California painters lead $1.4M sale

OAKLAND, Calif. – Prior to Clars’ May 15 and 16, 2010, antique and estate auction, company President Redge Martin knew that this would be one of their strongest sales to date based on the important estates to be represented and the quality of consignments in both important art and furnishings.

When the final hammer dropped late in the evening of May 16, his expectations had been realized. The sale resulted in $1.4 million in sales, the fourth largest in the firm’s more than 60-year history and their largest May auction to date.

Clars’ May sale featured art and antiques from several important estates and consignors including the Lane & Jenkins Trust of San Francisco, the Frank Hinman Estate of San Francisco, the Dr. Sydney Widrow Estate of Hawaii and the Dr. Lawrence Loftus Estate of Carmel (Calif.).

The art category soared above all achieving strong prices for both contemporary and classic works. Several important works from California painters were offered, led by “Moonrise over Mojave” by Maynard Dixon (California, 1875-1946). The bidding opened at $75,000 and competition from the floor, phones and Internet quickly drove this work to a final sale price of $110,450.

“Sunday Boating,” an oil on canvas by James Weeks (Californian, 1922-1998), a scene of a group sailing on the San Francisco Bay executed in rich tones of blue, was estimated to earn $20,000 to $30,000 and sold for $28,440. This lot was followed by the successful sale of “Oaks in a Field of Poppies and Lupine” by Percy Gray (Californian, 1922-1998) for $24,885. “View of Mount Tamalpais from the Valley,” also by Percy Gray, achieved $20,145 and a stunning coastal work, “Mt. Doud, Bid Sur,” by Arthur Hill Gilbert (Californian, 1894-1970) did well at $20,145. American artist Andrew Wyeth’s (1917-2009) watercolor, painted on the title page of a book and showing an empty basket on a sloping hill, sold within the estimate at $28,400.

A framed gelatin silver photograph, “Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite” by Ansel Adams from the Widrow Estate sold for $23,700. This same photograph is part of the current traveling exhibition of Adams’ work entitled: “Ansel Adams, Early Work.”

Turning to the contemporary art category, Enrico Donati’s (New York, 1909-2008) framed mixed media entitled “Eclipse Anee 2000” earned $26,070. “Persons of the Prism,” a framed acrylic on canvas by Gordon Onslow Ford (Californian, 1912-2003) sold well at $13,035.

Asian art and antiques has been performing exceptionally well at Clars. This sale saw a set of four Chinese hanging scrolls, executed in ink and color on paper and attributed to Liu Kuo-sung (b. 1932), nearly double its high estimate by selling for $35,550.

A number of important antique furniture lots were offered with all performing within or over their estimates, suggesting that the fall in furniture sales is recovering. Selling for well over estimate was a circa 1875 monumental American Renaissance Revival bedroom suite done in walnut and walnut burl. With a high estimate of $12,000, this suite sold for $18,960.

The Sunday session of the two-day sale featured several exceptional jewelry offerings from these important consignors. The headliner of this category was a 9 carat brilliant cut diamond ring set in platinum accented by 52 smaller diamonds. This dazzling piece of fine jewelry sold for $88,450 to a very determined phone bidder.

Clars Auction Gallery’s next two-day Fine Estate Auction will be held June 12-13, 2010. The preview for their June sale is June 11 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment. A full catalog with descriptions, estimates and photos will be available online at prior to the sale.

Clars Auction Gallery is located at 5644 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609. To register to bid or for additional information, call Clars Auction Gallery at 888-339-7600, visit their website at, or e-mail ?

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