This week's top lots
What: Ten églomisé panels from the "Birth of Aphrodite" by Jean Dupas, c. 1934
Where: Sotheby's New York (December 17, 20th Century Design)
Sold For: $512,500
These amazing art deco panels come from one of the four reverse-painted glass murals that Dupas created for the Grand Salon of the S.S. Normandie—the largest and most luxurious ocean liner of its day. The rare surviving panels—some of which are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art—were removed from the ship's interior just before the Normandie, while being converted for use as a troopship during World War II, was destroyed by a fire.
What: Autographed photograph of Oscar Wilde by Napoleon Sarony, 1882
Where: Bonhams New York (December 15, Books, Maps, Manuscripts & Historical Photographs)
Sold For: $19,520
Inscribed with one of Wilde's typical witticisms—Rien n'est vrai, que le beau (Only the beautiful is true)—this large-format portrait of the famous aesthete was taken by the successful celebrity photographer, Napoleon Sarony, whose other sitters included the actress Sarah Bernhardt, Nicholas Tesla, and Mark Twain.
What: Maiolica tondino by Nicola da Urbino, c. 1524
Where: Christie's Paris (December 17, European Decorative Art)
Sold For: €1.18 million
This plate or "tondino" was made by the celebrated artist Nicola da Urbino for Isabella d'Este, the marchioness of Mantua, who was one of the most important collectors and art patrons during the Renaissance. Before coming to auction this example was one of two "missing" pieces from the twenty-four piece service: twenty are held in various museum collections (including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Louvre), and two are known in private collections.
What: Pair of "bow-tie" Bakelite bangle bracelets
Where: Bonhams New York and Los Angeles (December 16, Collection of Susan Kelner Freeman)
Sold For: $3,965
This pair of bracelets with an accompanying ring was one of about 300 lots of vintage Bakelite (a plastic developed by Leo Baekeland in 1907) and other early pieces of costume jewelry sold from the collection of Susan Kelner Freeman. The most famous collection of Bakelite jewlery, which belonged to Andy Warhol, was sold by Sotheby's in 1988, spurring the market for these collectible and colorful accessories.