auction activities on September 12th end with the Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art sale starting at 2 PM. The lot that made me swoon was the Gilt and Polychrome Wood Book Cover. I love any and all things book related, so it should be no surprise that this book cover was my favorite item of this auction. The fact that it came from Tibet – a country that isn’t featured as much in the popular auctions – made me love it even more. This 800 year old treasure will be the crown jewel of someone’s Asian art collection – I can feel it!

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Gilt and Polychrome Wood Book Cover (Tibet, 13th Century)

That’s it for the first half of my Christie’s art auction picks. Look out for Part 2 coming soon!

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Asian Art Bonanza!

I don’t know what it is about September, but I’ve seen more upcoming auctions for Asian art than I’ve ever seen before! There are so many that I literally cannot write about all of them in this post. However, I will give a brief outline of all of the auctions that I saw, and I’ll dig a bit more into what I consider the highlights of each event. Since I haven’t had a chance to check out each of the upcoming auctions, I will be sharing some of my photos from my trip to China.

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Christie’s has deemed September 11 – 14 as Asian Art Week, and it seems that other auction houses are also participating in the event. They appear to have the most individual auctions – 8, at last count – during the week, all featuring different types of Asian art.

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Freeman’s will actually  be the first auction house to feature Asian art in September – their Asian art sale happens on Friday, September 7 in Philadelphia. Next, Sotheby’s will host five Asian art auctions, from September 12 – 15. Not to be left out, Bonhams will have three Asian-themed auctions, on September 10 and 12. Finally, Doyle Auctions (an auction house that I’ve seen before but never discussed on this blog) is hosting their own Asian art auction on September 10.

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Whew, that’s a total of 18 auctions in under 10 days! I’ll post my favorite pics from each in the upcoming week or so, but in the meantime, have fun trying to keep up with all of the art! Talk to you all tomorrow!

 

art · luxury

Get Your Modern Art Fix at Christie’s

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My favorite piece from this auction (Untitled (2/98), I by Charline von Heyl)

I haven’t been monitoring the auctions as closely as I normally do. I’ve been a bit too busy keeping up with my online classes and navigating some big changes at work. So when I had a chance to check out Christie’s website, I was excited to see this Post-War to Present art auction.

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This piece could fetch more than $4 million USD (Peinture 195 x 130 cm, 3 février 1957 by Pierre Soulage)

Generally speaking, I’m more of a fan of global art and European art dating from the pre-World War II era. However, lots of exposure to contemporary art is starting to change my taste (I’m sure that my recent Instagram Artist series has something to do with that). This auction features two paintings by contemporary art darling George Condo, as well as pieces by notable artists like Willem de Kooning, Georg Baselitz, Damien Hirst and Ai Weiwei.

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The Secretary by George Condo

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Untitled by Willem de Kooning

This event will be held on June 28th at 2:30 PM. This is going to be an exciting auction, with prices expected to soar over $4 million USD. If you’re in London, you should check it out!

 

(Photos courtesy Christies.com)

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The Perfect Gift for a Butterfly . . .

While browsing the lots for Christie’s upcoming Rockefeller auction, I came across a partial set of dishes owned by Napoleon I, the legendary emperor of France. The set was beautiful on its own, but I stopped cold when I saw the detail on these dessert plates:

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This is the ‘Marly Rouge’ Service, a porcelain dessert set made sometime around 1807 – 1809. This set is in outstanding condition, with the colors and gilding just as vibrant as when it was first presented to Emperor Napoleon. The write-up for this offering can be seen under the “Highlights” section of the Christie’s page featuring the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection.

Aside from the flawless condition, I marveled at the detailing. Are you all seeing the gorgeous butterfly variety on these dishes? Of course the Bronze Butterfly noticed it and swooned. I need these dishes, now!

The sale occurs in May 2018. I doubt that I’ll have a spare $150,000+ to invest in this set (I remain hopeful!) but I plan to look for a set of similar design and high quality. If I find them (and, since I’m good at locating things, I’m sure that I will), I’ll post to this blog and give you all details. Until then, you’re free to drool over the Marly Rouge with me.