This Week’s Top Lots: April 19 – 24

Editorial Staff Art

Sweetmeat dish attributed to Francis Bassett I, 1728. Courtesy of Freeman’s.

*  At the April 19 American furniture, decorative art & folk art sale at Freeman’s in Philadelphia, the top lot was a pewter sweetmeat dish attributed to Francis Bassett I, 1728, that sold for $85,000 (estimate $45,000-55,000). The second highest price paid was for a George Washington memorial needlework (estimate $30,000-50,000), which sold for $33,400.

*  At Freeman’s April 20 American design sale, the top lots were a George Nakashima Odakyu cabinet commissioned in 1986 (estimate $8,000-12,000), and a painted and carved cottonwood Katchina that each brought $28,600 (estimate $800-1,200).

Fireplace surround, Paris, c. 1880. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

*  On April 20, sales at Sotheby’s New York sale of 19th century works of art totaled $3.6 million. The top lot was a Louis XVI style mahogany and marble top commode by Francois Linke that brought $218,500 (estimate $150,000-250,000). Other top sales were a Tiffany & Company mystery clock in the Greek Revival style that sold for $158,500 (estimate $100,000-150,000), and a French gilt-bronze mounted white marble fireplace surround, c. 1880, that brought $146,500 (estimate $15,000-25,000).

*  At the April 20 sale of collectible motorcars at Bonhams UK a two-seater Vickers-Supermarine MK IX Spitfire aircraft was sold for 1.7 million pounds (estimate £1.5-2 million) to the London businessman Steve Brooks. It was the first two-seater MK IX Spitfire to be offered at a public auction in over twenty years-the World War II aircraft was fully restored and and according to the auction house, “ready-to-fly.”

Elephant, 20th century. Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd., 2009.

*  On April 21 the sale of 19th century works of art at Christie’s New York totaled just under $3 million. The top lots included an ormolu-mounted and gilded black lacquer commode that brought $218,500 (estimate $70,000-100,000) and a secretaire that brought $158,500 (estimate $50,000-70,000), both after models for Marie Antoinette by Jean-Henri Riesener now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection. Ceramics also realized strong prices including a pair of pate-sur-pate porcelain vases by Minton that sold for $182,500 (estimate $150,000-200,000).

*  At the Christie’s New York sale of jewels on April 22 the top lot was a 30.02 carat pear-shaped diamond ring that brought over $4 million (estimate by request only). The next highest prices were $1.65 million for a 32.72 rectangular-cut diamond ring (estimate $1.4 – 1.8 million) and $986,500 for a 15.05 carat Harry Winston diamond pendant (estimate $700,000-1,000,000). Among other noteworthy lots was a Marcus & Company sapphire, pearl, and diamond sautoir that sold for $194,500 (estimate $60,000-80,000) and a gem-encrusted carved ivory elephant that sold for $170,500 (estimate $80,000-120,000).  The sale was sold 84% by lot and totaled $19.29 million.

Russian Art at Sotheby’s New York on April 22 had total sales of over $13.8 million, and although 35% of the lots failed to sell, many results were strong with several works fetching well above the high estimates. The top lot was an Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky’s Columbus Sailing from Palos (1892), which brought just under $1.6 million (estimate $1-1.5 million). Other top prices were $1.25 million paid for a two-part Boris Grigorev painting (estimate $500,000-700,000) and $602,500 for a drawing by Alexandre Iacovleff (estimate $85,000-125,000)—a record for the artist.

Bracelet by Cartier, c. 1930. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

*  The April 23 sale of jewels at Sotheby’s New York was 68.6% sold by lot, totaling over $11 million. The top lot was a platinum-mounted diamond necklace, with clusters of marquise- and pear-shaped diamonds weighing 48.83 carats and a fringe of 17 pear-shaped diamonds weighing 44.33 carats; it was sold to a private European collector for $698,500 (estimate $500,000-700,000). The second highest price was $482,500 paid for a 13.98-carat diamond ring (estimate $450,000-500,000). Another noteworthy lot was a Cartier platinum and diamond bangle bracelet from about 1930 that brought $230,500 (estimate $70,000-90,000).

*  Today’s sale (April 24) of Russian Art at Christie’s New York had several lots surpass their estimates, and brought a total of $13.2 million; the top lot was Svetoslav Roerich’s portrait of Nicholas Roerich that brought nearly $3 million (estimate $900,000-1,100,000). A painting by Nicholas Roerich sold for $1.4 million (estimate $300,000-500,000) fetching the next highest price. Other noteworthy sales were Fabergé items: a gem and rock crystal lily-of-the-valley study that brought $314,500 (estimate $150,000-250,000), and a jeweled, chalcedony parrot with a gold and enamel perch that sold for $290,500 (estimate $30,000-50,000).

*  At Sotheby’s New York today (April 24), sales of 19th century European art totaled $10.8 million; the top lot was an Orientalist painting by John Frederick Lewis that realized $3.4 million (estimate $1.5-2 million). Other top sales included Jean-Léon Gérôme’s A Bashi-Bazouk and His Dog that was sold for $794,500 and a John William Waterhouse painting, Miranda – The Tempest, brought $746,500 (both estimated at $600,000-800,000.