CHICAGO, Ill. — The May 17th Direct Auction Galleries sale had a touch of the beautiful, a touch of the unusual and a sprinkle of “magic numbers” for various lots.
Both beautiful and unusual was an 18K ring/pendant with a 2.64 carat natural emerald and 1.60 cttw. G VS clarity diamonds. The top of the ring came off for use as a pendant and the entire piece of jewelry came off the block at $2,243.
Another fine jewelry item was in the form of a David Yurman designer 18K gold ladies’ bracelet that realized $1,409. For the men, a 14K vintage ring with a 1.22 carat diamond and the ring itself weighing in at 5.5 pennyweight was no lightweight at $1,093.
A very fine and unusual design 12′ x 15′5″ Persian Indo Sarouk rug laid out to $978. A magic number popped up with some regularity: $920, which was the selling price of a number of items. Before taking on the Macy’s nameplate, a fine Marshall Field’s department store mahogany chest on chest went for that amount, as did a fine mahogany Baker breakfront as well as a 6′4″ x 8′ tapestry with figures, trees, and animals.
A number of items sold for their own magic number of $288. They included a very large, ornate Oriental wardrobe/cabinet with very nice mother-of -pearl applique, a 157-pc. set of Franciscan Desert Rose china, and an exotic wood slat table attributed to Constantini. An unusual antique steer horn leg revolving stool was herded in for $288 as well.
Not a magic number, but Lady Luck came into play with a non-working vintage Mills “Black Beauty” 5¢ slot machine. The one-armed bandit was pulled for a payout of $489.
A jeweler’s precision cutting tool, looking like a Jules Verne fantasy piece, took to the block and realized $633. A box with jeweler’s lathe pieces was acquired for $690.
The jeweler’s equipment looked like it could be used to fashion the unusual French
Congreve rolling ball clock reproduction with a Fusee movement which struck at $518. The original was conceived as an alternative to the pendulum clock in a design patented by Sir William Congreve in 1808. It used a rolling ball traversing along a zig-zag path on a tipping horizontal plate
to trigger the advance of the clock hands. It was a fascinating timepiece that probably was a Lava lamp in its day for hypnotically watching, but as a timepiece it was unreliable for dust that could accumulate on the plate and other factors. We didn’t research it, but that frustration could have led to the pinball machine where you could take this frustration out on whacking the ball around with those flipper mechanisms.
One could imagine billiard balls being whacked around in the unusual sculpture-diorama of Michael Garman (b. 1938) titled “Pool House Blues.” The 20 in. high, 24 in. wide and 17½ in. deep 3-dimensional work had 2 walls meeting in a corner in this open work that sat atop a wooden stand.
The scene Garman depicted was a dive-type bar & pool hall peopled with an assortment of roughly hewn, gritty, well-worn type characters and a dog camped under the pool table.
Garman, a Texas native was active in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and primarily trained in Chile. His aesthetic combines art, architecture, sculpture, film, theatre and set design, and painting—an amalgam of the arts incorporating people and images primarily from his early vagabond artist years in Central and South America and across the United States. This work has vivid details and was in an edition of 2500. This artist said on his website he likes to have his unique works “published”; that is, produced in a limited edition so the work can be shared and at the same time, the artist can retain and surround himself with his own work.
Marcel Duchamp had the famous “Nude Descending a Staircase.” This Garman work has a not so well-known component: man emerging from a bathroom—perhaps a little too soon in mid-zip-up!
From a Budweiser mirror to a mounted moose head, advertising posters, beer cans, a pay phone, ashtrays, and an aging hottie in hot pants and halter top in front of a Wurlitzer jukebox and attracting leering and lewd-eye attention from some of the male pool players and patrons, the work oozed of fun and humor with a winking-eye. One bidder winked for $863. All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For information, 773-465-3300, or www.directauction.com.