BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – A rare Chinese solid nephrite jade bear, the largest known jade sculpture of its time and dating back to China’s Warring States in the Eastern Han Dynasty (475-B.C.-220 A.D.), is expected to bring $10 to $20 million at a multi-estate auction scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10, by Elite Decorative Arts, beginning promptly at 1 p.m. (EST).
The jade bear is the expected top earner of the nearly 400 lots that will change hands in the Elite Decorative Arts showroom in the Quantum Town Center in Boynton Beach, Fla., at 1034 Gateway Boulevard (Suite 106). Several other Oriental objects are expected to easily surpass the $100,000 mark, exploiting the current red-hot market for Chinese antiques.
“Between the extraordinary demand for Chinese antiques and the fact that the tourist season in Florida is now underway, we’re expecting a large, enthusiastic crowd and great sale results,” said Scott Ciecckiewicz of Elite Decorative Arts.
In addition to Oriental antique objects, the auction will also feature original fine artwork, porcelain, art glass, estate jewelry, silver antique clocks and decorative accessories. But the Chinese items will reign supreme. The jade bear is a monumental figure (14 inches tall and 7 1/2 inches wide) and shows extensive calcification due to centuries of burial. It weighs 40 1/4 pounds.
The cup-shaped opening on the top of the bear’s head suggests it was made for a stand or base for a significant object like a flagpole, table or bell stand. The bear was made for an important figure or ruler (with whom it was buried). An analytical report concludes the artifact is original, and it comes with a certificate of authenticity from a Beijing relic verification company.
The sale’s expected runner-up top lot is a rare Chinese white jade goblet (estimate $400,000-$600,000), also dating to the Warring States period (400-220 B.C.). A similar example sold at Christie’s in 2006 for $856,000. This 6 3/4-inch piece boasts high reliefs of mythical animals, clouds and petal-shaped designs, with a heavy gold leaf overlay covering the copper alloy foil.
A Russian silver enameled box, with exquisite multicolor design throughout, depicting a prince with sword and double-headed eagles, should realize $200,000 to $250,000. The box has an oval panel to cover with miniature landscape enameled painting after Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin (Russ., 1832-1898), and silverwork master marks of Fedor Ruckert (Russ., 1840-1917).
From the estate jewelry category comes a stunning white gold diamond and gemstone necklace made by a skilled jeweler to the specifications of a Cartier necklace found in the firm’s 2005 catalog. The necklace carries a presale estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It has diamond, amethyst, ruby star sapphire and chalcedony, with a total gem weight of 199.61 carats.
A visually arresting blown art glass clam and platter sculpture suite by the master artisan Dale Chihuly should change hands for $15,000 to $20,000. The piece features stunning violet color to the interior, with yellow rim, and a pink and white mottled design to the exterior. The platter is 26 inches long by 24 inches deep; the clam sculpture measures 24 inches wide by 14 inches high.
A pair of palace-size Sevres French hand-painted porcelain and bronze Celeste Blue urns, manufactured in the mid-to-late 19th century, are expected to sell for $70,000 to $90,000. The urns boast painted scenes on the front and back, depicting courting scenes with one male and two females, plus landscape scenes. The urns are sizable; each is 40 inches tall and 20 inches wide.
An original oil on canvas painting of a famous French tapestry by Raimundo de Madrazo y Garretta (Span., 1841-1920) carries a presale estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. The work is signed lower right and is dated 1879. It depicts two men and two women with a horse near a village. Its provenance can be traced to Samuel P. Avery, the first director of the Metropolitan Museum.
A pair of antique Italian Carrara white marble figural urns with pedestals are expected to realize $40,000 to $60,000. The late 18th or early 19th century urns are 86 inches tall by 18 inches wide. They were featured at a Sotheby’s sale in the ‘90s and have meticulously carved raised figural designs depicting nude females with fish. Both urns have figural bust handles.
One lot of six original Salvador Dali etchings from the Cosmos I series, pulled on Rives paper at Imprimerie Bellini in Paris in 1975, is expected to finish at $10,000 to $20,000. Each work has been individually pencil signed in the margins on the front lower right by Dali. Also, all have “E.A.” artist proof pencil marks in the margins. Each is 29 1/2 inches tall by 22 inches wide.
Previews will be held Friday, Dec. 9, from 11-5, and Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Elite Decorative Arts’ next big auction after this one will be a Decorative Arts Sale slated for Saturday, Jan. 14, with a start time of 1 p.m. (EST).
Contact Elite Decorative Arts at either 561-200-0893, or toll-free, at 800-991-3340.
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