The Auction Block Feb. 7, 2018

BONHAMS “A Throne for Two Kings” Gonçalo Mabunda (b. 1975) Estimate: $14,000 – $21,000 Auction Date: February 28 Two years after Mozambique gained independence in 1972, civil war broke...

The Auction Block

BONHAMS “Artist, Mind, Studio,” 1994 Viola Frey (1933–2004) Estimate: $60,000 – $80,000 Auction Date: October 25 Over the course of her five-decade career, Viola Frey produced...

The Auction Block

Doyle New York George II Stripped Pine Pier Mirror, c. 1740 Auction Date: May 18 Estimate: $6,000 – $8,000 Part of Doyle New York’s auction of English & Continental Furniture & Decorative Arts/Old Master Paintings, this gorgeous mirror with its classical features exhibits the influences of Daniel Marot, the Huguenot architect to William III, and — in the mask of Riana within a scallop shell — William Kent, architect to Lord Burlington. Sotheby’s “Road Block,” 1949 Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) Auction Date: May 18 Estimate: $4 million – $6 million “Road Block” is among the most ambitious of the more than 300 paintings Rockwell executed for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell received particular praise for his ability to encapsulate the components of a complex narrative — plot, character, mood and setting — into a single image. Christie’s “Exoke,” 2013 El Anatsui (b. 1944) Auction Date: May 11 Estimate: $600,000 – $800,000 At more than five square feet of shimmering, undulating, sculptural material blocked into textural swaths of vivid color, El Anatsui’s “Exoke,” part of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Afternoon Session at Christies, is mesmerizing. The visually and conceptually rich work is one of the Ghana-born, Nigeria-based artist’s celebrated “hangings,” which examine the remnants of globalization, consumerism, colonialism and post-colonialism in West Africa. Bonhams “Tête de faune” Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) Auction Date: May 11 Estimate: $50,000 – $80,000 Part of Bonham’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale, this is a prime example of Picasso’s late-career whimsy, when he began combining bold, sun-kissed colors with an almost childlike simplicity. It is reminiscent of his woodcuts, ceramic work and poster designs for his own exhibitions, which themselves have become collector’s items. Alex Cooper Important Sapphire and Diamond Ring Auction Date: May 12–14 Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000 Dated June 17, 1985, from the American Gemological Laboratory, this dazzling platinum ring is centered with a natural sapphire, with diamond surround and shank, custom designed and marked. BRINGING THE HAMMER DOWN Sloans & Kenyon “Scouting with Daniel Boone,” 1914 Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) Auction Date: May 1 Final Selling Price: $119,500 This early Rockwell painting was originally a wedding present given to the owner’s grandfather, a great outdoorsman, from his five ushers in July 1925. It had previously been published as an illustration for “Scouting with Daniel Boone” in 1914. Little did those ushers know that a small painting by a then-unknown young artist would one day sell at auction for more than $100,000.

The Auction Block April 4, 2018

Sotheby’s Timurid Mihrab Panel, Central Asia/Persia, 14th–15thc. Estimate: $110,000 – $165,000 Auction Date: April 25 (London) Part of the Arts of the Islamic Worlds sale at Sotheby’s, these...

The Auction Block – January 12, 2017

Christie’s “Madonna lactans with the Last Supper” North Italian School (late 15th/early 16th century) Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000 Auction Date: January 25 It is rare to find a North...

The Auction Block & Bringing the Hammer Down

POTOMACK COMPANY Foxall (Foxhall) Late Fall By Benson Bond Moore (1882-1974) 1923 Auction Date: Feb. 22 Estimate: $2,000 to $3,000 A group of American paintings with local interest will highlight Potomack’s February Catalogue Sale. Notable among these works is Benson Bond Moore’s “Foxall Late Fall.” A native Washingtonian, Moore lived in the city for 70 years and depicted regional scenes in some some of his greatest paintings. Foxall, as originally spelled, was one of Moore’s favorite areas to set up his easel. This particular rendition of Foxhall was painted in 1923 when Moore turned to his impressionistic style. SOTHEBY’S Marcelle Ferron Untitled Oil on canvas Auction Date: Selling Exhibition, Feb. 14 to March 9 Sotheby’s will present Canadian Abstraction, a selling exhibit of mid-century Canadian abstract art in New York. This is the first exhibit of its kind outside of Canada in decades, which will highlight some of the best examples of works by artists such as Jean Paul Riopelle, Jack Bush, Jacques Hurtubise and Marcelle Ferron, many of whom were exhibiting their work alongside the great midcentury Surrealists, Modernists and Abstract Expressionists in New York, London and Paris. FREEMAN’S Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain ‘Boys’ Vase Daoguang mark and of the period Auction Date: March 15 Estimate: $30,000 to $50,000 Part of its Asian Arts auction, Freeman’s will feature a selection of exquisite porcelain and bronze artifacts, including this this rose porcelain vase decorated with a group of young boys. Other highlights include a Tibeto-Chinese cloisonne enamel gilt bronze stupa and a Japanese Namikawa Sosuke cloisonne enamel vase. SLOANS AND KENYON Selection of Exotic Skin Handbags from the Estate of a New York Lady Auction Date: February 22 Sloans and Kenyon’s Auction of Vintage and Contemporary Fashion, Couture and Jewelry will open with an exhibition from Feb. 19 to 21, and will feature vintage and contemporary fashion, couture and accessories by designers including Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent and many others, including signed vintage and costume jewelry. DOYLE NEW YORK Set of Six Russian Gilt and Polychrome Decorated Porcelain Dessert Plates Krnilov Brothers Manufactory, St. Petersburg, ca. 1900 Auction Date: Feb. 19 Estimate: $15,000 to $20,000 Doyle New York’s Belle Epoque Auction will showcase 19th and 20th century fine and decorative arts reflecting the opulence of the bygone era. These featured plates are each decorated with a circular medallion depicting different historic versions of the Russian State seal, including a double-headed eagle with outspread wings clutching an orb and scepter surmounted by a crown. Other highlights include a Russian bronze by Nikolai Lieberich, a Tiffany canister lamp, and an elaborate Napoleon III gilt-metal ebonized side cabinet. BRINGING THE HAMMER DOWN Final selling prices for last month’s featured Auction Block items: DOYLE NEW YORK Saint John the Baptist Roman School 17th Century Auction Date: Jan. 29 Estimate: $6,000 to $10,000 Final Selling Price: $11,250 BONHAMS James Edward Buttersworth (1817- 1894) “Schooner’s from the New York Yacht Club Racing in the Narrows” Oil on canvas, ca. 1870 Auction Date: Jan. 24 Estimate: $70,000 to $100,000 Final Selling Price: $106,250 SOTHEBY’S “A Child and Nurse in the Foyer of an Elegant Townhouse, the Parents Beyond Jacob Ochtervelt” (1634- 1682) 1663 Auction Date: Jan. 30 Estimate: $3 million to $4 million Final Selling Price: $4,421,000 FREEMAN’S “Allegory of Poverty and Vengeance” Northern Italian School ca. 2nd half of the 16th Century Auction Date: Jan. 28 Estimate: $10,000 to $15,000 Final Selling Price: $17,500 [gallery ids="101633,146086,146077,146080,146084" nav="thumbs"]

The Auction Block: A Piece of Time

Christies 18K Gold Wristwatch With “John Player Special Paul Newman” Dial Rolex, c. 1970 Estimate: $390,000 – $490,000 Auction Date: November 13, Geneva Christie’s Geneva will devote an...

Bringing the Hammer Down

The historic results from Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on Nov. 4 brought in the highest total for a single auction in the company's 270-year history: more than $422 million. Participants in the sales came from over 40 countries, with the highest number of winning bidders from the United States, Europe and Asia. However, the record owed a lot to the sale of three single works, by Giacometti, Modigliani and Van Gogh. [gallery ids="101942,135970,135966" nav="thumbs"]

The Auction Block

Doyle New York “Boats in Choppy Water Offshore,” 1865 Mauritz Frederik Hendrick de Haas (1832–1895) Auction Date: Oct. 5 ...

The Antiques Addict: Early American Pottery

Governor Gooch had a secret. Virginia Governor William Gooch had good reason to hide the truth in his 1732 annual report to the British Board of Trade. The colonies were forbidden to engage in manufacturing any products in direct competition with those imported from England, except for those that would benefit the mother country. Yet, he and his government had long encouraged local entrepreneurs, including a Yorktown merchant known as William Rogers. An enterprising brewer and businessman, Rogers’s pottery was one of Virginia’s most prosperous businesses, producing 23 types of redware and stoneware, which were shipped up and down the East Coast. Since the quality of Rogers’s vessels was comparable to anything imported from England, and clearly posed a conflict, Gooch maintained his deception until the end of the decade. The most utilitarian pottery available, redware was one of the first necessities that the colonists made themselves. It’s no wonder Governor Gooch was covert about this flourishing industry. Redware pots were used like plastic is used today. They were comparably cheap, plentiful and locally crafted, using clay with high iron content (this is what gives redware its characteristic red or orange hue). Redware jugs, jars, plates, bowls and tavern ware of various kinds were used throughout 17th- and 18th-century America. If the housewife needed it, the potter made it. Unfortunately, the potter, or anyone who regularly used redware vessels, commonly developed nervous disorders, like palsy and tremors, associated with lead poisoning. There are multitudes of contemporary pieces on the market that are being advertised as antiques. Hence, collectors should educate themselves to be able to discern fakes. Examine the back of the piece to see if it is blackened, which would indicate that it was used on the hearth and is likely an old piece. Since tallow or fat leaches into clay, smelling the piece for faint remnant odors of either can help determine whether it’s an older item. A glaze with a glassy quality is a sign of a modern piece. Stoneware was developed due to the fear of poisoning from lead-glazed earthenware. Made of dense, blended clays, salt-glazed and then fired to vitrification, stoneware was imported to the colonies from England and Germany. Early American redware potters rarely inscribed their names in the soft clay, but stoneware quite often bears the maker’s mark. Crocks, jugs, butter churns – chiefly utility items – were typically decorated with freehand cobalt decoration of flora, fauna and, occasionally, military motifs. An urn featuring Civil War soldiers recently sold at auction for $350,000. The mellow, golden-colored ware is a type of stoneware made of fine yellow clay that was found along riverbanks in New Jersey and other Mid-Atlantic states. Since the yellow clay contains a lower level of iron, causing it to vitrify at higher temperatures than red clay, yellow ware items were much harder and more durable for kitchen use. The collector can determine whether an older piece is American yellow ware by tapping it: American pieces will thud; English yellow ware will ring. It was a popular choice for kitchen use up until the 1940s, when homemakers began to be seduced by pieces made of modern materials. The south has a wide and diverse 200-year history of pottery, covering multiple states. Southern redware and stoneware research has made significant strides in the last 25 years. Entire new schools of pottery have been discovered, uncovering new forms and traditions. The pottery of the “Great Road” represents some newer discoveries of the southern pottery tradition. The Great Road, considered part of the “Great Wagon Road” initiating in Philadelphia, was the primary route from Roanoke, Va., to eastern Tennessee. A wonderful piece of antique American folk pottery, whether it is redware, stoneware or yellow ware, has its own distinct past. A potter – who probably dug his own clay, mixed his own glaze recipe and fired his pieces in old wood-fired kilns – made each piece, and every piece tells its own unique story. An antiques dealer for more than 25 years, Michelle Galler owns Antiques, Whimsies & Curiosities, based in Georgetown and in Washington, Va. Contact her at to suggest a topic for a future column. [gallery ids="101984,135444,135446" nav="thumbs"]