Gallery Report: March 2013

Rosewood parlor suite, $24,150, Stevens Auction Co.

A four-piece laminated rosewood rococo parlor suite in the Hawkins pattern by J. & J.W. Meeks consisting of a sofa, armchair and two side chairs, made circa 1855, sold for $24,150 at an estates sale held Feb. 15-16 by Stevens Auction Co. in Aberdeen, Miss. Also, a laminated rosewood recamier by John H. Belter in the Fountain Elms pattern rose to $18,400; a rococo banquet dining table made by Alexander Roux circa 1855 made $17,250; and a Victorian-era portrait of a young girl in a green dress hit $8,050. Prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

Read more

Lewis Todd, a commercial artist and amateur painter who painted many of his pictures on canvas fragments on the reverse of which were studies by Francis Bacon for his famous series of screaming popes. They will be auctioned by Surrey auction house Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers in Woking on March 20. Image courtesy Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers.

London Eye: February 2013

Lewis Todd, a commercial artist and amateur painter who painted many of his pictures on canvas fragments on the reverse of which were studies by Francis Bacon for his famous series of screaming popes. They will be auctioned by Surrey auction house Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers in Woking on March 20. Image courtesy Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers.

Lewis Todd, a commercial artist and amateur painter who painted many of his pictures on canvas fragments on the reverse of which were studies by Francis Bacon for his famous series of screaming popes. They will be auctioned by Surrey auction house Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers in Woking on March 20. Image courtesy Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers.

LONDON – One of the most extraordinary events on the UK provincial auction circuit in recent years was the sale at Ewbank Clarke Gammon in Woking, Surrey, in April 2007 of a consignment of discarded fragments from the studio of Francis Bacon. The pieces in question — and in pieces they truly were — had been thrown onto a dumpster outside the artist’s studio from where they were “rescued” by an electrician, Mac Robertson, who had been working at Bacon’s studio at the time. Robertson later claimed that Bacon had given him permission to take the material, although whether Bacon, who died in 1992, had any idea that the stuff would later surface at a Surrey auction rooms is doubtful.

In any event, when Robertson finally consigned the so-called Robertson Collection to the Woking auction — 45 lots of letters, diaries, photographs, ephemera and a few small oil paintings (many of them “canceled” by Bacon using a box-cutter) — the haul, offered by auctioneer Chris Ewbank in separate lots, realized over £1 million.

Now another chapter is about to be written in the annals of discarded Bacons. Many years ago, Lewis Todd, a Cambridge-based commercial artist, acquired some secondhand canvases from Heffers, a UK art materials supplier, seemingly unaware of the importance of what was on the back. That turned out to be nothing less than some of Francis Bacon’s studies for his famous “Screaming Pope” series.

A cut-up fragment from the late Francis Bacon's 'Pope Series' of paintings, which will be offered by Woking auctioneers Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers on March 20, where together they are 'conservatively' estimated to realize around £100,000 ($152,000). Image courtesy Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers.

A cut-up fragment from the late Francis Bacon’s ‘Pope Series’ of paintings, which will be offered by Woking auctioneers Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers on March 20, where together they are ‘conservatively’ estimated to realize around £100,000 ($152,000). Image courtesy Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers.

The reverse of a painting by the late commercial artist Lewis Todd, revealing that it was painted on a fragment of a painting by Francis Bacon. It will be sold by Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers in Woking, Surrey on March 20. Image courtesy Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers.

The reverse of a painting by the late commercial artist Lewis Todd, revealing that it was painted on a fragment of a painting by Francis Bacon. It will be sold by Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers in Woking, Surrey on March 20. Image courtesy Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers.

Todd was told he could use the canvases as long as he cut them into pieces. Those fragments have also now been consigned for sale, and once again Chris Ewbank will be wielding the gavel on March 20. The consignment is “conservatively estimated” to make around £100,000 ($152,000), although the reception that greeted the Robertson collection suggests that “conservative” could turn out to be something of an understatement. In November 2012, Francis Bacon’s Untitled (Pope) of 1954 sold in a New York auction for a record £18.7 million ($28.4 million). Sadly, Todd died in 2006 and so did not live to see his old canvases make auction history. Auction Central News will be at the Woking sale to witness what promises to be another remarkable moment in the bizarre history of sliced Bacon.

The UK’s provincial fine art salerooms are full of surprises, as the Bacon story confirms. Not everything has to sell for a six-figure price to be newsworthy, however, although the connection with a celebrity or a famous person clearly helps. Tennants of Leyburn, North Yorkshire, are arguably the most important UK auction room north of London and their regular sales often deliver notable prices. On Feb. 22, they held a sale of cameras and photographic equipment that included a fascinating set of 135 magic lantern slides taken from photographs by Frank Hurley documenting Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic from 1914-1917.

A set of 135 photographic magic lantern slides depicting Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917, from photographs taken by Frank Hurley, which realized £4,500 ($6,830) at Tennants in Leyburn Yorkshire on Feb. 22. Image courtesy Tennants.

A set of 135 photographic magic lantern slides depicting Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917, from photographs taken by Frank Hurley, which realized £4,500 ($6,830) at Tennants in Leyburn Yorkshire on Feb. 22. Image courtesy Tennants.

The images were used in the illustrated book South with Endurance published in 2001, which perhaps helped to push them above an estimate of £2,000-3,000 to a hammer price of £4,500 ($6,830).

Meanwhile, Tennants’ book sale on Feb. 27 included a volume that for many adults will be remembered with the same fondness that young people reserve for the Harry Potter series today — Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons. The first edition that appeared here, dated 1930 (it was still popular in the 1960s and 1970s), retained its dust jacket and was in excellent condition.Arthur Ransome's 'Swallows & Amazons,' 1930, Cape, first edition, with dust wrapper, which realized £7,000 ($10,640) at Tennants in North Yorkshire. Originally priced at 7s 6d (the equivalent of 37 pence sterling in today’s currency), the hammer fell at £7,000 ($10,640), a price that may send many adults scampering into their attics to search for their own long-neglected copies. Condition is everything, however.

Down at the other end of the country, Live Auctioneers client Canterbury Auction Rooms enjoyed good prices across most categories of their Feb. 12 sale. Among the paintings was a small oil on panel by Antonietta Brandeis (1849-1910) depicting the Piazza San Marco (View of St. Mark’s Square, Venice) looking toward the cathedral.

This oil on panel by Antonietta Brandeis (1849-1910) depicting the Piazza San Marco (View of St. Mark's Square, Venice looking toward the cathedral, realized £8,800 ($13,375) at Canterbury Auction Galleries on Feb. 12. Image courtesy Canterbury Auction Galleries.

This oil on panel by Antonietta Brandeis (1849-1910) depicting the Piazza San Marco (View of St. Mark’s Square, Venice looking toward the cathedral, realized £8,800 ($13,375) at Canterbury Auction Galleries on Feb. 12. Image courtesy Canterbury Auction Galleries.

Signed and enclosed in a deep gilt moulded and swept frame, it was contested past an estimate of £1,200-1,600 to a hammer price of £8,800 ($13,375). A few moments later a signed oil on canvas study of a seated fox terrier by John Emms (1843-1912) fetched £4,600 ($6,840) against an estimate of £2,500-3,500.
An oil on canvas study of a seated fox terrier by John Emms (1843-1912) that fetched £4,600 ($6,840) at Canterbury Auction Galleries on Feb. 12. Image courtesy Canterbury Auction Galleries.

An oil on canvas study of a seated fox terrier by John Emms (1843-1912) that fetched £4,600 ($6,840) at Canterbury Auction Galleries on Feb. 12. Image courtesy Canterbury Auction Galleries.

Finally, among the watches was a good 19th century silver and tortoise-shell covered triple-cased verge pocket watch by Edward Prior, London, the case hallmarked for 1866.
A bid of £3,100 ($4,700) secured this good 19th century silver and tortoiseshell covered triple-cased verge pocket watch made for the Turkish market by Edward Prior, London, 1866, which was one of the highlights of the Canterbury Auction Galleries sale on Feb. 12. Image courtesy Canterbury Auction Galleries.

A bid of £3,100 ($4,700) secured this good 19th century silver and tortoiseshell covered triple-cased verge pocket watch made for the Turkish market by Edward Prior, London, 1866, which was one of the highlights of the Canterbury Auction Galleries sale on Feb. 12. Image courtesy Canterbury Auction Galleries.

Prior, who is recorded working in London from 1800-1868 was regarded as a maker of some repute and was especially noted for producing watches like this one for the Turkish market. That small nugget of information may have propelled it way over the low estimate, the hammer falling at £3,100 ($4,700).

A dozen or so years ago, Internet entrepreneurs were struggling to convince the conservative auction industry of the potential benefits of embracing new technology. Today, most auctioneers are enthusiastic devotees and it’s easy to see why. Barely a week goes by without further evidence of the benefits of circulating your auction catalogs electronically and bringing the global market into the saleroom via internet bidding. East Yorkshire auctioneers Dee Atkinson and Harrison, provided us with the most recent instance of this at their general sale of antiques and fine art on Feb. 15. Hiding among the lots of metalware was a lot cataloged simply as “An Eastern copper hanging bowl of boat shaped form chased with bands of stylized flower heads and fitted with suspension chain, 9 1/2 inches wide, together with a cast brass figure of an Eastern deity, 7 1/2 inches high.” The poor Eastern deity — which was not illustrated in the catalog — may have been somewhat overlooked by the auctioneers, but thanks to new technology the trade spotted it and knew what it was.

A 'job lot' comprising a copper bowl and a cast brass figure that together confounded a presale estimate of £200-£300 to fetch £11,100 ($16,835) at Dee Atkinson & Harrison's Driffield rooms in East Yorkshire on Feb. 15. It was the deity that did it. Image courtesy Dee Atkinson & Harrison.

A ‘job lot’ comprising a copper bowl and a cast brass figure that together confounded a presale estimate of £200-£300 to fetch £11,100 ($16,835) at Dee Atkinson & Harrison’s Driffield rooms in East Yorkshire on Feb. 15. It was the deity that did it. Image courtesy Dee Atkinson & Harrison.

The illustration shown here offers more than a hint that this was no ordinary “cast brass figure” a suggestion confirmed when a derisory estimate of £30-£40 was demolished by a winning bid of £11,100 ($16,870).
The figure of an Eastern deity that sold for £11,100 ($16,835) at Dee Atkinson & Harrison's East Yorkshire salerooms on Feb. 15. Image courtesy Dee Atkinson & Harrison.

The figure of an Eastern deity that sold for £11,100 ($16,835) at Dee Atkinson & Harrison’s East Yorkshire salerooms on Feb. 15. Image courtesy Dee Atkinson & Harrison.

And finally a brief note about one of the most important European fine art fairs happening in March. The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht needs no introduction since it is now widely acknowledged as one of the most important fine art fairs in the world. TEFAF boasts a range of historical material that makes the numerous contemporary events seem somewhat shallow by comparison. It is hard to summarize the TEFAF experience. Suffice to say that it always feels like a privilege to be exposed to so many museum-quality works of art across so many sectors of the market. Happily the Old Master category — which originally gave rise to the fair in the mid-1980s — remains one of TEFAF’s core strengths. Although not exactly typical of the quality on offer, since it is extraordinary by any measure, the masterpiece by Orazio Gentilleschi (1563-1639) — David Contemplating the Head of Goliath'David Contemplating the Head of Goliath' by Orazio Gentilleschi, on the star of London's Weiss Gallery at the TEFAF fair from March 15 to 24, where it carries an asking price of around 8 million euros ($10.4 million). Image courtesy Weiss Gallery, London. — on the stand of London’s Weiss Gallery, is a good example of why it is worth making the trip to the Dutch city. Unpublished and having been in private collections in France and Belgium since the 1930s, its market freshness and historical importance have resulted an asking price of around 8 million euros ($10.4 million).

Although not perhaps of quite same historical significance, another work on the Weiss stand this year is a recently rediscovered work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first president of London’s Royal Academy. Study for the Uffizi Self-Portrait

A recently rediscovered work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 'Study for the Uffizi Self-Portrait,' painted around 1774-5 for the Medici Collection at the Uffizi in Florence. It will be for sale on the stand of the Weiss Gallery at the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht from March 15 to 24. It has with an asking price of 285,000 euros ($373,100). Image courtesy Weiss Gallery, London.

A recently rediscovered work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ‘Study for the Uffizi Self-Portrait,’ painted around 1774-5 for the Medici Collection at the Uffizi in Florence. It will be for sale on the stand of the Weiss Gallery at the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht from March 15 to 24. It has with an asking price of 285,000 euros ($373,100). Image courtesy Weiss Gallery, London.

was painted around 1774-5 after the Grand Duke of Tuscany asked Reynolds to contribute to the gallery of self-portraits that formed part of the Medici Collection at the Uffizi in Florence. Keen to be seen as an intellectual, Reynolds portrayed himself in the scarlet robes and black velvet cap of an Oxford University Doctor of Civil Law, an honorary title of which he was immensely proud. Given Reynolds importance in the annals of 18th-century English painting, the asking price of 285,000 euros ($373,100) seems eminently reasonable. It is just the sort of picture that brings museum curators from around the world to Maastricht seeking to fill gaps in their collections.

Before the TEFAF fair gets under way, however, many international dealers and collectors will be looking to stop over in London for the British Antique Dealers’ Fair (the BADA Fair), which takes place at the Duke of York’s Square in Chelsea from March 13. Rather than preview it here, Auction Central News will be at the fair and we will report the highlights next month.

A model of the RMS Titanic. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Hermann Historica Gmbh.

Australian billionaire launches plans for Titanic replica

A model of the RMS Titanic. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Hermann Historica Gmbh.

A model of the RMS Titanic. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Hermann Historica Gmbh.

NEW YORK (AP) – An Australian billionaire is getting ready to build a new version of the Titanic that could set sail in late 2016.

Clive Palmer unveiled blueprints for the famously doomed ship’s namesake Tuesday at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. He said construction is scheduled to start soon in China.

Palmer said 40,000 people have expressed interest in tickets for the maiden voyage, taking the original course from Southampton, England, to New York. He said people are inspired by his quest to replicate one of the most famous vessels in history.

“We all live on this planet, we all breathe the same air and, of course, the Titanic is about the things we’ve got in common,” he said. “It links three continents.”

The original Titanic was the world’s largest and most luxurious ocean liner when it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank on April 15, 1912. Only 700 people of the more than 2,200 on board survived the most famous maritime disaster in history, partly because there were not enough lifeboats to carry everyone.

Palmer said an unknown when the original ship sailed – climate change – may play into a positive for the new ship’s fate.

“One of the benefits of global warming is there hasn’t been as many icebergs in the North Atlantic these days,” Palmer said.

Passengers on board the replica will dress in the fashion of that period and eat dishes from the original menu, in dining rooms copied from the ill-fated predecessor.

Joining Palmer on Tuesday was Helen Benziger, the great granddaughter of Titanic survivor Margaret “Molly” Brown. Benziger, who agreed to serve on the advisory board for the Titanic II, said her great grandmother, who died in 1932, would have loved to see the Titanic rebuilt and complete the journey it never got to finish.

In what some may consider a temptation of fate for a remake of a notoriously “unsinkable” ship that sank, a representative of the Finnish designer of the Titanic II said it will be the “safest cruise ship in the world.”

Markku Kanerva, director of sales for marine design company Deltamarin said that while the vessel is modeled after the legendary liner – the diesel-powered ship will even have four decorative smoke stacks mimicking the coal-powered originals – it will meet modern navigation and safety requirements.

In addition, plans call for a new “safety deck” featuring state-of-the-art lifeboats, safety chutes and slides. The new ship will also have amenities unknown a century ago, like air conditioning.

Palmer, who is funding construction of the ship himself, built his fortune in real estate and coal. Australia’s BRW magazine estimated his net worth last year at $4 billion, although Forbes puts it at $895 million.

“I want to spend the money I’ve got before I die,” he said. “You might as well spend it, not leave it to the kids to spend, there will be enough left for them anyway.”

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-27-13 0115GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


A model of the RMS Titanic. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Hermann Historica Gmbh.

A model of the RMS Titanic. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Hermann Historica Gmbh.

The original Smithsonian Building in Washington D.C. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Smithsonian plans to keep regular hours if cuts take effect

The original Smithsonian Building in Washington D.C. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The original Smithsonian Building in Washington D.C. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The world’s largest museum complex is bracing for a $40 million cut in funding due to the budget stalemate in Congress, but the Smithsonian Institution is vowing to keep the doors open at its museums and the National Zoo.

Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said the attractions that serve 30 million people a year will maintain normal visiting hours if automatic federal spending cuts take effect Friday.

Instead of reducing operating hours, the Smithsonian is preparing to absorb a 5 percent funding cut in other ways. Maintenance and new construction will be delayed. Hiring will be frozen, starting Friday. Use of outside contractors will be reduced, as well as training, research and travel.

“Right now, it won’t affect the public,” St. Thomas said. That could change, though, if funding is reduced over an extended period.

The Smithsonian operates 19 museums in the District of Columbia, Virginia and New York City, as well as research centers in Maryland, Massachusetts and elsewhere. Its federal appropriation this year is about $857 million, accounting for about 65 percent of the Smithsonian’s budget. The halt on new construction won’t affect the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, which already is being built on the National Mall.

The $40 million cut would be spread out from March 1 to the end of its fiscal year Sept. 30. If the cuts last through September and beyond, that would be the worst-case scenario, having an extended impact on research and other operations, officials said.

On Wednesday, National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly was visiting the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., to discuss the potential cuts and observe animal breeding programs. The zoo has been bracing for the cuts by hoarding cash to protect animal welfare and to sustain its current research programs.

“We think we have a plan that allows us to squeak through to the end of this fiscal year. But we can’t sustain this,” Kelly said. “At the end of the fiscal year, if we’re still in this mode, the entire Smithsonian is going to have to rethink all of our priorities.”

If the cuts become permanent, the zoo would likely have to be a smaller place with less research and fewer animals.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough has said he wants to avoid layoffs or furloughs of the institution’s 6,000 employees.

“We’ve thought long and hard about how we would absorb it,” Clough said at a briefing with the Smithsonian Board of Regents in late January, noting the size of the reduction has been a moving target. “We would hope not to have to go to furloughs or museum closings.”

___

Follow Brett Zongker at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-27-13 1541GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The original Smithsonian Building in Washington D.C. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The original Smithsonian Building in Washington D.C. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Reverse of 1893 Carson City Liberty Half Eagle gold coin. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Carson City recluse’s gold nets $3.5M at auction

Reverse of 1893 Carson City Liberty Half Eagle gold coin. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Reverse of 1893 Carson City Liberty Half Eagle gold coin. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – The tale of a mysterious Nevada recluse’s gold has reached a new chapter when a portion of the trove raked in more than $3.5 million at auction.

The allure of mystery pulled some bidders to the courtroom where the auction took place Tuesday. For others, it was the sheer value of a collection unknown to the public before Walter Samaszko Jr. was found dead in his modest ranch-style home last year.

Regardless of motivation, those who converged on the auction could sense the immense value of the treasure upon arriving.

Numerous guards were stationed at the entrance, more in the hallway outside the courtroom, and finally several with bulletproof vests and others with helmets inside the room holding the gold.

Five bidders diligently inspected the 11 lots of gold displayed in plastic sleeves, tubes and felt jewelry display boxes heavily guarded room before the bidding wars began.

By the time all sales were final, however, one bidder had secured nine of the 11 lots for sale.

Carson City’s Alan Rowe of Northern Nevada Coin spent $617,000 from his own company, and another $2 million on behalf of the Illinois-based Rare Coin Company of America Inc. It was the uniqueness of the gold that drove his bidding, he said.

“Every one of us has a little hoarder nature in our culture and we all like to have things, but to this degree is quite a story,” Rowe told reporters after the auction, adding that the metal value “is not as exciting as the story itself, there’s actually value to the story.”

He added that some of the coins will be available in the store or online for locals hoping to snag a piece of history. Others, he said, will be marketed nationally and likely on television.

This auction was only for the bullion coins – items that are not necessarily rare, just expensive because they are made of gold. There will likely be a second auction for the larger portion of the collection, which is comprised of the rare coins, said Alan Glover, the public administrator for Samaszko’s estate.

“They’re buying and bidding on an ounce of gold, pure gold by the weight,” Glover said.

In total, about 150 pounds of gold was sold at Tuesday’s auction. About $800,000 will pay various fees and estate taxes, and the rest of the profits go to a substitute teacher in San Rafael, Calif., who is the first cousin and sole heir to the trove of Walter Samaszko Jr.

Because of the rarity of the other coins that sale is expected to net higher profits.

James Mitchell of Reno’s Silver State Coin and a California-based group named Spectrum Group International Inc. grabbed the two lots not purchased by Rowe or his partners.

Mitchell landed the lot of 4,600 Mexican dos pesos, the largest number of coins in a single lot. He said the story posed no additional value to him.

“It had the most potential for profit,” Mitchell said of his purchase. “There was one lot I wanted more, but this one will have to do.”

That lot, a collection of 620 Canadian Maple Leafs, was the largest in terms of weight and the coins were the purest gold available. It fetched $1.16 million from Rowe and the Rare Coin Company of America.

No one knows exactly when the collection began, or why Samaszko never sold it. Frankly, no one knew anything about him even though he lived in the same neighborhood for decades. Weeks passed before authorities even discovered he had died in his modest Carson City home. A coroner said he died of heart problems.

When cleanup crews arrived, they made the startling discovery of the 69-year-old man’s vast collection of thousands of gold coins worth millions of dollars stashed in old ammunition boxes in his garage.

Officials discovered the trove neatly wrapped and stored mostly in ammunition boxes stacked on top of each other. There were more than 2,900 Austrian coins, many from 1915; more than 5,000 from Mexico; at least 500 from Britain; 300 U.S. gold pieces, some dating to 1880; and more than 100 U.S. gold pieces as old as the 1890s.

Among the coins were meticulous records of the purchases dating back to at least 1964, when gold averaged about $35 per ounce. The precious metal currently sells for more than $1,600 an ounce.

Authorities believe that his mother, who lived with Samaszko until her death in 1992, purchased most of the coins.

Despite the millions of dollars in his garage, Samaszko didn’t appear to lead a luxurious life. Records show he only withdrew about $500 a month to pay modest bills. He died with $1,200 in a checking account and just a bit more than $165,000 in a money market and mutual fund account.

Since learning of her inheritance, Magdanz has shunned publicity and not made any comments about the fortune.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-27-13 0816GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Reverse of 1893 Carson City Liberty Half Eagle gold coin. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Reverse of 1893 Carson City Liberty Half Eagle gold coin. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

21-year-old convicted in slaying of Mich. antique dealer

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) – A jury has found a man guilty on all counts in the robbery and slaying of a 74-year-old Kalamazoo antiques dealer. A second suspect awaits trial.

Deliberations began Friday and ended Tuesday when the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court jury found 21-year-old Antonio Livingston guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree home invasion and assault with intent to rob.

The murder conviction carries an automatic penalty of life in prison without parole. Sentencing is March 25.

Prosecutors say Livingston was present when John Aguilar beat Robert Medema to death in August in his home.

Livingston testified he thought he and Aguilar were going to pick up items for a garage sale. He says Aguilar told him to go through a window into Medema’s house, but that he never thought a crime would occur.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-26-13 1758GMT

 

 

 

A surveillance camera captured these images of the thief in the gallery. Image used with expressed permission of Venus Over Manhattan gallery.

Greek man pleads guilty to stealing Dali painting

A surveillance camera captured these images of the thief in the gallery. Image used with expressed permission of Venus Over Manhattan gallery.

A surveillance camera captured these images of the thief in the gallery. Image used with expressed permission of Venus Over Manhattan gallery.

NEW YORK (AP) – A Greek man has admitted to stealing a Salvador Dali painting from a New York City gallery, only to return it in the mail.

Phivos Istavrioglou pleaded guilty on Tuesday following his arrest in the theft of a work titled Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges a week earlier.

Prosecutors say the fashion industry publicist walked into the Manhattan gallery in June, put the painting valued at about $150,000 in a shopping bag and walked out. He anonymously mailed the piece back to the United States from Greece after seeing news coverage of the theft.

Istavrioglou can avoid additional jail time if he remains incarcerated until his formal sentencing on March 12. He also must pay more than $9,000 in restitution.

His lawyer said it was a stupid thing to do.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-02-27-13 0419GMT

 

 

 

Clot Collection, ‘Persee,’ edition of 350. Fairhead Fine Art image.

Fairhead Fine Art to present Salvador Dali auction March 12

Clot Collection, ‘Persee,’ edition of 350. Fairhead Fine Art image.

Clot Collection, ‘Persee,’ edition of 350. Fairhead Fine Art image.

LONDON – Fairhead Fine Art Ltd. will be holding its second online auction on March 12 at 8:30 p.m. GMT, 12.30 p.m. PDT, titled “Salvador Dali: Surreal Views.” All works listed are by Salvador Dali and will include a certified drawing, original signed etchings and lithographs, bronze sculptures and photographs. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.

Five of the sculptures featured – Homage to Marcel Duchamp, Carmen Castanets, Le Triton Aile, La Madonne de Port Lligat and Persee – belong to a collection accumulated in the 1960s and ’70s and known as the Clot Collection after Isidro Clot, a Spanish art lover and friend of the artist who commissioned them from Dali in that period.

Dali modeled each of these sculptures directly in wax at his house in Port Lligat in Spain. Molds of the original works that had sprung from his fingertips were then produced using the lost-wax process. This process is widely acknowledged to produce the very finest casts. There is no better way of obtaining a better bronze, and Dali, like the Greeks before him, was well aware of this. Perfectionist that he was, he requested that, in accordance with his wishes, these sculptures always be cast in this manner, and then polished by the best foundry’s in Italy, France and Spain, with whom he had worked for many years.

The most extraordinary one in the auction, however, is undoubtedly Mother Earth, or Cybele. She has 18 breasts and a drawer in her forehead. This bronze tour de force stands 15 inches tall on a marble base. The bizarre and beautiful lady is imbued with all the traditional Dali mysticism. She does indeed have 18 breasts and a drawer in her forehead. And melting on her right shoulder is the famed Dali clock. Signed in the bronze, the limited edition of 100 is offered to serious collectors at a starting price of $6,000.

All bronze sculptures come with publisher’s certificate of authenticity and are fully guaranteed and documented.

SONG of SONGS of SOLOMON

Two of the copper plates that were used to produce the etchings for the portfolio Song of Songs are featured in this sale. The suite was published in 1971 and consisted of 12 etchings with stencil and gilding, limited to 320 numbered examples, all signed by Dali. It was published by Amiel. Both plates have been authenticated by Frank Hunter and are sold framed alongside the signed etchings.

AFTER 50 YEARS OF SURREALISM: PRESTEL 665-676

In 1974 Salvador Dali created a portfolio of 12 drypoints entitled After 50 Years of Surrealism” to celebrate the opening of the Gala-Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueras. All but one are included in this sale.

This portfolio serves as a documentation of important moments and events in the artist’s life, and can furthermore be seen as homage to Andre Bretón’s Surrealist Manifesto, written 50 years earlier in 1924. Bretón’s manifesto proposed a radical and systematic revision of received values, and a revaluation of the unconscious as a source of all artistic inspiration. In 1924, Dali had already dedicated his attention to Italian artists Giorgio De Chirico and Carlo Carra’s Metaphysical School, which rejected Futurism and Cubism and proposed a return to the world of dreams and inner life. Thus, embracement of Bretón’s manifesto was a natural extension of ideas that Dali had already begun to explore. The 12 hand-colored etchings that compose After 50 Years of Surrealism display personal events in Dali’s own life, and at the same time acknowledge his reverence for the ideals made popular by Bretón, and are appropriately illustrated in the surrealist style that Dali’s work so famously exemplifies.

All works are guaranteed as described and fully documented with catalogue raisoné references and authenticity certificates.

For additional information about the auction, call Niall Fairhead at +442084552700 or email nfairhead@images-art.co.uk .

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Clot Collection, ‘Persee,’ edition of 350. Fairhead Fine Art image.

 

Clot Collection, ‘Persee,’ edition of 350. Fairhead Fine Art image.

‘Cybele’ (Mother Earth), edition of 100. Fairhead Fine Art image.

‘Cybele’ (Mother Earth), edition of 100. Fairhead Fine Art image.

‘The Voice of My Beloved,’ Galvano etching plate, 1971. Fairhead Fine Art image.

 

‘The Voice of My Beloved,’ Galvano etching plate, 1971. Fairhead Fine Art image.

‘Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,’ Galvano etching plate, 1971. Fairhead Fine Art image.

 

‘Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,’ Galvano etching plate, 1971. Fairhead Fine Art image.

‘After 50 Years of Surrealism,’ The Museum of Genius & Fancy, Prestel 676. Fairhead Fine Art image.

‘After 50 Years of Surrealism,’ The Museum of Genius & Fancy, Prestel 676. Fairhead Fine Art image.

Edouard Manet's famous 'Olympia' will be leaving the France's Musee d'Orsay for a viewing in Venice. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Manet’s ‘Olympia’ to be paired with kindred painting

Edouard Manet's famous 'Olympia' will be leaving the France's Musee d'Orsay for a viewing in Venice. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Edouard Manet’s famous ‘Olympia’ will be leaving the France’s Musee d’Orsay for a viewing in Venice. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

PARIS (AFP) – Edouard Manet’s Olympia will go on display with a kindred painting next month in Venice, in the work’s much anticipated first trip out of Paris since 1890, France’s Musee d’Orsay said Wednesday.

“Exceptionally, and for the first time, I asked the president of the republic to lend out the Olympia, which belongs to France’s heritage,” museum president Guy Cogeval told AFP.

The French painter’s depiction of a reclining woman will be featured for the first time alongside Titian’s nude Venus of Urbino, from which Manet drew inspiration, and will be lent to Venice by a Florence museum.

“It’s every art historian’s obsession to bring together these two great works of art, of which one served as a model for the other,” Cogeval said.

While Titian painted a courtesan in the image of a goddess, Manet depicted a cold and dominating woman, according to James H. Rubin, art history professor at Stony Brook University in New York.

The Doge’s Palace gallery will feature the paintings in its “Manet: Return to Venice” exhibition from April 24 to Aug. 11.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Edouard Manet's famous 'Olympia' will be leaving the France's Musee d'Orsay for a viewing in Venice. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Edouard Manet’s famous ‘Olympia’ will be leaving the France’s Musee d’Orsay for a viewing in Venice. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Gemstone-embellished silver filigree tea caddy. Estimate: $1,200-$1,800. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Leroy Neiman art among favorites at Michaan’s sale March 3

Gemstone-embellished silver filigree tea caddy. Estimate: $1,200-$1,800. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Gemstone-embellished silver filigree tea caddy. Estimate: $1,200-$1,800. Michaan’s Auctions image.

ALAMEDA, Calif. – Michaan’s fine art department presents works from American and European artists from the 15th to 21st centuries on Sunday, March 3. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.

A wide range of art is available in the sale, including oil paintings, works on paper, engravings, watercolors, lithographs, bronze sculpture, etching and serigraphs. Featured in the March offerings is an original work of art by Leroy Neiman titled Rick in the Pit, 1987 (lot 032, $6,000-9,000). Penske racer Rick Meers was captured at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by the artist, who created the sketch from the pit. The mixed media on paper artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity and measures approximately 28 by 33 inches. Neiman became wildly popular the world over for his vibrantly colored and energetic images of sporting events. His international praise led him to be commissioned as the official artist of five Olympiads.

The jewelry department highlights a varied selection of offerings, including two exceptional diamond and platinum lots. Lot 231 is a pair of double clips featuring an asymmetric swirl motif mounting and approximately 7.50 carats of fine diamonds ($3,000-5,000). An Art Deco brooch in a buckle-style mounting featuring 87 diamonds will also be auctioned at an estimate of $1,000-1,500 (lot 212).

Beautiful and unique pieces are also seen in a Victorian necklace of diamonds and seed pearls set in a floral motif lavaliere style (lot 167, $800-1,000) and a pearl and diamond bangle bracelet (lot 169, $1,000-1,200). Also quite lovely is a whimsical brooch of amethyst, turquoise and diamonds set in 14K yellow gold. The piece, fashioned as a potted bouquet, will be offered as lot 139 at an estimate of $600-700.

Highlighting the timepiece selection is a unique Fritz Piquet & Buchmann pocket watch (lot 245, $2,000-3,000). The 18K yellow gold chronograph repeater is in working condition as it still audibly chimes. The Fritz Piquet firm was known for their superb work with adjusted watches and for supplying watch movements to makers such as Patek Philippe during the mid-19th century. Fritz Piquet and the Buchmann firm joined forces as expert adjusters specializing in complicated watches, becoming a top contender in their field. Fritz Piquet & Buchmann also won multiple awards, including first place in complicated watches in Geneva Timing Competitions as well as in the 1888 Geneva Observatory Timing Contest.

Over 90 lots including porcelains, Japanese works of art, religious statues, furniture, scrolls and paintings will be a part of the Asian Department’s March offerings. A highly collectible tea caddy leads the decorative selection, to be offered as lot 272 ($1,200-1,800). Small in stature, the container measures approximately 3 3/4 inches in height by 3 inches in width, but with markedly elaborate ornamentation. The piece is beautifully decorated by 31 natural cabochons of tourmaline, jadeite, rose quartz and rock crystal quartz. Two natural jadeite bangles then encircle the silver-gilt tea caddy, nicely complementing the look of its segmented body. The piece is further adorned with filigree and enamel work, fashioned in floral and foliage motifs set upon a fine mesh overlay.

Furniture and decorations features a selection of period décor, collectibles, ceramics, glass, silver and Persian rugs and carpets. This month, a desirable collection of English furniture will be offered at auction. Available pieces include a flip-top breakfast table (lot 051, $800-1,200), a set of 12 mahogany chairs (lot 050, $800-1,200) and a pair of Queen Anne-style mahogany night stands (lot 046, $500-700).

Highlighting the English furniture selection is a Francis Elkins mahogany rolling cart offered as lot 052 ($500-700). The cart is simply done in clean lines letting the design and beauty of the wood take precedence. The open work cart is sectioned by thin wood dividers that measure approximately 1 1/2 or 1 1/4 inches in width. Understated metal brackets are fashioned on each corner, complementing the long lines of the piece. This Elkins cart is a timeless example of the legendary style of the decorator. Her esteemed career brought her to work as an interior designer for Hollywood moguls as well as prominent Midwestern industrialists. This particular cart originated from an estate in Pebble Beach, Calif., where Francis Elkins personally executed the interior design work.

For general information call 510-740-0220 ext. 0 or e-mail info@michaans.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Gemstone-embellished silver filigree tea caddy. Estimate: $1,200-$1,800. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Gemstone-embellished silver filigree tea caddy. Estimate: $1,200-$1,800. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Leroy Neiman (American 1921-2012), ‘Rick in the Pit, 1987,’ mixed media on paper, 16 x 21 1/2 inches, signed, titled and dated in pencil lower right. Estimate: $6,000-$9,000. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Leroy Neiman (American 1921-2012), ‘Rick in the Pit, 1987,’ mixed media on paper, 16 x 21 1/2 inches, signed, titled and dated in pencil lower right. Estimate: $6,000-$9,000. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Pair of Queen Anne-style mahogany night stands with fall fronts, provenance: Elizabeth F. Crocker Estate. Estimate: $500-$700. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Pair of Queen Anne-style mahogany night stands with fall fronts, provenance: Elizabeth F. Crocker Estate. Estimate: $500-$700. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Set of 12 English mahogany chairs. Estimate: $800-$1,200. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Set of 12 English mahogany chairs. Estimate: $800-$1,200. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Pair of diamond, platinum double clips. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Pair of diamond, platinum double clips. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Eighteen-karat yellow gold repeater chronograph pocket watch. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000. Michaan’s Auctions image.

Eighteen-karat yellow gold repeater chronograph pocket watch. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000. Michaan’s Auctions image.