Neither inclement weather nor a faltering economy thwarted buyers from participating in Jackson’s International auction of Dec. 2-3. The two-session 1,000 lot sale featured American and European fine art together with Russian works. A total of 465 registered bidders from 27 countries participated, producing sales of $2.3 million.
The highlight of the auction was an early 13th century Limoges enamel tabernacle. The 10-inch, four-sided container with pyramidal top drew interest from museums, collectors and dealers far and wide. Conservatively estimated at $40,000-$70,000, bidding opened at $75,000, slowly winding its way upward until reaching its final selling price of $295,000 (including 18 percent buyer’s premium).
The auction opened with European paintings, starting with an oil on canvas by Jacques C. Wagrez, depicting a story teller and a gathering of attentive listeners. The 54-inch by 42-inch unframed painting sold to a collector in Estonia for $20,000. A large painting depicting The Death of Leander by Charles A. Sellier sold for $10,620. A frozen river landscape painting with skaters by Dutch artist Charles H. Leickert attracted one potential buyer who flew in from Holland but ended up only being the under bidder as the painting crossed the block at $35,400.
Russian works drew interest, beginning with a charming (albeit unsigned) gouache on paper depicting a peasant girl by Zinaida Serebrykova that sold to an in-house bidder for $61,360. That was followed by a colorful oil on canvas depiction of Russian Baba by Filip Malyavin that sold to a buyer in Moscow for $56,640. Noteworthy sales of Russian decorative arts included a 4-inch Fabergé silver-gilt and guilloche enamel case which sold for $47,200. A 3 1/2-inch Fabergé nephrite cigarette case made $17,700 and a similar size silver and guilloche enamel case by Sumin sold for $12,980. Icons witnessed strong bidding with a pair of silver-gilt and shaded enamel covered icons, one depicting Christ, the other the Virgin (a wedding set), and each measuring 11 inches by 10 inches sold to an in-house bidder for $171,100. An icon of the Virgin and Child with gilded silver oklad (cover) sold to a New York buyer for $35,400. A pair of icons depicting saints Peter and Paul, dating to the 17th century and measuring 35 inches in height sold to a phone bidder from France for $41,300.
The second session opened with American paintings beginning with a 15-inch by 30-inch oil on canvas rural Iowa landscape by native artist Marvin Cone, which sold for $147,500 against an estimate of $60,000-$80,000. A 10-inch by 13-inch oil landscape sketch by John Sloan sold for $17,700. A fall landscape measuring 16 inches by 20 inches by Alfred H. Hutty sold to a buyer from Pennsylvania for $8,260. An interior mother-daughter scene by Joseph Lauber titled The Sewing Lesson sold to a buyer from Kentucky for $5,900, and a 9-inch by 17-inch landscape by Harrison Brown (1831-1915) sold for $4,720.
American and European bronzes and sculpture sold next, the highlight being a bronze figural grouping of Leda and the Swan, which sold for $9,440. A painted bronze Sioux Indian chief by Austrian artist Carl Kauba sold for $6,962, and a Credo figure by French artist Emmanuel Friemet sold for $6,136.
Furniture and furnishings, which while rather on the soft side, still saw strong prices for unique items. Some examples include a Swiss carved Black Forest tall case clock that sold for $25,960 and a French Neo-Classical gilt bronze and marble garniture depicting a Bacchanal scene sold for $14,750. A Victorian carved figural mahogany parlor table depicting a kneeling woman supporting the table top sold for $8,850. A collection of 12 Victorian papier-mâché and black lacquerware decorative furniture pieces totaled $6,845.
A mixed bag of silver followed furnishings beginning with a 197-piece set of sterling flatware by Georg Jensen in Acorn pattern that sold for $10,030. A set of eight Georg Jensen sterling plates in Acorn measuring 6 inches in diameter did $3,304, and a Georg Jensen matching sterling silver bracelet and necklace sold to a buyer from the UK for $1,770.
Highlights of porcelain, ceramics and glassware include a 9-inch German porcelain figural group showing some early repairs selling for $2,596, followed by a more contemporary grouping of German military horsemen figurines, which sold for $2,124. A three-piece Carl Thieme Dresden style porcelain clock and matching 32-inch-tall covered urns sold for $8,490.
While sales of Oriental rugs were very soft, the same cannot be said with regards to Orientalia, which saw great interest from buyers in the Far East. A collection of carved ivory saw heated competition, with a reclining nude bringing well above the $500-$700 estimate and selling for an impressive $4,012. A carved Chinese Communist themed tusk fragment sold to a phone bidder for $2,124, and a contemporary carved fossilized mammoth tusk fragment brought slightly more at $2,596. Snuff bottles sold well above their high estimate, including a collection of 15 Chinese snuff bottles, which totaled $12,390. A 4-inch diameter Qianlong jadeite bowl sold for $5,664, while a group of three small gilt bronze deities totaled $4,956.
Commenting on the overall health of the market, Jackson’s International president and CEO James L. Jackson said, “There is no doubt the market is tightening and in some areas it is soft, particularly with regards to mundane or ordinary items in any category. However, when it comes to blue chip first-tiered and/or unique and interesting items, the market appears very stable.”
For more information, visit www.jacksonsauction.com.