LOS ANGELES—Bonhams & Butterfields presented the J.Z. Knight collection at auction on Sept. 27, 2009. Amassed over a decade, the collection featured eclectic and unique examples of period furniture, decorative arts, carpets and paintings from the 17th through 20th centuries with a particular focus on European and American elegance.
Each item offered during the 500-lot sale was personally selected by Knight to reflect her passion for rare and unique items. Featured works from the auction included a discerning selection of 20th century design as well as a diverse array of European furnishings, decorative arts,
carpets and paintings. The Los Angeles sale brought over $1 million dollars and attracted an array of celebrity clientele.
"Bonhams & Butterfields was pleased to offer the collection of J.Z. Knight. Knight’s passion for beauty and quality were represented throughout the offering, in all facets of the auction. Strength was seen in the market for 20th century works and European paintings as well as Continental decorative arts," said Andrew Jones, Los Angeles Director of European Furniture and Decorative Arts at Bonhams & Butterfields.
Speaking about her collection, Knight said, "I have enjoyed a passion for collecting the works of geniuses. I connect with the artist, the craftsman, or painter. This collection represented a life long passion of mine. Each piece featured in the September auction had its own story and exquisite history – I cherished them all. After years of requests to part with my collection, I have agreed to share it with those who have a keen insight into the beauty and genius of each piece."
A robust selection of 20th century works highlighted the September auction. Items of note, which sold above estimate, included a nest of four French Art Nouveau marquetry tables, circa 1900 (estimate $4,000-$6,000, sold for $15,860); a monumental Daum Nancy gilt decorated enameled cameo glass vase with orchid and bee decoration (estimate $8,000-$12,000, sold for $13,420); a Gallé marquetry walnut two tier table, circa 1900 (estimate $5,000-$7,000, sold for $13,420); a W.M.F. silvered metal table mirror (estimate $3,000-$5,000, sold for $13,420); two pairs of American sterling candlesticks by Tiffany & Co. (estimate $5,000-$8,000, sold for $9,760) and a French Art Nouveau gilt bronze figural tobacco jar, Siot Foundry (estimate $3,000-$5,000, sold for $8,540).
According to Jones, "Robust bidding was seen in 20th century section of the auction. The highly sought after works represented a romantic vision of the period with emphasis on Belle Epoch and Art Nouveau periods."
Additional featured work from the 20th century section of the sale included a René Lalique frosted glass table clock: Deux Figurines, model introduced 1926 (sold for $11,590); a Gallé mold blown glass Plum vase, circa 1925 (sold for $9,150) and a Lalique frosted glass oak chandelier designed by Marc Lalique, second half 20th century (sold for $7,930).
Fine arts highlights from the J.Z. Knight collection included Baby’s First Kiss by Eugenio Eduardo Zampighi, oil on canvas (sold for $30,500); L’ange Pensif by Jules-Cyrille Cave, 1903, oil on canvas (sold for $14,640) and Madame Butterfly, roses in a glass vase by Cecil Kennedy, oil on canvas (sold for $10,370).
Works of note from the furniture and decorative arts section included a George V 18k gold lady’s dressing table service in a fitted canteen (sold for $21,350); an impressive set of five Louis XV carved walnut fauteuils, stamped N. Heurtaut, 18th century (sold for $18,300); a stately Dutch lacquered cabinet, second half 18th century (sold for $10,065); a pair of robust German Baroque style parcel gilt side cabinets (sold for $9,150) and a majestic George III brass inlaid mahogany secretary, late 18th century (sold for $8,540).
For more information on this and other Bonhams & Butterfields auctions, visit www.bonhams.com/us.
Photos courtesy Bonhams & Butterfields.