This Week’s Top Lots: April 6 – 10

Editorial Staff Art

Vase, Qianlong period. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

*  This week Sotheby’s hosted several important auctions in Hong Kong from Saturday to Wednesday.  Overall the sales were disappointing, totaling $89 million (reportedly less than half of last year’s figure), but with several bright spots. The auction house’s first single-owner wine sale in Asia, and its sale of “Eight Treasures from a European Collection” (which alone brought $12.2 million) both sold 100% of the lots offered. One notable top lot was a magnificent Qing Dynasty celadon vase that sold for $6.1 million (estimate $1.9-2.6 million)—setting an auction record for monochrome porcelain.

Pod of Drawers by Marc Newson, executed 1999. Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2009.

*  At Christie’s New York sale of English furniture, clocks and ceramics on Tuesday the top lot was a four-poster mahogany and silk damask bed by Giles Grendey that was bought by an anonymous bidder for $188,500, missing its pre-sale estimate of $200,000-300,000. A scagliola inlay and giltwood side table attributed to Thomas Chippendale fared better, and was sold to a European dealer for $170,500 (estimate $100,000-150,000). The sale totaled just over $1.6 million.

*  On Tuesday Christie’s also hosted a sale of 20th century decorative art and design in London that total 1.8 million pounds. The top two lots were both works by Marc Newson-an aluminum Pod of Drawers that fetched £361,250 (estimate £150,000-250,000 and an Orgone chair that brought £193,250 (estimate £200,000-300,000)—showing the healthy but unpredictable market for limited edition contemporary design.

Needlework sampler by Sarah B. Herbert, 1834. Courtesy of Doyle New York.

*  The top lot at Doyle New York’s sale of American furniture and decorative arts  on Tuesday was a circa 1790 tall case clock by John Fisher of Pennsylvania that was sold for $22,500 (estimate $5,000-7,000). Another noteworthy sale was a needlework sampler by Sarah B. Herbert of Portsmouth, Virginia from 1834 that brought $11,250 (estimate $3,000-5,000). The sale totaled $364,130 and was sold 78% by lot.

“Loop” chair by Frances Elkins, c. 1934, Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

*  At Sotheby’s New York on Thursday, the sale of English furniture and decorative arts totaled just over $2.1 million. The top lot was mid-18th-century games table of carved and veneered walnut after designs by Matthias Lock-it brought $170,500 (estimate $150,000-250,000). The second highest price was $152,500 for a striking Regency period blue john krater-form vase attributed to James Shore that greatly surpassed its estimate of $60,000-80,000. Also notable in the sale were two pairs of “loop” chairs by Frances Elkins (previously featured in The Magazine ANTIQUES here) that were estimated at $6,000-8,000 for each pair. Both pairs sold for just $5,938 each.