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Americana Week – Best of Doyle Auctions

Happy Wednesday, friends! For Americana Week, many US auction houses will be presenting incredible items that highlight the craftsmanship and decorating aesthetic of Americans. One of my favorite auction houses, Freeman’s, doesn’t have any auctions scheduled during Americana week this year. So, the last auction house that I will be considering is Doyle Auctions.

Doyle auctions will have only one live, in-person auction event during Americana Week. Doyle at Home won’t have any items that are distinctly Americana-themed, but the luxurious items that are being offered may be of interest to a variety of collectors, including those that specialize in collecting Americana. The sale occurs on January 16, 2019 at 10 a.m. EST.

With nearly 500 lots for sale, selecting just one item out of the group was challenging. But I found myself irresistibly drawn to this painting by Porfirio DiDonna. The untitled painting comes from later in DiDonna’s career. It has more curvature, less symmetry, and less precision than his earlier works. I love how the neutral colors appear to dance against the cool grey background. I may bid on this painting, considering how affordably priced it is. This one has an estimated value between $150 – $250.

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Untitled, 1984, Porfirio Di Donna (1942-1986)

Instead of planning all of the Americana events to occur during the week of January 13th through the 19, Doyle has wisely opened an Americana-themed, online-only auction to start on January 18th. This allows them to keep the Americana theme going even after the week has concluded.

Americana from the Library of Arnold ‘Jake’ Johnson should be an interesting sale but, unfortunately, I can only view one lot from this collection. For that reason, I can’t recommend my favorite item. However, this sale will still be worth checking out:  after all, it’s the last Americana-themed sale for the month.

That concludes my review of Americana week at some of the most popular auction houses in the US. Did you see any items from the previous auctions that you found interesting? Let me know in the comments below I’d love to hear about it!

 

Talk to you all tomorrow!

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Americana Week – Best of Sotheby’s Auctions

My review of Americana week continues with an overview of Sotheby’s Auctions. Sotheby’s will feature only two options during Americana week, but there’s no mistake that they are still bringing high quality offerings during the week. The Americana-themed auctions featured by Sotheby’s will include an extensive auction of items owned by Nelson and Happy Rockefeller as well as a luxury car event in Phoenix, AZ.

A Collecting Legacy: Property from the Collection of Nelson & Happy Rockefeller Brings the personal collections of the Rockefellers to Sotheby’s auctions. The auction is happening at 10 a.m. EST on January 18th in New York. This collection is a delightful mashup of Chinese, Japanese, and English house goods. The Rockefeller collection gives us a rare glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of one of America’s wealthiest families. There’s so many awesome pieces in this collection, including an extensive menagerie of items from China’s Qing dynasty.  These items, along with the collection of George I, George II, and George III housewares, let us see the Personal Taste of Nelson and Happy Rockefeller.

This auction has over 200 items, so selecting my favorites was quite difficult. I was enchanted by the Federal Brass Mounted and Englomise Panel Inset Mahogany Banjo Clock. This charming clock has vividly painted insets which will easily drawn you in. I love the uniqueness of it; no one creates things like this anymore. This is an item that, if purchased, would easily steal the show in any room where it’s placed. I’m positive that it will go for more than the estimated price of $300 to $500.

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Federal Brass Mounted And Englomise Panel Inset Mahogany Banjo Clock, Signed R.W. Drown, Early 19th Century

Another item that I adored was the set of Eight Portuguese Ormolu Candlesticks in Louis XV Style. These items are French-inspired, which is unique for the Rockefeller collection (which doesn’t feature many French items, overall). I loved that these candlestick holders reminded me of Lumiere from the movie Beauty and the Beast. There are ornate and elegant:  the styling of them even looks like Lumiere dancing! This set is estimated to be worth between $1,200 and $1,800, however, I’m not certain what this will fetch at auction. 

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Portuguese Ormolu Candlesticks in Louis XV Style

The true star of Americana week at Sotheby’s will be the RM Sotheby’s Auction in Phoenix, AZ. This event, stretching over January 17th and 18th, will feature luxury cars from the 20th century, as well as car inspired art. Only Sotheby’s could effortlessly blend art and automobiles this way.

There are so many gorgeous cars that’ll be featured in this auction that selecting just one to mention seemed almost criminal. But, I did find one gorgeous vehicle that I would love to own one day. The 1954 Kaiser-Darrin Roadster is the kind of car you fantasize about as a child. It’s gorgeous pale blue color with sleek lines and classic styling. It is truly a gem. The lucky collector that gets this one can expect to spend well into the six figures;  this one could go between $140,000 and $180,000. However, because this is a truly rare vehicle, who knows how frenzied the bidding will get?

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1954 Kaiser-Darrin Roadster

I can’t emphasize enough how great these auctions will be. And if you get a chance to attend either, I encourage you to go, enjoy, and take in all of the gorgeous Americana. 

That’s all for today please make sure to click on the link so that you can see the beautiful items that are going to be going up for sale for yourself. Talk to you all tomorrow!

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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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Art and Cryptocurrency: The World’s Simplest Guide

Hi friends! I hope you all are enjoying your Thursday and gearing up for a fantastic weekend.

I’ve just finished attending my umpteenth blockchain and cryptocurrency webinar (by now, I should be an expert!) and I’m finally starting to make a clear connection between the art world and cryptocurrency. This has been an area of interest since I wrote a blog post a few months ago about trends that will drastically change the art world, and the first trend that I listed was cryptocurrency.

For those that are unfamiliar with cryptocurrency, there are many great online guides but one of the simplest definitions I got was from Mario Costanz and his team over at Crypto Tax Academy. He described the process of trading cryptocurrency as an exchange of value between peers, defined between the peers, as opposed to the value being set by a third entity (as is the case with fiat currency). I won’t spend too much time explaining this in depth because they do it much better than I can, though they are clearly explaining this from the tax obligation perspective.

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I also read this fantastic 3-series article by Tim Schneider over on Artsy. Part 1 gives a great overview to what blockchain and cryptocurrency is. Part 2 gives a great case study in how forward-thinking artists (and, by extension, collectors and gallerists) can participate in a cryptocurrency structure. Finally, Part 3 proposes three major issues in the art world that cryptocurrency technology could solve.

Here’s where my simple interpretation comes in: for the sake of taxes and income recognition, cryptocurrency is an asset just like art. And investing in art using cryptocurrency is similar to bartering goods and services: both sides must determine the fair market value and both sides have to recognize the exchange as a taxable event. If you’re curious about how virtual currency is defined by our current government, you can read this 2014 IRS notice (no new guidance has been issued as of today’s date). Looking at cryptocurrency like an asset, instead of viewing it as fiat money, can help a lot in understanding what it is and how to work with it.

I’m going to be learning more about this in the upcoming year, but I hope my mini-guide was helpful, and I also hope that the linked articles provide some additional clarity. Cryptocurrency is here to stay, so the more we know, the better off we are.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

 

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Art Basel Miami 2018: Beginner’s Guides from All Over the Web

Happy Sunday, friends! I’m currently watching snow fall outside of my window (an unseasonably early snowfall for central Virginia) and wishing I had made the trek to Art Basel in Miami! 81 degree temperatures sound like heaven right now!

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I couldn’t make the trip but I’m living vicariously through the videos I’ve seen and articles I’ve read about the event. If you too couldn’t attend, here are some of my favorite Art Basel Miami guides for this year. Enjoy!

Here’s a basic guide for those new to Art Basel:

And here is an etiquette-specific guide for newbies:

A recent article by Vox provides a great written summary of what to expect from Art Basel Miami 2018. I sometimes find it helpful to have a written guide that I can compare with audio/video information and that I can scribble on to capture additional notes.

Do you have any Art Basel guides to share? Please feel free to post them in the comments below!

 

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My Top Picks from Sotheby’s Asian Art Auction

Happy Friday, loves! I’m so glad that the weekend is HERE. For a minute, I thought it wasn’t gonna make it! I’ll be catching up with friends and knocking things off of my to-do list this weekend, so I should have a fun and productive time!

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Sotheby’s and I’m excited that they will be having multiple Asian-themed auctions during Asian Art Auction week. This auction house is having five different Asian art auction during the week of September 12 – 15. The first four auctions feature Chinese art exclusively, ranging from the decorative to the religious, and the fifth auction has art from China, Japan, Korea, India, and other Southeast Asian countries.

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The biggest sale will be the Saturday at Sotheby’s: Asian Art auction

Instead of choosing multiple pieces from each auction, I’m going to force myself to choose one piece from each auction to highlight in this post. This isn’t easy, but if I don’t stay focused, this post will have a million photos!

Junkunc: Chinese Buddhist Sculpture is the first auction of Sotheby’s Asian Art event. This auction, occurring on September 12 at 10 AM, features 18 Chinese Buddhist sculptures from the collection of Stephen Junkunc III. My favorite piece is, coincidentally, the priciest. It could easily sell for over $2mil at auction, and I’m sure Sotheby’s will have no problem getting the higher estimated price. The piece is the “Exceptional Large Limestone Figure of the Bodhisattva“. The statue is over 3 feet tall, and the exquisite detailing is impressive, to put it lightly. This is the kind of piece that easily becomes the crown jewel of your Asian art collection.

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Exceptional Large Limestone Figure of the Bodhisattva, Tang Dynasty

The Junkunc: Chinese Buddhist Sculpture auction will happen quickly, since there are only 18 pieces to be auctioned. The remainder of the hour, as well as the following hour (or two), will be the Important Chinese Art auction, featuring over 280 pieces from different Chinese periods. I stopped in my tracks when I saw this vibrantly painted lotus bowl. It looks so delicate and elegant: it’s so pretty! It could fetch upwards of $7,000, so it isn’t the priciest piece in the collection but it’s the one that I like the most.

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A Famille-Rose “Lotus” Bowl and Cover Daoguang Seal Mark and Period

At 10 AM on September 13, the Tang Hung and Fung Bi-Che Collection of Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy auction will occur. I love calligraphy, so choosing a favorite piece from this auction was a challenge. However, I really liked Dragon in Clouds, a grayscale drawing depicting a fearsome dragon descending from heaven. I was unfamiliar with the artist, Lin Fengmian, but I’ll be making it a point to do my research in the upcoming weeks/months. The drawing could command more than $180,000 at auction, so it’ll be interesting to see what it actually sells for when the auctioneer drops the gavel.

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Lin Fengmian (1900-1991), Dragon in Clouds

More calligraphy and paintings follow the 10 AM auction. At 11:30 AM, the Fine Classical Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy auction will commence. This sale features 155 pieces, all exquisite examples of the very best Chinese artwork. My favorite piece from this collection is, hands down, the Crouching Tiger painting. It’s no coincidence that this painting shares a name with a movie that I love, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In thie painting, this majestic cat is looking downward, body lowered but still powerful. This one also came from the Junkunc Collection, but, since it isn’t a Buddhist sculpture, it was appropriately grouped with Thursday’s auctions. This lovely kitty could sell for upwards of $6,000, which, while possible, doesn’t seem likely to me. That is, unless there’s another tiger fan bidding. In that case, who knows how high it will go?

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Anonymous, Crouching Tiger

Finally, all of these sales lead up to the biggest one of them all, happening at 10 AM on Saturday, September 15. The Saturday at Sotheby’s: Asian Art auction features a whopping 551 items for sale. The expected sales prices range from $300 on the low end to $50,000, on the high end. With this price range, it is sure to attract a varied group of potential bidders. The piece that I found most captivating was a collection of 30 Chinese art reference books. Of course I love books, and art, so this was a no-brainer! The collection will probably sell between $1,500 and $2,000. Someone is going to be the lucky owner of this collection, and I know they’ll treasure each book.

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A Group of Thirty Chinese Art Reference Books

Those are my top picks for the Sotheby’s auctions. I still have to comb through the offerings at two more auctions, so look out for those posts soon. Have a fabulous Friday!

 

 

art · international

My Top Picks from Doyle’s Asian Art Auction

As we move steadily toward Asian Art Auction Week, it’s time to highlight another auction house that will be offering Asian art during this event. Today I’m sharing my favorite pieces from Doyle Auction House.

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If you’ve never heard me mention Doyle, it’s because I wasn’t familiar with the house. However, I’m glad that the name crossed my path, as they have an impressive auction scheduled for September 10 at 10 AM. Here are a few of my top picks:

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Pair of Chinese Jade-Covered Vases

These jade-covered vases are a stunning pair, with a charming bit of patina adding character to the set. The set is perfect for a home office, at a small but significant 10 inches tall. These could sell for anywhere between $12,000 to more than $18,000.

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Chinese Lapis Lazuli Mountain

I’ve never wanted a mountain before, but this piece is an eyecatcher. This Chinese Lapis Lazuli Mountain is just a little shy of 8 inches tall but is sure to be the star of any art collection. The mountain has vivid shades of denim, cobalt, cerulean and (naturally) lapis blues. The carving depicting a mountainside village is simultaneously heartwarming and hypnotizing. I expect this to easily surpass the $12,000 high end estimate.

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Japanese Silver Inlaid Bronze Miniature Cabinet

Finally, this Japanese bronze miniature cabinet is another jewel from this collection. The silver inlay work features intricate patterning and an avian motif. The cabinet would make a wonderful holding place for tiny treasures. I wouldn’t surprised if this went for well over the $5,000 higher estimate.

Unlike some of the more popular auction websites, the bulk of the collection is featured in the digital catalog as opposed to having separate webpages for each item. That being said, the digital catalog features an array of lovely pieces from Asia. This auction is definitely one to check out if you’re in the New York area on September 10, 2018.