An original oil painting by the renowned Irish artist Colin Middleton (1910-1983), titled Teresa and executed in 1947, sold for $71,500 at a multi-estate sale held Sept. 26-27 by Richard D. Hatch & Associates. The painting was the top lot in an auction that grossed just under $500,000 and saw over 1,400 lots change hands. Over 250 people attended the two-day event in person.
Middleton was probably the most eclectic Irish painter of the 20th century, moving easily between Cubist, Surrealist and Expressionist styles. He was self-taught and prolific, producing hundreds of works in the 1930s alone. At a Hatch auction held last year, two of Middleton’s works sold for $70,000 each. Teresa was expected to fetch about $50,000, but bidding was lively and competitive.
“Considering the current state of the economy, compounded by a local gas shortage, this sale was nothing short of amazing,” said Richard D. Hatch. “The turnout was wonderful. It was one of our finest sales ever, with an outstanding selection of merchandise from many estates. The gallery (located at 913 Upward Rd. in Flat Rock, N.C.) was loaded with fine art, art glass, silver, porcelains and more.”
In addition to the in-house crowd, 95 people bid by phone or absentee bids, and 1,130 registered bidders participated online, via LiveAuctioneers.com and eBayLiveAuctions.com. Museum-quality artwork dominated the event, led by important works of Irish art from the estate of Alan Breedon Malcolm Brush, born in Ireland in 1918. Mr. Hatch liquidated much of Mr. Brush’s estate last year.
Other works of note from Mr. Brush’s collection that sold in September included a pencil drawing by Louis Le Brocquy (Irish, b. 1916), titled Tinker Man (1946), which soared to $38,500; and an original oil painting by Irish artist Neville Johnson titled Family that seemed a good buy for $5,500. At a sale of Irish art held recently by Sotheby’s, three watercolors by Le Brocquy finished in the top ten.
More highlights from the Hatch sale follow. All prices include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
A top earner in the American art category was a watercolor work by the noted New England landscape and marine painter Emile Gruppe (N.Y./Mass., 1896-1978), titled Munch Landscape; it garnered $1,760. Mr. Gruppe was known for his Impressionist landscapes. Also, a marine rendering by European artist Charles Vetter (German, 1858-1936), titled Boats in Harbor, also achieved $1,760.
Fine porcelains filled the gallery. Highlights included a pair of 18th-century Sevres cache pots ($609); a large Meissen figural centerpiece ($550); and a pair of Meissen vases decorated with dragons ($187). A collection of Meissen “Blue Onion” pattern china, with a set of eight reticulated plates, made $1,049; a lot of ten soup bowls managed $385; and a 13-piece Limoges Fish set swam off for $1,100.
The showcases gleamed with sterling silver. A 24-piece lot of rosewood and sterling flatware by Mexican silversmith Hector Aguilar brought $7,150; and a bracelet by Los Castillo found an eager wrist for $358. A 14-piece Tiffany Art Deco travel set sold for $990; a tea and coffee service by Towle in the Windsor Rose pattern hit $1,430; and an enameled case with kitten and butterfly décor hit $770.
Extra showcases were required to display all the fine estate jewelry that had been consigned. An outstanding figural 18-karat diamond unicorn brooch totaling five carats (and appraised at $20,000) climbed to $4,950; an 18-karat diamond and South Seas pearl brooch, also totaling five carats, went for $1,760; and a gorgeous ruby and diamond ring with a 12-carat gem slipped on a new finger for $6,600.
Big-name watches garnered huge interest. A men’s 14-karat Omega Constellation with an 18-karat band (which retails for more than $15,000) went to a determined and happy bidder for $2,750; a men’s 14-karat Rolex wristwatch crossed the finish line at $2,090; and a lady’s stainless steel and gold watch commanded $880. Also, some nice gemstone rings sold for prices ranging from $110 to $1,100.
Art glass was well represented. A Webb cameo vase in a rich blue color hammered down for $2,420; a Wheeling Peachblow Morgan vase topped out at $3,025; a 46-piece fine stemware service by Moser made $1,540; 32 pieces of Baccarat were a steal for $550; a Galle cameo vase brought $935; a Charles Lotton vase chalked up $825; and a glistening Victorian stained glass window sold for $412.
A Tiffany mantle clock with triple chimes rang out at $1,650; a French bouille secretaire desk gaveled for $1,540; an 18th-century religious carving, 52 inches tall, sparked a bidding war before finally settling at $2,860; a German helmet made in the 1860s realized $1,760; a Turkish gold and silver medal was a hit at $1,870; and an interesting prisoner of war box from 1838 went for $715.
Rounding out the sale’s top lots, a collection of advertising tins was offered, with a set of 12 cigar tins fetching $660; ten coffee tins selling for $385; and an array of spice tins, some of them rare, surprising everyone for $1,760. An 1856-S $3 Princess Head gold coin made $825, while a 1917 $1 McKinley gold coin went for $176. A collection of Miniature oil lamps hammered for $30 to $880 each.
Richard D. Hatch & Associates is celebrating 29 years in the auction business. Mr. Hatch attributes his success to the fact that he consistently offers customers top-quality, fresh-to-the-market antiques, collectibles and other merchandise from local estates and from people downsizing. Many consignments come from the immediate Flat Rock area, which is filled with retirement communities.
Richard D. Hatch & Associates’ next big sale, planned for the weekend of Nov. 21-22, will be the annual Asian & Oriental Auction. The firm is accepting quality consignments for this and all future sales. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call 828-696-3440, or e-mail them at email@example.com.
To learn more, visit www.richardhatchauctions.com.