Dylan Lewis bronze leads our five auction highlights

Dylan Lewis, ‘Lioness Standing On Sloped Base, Maquette’ bronze, which hammered for $10,000 and sold for $12,500 with buyer’s premium at Auctions at Showplace.

Dylan Lewis Bronze ‘Lioness Standing On Sloped Base, Maquette’, $12,500

NEW YORK – South African Dylan Lewis (b. 1964-) is widely regarded as a master sculptor of animals, with a particular focus on lions and tigers. He spends a large amount of his time in the wild observing, tracking and sketching animals, which he then takes back to his studio in Stellenbosch, where he works in his preferred medium of clay. His final works are then rendered in bronze and sold in limited editions to collectors worldwide.

Lewis is one of the few artists to ever have a solo sale at Christie’s, beginning in 2007 and continuing every few years thereafter. Lioness Standing On Sloped Base, Maquette was first auctioned at Christie’s London in its Predator & Prey: The Dylan Lewis Bronzes sale on June 16, 2011. Numbered 9 from an edition of 15 and signed by Lewis, the bronze measures 23.5in in height by 25in wide, which delivers an impressive impact on the viewer. The design is archetypically Lewis, with the proud lioness standing at attention on an incline, observing her surroundings.

Lioness Standing On Sloped Base, Maquette returned to the market at Auctions at Showplace January 7 as part of the house’s New York City Estate Auction sale. It carried a presale estimate of $6,000-$8,000 but hammered for $10,000 ($12,500 with buyer’s premium), demonstrating continued demand for Lewis’ styled bronzes.

Norman Lindsay Lithographs for ‘Satyrs and Sunlight’ by Hugh McRae, $1,220

‘Satyrs and Sunlight’ by Hugh McRae with illustrations by Norman Lindsay, which hammered for A$1,500 and sold for A$1,830 ($1,220) with buyer’s premium at The Book Merchant Jenkins.
‘Satyrs and Sunlight’ by Hugh McRae with illustrations by Norman Lindsay, which hammered for A$1,500 and sold for A$1,830 ($1,220) with buyer’s premium at The Book Merchant Jenkins.

BRISBANE, Australia – Norman Lindsay (1879-1969) was one of Australia’s most prolific artists, excelling in areas as diverse as painting, illustration, cartooning, sculpting, art criticism and even professional boxing. He was the author and illustrator of one of Australia’s most beloved children’s books, The Magic Pudding, which was released to great acclaim in 1918.

Being an artist, Lindsay was no stranger to controversy. His 1938 book Age of Consent focused on a love relationship between a middle-aged painter and his teenage muse, causing the book to be banned in Australia until 1962, just a handful of years before his death.

In 1909, early in his career, Lindsay created a series of eight stone lithographs for Hugh McRae’s book Satyrs and Sunlight. It was the most extravagant and opulent fine art book ever published in Australia, designed in a large format to showcase Lindsay’s original artworks.

Unfortunately, it was highly controversial. Its contents were considered so obscene that the staff of John Sands, a major Australian printer and publisher founded in 1888, simply would not print it. The task of publication then fell to D. H. Souter.

Today, Satyrs and Sunlight is considered McCrae’s finest published work. The author signed an edition of 130 copies, of which number 83 came to market on January 3 at The Book Merchant Jenkins. Originally estimated at A$600-A$800 ($400-$540), the book ended up hammering for A$1,500 ($1,000) and selling for A$1,830 ($1,220) with buyer’s premium.

Korean Joseon Period Moon Jar Converted to a Lamp, $14,300

Table lamp formed from a Korean Joseon period moon jar, which hammered for $11,000 and sold for $14,300 with buyer’s premium at William Bunch.
Table lamp formed from a Korean Joseon period moon jar, which hammered for $11,000 and sold for $14,300 with buyer’s premium at William Bunch.

CHADDS FORD, Penn. – The top lot in William Bunch‘s January 9 Eclectic Variety Auction was a table lamp formed from a Korean Joseon period moon jar.

Made using baekja, a refined white kaolin clay with little to no iron oxide that gave the porcelain its white color, these distinctive vessels were created in Korea in the 17th and 18th centuries as household food storage jars. Referred to as a daeho (big jar), these vessels were thrown on a wheel in two halves before being united at their widest point prior to firing.

While utilitarian in nature, they assumed new status in the early 20th century as they became appreciated as distinctly Korean and indicative of the Confucian ideals of frugality and purity. An artful asymmetry became a key part of their appeal.

This example was certainly marred by a large hole that had been cut into the base to allow for an electric light fitting. However, it may have been a 17th-century piece (these earlier jars have a compressed and more rounded opening at the top), and it attracted many hopefuls at its estimate of $60-$120. As 30 bidders watched, it hammered for $11,000 and sold for $14,300 with buyer’s premium.

Album of Rare and Possibly Unique Photos Taken in China Between the 1860s and 1890s, $13,300

Photo album containing rare and possibly unique views in the Treaty Port of Chinkiang, China, which hammered for £8,200 and sold for £10,450 ($13,300) at Flint’s.
Photo album containing rare and possibly unique views in the Treaty Port of Chinkiang, China, which hammered for £8,200 and sold for £10,450 ($13,300) at Flint’s.

THATCHAM, U.K. – An album containing rare and possibly unique views in the Treaty Port of Chinkiang, China hammered for £8,200 and sold for £10,450 ($13,300) at photographica specialist Flint’s on January 9. Offered by a descendent of the original owner, it was knocked down to a phone bidder some distance above the estimate of £3,000-£5,000 ($3,820-$6,360).

The concession area at Chinkiang (which is modern-day Zhenjiang) was divided into 19 lots across a 500-yard section of the south bank of the Yangtze River in 1861. The British Consulate there was originally part of a Buddhist temple, but in 1871, funds became available to construct a permanent building – a two story consul’s house and constable’s quarters. After they were burned and looted in February 1889, the complex was rebuilt in 1890.

Accompanied by 55 more general topographical views of Egypt, Somalia, Japan, and the Channel Islands, the album of 82 albumen prints included images of the Chinkiang area, the Customs House after rebuilding, and most notably, images of the ruins of the old British Consulate after the riot. Among the people pictured in the photographs are John George Whitford Gearing, an agent in Chinkiang and a member of the committee of the Land Renters Council in the British Concession of Chinkiang. This album was owned by him and was consigned by his great-granddaughter.

The images may be the work of several photographers. One photograph is inscribed ‘Griffith’ in the negative, probably for David Knox Griffith, a British commercial photographer listed as working in Shanghai from 1872. Griffith photographed the upper reaches of the Yangtze. Another is labeled for Henry Cammidge, a photographer working in Shanghai from 1866 through 1874. The photos are bound together in green cloth with a label that reads ‘Tien Dhing, Book Binder, Stationer and Printer, Honan Road, Shanghai.’

Part of the lot was a scrapbook with multiple newspaper clippings, including a report from the North China Herald recording the riot on February 8, 1889 and handwritten minutes concerning the Chinkiang concession, the treaty rights of British subjects and local opposition to British rights and ownership of land.

Cyril Power, ‘The Sunshine Roof,’ $83,000

‘The Sunshine Roof,’ a linocut by Cyril Power, which hammered for £55,000 and sold for £65,400 ($83,000) with buyer’s premium at Bonhams London.
‘The Sunshine Roof,’ a linocut by Cyril Power, which hammered for £55,000 and sold for £65,400 ($83,000) with buyer’s premium at Bonhams London.

LONDON – Many of Cyril Edward Power’s (1872-1951) most sought-after subjects for his Futurist-style linocuts involve different methods of public transport in London. This one, titled The Sunshine Roof, dates from circa 1934 and came about after the artist took a trip from London to Hertford at the suggestion of his son, who worked for a time as a Green Line bus driver.

Like most Grosvenor School prints, it was produced in a relatively small signed and numbered edition – in this case, just 60 impressions – and only six copies are recorded as selling at auction in the last 25 years. Appearing at Bonhams’ dedicated December 12 sale of Grosvenor School prints in New Bond Street, London, titled The Age of Speedthis example was billed as ‘a very good impression’ of the 10 by 13in (26 by 33cm) print.

The estimate of £25,000-£35,000 was in line with previous prices but, with no example emerging for more than two years, it drew significant interest, hammering for £55,000 and selling for £65,400 ($83,000) with buyer’s premium, a record for the edition.

Private collection of 20th-century design debuts at Freeman’s Hindman Feb. 8

PHILADELPHIA — A private collector in New York spent decades assembling an incredibly strong collection of 20th-century design, with an emphasis on furniture from some of the biggest names in French Art Deco and Modernism. That collection heads to market at Freeman’s Hindman on Thursday, February 8 in a highly focused, 36-lot sale titled The Desire for Perfection: A New York Collection of 20th Century Design. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

At the top spot for the sale’s estimates sits this sideboard designed by French furniture designer Jules Leleu (1883-1961). Released in 1960, just a year before his death, the sideboard’s exterior features lacquered wood, mahogany, brass, and gold leaf, while the interior consists of mahogany, five adjustable shelves, and two drawers. It is estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

One of the greats of the Art Deco period was René Prou (1887-1947), though his impact has since faded. Prou designed interiors for passenger ocean liners, the Orient Express Pullman cars, and high-end homes and banks throughout France. The sale includes three examples of his furniture line: a settee, two side chairs, and two armchairs, all clearly from the same period and patterns. The settee is estimated at $8,000-$12,000, while the two sets of chairs have identical estimates of $5,000-$7,000.

The New York collector was also a fan of Maxime Old (1910-1991), a French interior and furniture designer. Old helped lead the transition from Art Deco to modernism by employing bold colors and definitive geometry, as witnessed in the four lots by him in the sale. Old’s 1947 dining room cabinet is a clear transition away from the 1930s towards a bolder, more defined look. It is estimated at $7,000-$9,000.

Jacques Adnet (1900-1984) is considered a titan of French Modernism, who placed emphasis on luxurious design. At the young age of 28, Adnet was named director of La Compagnie des Arts Français (CAF), where he pursued his Modernist designs for decades. This pair of leather and iron armchairs date to 1960 and are indicative of his pared-down focus on functionality with minimal ornamentation. The chairs are estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

Generations of cool gathered by Swann for its Subculture Sale, Feb. 8

1967 album ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico,’ signed by band members Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, John Cale, and Maureen ‘Mo’ Tucker, and also inscribed to ‘Sal’ by Reed and Tucker, estimated at $5,000-$7,000 at Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK – Swann Auction Galleries is presenting The Subculture Sale, a timed-plus auction that surveys the fringe, the avant-garde, and the indie, and probably includes something that speaks to your youth or those of people you love. Launched on January 23, lots will begin to close around noon Eastern time on Thursday, February 8. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

No fewer than 12 lots reference Andy Warhol (1928-1987) in some way, and several have to do with his collaboration with the legendary band The Velvet Underground. A key offering is a group of 12 albums of the 1967 release The Velvet Underground & Nico. Warhol designed the cover, which became famous for its image of a banana covered by a removable sticker of a peel that invited the record owner to ‘Peel Slowly And See’. The yellow and black stickers on the dozen albums are in various states of removal and represent different pressings and cover iterations of the record. They are together estimated at $7,000-$10,000.

Another breathtaking prize in the sale lineup is a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico signed by band members Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, John Cale, and Maureen ‘Mo’ Tucker. It is also inscribed to ‘Sal’ by Reed and Tucker, and it carries an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

Attracting the highest estimate in the sale, at $10,000-$15,000, is a 1980 Xeroxed collage by Keith Haring (1958-1990). Dubbed Ronald Reagan Accused of TV Star Sex Death after headline clippings the artist assembled from the New York Post, he photocopied the work and posted it across New York City. Understandably, few of these ephemeral and formative Haring pieces survive. The provenance of this one includes the collection of Robert Beers, a film archivist and a member of New York’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company. The Haring shares its $10,000-$15,000 estimate with Untitled (Burning House with Camouflage Plane), a 1982 piece by David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992).

Also showcased is a circa-2002 trio of foam-over-plywood prop gravestones for Nas, Tupac Shakur, and the Notorious B.I.G., created for a music video for Nas’s cover of Tupac Shakur’s Thugz Mansion. The cover song appears on the 2002 Nas album God’s Son, but the video was never made. The props are collectively estimated at $3,000-$4,000.

John Coltrane fans will thrill to the inclusion of a circa-1967 promotional poster for the artist, released by Impulse Records, which bought out his contract in 1961. The lot notes describe it as ‘One of the few, if only, posters issued by Impulse featuring Coltrane during the 1960s. Rare.’ It is estimated at $3,500-$5,000.

Swann President Nicholas D. Lowry said of the Subculture Sale, “Swann is excited to be able to bring this eclectic, unexpected, and seldom-encountered selection of material to market. In many ways, we are offering a living history in this auction. Subcultural relics and societal items from within or not so much longer ago than our own lifetimes — a time frame underserved by the auction community. Our thanks to Boo Hooray Gallery, who helped co-curate this collection of ephemeral fragments and inspirational stepping stones.”

Slotin plans back-to-back sales of folk pottery face jugs, quilts and African American memorabilia Feb. 10-11

Lanier Meaders face jug with double row of teeth, estimated at $1,000-$2,000 at Slotin.

BUFORD, Ga. — Folk art specialists Slotin kicks off its 2024 season with back-to-back online sales featuring folk pottery, jugs and handmade quilts on Saturday, February 10, followed by the Richard Harris African American Experience collection liquidation on Sunday, February 11. Both catalogs are now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Collectors of Lanier Meaders (1917-1998) have a whopping 20 lots from which to choose in the sale. Best known for his face jugs, Meaders inherited the Georgia pottery works his grandfather founded in 1893, which was later operated by his father Cheever. The alkaline-glazed stoneware he produced is coveted today. The top-estimated Lanier Meaders face jug, at $1,000-$2,000, features a double row of teeth in the finish, something rarely found in Meaders’ collected works.

Lanier’s brother Edwin also checks in with seven lots featuring his trademark blue rooster designs. Standing out from the blue glaze is this early ash-glaze green rooster in mint condition. Undated, the rooster is estimated at $1,000-$2,000.

Rounding out Day One is a fine selection of handmade quilts. Affairs of the Heart by Aie Rossman won first place at the AQS International Quilt Show in Nashville, Tennessee and measures 102in square. It is estimated at $800-$1,200. Elizabeth Spannring won second place at the AQS International Quilt Show and first in the Road to California Quilt Show in 2005 with Temperamental Tulips?, an 85in square machine-appliqued and -assembled design. It is similarly estimated at $800-$1,200.

At 293 lots, the African American Experience sale on February 11 is a moving historical review of Black history from slavery days to the civil rights era of the 1960s and beyond. Runaway slaves were a constant problem for their owners, as seen in this 1854 broadside offering $100 for the capture and return of a man called Henry to his owner, Alexander Spottswood Grigsby, who was a prominent Fairfax County, Virginia, businessman and slave dealer. The broadside is further distinguished by its mention of the fact that Henry escaped from the county jail along with a white inmate, a 25-year-old man named James Henry Beach, who was being held on a felony charge. It is uncommon to see broadsides from this era about black and white individuals who escaped together or at the same time. The historical artifact carries a $6,000-$8,000 estimate.

Enemies of the slave trade were known as abolitionists, and they used common imagery of a kneeling, chained slave begging for mercy as a way of identifying their organizations and eliciting sympathy for their cause. This trade sign for the Anglo American Abolitionist Society is undated but certainly from the 19th century. Made of carved wood, the 57in figural sign is estimated at $2,000-$4,000.

Also featured in the February 11 sale is a collection of 21 lots of Black Panther-related materials, with an emphasis on numerous editions of the group’s Intercommunal News Service newspapers. The highest-estimated lot, at $1,500-$2,000, is The Black Panther Manifesto, a 1970 poster issued by the Panthers during chairman Bobby Seale’s imprisonment for contempt of court as he was facing prosecution for inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Featuring excellent artwork by Black Panther Emory Douglas, it focuses on an illustration of Seale strapped into an electric chair next to a lengthy statement made by Black Panther Minister of Information Eldridge Cleaver.