Art Nouveau gilt bronze figures dance their way to $60K in Dec. 5 sale


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Still life on canvas by Paul Lecroix (NJ/NY, 1827-1869), in likely original gilt wood frame ($21,850).


HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – A pair of gilt bronze figural dancers, executed by the renowned French artist and sculptor Agathon Léonard (1841-1923) sold for a combined $60,950 at a Fine & Decorative Arts Cataloged Auction held Dec. 5 by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. It was the final sale of the year for the firm.

Agathon Léonard was the pseudonym of Van Weydveldt. He gained fame in 1900 with the debut of “Jeu l’echarpe,” originally created for Sevres in fine porcelain as a centerpiece and based on the fluid movements of Loïe Fuller in her famous scarf dances. The sets sold out and Léonard created the figures in bronze in varying sizes. The two sold are 21 3/4 inches tall and epitomize the Art Nouveau movement.

The bronzes were the top lots in a sale that saw nearly 750 lots change hands. Around 250 people packed the building, while over 700 bidders registered online, through LiveAuctioneers.com, prior to the sale. Also, pre-absentee and phone bids numbered 1,300. “This was a great sale to wrap up the first year in our new showroom,” Leland Little commented. “We look forward to continued success next year.”

The auction was preceded by previews, an evening reception and a special lecture by June Lucas, the director of research at Old Salem Museums and Gardens in Winston-Salem, N.C. Ms. Lucas’ talk was titled Wood on Canvas: the Paint-Decorated Furniture of Piedmont, N.C. It centered on the late 18th and 19th century furniture makers in the Piedmont region of the state and their use of paint decoration.

Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

The next top lot after the Leonard bronzes was an Edgefield District “Dave the Slave” 5-gallon ovoid form jug, with applied ear handles and an even medium brown alkaline glaze. The inscribed and dated (1857) piece sold for $26,450. Also, a Jugtown (North Carolina) Chinese blue “Tang” vase, Oriental translation form, with applied extruded handles and wine glaze fetched $1,495.

Fine art commanded strong prices. A still life on canvas by Paul Lacroix (NJ/NY, 1827-1869), housed in the likely original gilt wood frame and signed lower left, brought $21,850; an oil on canvas by Aldro T. Hibbard (MA/VT, 1886-1972), titled Snow Scene in Moonlight, signed and framed, hammered for $17,250; and a bronze creation by Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), titled Bear, realized $4,600.

American period furniture got paddles wagging. An early 19th century Southern chest on frame (Rowan County, N.C.), walnut with yellow pine secondary, rose to $17,250; a Southern Chippendale step-back cupboard (Western N.C., circa 1800-1820), one piece form, climbed to $13,800; and a fine Southern Hepplewhite inlaid cellaret (probably Virginia, circa 1800), mahogany, topped out at $6,900.

Also, a mid-19th century Southern Sheraton server (Guilford County, N.C.), cherry with poplar secondary, earned $2,760, about double the high estimate. Tops among Continental furniture pieces were a Louis XV-style Belle Epoque French escritoire, mahogany with ormolu mounts ($8,338); and a pair of Bagues-style wall sconces of molded glass and gilt metal, each with a bird on an urn ($2,070).

In the folk art category, a large late 19th century carved American eagle, made in New England of white pine with a dark red-brown tone, breezed to $14,950; an untitled mixed media on paper work of angels and winged animals by Minnie Evans (NC, 1892-1987, circa 1970s) garnered $5,520; and a 19th century Virginia leather key basket, oblong form, hand-stitched of brown tinted leather, made $4,830.

Asian pieces wowed the crowd. A 19th century six-panel coromandel dressing screen, with each panel relief carved at the top and bottom, 73 inches by 90 inches, achieved $14,375; a matched pair of 19th century antique carved wooden doors with a landscape scene on one side and a carved dragon on the other went for $12,650; and an unsigned Sino-Tibetan style painting depicting Buddha hit $6,612.

Also, a pair of late 18th or early 19th century Chinese porcelain vases, baluster form and hand-painted in polychrome overglaze enamels, coasted to $3,910; an ancient Chinese bronze sword with provenance (circa 700-400 B.C.), in a silk-lined presentation box, sold for $2,990; and an 18th century Chinese Huanghuali document box with dovetail joints and later Chinese hardware commanded $2,760.

In art glass and lighting, a Tiffany Studios bronze and Favrile lamp in a four-arm electrified “candelabra” form, with five glass shades (all signed) and attractive, colorful patina attained $14,375; a signed Tiffany Favrile decanter and six cordials of gold iridescent glass, all etched “L.C.T.,” gaveled for $2,990; and a late 19th or early 20th century Peking glass bottle vase, red cut to frosted, realized $2,300.

Among porcelains, a late 19th century Meissen nodder with underglaze blue crossed swords mark to the bottom and depicting a male figure seated cross-legged demanded $4,370; a Meissen figural of an elephant and blackamoor, finely molded and painted, hit $3,220; a late 19th century Viennese enameled jewelry casket made $1,955; and an early 20th century Pickard signed jardinière topped out at $1,610.

Vintage clocks were in the house. A 19th century French gilt brass cartel clock with two sconces, time and strike, brass movement and porcelain dial chimes on time for $1,840; and a French gilt bronze mantel clock in the form of a black enameled globe clock with Roman numeral markers brought $1,610. Also, an early 20th century authentic stock exchange ticker machine in original condition fetched $9,200.

Musical instruments were real crowd-pleasers. A beautiful Gibson Master Model F-5 mandolin by Derrington (2001, serial #V70314), signed by Derringer and with a spirit varnish finish over a bound spruce top, garnered $9,890; a vintage Gretsch electric guitar (circa 1960s-‘70s, serial #50848) brought $1,725; and a vintage 1976 Les Paul custom Gibson guitar with gold-plated hardware reached $2,415.

Fine estate jewelry is a staple at most Leland Little auctions, and this one was no exception. A circa 1955 14 karat white gold diamond brooch in floral spray design changed hands for $3,910; a 14 karat marquise diamond ring with one 1.29-carat diamond and 24 round brilliant cut diamonds rose to $3,200; and a David Yurman sterling silver and diamond bracelet with twisted and braided links reached $2,760.

Gold coins sailed past their high estimates (probably a reflection of market conditions). A 1926 $2.50 Indian gold quarter eagle coin graded NGC MS65 found a new owner for $2,760; a 1928 $20 St. Gaudens gold double eagle coin with minimal marks and graded NGC MS 65 finished at $2,530; and an 1879 Indian Princess $3 gold coin, one of only 3,030 struck and graded NGC AU58, garnered $2,300.

Rounding out the top lots, an important Southern coin silver cup by Leinbach, a footed cup with applied handle and beaded border to the foot and mouth, sold for $4,830; an early 19th century Mexican Soldado de Cuera shield with bull-hide construction and decorated with an Aztec eagle soared to $4,140; and a Northampton County (PA) needlework sampler by Susanna Lerch (Oct. 7, 1832) rose to $2,530.

Next up for Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd., is a New Year’s Day non-cataloged sale, followed by a cataloged auction slated for March 20, 2010. Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd., is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single item, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them at 919-644-1243. Or, you can e-mail them at info@LLAuctions.com.

To learn more about Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd., and their calendar of upcoming auctions, visit www.LLAuctions.com.

Photos courtesy Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales.



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More Images:

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A pair of gilt bronze figural dancers (one shown), by French artist Agathon Léonard brought $60,950.
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This stunning circa 1955 14 karat white gold diamond brooch in a floral spray design realized $3,910.
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Early 19th century Southern chest on frame (Rowan County, N.C.), walnut and yellow pine ($17,250).
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Tiffany Studios bronze and Favrile lamp in a four-arm electrified "candelabra" form ($14,375).

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