Gallery Report: September 2008

Laminated Belter bed, $33,350, Grand View

A laminated rosewood bed, made around 1850 by John Henry Belter and with the original finish, sold for $33,350 at an estate sale held June 21 by Grand View Antiques & Auction in Roanoke, Ala. Also, an American Renaissance Revival walnut bookcase, circa 1870, with raised burl panels and architectural carved detail, earned $14,375; a pair of Victorian gilt-carved, over the mantel mirrors, circa 1860, coasted to $13,800; and a French bronze annular clock, signed L. Auricoste of Paris, went for $9,775. Prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

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U.S. Civil War museum to share surprising collection that includes child-size dolls

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – With surgical gloves, S. Waite Rawls III pulls out a large drawer in the basement of the Museum of the Confederacy to reveal a startling display: dolls the size of children, neatly lined up like small bodies on a morgue slab.

The dolls are among what the museum calls the “world’s most comprehensive collection of Confederate artifacts,” a trove valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Rawls, the museum’s president and CEO.

But at any given time, only 10 percent to 15 percent of the museum’s holdings are on display on the building’s three floors. The rest remains tucked away in gray cabinets, boxes stacked high and, in the case of delicate flags, in clear, sealed containers designed to hold the ancient stitching in place.

In 2011, a portion of the museum collection is scheduled to go on the road, journeying to three historic Virginia sites as part of a plan to bring the artifacts of the U.S. Civil War to the people.
The Confederacy was the group of pro-slavery southern states that seceded from the United States. The 1861-65 war ended in victory for the northern states, the abolishment of slavery and the return of the rebellious states to the union.

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Image courtesy Geppi’s Entertainment Museum at Camden Yards, Baltimore.

Auctions benefiting Ohio ‘birthplace’ of Superman exceed their goal

Image courtesy Geppi’s Entertainment Museum at Camden Yards, Baltimore.

Image courtesy Geppi’s Entertainment Museum at Camden Yards, Baltimore.

CLEVELAND (AP) – Online auctions benefiting Superman’s Cleveland birthplace have been more powerful than a locomotive.

The sales on eBay are only half done and have already surpassed their goal of raising $50,000 to fix up the boyhood home of Jerry Siegel. It’s where he and Joe Shuster came up with the Man of Steel during the 1930s.

When the second of four auctions of original art and other items wrapped up on Tuesday, Sept. 16, more than $53,000 had been raised. The auctions continue through Sept. 30.

The proceeds will be used to replace the roof and redo the exterior on the former Siegel family home on Cleveland’s east side. Organizers say money beyond the original goal will be set aside for repairs inside and for future work.
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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

AP-ES-09-17-08 0849EDT

Smithsonian Institute to digitize its collection

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Smithsonian Institution will work to digitize its collections to make science, history and cultural artifacts accessible online and dramatically expand its outreach to schools, the museum complex’s new chief said Monday.

“I worry about museums becoming less relevant to society,” said Secretary G. Wayne Clough in his first interviews since taking the Smithsonian’s helm in July.

Clough, 66, who was president of the Georgia Institute of Technology for 14 years, says he’s working to bring in video gaming experts and Web gurus to collaborate with curators on creative ways to present artifacts online and make them appealing to kids.

“I think we need to take a major step,” Clough said in an earlier interview. “Can we work with outside entities to create a place, for example, where we might demonstrate cutting-edge technologies to use to reach out to school systems all over the country? I think we can do that.”

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Famed portrait photographer’s heirs sue New York gallery over lost art

NEW YORK (AP) – Relatives of one of the world’s most famous portrait photographers have sued a Manhattan gallery, saying it lost valuable photographs created with Spanish surrealist master Salvador Dalí.

A daughter and two grandchildren of the late Philippe Halsman say in a lawsuitthat 41 of the works created by Halsman and Dalí were reported stolen in April 2007.

The works were among dozens delivered to the Howard Greenberg Gallery in 2003 and 2004.

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Damien Hirst, The Kingdom, 2008, £9.6 million, Sotheby’s, London, Sept. 16, 2008. Courtesy Sotheby’s. Today’s rate is: £1 = $1.79.

London Eye: September 2008

Damien Hirst, The Kingdom, 2008, £9.6 million, Sotheby’s, London, Sept. 16, 2008. Courtesy Sotheby’s. Today’s rate is: £1 = $1.79.

Damien Hirst, The Kingdom, 2008, £9.6 million, Sotheby’s, London, Sept. 16, 2008. Courtesy Sotheby’s. Today’s rate is: £1 = $1.79.

On Sept. 16, controversial British artist Damien Hirst drove a chainsaw through established conventions governing the art trade by selling £70.5 million ($127 million, inclusive of buyer’s premium) worth of new art at Sotheby’s in London. Sidestepping his dealer agents – White Cube in London and Gagosian Gallery in New York – Hirst consigned directly to Sotheby’s, which also broke the rules by agreeing to auction literally new artworks.

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Antiquities smuggling: A growing problem at U.S. ports

MIAMI (AP) – Three years ago, an elderly Italian man pulled his van into a South Florida park to sell some rare, 2,500-year-old emeralds plundered from a South American tomb. But Ugo Bagnato, an archaeologist, didn’t know his potential customer was a federal agent.

Bagnato flashed the green gems, which were as large as dominoes, and explained to the immigration and customs agent that he had bribed South American authorities and used fake paperwork to smuggle the highly illegal goods into the United States.

Authorities discovered Bagnato had a cache of more than 400 artifacts from Peru and Colombia, all predating Columbus’ arrival in the Americas: burial shrouds, jewelry, terra cotta pots and other treasures were wedged in boxes in his van and kept in a storage unit.

Bagnato was arrested, charged with the sale and receipt of stolen goods, and in 2006, pleaded guilty. He was later deported.

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Baum, L. Frank (1856-1919). Oliver Morosco's Fairyland Extravaganza The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. Estimate $7000-$10,000. Image courtesy Bloomsbury Auctions.

Bloomsbury’s enters fall season with Sept. 17-18 Bibliophile sale

Baum, L. Frank (1856-1919). Oliver Morosco's Fairyland Extravaganza The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. Estimate $7000-$10,000. Image courtesy Bloomsbury Auctions.

Baum, L. Frank (1856-1919). Oliver Morosco’s Fairyland Extravaganza The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. Estimate $7000-$10,000. Image courtesy Bloomsbury Auctions.

NEW YORK – Bloomsbury Auctions New York will open the 2008 fall season with its largest sale to date Sept. 17-18. The two-day Bibliophile sale will consist of Americana, maps, literature , fine bindings, original art and art books, and the remarkable Fred M. Meyer collection of L. Frank Baum and related Oziana.

The sale commences with the Meyer material, which is especially well regarded among Oz collectors since Meyer is executive secretary of the International Wizard of Oz Club Inc. Over a period of more than 40 years, Fred Meyer amassed a wealth of first editions, manuscripts, printer’s proofs, rare toys and games, and drawings by W. W. Denslow, John R. Neill and others.

Day one continues with a fine group of original artworks and art-related books. Highlights from this section include a rare, full series of La Gazette du Bon Ton in original wrappers estimated at $50,000 – $70,000. This groundbreaking Parisian fashion periodical contains hundreds of pochoir plates by George Barbier, Raoul Dufy, George Lepape, Umberto Brunelleschi, A. E. Marty, Paul Iribe and many other masters of the Art Deco age of elegance. The day concludes with the sale of literature and fine bindings.

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Image courtesy Craftsman Auctions.

Exquisite Arts & Crafts dominate the 1,000-lot lineup in Rago’s Sept. 27-28 sale

Image courtesy Craftsman Auctions.

Image courtesy Craftsman Auctions.

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – On Saturday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 at 12 noon (EST), the Rago Arts and Auction Center will host an auction dedicated to the furnishings and design of the early 1900s. The sale will be of particular interest to collectors of American art pottery, Gustav Stickley, lamps and Continental pottery, porcelain and glass should be particularly attentive.

The 1,000-lot sale reflects Rago customers’ ongoing interest in the decorative arts of Europe, in lighting from Tiffany and other great makers, as well as fine American Arts & Crafts.

American Art pottery is, as ever, a strong suit at Rago’s. Headline lots include a collection of ceramics from the Strong Museum in Rochester, N.Y., a private collection of decorated Marblehead, and third collection comprised of works by George Ohr. The latter includes a large crumpled bowl covered in gun-metal and green mottled glaze (presale estimate $7,000-10,000) and a twisted bulbous vase covered in two distinctive glazes (presale estimate $4,500-6,500).

Buyers will find a large selection of Dedham and Chelsea Keramic Art Works pottery, with many experimental vases by Hugh Robertson, including one covered in red, green, and blue mottled oxblood glaze (presale estimate $2,500-3,500) and much crackleware, including three very rare Crab plates (presale estimate $1,000-1,500). Also exceptional: a tall Grand Feu (California) vase covered in mahogany flambé glaze (presale estimate $6,000-9,000). At 13 inches by 6 inches, it is the largest example Rago’s has seen from this superior pottery (and is joined by other spectacular pieces by the same maker).

Other potteries/potters whose work will be sold: Grueby, Rookwood, Newcomb College, Rhead, California Faience, Fulper, Weller, Merrimac, Teco, Van Briggle, Pisgah Forest, Arequipa, North Dakota School of Mines, Roseville, Volkmar and Clewell.

Arts and Crafts furniture of import includes a circa-1901 Gustav Stickley trapezoidal china cabinet (presale $15,000-25,000), a Gustav Stickley Director’s table (presale $12,000-18,000) and a Gustav Stickley inlaid drop-front desk in its original ebonized finish (presale $20,000-30,000). In all, more than 100 fine examples of Stickley furniture will be offered, as well as more from L. and J.G. Stickley, Limbert, Roycroft, Lifetime and Old Hickory.

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Rare 19th-century redware jar, only known intact piece by Tennessee potter John A. Lowe.

Possibly unique example of Lowe pottery in Case’s Sept. 27 auction

Rare 19th-century redware jar, only known intact piece by Tennessee potter John A. Lowe.

Rare 19th-century redware jar, only known intact piece by Tennessee potter John A. Lowe.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-A major Tennessee pottery discovery, a rare complete Audubon octavo set, fine art and numerous Southern antiques are among the highlights of Case Antiques’ Sept. 27 Fall Auction. Among more than 300 cataloged lots is an extensive offering of Southern and European furniture, silver, samplers, paintings, and exceptional engravings.

One of the star lots of the sale is expected to be a rare 19th century Greene County, Tenn., redware jar stamped “J.A. Lowe” (John Alexander Lowe, 1833-1902). A pottery site attributed to Lowe was located and excavated near the Harmon Cemetery near Blue Springs in the 1990s, with thousands of shards recovered. “What makes this piece so exciting is it’s the first and only known intact piece of his pottery ever to surface,” said company president John Case.

“There’s also the interesting story of Lowe himself, who joined the Confederate army two days after his fellow potter, Christopher A. Haun, was hung for his role in the burning of the Lick Creek railroad bridge,” Case continued. “In a letter to his wife written hours before his death, Haun urged his wife to have ‘Bohanan, Hinshaw or Low’ finish off some of his wares. It’s a fascinating connection.”

Case specializes in Great Road Pottery, which includes most of the early pottery of Tennessee, and holds the current auction record for a piece of Great Tennessee pottery. In 2008 the company sold a redware pitcher attributed to the Cain Pottery of Sullivan County, Tenn., for $22,550.

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