CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — If by chance Jackson’s International Auctioneers were searching for a new motto, they might aptly choose the following: “Neither record snow, blowing winds or frigid temperatures will prevent us from having a successful auction.” Indeed such was the case on Dec. 8-9 at Jackson’s Cedar Falls, Iowa, headquarters, which witnessed a super charged auction amidst a record 14-inch snow fall combined with wind gusts of 50 miles per hour and temperatures plunging below zero. It was perhaps the unique mix of material that created the perfect storm of bidders who helped raise prices and melt down any thoughts of a less-than-stellar auction producing gross sales reaching over $2 million.
“I have to hand it to my staff” said Jackson’s President and CEO James Jackson. “As our client services director Jessi Brogan said the day before the storm, ‘We’d all better prepare to get here and launch this thing because people in Moscow, Peking, London, Paris and Rome don’t know anything about this storm and further still could care less.’” Jackson continued, “Just to be on the safe side we hired a snow plow truck to pick up employees and deliver them to the gallery despite the fact that every school, airport, store and factory within a 300 mile radius was shut down. None of us expected many people, if any, to actually show up, but indeed there were over two dozen die hard auction goers who somehow made it to our gallery, including two from China, one from Chicago, two from New York, one from Kansas City, and another from Dallas as well as one from Minneapolis.”
The auction began right on time with over 600 bidders having pre registered producing an active sales pace throughout each session. The phone lines were busy with stranded bidders calling in to arrange phone bidding or leave bids, and live online Internet bidding was also eventful.
The sale opened with a variety of European art including an oil on canvas portrait of a young woman by British artist William Clarke Wontner (1857-1930) that sold to the phone for $45,600. That was followed by an alluring oil on canvas by Austrian artist Hans Zatzka (1859-1945) titled Symphony of the Water Nymphs, which drew wide interest including 15 phone lines. Estimated at $12,000-$18,000, when all was said and done the painting finished at $44,400, selling to a New York buyer. An oil on canvas by French artist Henri Schlesinger (1814-1893) titled A Ride in the Park brought $26,400 — a good bit over the high estimate. Perhaps the biggest surprise in European paintings was the 29-inch by 44-inch oil on canvas unsigned Venetian scene attributed to British artist John Joseph Hughes (1820-1909). Estimated at a mere $1,000-$2,000, the painting commanded 10 phone lines and ended up selling to a buyer from Florida for $26,400.
Other European works of note include a 13th century Limoges enamel corpus Christi and later copper gilt cross that sold for $15,600. A bronze figure of a water nymph by Italian sculpture Luca Madarassi (1848-1919) sold for $10,200 against an estimate of $3,000-$5,000. And a pair of 13-inch by 18-inch oil on canvas Paris street scenes by French artist Antoine Blanchard (1910-1988) sold for $15,600.
Next up to sell was a small but diverse group of Russian items with the highlight being a bronze by Evgeny Lansere (1848-1886) titled Zaporozhets after the Battle. Estimated at $8,000-$12,000, it finished at more than twice the high estimates coming in at $33,600. A few other Russian works of note included a small (9-inch by 12-inch) landscape by Mikhail Klodt (1832-1902) that sold for $13,200. A Russian snow scene by Dmitri Nalbandian (1906-1993) did $12,000 and a folding iconostasis finished at $9,600. A small (13-inch) bronze of an armless female torso by Moissey Kogan (1879-1942) also sold for $9,600 and an 8-inch diameter steel plate commemorating the coronation of Czar Alexander III sold for $3,600.
A group of works on paper from a Las Vegas collection followed Russian arts with a small but fine group of modern prints, the highlight being a linocut print by Picasso titled Tete de Femme, 1962, and measuring 25 inches by 20 inches. Estimated at $40,000-$60,000 the print drew wide interest finishing at $81,600, selling to New York buyer. Other Picassos of note include a linocut titled Jacqueline Lisante, 1964, measuring 25 inches by 10 inches that sold for $60,000. Picasso’s Femme au Chapeau, 1962, a linocut in colors measuring 13 inches by 10 inches sold for $45,600, and Picador et Taureau, 1959, another linocut, finished at $36,000. Other modern prints worthy of mention include Chagall’s color lithograph titled Chloes Judgment, 1960, from Daphins and Chloe, measuring 16 inches by 25 inches it sold to a buyer in New York for $21,600. Another Chagall color lithograph, Le Bouquet Rose, 1980, sold for $20,400, which was followed by Les Lilas, also a color lithograph by Chagall, that sold for $18,000.
The second session opened with American art including a fresh-to-the-market snow scene by Ernest Lawson (1873-1939). The 18-inch by 24-inch oil on canvas sold to the phone for $45,600. That was followed by a still-life by Iowa artist Marvin Cone (1891-1964), which sold above the high estimate bringing $31,200. A typical Normandy river landscape by American artist George Ames Aldrich (1872-1941) sold for $11,400. A group of three small oil sketches by Chicago artist Walter Krawiec, each measuring 11 inches by 14 inches totaled $9,000 against an estimate of $1,500-$2,500. An oil on masonite pinup girl by American artist William Metcalf brought $8,400, and Thomas Hart Benton’s lithograph Frankie and Johnnie sold for $7,200. An interesting bust titled The Head of David-after Michelangelo, by American artist Richmond Barthe (1901-1989) did well selling for $6,600 against an estimate of $1,000-$2,000 and a 12-inch by 20-inch oil by Arthur Parton (1842-1914) depicting raging rapids sold for $5,280.
Next up to sell were American and European glassware, porcelain and decorative arts, started off by a Tiffany Pomegranate lamp that sold for $16,800. That was followed by a pot metal figural lamp, modeled after a work by Oscar Bach containing a Steuben globe shade, that sold for $4,800. A 5-inch miniature Daum Nancy snow scene vase sold for $2,000 and a Legras Indiana cameo vase did $3,120. A 16-inch KPM plaque depicting the male saint Rodriguez after the painting by Murillo sold for $6,000, and a 6-inch by 5-inch oval KPM plaque of a Greek girl sold for $4,000. A pair of Meissen cupid figurines made slightly over $5,000 and a Meissen figural grouping of musicians did $4,800. A large Zsolnay vase titled Allegory of the Flood, modeled by Lajos Mack and measuring 25 inches, drew wide interest selling to a buyer from New York for $10,800.
Decorative arts and furnishings saw a good amount of action as well with a French Empire period bronze figural clock tripling the high estimate bringing $18,000. A pair of elephant tusks deaccessioned from an Iowa museum also sold for $18,000. A Louis XVI style mahogany and ormolu mounted curved glass vitrine sold to a buyer from Los Angeles for $22,800, followed by a similarly decorated gilt bronze and vernis mounted side cabinet that sold $18,000 against the rather low estimate of $2,000-$4,000.
By far the most super-charged bidding was in the Oriental section with most every lot receiving active bids from the floor, phone, Internet and absentee bid department. The highlight of Oriental art was a carved jade water basin cataloged as 19th century with a question mark. The carved stone basin (3 inches deep by 21 inches long by 11 inches wide) carried an estimate of only $1,500-$2,000 but ended up selling at $55,200 to a phone bidder from China. That was followed by a 16-inch carved jade urn, also cataloged as 19th century, with later seal of Qianlong; estimated at $600-$900 it too sold to the phone for $14,400. Next to sell was a Chinese export ceramic fishbowl measuring 18 inches in height, and although it had a hairline crack in the base, it still sold for $18,000 against an estimate of $800-$1,200. A pair of Chinese cloisonné vases with floral designs, each circa 1900 and each about 12 inches in height, sold for $8,400. A gouache on card painting by well-known Indian artist Jamini Roy (1887-1972) sold for $16,800.
Other auction highlights include a pair of Chinese carved ivory puzzle or mystery balls that sold to a collector from Boston for $10,000. Interest in Continental ivory was equally as strong with collectors competing for a circa-1900 Italian inlaid lidded box that sold for $3,600 against an estimate of $600-$900. A small ladies diamond and platinum bar pin, estimated at $1,500-$2,500 sold at the high estimate bringing $2,640. A Victorian chatelaine sold for $1,560, followed by a ladies Art Deco watch with diamonds that realized $2,160, and an unmarked small 14-karat gold ladies compact that brought $1,920.
For complete auction results and consignment information, visit www.jacksonsauction.com.
Photos courtesy Jackson’s International Auctioneers.
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