Unusual collection of Chinese opium bowls offered April 1, 2012

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The fine art portion of an April 1, 2012 estate auction at Michaan’s Auctions encompasses more than 125 lots of European and American works from the 17th to 20th centuries. Many notable American artists are represented in the sale, including the likes of William Frederick Ritschel, Guy Carleton Wiggins, Charles Arthur Fries and Edward Curtis.

Edward Curtis’ “Castle O’ Dreams” from 1920 could sell for $3,000.

The Curtis offering titled “Castle O’ Dreams, 1920” is a fairly rare find from the photographer, as his usual subject matters revolved around the American West and Native American peoples. The night scene depicts a fair maiden gazing on a moonlit town perched upon a cliffside. The ethereal quality of the piece is beautifully enhanced by the use of blue-toned silver print, giving the image a soft, glowing quality. The photo is signed “Curtis L.A.” and measures 9.50 by 7.50 inches ($2,000-2,500).

The Jewelry Department’s lots include Victorian pieces, gemstones and numerous suite sets. There is also U.S., Chilean and Spanish coin jewelry available as well as nine timepiece lots featuring makers such as Rolex and Cartier. Standout lots include an exceptional jade ring and earrings, both certified with a GIA Gem Trade Laboratory Report and classified as “A” jade. The untreated stones are desirably translucent with a beautiful, vibrant green hue. Both the ring and earrings are mounted in 14k white gold and a total of sixty-two full-cut diamonds flank the substantial cabochons. The ring is being offered as lot 215 with an estimate of $12,000-15,000 and the earrings will go up for sale as lot 216 with an estimate of $5,000-6,000.

Chinese opium bowlsA grouping of mid to late 19th century Yixing clay bowls is a nice example of worthy opium bowls from the late Qing Dynasty. The bowls are to be offered as lot 348 with an estimate of $700 to $900.

The Asian Department highlights a delightful collection of nine opium bowls amongst its lots including decorative objects, furniture and Japanese pieces. In the Chinese culture opium smoking had become a refined, material form of expression during the late Qing Dynasty. A smokers bowl could be likened to a symbol of class ranking and sense of style, just as an expensive watch or piece of jewelry might delineate the same for a person in modern day culture.

A high quality bowl with a coveted studio mark was a form of socio-cultural communication and differentiation, often noted by fellow smokers. This grouping of mid to late 19th century Yixing clay bowls is a nice example of worthy opium utilities from the period. Colors range from a deep maroon to light taupe and style variations are also evident. Angular and round forms include depictions of prunus blossoms, a painting of a crane, carvings of a mythical beast, floral motifs and even a painted poetic verse. Studio marks are evidenced on most of the bowls, a stamp of quality solidifying their high-end production. The bowls are to be offered as lot 348 with an estimate of $700-900.

Guy Wiggins winter New York paintingAn iconic scene depicting New York in winter painted by Guy Wiggins will cross the block April 1, 2012. .

A vast selection of American and European furniture styles is also available encompassing Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Renaissance Revival, Arts & Crafts, Queen Anne and French Provincial stylings. In addition are a dozen lots of fine antique Persian area rugs from a private estate in the Monterey Peninsula, over thirty lots of silver including decorative objects and service sets and an intriguing collection of smoking pipes with royal Hungarian ties.

Other specialty collections include multiple lots of ornamental canes, over fifty S.T. Dupont pens and a Royal Doulton bone china dinner service set containing over two hundred pieces. Interesting Americana folk pieces are also represented in the sale including five period Windsor chairs, a Hitchcock rocker and a distinctive table whose base is made from a genuine weather vane.

The illustrated auction catalog will be on-line for review at Michaan’s Auctions on March 30th and continue until April 1st, the day of sale.

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