International interest makes strong showing at Alderfer auction

HATFIELD, Pa. – As he stood in the snow on a cold winter day, would Edward Redfield have imagined that over 80 years later, his painting would sell for $163,800? This was the case with the 22 1/2-inch by 25 1/2-inch Center Bridge landscape that Alderfer Auction sold at their most recent Fine and Decorative Arts Auction. The 1920s composition depicts the quaint river town with a horse drawn sleigh, just north of New Hope, Pa., in which the artist lived and produced many of his works. Known for painting “en plein air,” or outside, on location, Redfield favored the winter season and endured freezing temperatures and snowy roads, just like the road in this painting, to complete his works. The painting was part of Alderfer’s Fine Art portion of their multi-day sale held on June 12, which began on June 11 with ephemera, china and furniture, and was just one of the many exciting highlights of the event.

June 11 kicked off with an impressive single owner collection of Tiffany desk sets and glass. The collection included various patterns including the popular Ninth Century which was produced by Tiffany circa 1915. A 10-piece Ninth Century set sold for $7,200 and a five piece set of the same pattern sold for $5,700. The collection also featured a pair of enamel “Deco” bookends which brought $2,106 and had cobalt blue enamel decorative applications. Several pieces of Tiffany glass as well as lamps were offered. An 8 1/2-inch tall iridescent vase garnered $2,632 and a Tiffany turtleback desk lamp was purchased for $5,850. Lamps proved to be a popular commodity at the auction, as an Austrian cold painted bronze lamp was purchased by an ecstatic phone bidder for $9,945. The 17-inch tall lamp had received much attention nationally and internationally prior to the auction. A 19th century slipware pie plate featuring a floral motif was popular with the crowd as it sold for $13,200.

A grouping of mid-century modern decorative arts and furniture was offered during the auction and proved to be a crowd pleaser.

Artists and designers including Arthur Briggs, Sherle Wagner, Don Reitz, Ron Correll, Tshiko Takaezu, Klauss Ihlenfeld, Svend Madsen, and Frances Higgins were represented. An Austrian mirror frame by designer Hagenauer sold for $4,500. A trio of religious themed enamels by famed enamelist Kenneth Bates was purchased for $4,200. The enamels came with a strong provenance, as they were included in the 1946 Cleveland Museum of Art’s Fine Arts Show and retained the original labels from the exhibition.

Historical memorabilia attracted much interest. An early 20th century archive which focused on the Alaskan gold rush sold for $2,925. The lot included numerous documents and photographs which depicted life in the Alaskan wilderness at the turn of the 20th century. A late 18th/early 19th century Maryland archive sold for $1,638 and an autograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt was purchased for $994 and was one of many autographs of notable figures offered.

A circa 1790 New England tiger maple highboy sold for $6,000 and was part of the furniture portion of the sale, which included American and European pieces spanning several centuries. A 1920s Indian carpet sold for $9,300. The highlight of the furniture sale was when a period Louis XV French ormolu mounted bureau-plat writing desk sold to a European phone bidder for $81,900. A complementing étagère sold for $11,700 to the same buyer.

This European bidder was one of many international customers. International interest was strongly felt during the two-day auction, as many countries around the globe participated via phone or online bidding through Artfact, including China, Morocco, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Israel, Austria, and Australia. The attention helped to create a 10 percent increase in new buyers at the sale.

June 12 featured over 250 American and European paintings and prints. In addition to the sale of the Redfield painting, the sale of “Mill Road at Night,” by fellow Pennsylvania Impressionist George W. Sotter, for $96,000, proved to be an exciting moment in the night. Additionally, an archive containing documents, small sketches and small pieces of stained glass, by Sotter, and his wife Alice, was purchased for $6,000. The archive gave a glimpse into the lives of these extraordinary individuals. Bucks County snow scenes appeared to be the theme of the night as “Bucks County Sleigh Ride” by Arthur Meltzer garnered $21,600. The painting was complemented by an artist made frame, as were several other paintings in the sale by Meltzer and his wife, Paulette Van Roekens.

Several works by the always popular Walter E. Baum were included in the sale. “Road to Ridge Valley,” a 25-inch by 30-inch winter landscape by Baum sold for $14,400. A 4-inch by 6-inch miniature painting by the artist sold for $2,400. The subjects of many of Baum’s works offered in the sale were of local towns including Applebachsville, Emmaus, Hellertown, Quakertown, and the Leigh Valley, which helped to draw interest from the surrounding community.

A collection of modernist paintings were offered in the sale as well. “Pheasant Hunting” by Theresa Bernstein was purchased for $5,850. A composition by New Hope collaborative group Ramstonev sold to a phone bidder for $2,632. A stone collage by Lee Gatch sold for $2,925. A 1950s costume design portfolio consisting of over 20 works on paper, including a large autographed watercolor of Elizabeth Taylor, sold for $5,850. A larger-than-life contemporary wood carving by Martin McNulty was purchased for $6,435. The carving was the artist’s self portrait and eventually the image became the artist’s logo, after being exhibited at the Phillip’s Mill Art show in the 1980s.

This sale is one of four exciting quarterly auctions held at Alderfer’s every year. The next Fine and Decorative Arts auction will be held Sep. 9-11, 2009. The sale will feature the exceptional historical collection of James Mountain, which includes numerous WWII-related items, the dress uniform of Dwight D. Eisenhower, a presentation humidor to General Beedle Smith, SHAEF artifacts, and more. The sale will also include high quality ephemera, furniture, decorative arts, and fine arts.

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