ALAMEDA, Calif. – Michaan’s Furniture and Decorative Arts Department brings over 130 lots of exceptional property to bidders on December 6, 2013. This fine auction, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers, will offer pieces of uncompromising quality from the department’s mainstay categories, including silver, porcelains, furniture and art glass.
Property ranges from the 18th through the 20th centuries and is of both European and American origins. Decorative items will undoubtedly delight at auction, with an impressive collection of Lalique glass available in 23 lots. Noteworthy examples from the Lalique collection are seen in an important opalescent Bacchantes vase of dancing maidens (lot 1277 $10,000-15,000), an opalescent Perruches coupe (lot 1279, $6,000-8,000), an aubergine Courges vase (lot 1273, $6,000-8,000), a blue Anges coupe (lot 1276, $6,000-8,000), a blue Soucis vase of flowers in raised relief (lot 1271, $8,000-10,000) and a Dahlias plafonnier vasque of dahlias and leaf sprays in raised relief with original hang and ceiling cap (lot 1288, $4,000-6,000). Also noteworthy are 12 lots of Russian icons, 6 lots of Handel lamps and Georg Jensen offerings of sterling flatware (lot 1256, $10,000-15,000) and bread plates (lot 1257, $2,500-3,000).
Yet another outstanding piece from the decorative selection lies in a Viennese Sucessionist silkscreen and painted figural tapestry (lot 1212, $10,000-15,000). Inspired and modeled after Gustav Klimt’s lush female figure paintings, the Vesna Studio piece bears a signature denoting “Vesna Fabrik.” An elegant and ethereal maiden stands as the focus of the fabric art, as she is depicted as a blue hued being. Such fine tapestries were often used as traditional window coverings and decor, with this piece’s production falling squarely in the first quarter of the 20th century.
From a private Northern California collection is a beautiful fire light painting by Eanger Irving Couse (1866-1936) titled “The Bead Maker” (lot 1023, $80,000-120,000). Arguably the most famous member of the Taos Society of Artists group, his figurative scenes focusing on Native American themes proved quite popular with New York buyers after his move to the city in 1901. His depictions of the natives of Taos Pueblo were often fire-lit, providing a soothing and serene quality. Couse’s subdued color palette, as well as softness of tone and detail, created peaceful scenes that expressed the natives’ spiritual relationship with nature. Couse’s works have graced numerous public galleries including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Montclair Gallery and the Detroit Museum of Art.
Picasso’s Madoura ceramics personify his artistic genius and passion for the sculptural medium. The imagination of Picasso was brought to life by Madoura studio artisans, who worked in conjunction to execute prototypes and produce numerous editions. Together, they created 4,000 different ceramic forms in limited editions ranging from 25 to 500. Each piece remains a one-of-a-kind production, since every item was hand painted. The vase for sale typifies Picasso’s strong sense of form in harmony with bold, emotive brush strokes. Created in 1952, “Vase Deux Anses Hautes” bears a Picasso edition pottery stamp as well as a mark denoting “Madoura Plein Feu” (lot 1057, $20,000-25,000).
A quintessential oil painting by Armin Hansen (1886-1957) is yet another featured piece in the fine art selection. “After the Day’s Catch” captures the spirit and endurance of laborers who lived and worked along the California Pacific Coast in the early 20th century (lot 1034, $40,000-60,000). Hansen, who was a California native, carried a deep connection and appreciation for these particular laborers of the sea. He also spent the majority of his professional life working in Monterey. His signature, strong brush strokes of both figure and background beautifully communicate mood and locale. Hansen’s impressionist style and tonal color palette have elevated him to recognition as a world-class artist.
Another exceptional work is seen in “Dream of Alaska” by William Keith (lot 1026, $8,000-12,000). The striking and bold use of white and blue hues convey the magnificent glaciers of the Alaskan landscape. The image is masterfully painted in typical Keith (1838-1911) fashion as it displays a strong sense of locale and connection with the natural world. The piece is exceedingly rare, as he only touched upon Alaskan landscapes for approximately one year. Keith’s lifelong friendship with John Muir was instrumental in creating the series, as their travels lead them to remote locales. In 1886, he traveled to Alaska and returned to paint the series of canvases titled “Dreams of Alaska.” The paintings were not literal translations, but became fantasy vantage points inspired by the wonder of the Alaskan wilderness. “Dreams of Alaska” remains a significant work, as only documentarian depictions of the Alaskan wilderness preceded the series.
Highlighting modern sculpture is an original Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) wire wreath (lot 1059, $80,000-90,000). Her work is included in renowned art collections such as the M.H. de Young, Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney in New York. Her mark on San Francisco has been significant, with contributions including numerous public fountains (deeming her San Francisco’s “fountain lady”) as well as the honor of the San Francisco School of the Arts being renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in 2010. Asawa’s tied wire sculptures have been nationally recognized and lauded for their balance of nature, form and artistry. When these masterpieces are viewed in person, they beautifully come to life as they continuously change depending upon the viewing angle.
A tapestry by modern master Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) stands as a coveted textile in the auction’s 20th century lots (lot 1085, $4,000-5,000). Motherwell’s artistic body of work focused primarily upon paintings and printmaking, making this tapestry a rare and collectible find indeed. The piece expresses his abstract expressionist sensibilities, measuring approximately 124 by 98 inches. Expert producer Gloria F. Ross completed the weave work, with the collaboration creating this exemplary piece.
A Jacque Schnier (1898-1988) clear acrylic creation titled “Ode to the Square” will be sold as lot 1062 at an auction estimate of $3,000-5,000. It was later in his career that he focused on mediums such as clear acrylic resin, or Plexiglas. His enthusiasm for the material led him to say that, “At last I’ve found my medium. It’s as though I am sculpting pure light. At 76, I’m hitting my stride.” Schnier was a pioneering figure at Berkeley, with a teaching career that spanned thirty years. He was instrumental in establishing both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in sculpture. He also won numerous awards for his work as well as for public commissions, including statues and bas-reliefs for the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939-1940.
A print by Sam Francis (1923-1994) will be sold as lot 1086 at an auction estimate of $2,000-3,500. The silkscreen is a quintessential example of Francis’ splatter work, with a dynamic composition. Measuring approximately 47 by 34 inches, the piece is a formidable work from the artist. During his life, Francis was featured in 113 solo museum and gallery exhibitions. Over 90 posthumous exhibitions have chronicled his work as well. Auction records for Francis’ works include the sale of “Middle Blue” in 2010 for $6,354,500 and “Symphony in Blue” sold in May of this year for $1,145,000.
An impressive variety of superior jewelry pieces will grace Michaan’s Auctions December fine sale. Approximately 150 lots will be presented, with coveted collector items, quality diamonds, fine period pieces and desirable luxury manufacturers presented to the bidding public. Representing the diversity of the jewelry offerings are many exceptional pieces. A fine example is found in a Wellendorf diamond and 18 karat yellow gold “Princess” necklace (lot 1372, $5,000-7,000). A highly collectible piece is seen in a beautiful and unusual Arts and Crafts style necklace featuring an approximate 4.50 carat demantoid garnet (lot 1395, $5,000-7,000). Also available is a delightful Cartier brooch to be sold as lot 1367, whimsically designed as two oak leaves with perching acorns ($1,500-2,000). The auction also holds two painted portrait miniature pendant-necklaces from the early 1800s. Both remain in wonderful condition at conservative estimates (lot1397, $900-1,200/lot 1399, $800-1,200).
Highlighting the selection of fine diamonds in the sale are two rings, each with platinum settings. Lot 9125-001 centers a substantial old European cut diamond of approximately 3.20 carats, flanked by six old mine cut diamonds weighing a total of approximately 0.50 carats ($18,000-20,000). A classic emerald cut diamond ring is another choice example in the auction, featuring a center stone of approximately 2.30 carats accented by two baguette cut diamonds weighing a total of approximately 0.30 carats (lot 1421, $4,000-6,000).
Rounding out the auction collections are over 15 lots of remarkable jades featuring many certified pieces, traditional and contemporary designs and rare lavender. Estimates range from $600 to $47,500, providing bidding opportunities for a range of collectors. South Sea pearls make an appearance as well, in both gray and white hues. The pieces also carry a wide range of estimates, starting at $800 up to $10,000. An unusual and fine collection of cigarette cases dating to the first quarter of the 20th century will also be presented, stemming from a private collection spanning over 40 years.
Stellar Tiffany & Co. pieces are undoubtedly amongst the most exciting jewelry offerings on the auction block, sure to dazzle bidders worldwide. A prized ring features an incredible tsavorite, weighing an approximate 5.50 carats (lot 1425 $10,000-15,000). The stone is immaculate, with unparalleled clarity and color especially hard to find in such a large tsavorite. The majority of mined tsavorite is under one carat, with gem quality becoming even more scarce as the stone increases in carat size. The emerald cut tsavorite is accented by two trapezoidal shape diamonds, with the stones held in a simple platinum mounting. Yet another stunning Tiffany jewelry offering is found in a pink sapphire and diamond “Legacy” suite from “The Great Gatsby Collection” (lot 1426, $7,000-9,000). The suite is an exclusive find at auction, as this Tiffany collection debuted in April of 2013.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE