Highlights include 19th-century Chinese export covered tureens, a circa-1800 5-piece garniture set, and examples from the 18th century. Image courtesy Rago Arts.

Rago’s to auction rare porcelains from estate of dealer Joseph Stanley

Highlights include 19th-century Chinese export covered tureens, a circa-1800 5-piece garniture set, and examples from the 18th century. Image courtesy Rago Arts.

Highlights include 19th-century Chinese export covered tureens, a circa-1800 5-piece garniture set, and examples from the 18th century. Image courtesy Rago Arts.

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – In the mid 1980s, Joseph Stanley, a noted New Hope, Pa., antique dealer, closed his shop. The mansion known as Cintra, where he lived and worked, was shuttered to the public, although its expansive rooms, 12-foot-high walls and parquet floors were still fitted out with centuries of art, antiques and rugs.

In earlier times, Stanley and his partner had hosted many parties at Cinta, traveled widely on buying trips and guided antiques tours in England. Now the sign on York Road reads “Closed.” Stanley lived there quite privately until his death in late 2008. The rooms of his living quarters and shop remained filled, the last incoming shipments still in their crates.

All of the property from Cintra will be auctioned at Rago’s over the course of 2009. The first sale, on Friday, March 27 at 2 p.m. EST, will disperse Stanley’s 18th- and 19th-century Chinese export, European and Asian porcelains. Fine art, furnishings and other decorative arts will follow in August 2009.

“There is so much in this shop and home that we barely have room to turn around without uncovering something unseen and of real interest,” said Tom Martin, head of the Estates & Discovery Auctions department at Rago’s. “We won’t be finished the work until spring. Who knows what we’ll turn up for August, in addition to what we have readily at hand? You rarely see an estate this special.”

A few of the highlights in the March 27 auction include:

  • 19th-century Chinese export covered tureens, the largest 13½ inches by 14 inches
  • Circa-1800 Chinese export 5-piece garniture set
  • 18th-century Chinese export polychrome punchbowls with figural decoration, Masonic symbols
  • Pair of 18th-century Chinese export covered urns, with floral decoration, foo dog finials
  • Worcester Dr. Wall serving pieces
  • Late-18th-century Buchan Portobello Scottish pottery serving pieces
  • Staffordshire figurines, including a rare “Uncle Tom and Eva”

The online catalog will be available to view on www.LiveAuctioneers.com as soon as it is posted. Absentee and live Internet bidding will also be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.

For information on items in the sale, call Tom Martin at 609-397-9374 or email tom@ragoarts.com.

About Cintra:

The mansion known as Cintra was built by William Maris, who arrived in New Hope, Pa., shortly after the War of 1812. He built the “yellow pebble-dashed house on the York Road” in 1816 from plans purchased after an 1814 visit to the Portuguese castle of Cintra. He took from these plans a wing which particularly attracted his admiration for its thick walls, coffered passageways and windows, double doors with massive locks, and octagonal hall flanked by large rooms in the wings on either side.

Cintra was purchased by Richard Randolph in 1830, who sold it to his brother-in-law, Elias Ely, in 1884. (The Ely family has resided in New Hope since the 17th century, and was granted land by William Penn.) Cintra remained in the Ely family into the 20th century.

James Brown performs at the 2001 NBA All Star Game jam session. Image by dbking, used under Creative Commons 2.0.

James Brown exhibit opens while museum plans await

James Brown performs at the 2001 NBA All Star Game jam session. Image by dbking, used under Creative Commons 2.0.

James Brown performs at the 2001 NBA All Star Game jam session. Image by dbking, used under Creative Commons 2.0.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) – James Brown knew all along that he wanted to open a museum to inspire people – especially the poor – to pursue their dreams. So he carefully saved all his belongings, from glittering suits and glossy shoes to the comb he used to neatly sculpt his hair.

The soul singer who died in 2006 says so himself in a new exhibit at South Carolina State University that showcases the attention he paid to his roots, his eclectic tastes and his showman’s image.

“I’m going to make a James Brown museum because I want people to know that a young kid really has a chance to make it. And the only way they have a chance to make it is if he has somebody around to look at,” Brown says as he combs his hair on a video displayed at the exhibit.

Brown, who died of heart failure at 73, grew up poor during segregation in a rural county of South Carolina and rose to stardom with hits like Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag and Please, Please, Please.

Since his death, attorneys for his family and the trust he established for poor children have haggled over how to divide his estate. That fight has delayed plans supported by some of the family to turn his Beech Island home into a museum and site for his mausoleum, along the lines of Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate.

In the meantime, many of Brown’s belongings are being shown for the first time at the historically black college, chosen because of Brown’s support for civil rights and education. The free display opened Feb. 20 and runs until Sept. 1.

Fans get their first look at a tattered bathrobe and the crystal-studded suits Brown wore as he shimmied, split and glided across stages worldwide. While the exhibit skirts Brown’s run-ins with the law, daughter Deanna Brown explained to the Associated Press during a recent tour that the robe was torn in a tussle with police during her father’s 2004 arrest on criminal domestic violence charges.

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Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Millea Bros. to auction property from main residence at Duke Farms

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

MADISON, N.J. (ACNI) – Mark and Michael Millea, partners in Millea Bros. Ltd., of Madison, N.J., have announced that over the weekend of May 1st, their firm will auction antiques, art and other personal property from the main residence at Duke Farms, once the home of heiress, philanthropist and conservationist Doris Duke (1912-1993).

The consignor is the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, whose grants support causes that were important to its founder: the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child abuse prevention. The organization also preserves and protects the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

Millea’s auction will be held at the Morristown Armory in Morristown, N.J., with a preview tentatively scheduled for the day before the opening session. Approximately 650 lots will be offered, with the basic categories being traditional antiques, Asian works of art, including porcelains and jades; English sterling silver, Chinese and Persian carpets, 17th- to mid-20th-century furniture, and a sizable selection of fine lighting. Additionally, the sale is expected to include selected draperies and window treatments.

All articles included in the sale were in actual use in the elegant 60,000-square-foot home that Doris Duke chose as her principal residence. Duke inherited the 2,700-acre Duke Farms at age 12 upon the death of her father, tobacco and energy tycoon James Buchanan Duke. At age 14, she sought and won a court injunction against her mother, Nanaline Holt Inman Duke, which prevented Duke Farms from being sold.

Throughout her adult life, Doris Duke took pleasure in filling the home’s rambling interior with possessions that were a testament to her world view on art.

“She was a very international person who loved other cultures. It is apparent in her collection,” said Mark Millea. “She was ahead of her time with the Asian art and acquired some very interesting works.”

While the auction’s contents represent the flawless taste in antiques and art that one would expect of a very wealthy and well-traveled woman, there will be affordable items in the sale, as well. “There are things for the serious collector – such as French giltwood furnishings, a 17th-century Italian cassone and two Steinway grand pianos – and also very affordable upholstered chairs and household objects,” said Michael Millea.

A sampling of highlights cataloged so far includes:

*   Gold monogrammed traveling dressing set by Morabito, Paris

*   Pair Qing Dynasty jeweled gilt-metal botanical models

*   Shooting gallery background by W.F. Mangels Co., Coney Island, N.Y.

*   Two Art Deco period painted screens attributed to Boris Lovet-Lorski

*   English silver box with mileage map of North America by Asprey & Co., London

*   19th-century Anglo-Irish cut-crystal 16-arm chandelier

*   Sterling silver, enamel and jeweled terrestrial globe mapped with Grand Tour route

Michael Millea expressed delight over being chosen to deaccession Doris Duke’s personal property from the main residence at Duke Farms: “Millea Brothers is honored and excited to be given the opportunity to offer the personal property of such a legendary American figure,” he said. “Doris Duke’s discerning eye, adventurous spirit and fascination with Eastern cultures are reflected in the objects she surrounded herself with.”

Additional details on this important auction will be available to view soon on Millea’s Web site: www.milleabros.com. As always, LiveAuctioneers.com will provide the Internet live bidding service for the sale. To contact Millea Bros., call 973-377-1500 or e-mail info@milleabros.com.

Copyright 2009 Auction Central News International. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Image courtesy Millea Bros. Ltd.

Bronze head of rabbit from Zodiac Fountain, Summer Palace of Emperor Qianlong, Qing Dynasty (1736-1795), sold for $20,372,456. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.

Saint Laurent sale top-grossing European auction of all time: $483.8M

Bronze head of rabbit from Zodiac Fountain, Summer Palace of Emperor Qianlong, Qing Dynasty (1736-1795), sold for $20,372,456. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.

Bronze head of rabbit from Zodiac Fountain, Summer Palace of Emperor Qianlong, Qing Dynasty (1736-1795), sold for $20,372,456. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd.

PARIS (ACNI) – The art world will still be talking about Christie’s Feb. 23-25 auction of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection long after its luxe contents have settled into private and institutional collections the world over. There has never been an auction like it before, and it’s likely that the many records set over the three-day period will be secure for years – maybe decades – to come.

After the gold dust had settled in the incomparably beautiful Grand Palais – site of the three-day auction that attracted an international frenzy of interest – the cumulative auction tally was announced: $483.8 million.

A substantial percentage of the proceeds garnered by the collection, which was built over many years by the late couturier Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) and his longtime partner Pierre Bergé, will benefit the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation and bankroll a new foundation for research into a cure for AIDS. Other proceeds will be set aside for purposes of commemorating the House of Yves Saint Laurent, an iconic brand since 1962.

The sale – co-produced by Christie’s Paris and Pierre Bergé & Associates – realized the highest total ever for an auction held in Europe, with a long list of additional milestones achieved:

  • World record for the most valuable private collection sold at auction
  • World record for the most valuable private Impressionist and Modern art collection sold at auction
  • World auction record for a silver sale
  • World record for a collection of 20th-century decorative arts
  • World Record for any work of 20th-century decorative art at auction

In addition, there were multiple world records set for artworks by individual artists. Sixteen lots sold for more than 5 million euros ($6.4 million), and 61 lots brought in individual prices of more than 1 million euros ($1.28 million). A remarkable 95.5% of lots sold by lot, and 93% sold by value.
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A big dog's head was carved into this celluloid button. Image courtesy of Bella Button Auctions.

Bella Button Auctions’ ‘deluxe’ sale March 20-22

A big dog's head was carved into this celluloid button. Image courtesy of Bella Button Auctions.

A big dog’s head was carved into this celluloid button. Image courtesy of Bella Button Auctions.

GILROY, Calif. – Buttons, those ubiquitous little objects that have been fastening clothing for centuries, are the star attractions of an auction being organized by Bella Button Auctions. The three-day auction, March 20-22, is a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire unusual antique buttons, ranging from Revolutionary War buttons to garter belt buttons depicting the faces of 1920s flappers.

“This is the first time there has ever been, on LiveAuctioneers or anywhere else online, a button auction that is completely interactive and all the lots are visible. All the lots have been photographed,” said Annabel Yurutucu, owner of Bella Button Auctions. “The difference here, this auction makes it accessible to individual collectors, not just dealers who can afford to can afford to got to an auction. This makes it accessible worldwide for the first time.”

The auction will be conducted at the Hilton Garden Inn, 6070 Monterey Road in Gilroy, which is about 23 miles south of San Jose. Online bidding is made possible through LiveAuctioneers.com. Absentee and phone bids will also be accepted.

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Free antiques appraisals at Atlantique City

Buyers at the 2009 Atlantique City show will have access to four expert appraisers March 28-29, 2009 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Every buyer is eligible for a free appraisal with additional appraisals (as time allows) available at $10 each. Appraisals are prohibited on items purchased at the show.

This year’s lineup of experts includes:

Paula Fox of Bensalem, Pa. specializes in estate jewelry and gems. She will be the gemologist and appraiser at the show. Fox is vice president of the International Society of Appraisers, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter and a ranking member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

Mark F. Moran senior editor, antiques and collectibles books for Krause Publication in Iola, Wis., is a generalist. He has been a contributing editor to Antique Trader magazine, editor of Antique Review East magazine, producer of Atlantique City and editorial director of F+W Media’s Antiques Group. He is the author of more than 20 books on antiques and collectibles.

Linda Roberts, president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the International Society of Appraisers will offer appraisals on general items. Roberts and her husband Howard own White Orchid Antiques & Appraisals in Media, Pa.

Ellen Schroy, editor of 24 consecutive editions of the Warman’s Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide, will returns as a general appraiser. Beyond her work as a noted author in the antiques industry, Schroy contributes to Antique Trader and has appeared as a guest on nationally broadcast television and radio shows.

Todd Peenstra, an appraiser and consultant based in Annapolis, Md. is an expert on fine art and antiques. He has worked with both world renowned collectors and first-time art and antiques buyers at the prestigious M.S. Rau Antiques. Peenstra has years of experience as a buyer, seller and appraiser of the finest works of art and antiques on the market.

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Lucien Freud paints wine label for French chateau

MIAMI BEACH, Florida (AP) – A new painting by British artist Lucian Freud was unveiled at a South Beach design museum, but it wasn’t the only new work of art in the gallery. The other one combined hints of blackberry, white pepper and vanilla with toastier notes and rich tannins.

Freud was commissioned to create the label for the Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2006.

When Baroness Philippine de Rothschild presented Freud’s work Thursday at The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, many eyes were directed downward to glasses of the freshly uncorked, garnet-colored wine from the vineyards northwest of Bordeaux, France, where the baroness’ family has produced its famed claret for five generations.

“If we didn’t have a wine of such unquestionable quality, we couldn’t put paintings on the label,” the baroness said.

A selection of the labels and the original artworks commissioned for them since 1945 are on display at the Miami Beach museum through March 8.

While other vintners have produced distinct logos to draw attention on crowded store shelves, the Chateau Mouton Rothschild label relies on its tradition and elite reputation as it is redesigned for every vintage, said Marianne Lamonaca, the Wolfsonian’s chief curator.

The baroness’ father, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, commissioned the poster artist Jean Carlu to design the label in 1924 to mark the first vintage bottled entirely at the chateau. He revived the art label with a victorious “V” by Philippe Jullian in 1945 to celebrate the end of the war.

When the baron took over his family’s estate in 1922, most wine labels simply stated a chateau’s name. Choosing an artist to illustrate the label was one of his many innovations to modernize the winemaking traditions in the Bordeaux region, Lamonaca said.

“He said that winemaking is itself an art, with the kinds of decisions that go into making great wine,” Lamonaca said. “He felt that having the work of artists on the labels was a fitting combination.”

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Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

Bid now on Little Walter’s classy Caddy from the film Cadillac Records

Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

LYNDHURST, N.J. – Set in 1950s Chicago, Sony Music Film/TriStar’s late-2008 release titled Cadillac Records chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its groundbreaking recording artists. It stars Adrien Brody, Beyoncé Knowles, Jeffrey Wright and a stellar lineup of super-cool Caddys. The title of the film refers to the gift of a Cadillac car that Chess Records’ founder Leonard Chess would give to each of his successful artists to show the world that they had made a hit record.

A car that figures prominently in the film is the 1957 gold Cadillac Fleetwood two-door sedan driven by Columbus Short in his role as Muddy Waters’ harmonica-playing sidekick Little Walter. In one memorable scene, Little Walter is pulled over by a policeman for driving his car with its doors removed. Asked about the missing doors, Little Walter explains that he was hot and that the car lacked air conditioning.

In fact, the Cadillac used in the film is a deluxe V-8 model with automatic transmission, air conditioning and, of course, all four of its doors. In excellent condition, it features sumptuous yellow-gold fabric interior, and has only 66,825 miles on its odometer.

Currently stored in Lyndhurst, N.J., the car is now listed in an auction on eBay Motors jointly promoted by Sony Music Film, LiveAuctioneers.com and TriStar Pictures. The auction will close on March 5 at 11:51 a.m., Pacific Time, 2:51 p.m. Eastern Time.

A classic model in demand with collectors, this particular vehicle comes with the unique provenance of having played a significant film role as the gift Little Walter received for recording his chart-topping hit Juke.

To view a selection of images, read additional information on the car or to bid, click here.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

Image courtesy Sony Music Film.

China: Looted cultural relics in YSL auction should be returned

BEIJING (AP) – China said Tuesday that it was “ridiculous” for the longtime partner of French fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent who owns two Chinese imperial bronzes to say he would return the relics to Beijing if the government gave Tibet freedom.

The disputed Chinese bronze fountainheads – of a rabbit and a rat – are due for sale at a three-day Paris auction of art from the collection of the late French fashion designer. China has opposed the auction, saying the artifacts should be returned.

Pierre Berge, the longtime partner of the French fashion icon, has suggested that the Chinese government should worry about human rights in its country.

“I’m absolutely ready to give myself to China, with my two heads of the sculpture,” Berge said Monday. “The only thing I ask is, for the Chinese government to have human rights, to give liberty to the Tibet people and to welcome the Dalai Lama.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu rejected Berge’s suggestion that the two could be traded. He reiterated China’s position that the auction of the looted imperial bronzes is an offense to the Chinese people.

“To infringe upon Chinese people’s cultural rights under the pretext of human rights, this is just ridiculous,” he said.

“In modern history, Western imperial powers have looted a lot of China’s cultural relics including those in the Summer Palace,” Ma said. “These cultural relics should be returned to China.”

Ma’s comments came a day after a French judge refused to halt the sale of the Chinese artifacts in Christie’s auction.

In Hong Kong, a small group protested outside the French consulate Tuesday, holding banners and chanting slogans to demand the return of the bronzes.

“These two items are national treasures. They shouldn’t be put up for sale in auction,” said pro-Beijing lawmaker Chan Hak-kan. “France has a moral responsibility to return the two Chinese bronze fountainheads intact to China.”

The bronze heads disappeared from the summer Imperial Palace on the outskirts of Beijing when French and British forces sacked it at the close of the second Opium War in 1860.

The fountainheads date to the early Qing Dynasty, established by invading Manchu tribesmen in 1644. The Christie’s catalog says they were made for the Zodiac fountain of the summer Imperial Palace.

They are expected to sell for up to $13 million each, according to preauction estimates.

A China-linked group, APACE, had sought to block the sale of the bronzes. The group acknowledged that Saint Laurent acquired the bronzes legally, but said they should be returned to China or at least displayed in a museum.

Christie’s said in a statement earlier this month that while it “respects the cultural context around the sale of the fountainheads, we respectfully believe the auction will proceed.”

The issue threatens to further strain tensions with France that have led to protests and calls from the Chinese public to boycott French goods. China canceled a December summit with the European Union to protest talks between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese accuse of supporting Tibetan separatism.

___

Associated Press writer Dikky Sinn contributed to this report from Hong Kong.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-02-24-09 0553EST

This simple oak desk was mainstay of Larkin premiums beginning in 1901. Image courtesy Fred Taylor.

Furniture Specific: Larkin ‘free’ furniture

This simple oak desk was mainstay of Larkin premiums beginning in 1901. Image courtesy Fred Taylor.

This simple oak desk was mainstay of Larkin premiums beginning in 1901. Image courtesy Fred Taylor.

The late 19th century in America was a time of impending change, economically, socially and politically. The Western frontier was essentially a thing of the past, the Midwest was safe and the far West was livable. The South was still languishing from Reconstruction but its time would come.

Between 1870 and 1916 more than 25 million immigrants poured into the country and the population swelled from 40 million to over 100 million in that nearly half century. All these new consumers wanted new products, needed new jobs and demanded delivery systems for it all. The amount of railroad track in the nation increased from 9,000 miles in 1850 to over 200,000 miles in 1900, spurring growth along the right of way.

The country’s furniture industry, growing as fast as it knew how, was unable to keep up with the demand for new household goods with its antiquated design, production, marketing and delivery systems based primarily on the experiences and practices of the early Industrial Revolution. Something had to give and change was coming.

Two major forces would soon coincide to bring a vast quantity of relatively high-grade furnishings to middle-class Americans, something that previously had been totally out of their reach. The two movements, one philosophical and one economic, would combine to produce the Progressive Era from 1890 to the beginning of World War I. Read more