This Week’s Top Lots: March 30 – April 3

Editorial Staff Art

Cala Lily by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1988. Courtesy of Christie’s.

* Monday’s sale of photographs at Christie’s New York, which totaled over $1.5 million with 71% of the lots sold, brought few surprises—most works were sold within their estimates. The top lot was a Robert Mapplethorpe Cala Lily from 1988 that was sold to a European collector for $122,500 (estimate $100,000-150,000). Richard Avedon’s iconic Dovima with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris, August 1955, that had been a gift from the artist, brought $116,500 (estimate $70,000-100,000) making it the second highest lot. One notable sale was Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of the art collector and writer Judith Martinez Ortega from 1934, which realized $25,000 (estimate $9,000-12,000).

Daguerreotype, New York City, October 1864 or earlier.

* Prices paid for photographs offered at Sotheby’s New York on Monday showed the market for rare works remains strong. The top lot was László Moholy-Nagy’s portrait of Lucia Moholy from the 1920s that brought $242,500 (estimate $200,000-300,000). Two works by Robert Frank, New Orleans (Trolley), and London (Hearse), were sold for $122,500 and $98,500 respectively (both estimated at $80,000-120,000). A rare early daguerreotype of a country home on Broadway, one of the earliest depictions of New York City, was sold to Billy and Jennifer Frist for $62,500 (estimate $50,000-70,000). In total the sale brought just under $2.4 million and sold 63.4% by lot.

Bucket or finger bowl, Syria or Egypt, mid-14th century. Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.

* On Tuesday the Islamic and Indian art sale at Christie’s London brought over 2.4 million pounds; the top two lots were both 15th-century calligraphic folios believed to be from an album compiled by ‘Asadullah Kirmani for Bayezid II or his father Mehmet II. Each was estimated at £15,000-20,000 and realized £223,250 and £289,250—far exceeding expectations.

* At the Sotheby’s London sale of Islamic art on Wednesday, which brought 4.7 million pounds overall, the top lot was a mid-14th century Islamic glass bucket, previously in the Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild collection, that had sold for only £75,250 in 2000 after it was believed to be a fake. The bucket was recently authenticated and realized over 1.5 million pounds, doubling its estimate of £600,000-800,000.

Guitar, OM-45 Deluxe, by C. F. Martin & Company, 1930. Courtesy of Christie’s.

* This morning at the Christie’s New York sale of musical instruments, the sale of Roy Rogers’ 1930 Martin & Company OM-45 Deluxe guitar (one of only 15 made), did not disappoint. Estimated at $150,000-250,000, the guitar, one of four items sold by the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum, fetched $554,500. The second highest price was $362,500 for an 18th-century cello made by Gennaro Gagliano of Naples (estimate $200,000-300,000), and overall the sale totaled over $2.5 million.

* Today, European furniture at Sotheby’s New York realized over $2.1 million with the top price shared between a pair of circa 1700 Italian giltwood pilasters depicting male caryatids and a pair of ormolu and marble-topped oval guéridons that were both sold for $46,875 with estimates of  $20,000-30,000 each.