Two portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence come for sale at Cottone March 20

GENESO, N.Y. – Two portraits by the virtuoso English painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) will be presented at Cottone Auctions. The Wednesday, March 20 Fine Art and Antiques sale features two portraits of Regency beauties that come by descent from the industrialist Colonel Charles Clifton (1853-1928) of Buffalo, New York.

Clifton was an important figure in the early years of the automotive industry, overseeing the evolution of a bicycle wheel manufacturer into the Pierce-Arrow Motor Company. A recipient of the legion d’honneur for his work with the Allied war relief in France, he served on the board of the Albright Knox Art Museum from 1914 until his death in 1928.

He collected English portraiture at that extraordinary moment in the first quarter of the 20th century when prices were at their peak. The 1818 portrait of Lady Elizabeth Mary, Countess of Belgrave, who later became Marchioness of Westminster, comes with full documentation, including a copy of a 1923 receipt from Fearon Galleries in New York. It had cost a mighty $20,000, which is equivalent in purchasing power to around $400,000 today. Precisely 101 years later, the picture appears at Cottone with an estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

A second unfinished Lawrence oil depicts Lady Fitzwilliam, daughter of the Earl of Pembroke. This picture was part of the Bretby Heirlooms sale that was held for the 7th Earl and the Dowager Countess of Chesterfield by Christie’s in London in June 1918. It was acquired by Clifton from Knoedler & Co., New York, in 1923 at a cost of $9,000. This time out it is estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

A rediscovered picture from the end of the 19th century is Gossipy Market Women at Nuremberg, an oil on canvas by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). Housed in its original carved and giltwood frame attributed to Stanford White, it is estimated at $20,000-$40,000.

Painted circa 1889, while Tiffany was busy with his celebrated Havemeyer Mansion commission, this picture of three market traders in conversation was exhibited in 1891 in both New York and Chicago, and by repute was among the furnishings at Tiffany’s Oyster Bay, Long Island home Laurelton Hall. A study of the subject was kept by Tiffany at Laurelton Hall. When the house and contents were sold in the 1940s, it was given by Tiffany’s daughter, Comfort Tiffany Gilder, to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida. The 20 by 16 ¾ inch canvas on offer descended in the family of Henry M. V. Summers (1871-1959), who was a friend of Theodore Roosevelt and an auctioneer in Oyster Bay.

Robbins collection of prints and drawings outperformed expectations at Tremont

John Faber the Elder, 'On Nee Yeath Tow No Riow', which sold for $29,000 ($36,830 with buyer’s premium) at Tremont.

SUDBURY, Mass. – Rare prints from the remarkable collection amassed by Winfield Robbins (1841-1910) of Arlington, Massachusetts came for sale at Tremont Auctions on February 25. During his travels to Europe, Robbins collected some 150,000 prints that he later left to his hometown. After recent approval was given to deaccession, selections from this extensive collection will be offered by Tremont Auctions in upcoming sales.

The financial highlight was a mezzotint of one of the so-called ‘Four Indian Kings,’ the native American chiefs that visited London in 1710. Based on a series of official portraits commissioned by Queen Anne from the Anglo-Dutch artist John Verelst (1648-1734), these are considered the earliest known surviving portraits from life of the native people of North America.

This example, from a series by John Faber the Elder, is titled On Nee Yeath Tow No Riow or King John of Canajoharie. He was one of three Mohawk chiefs from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) alliance and one Mohican from the Algonquin nations who were received in London as diplomats and were transported through the streets of the city to St. James Palace in royal carriages. The print was expected to bring $2,000-$3,000, but sold at a muscular $29,000 ($36,830 with buyer’s premium).

Two other mezzotints from the series, including Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperour of the Six Nations engraved by John Simon and Coning vande Maquas alias Coning Brant engraved by Peter Schenk the Elder, were sold by the auction house in August. They made $12,000 and $16,000, respectively.

The portrait of the venerable Congregational minister Cotton Mather, published by Peter Pelham in Boston in 1727, is considered the first American mezzotint. Pelham was already regarded as an accomplished engraver and artist when he arrived in Massachusetts from London, but Mather was his first subject on American soil. Though he posed for Pelham’s painted study (which is part of the collections at the American Antiquarian Society), the minister would not live to see the final mezzotint as he died four months before the print’s publication. The copy here sold for $4,200 ($5,334), well above its estimate of $400-$600. Another example sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2021 for $4,000.

A portrait of Albert Einstein by German Jewish artist Hermann Struck (1876-1944) earned $4,600 ($5,842 with buyer’s premium). A specialist in etchings, Struck made a number of portraits of Einstein as well as other great minds of his generation including Wilde, Nietzsche, Freud, and Ibsen, but this relatively youthful image is thought to be the earliest. Published around the time the experimental confirmation of the theory of relativity in November 1919 had made front-page news across the world, it is perhaps the earliest attempt to commercialize an artistic image of Einstein. Numbered 20 of 150, this is one of the 50 in the edition also signed and dated 1923 by Einstein himself in pencil at the lower right.

Some of the day’s strongest prices were for Japanese woodblock prints. These included an 1892 album featuring a complete set of the 36 Ghosts series by the Meiji master Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. Bound in silk brocade covers, this copy, estimated at $5,000-$7,000 but sold at $16,000 ($20,320 with buyer’s premium), includes a title page and the publisher’s Imperial commendation page. Thirty-Six New Forms of Ghosts was the last major woodblock print series by Yoshitoshi. At the end of his life he revisited the popular tales of ghosts, demons, and the supernatural from Japanese folklore that he had drawn previously in his twenties. Pushing the medium of the woodblock print to its limits, he used students to assist in the carving of 12 different color blocks for each design. It was published in parts between 1889 and 1892 by Sasaki Toyokichi and again by Matsuki Heikichi in 1902.

The complete set of Thirty-two Aspects of Customs & Manners (Fuzoku sanjuniso) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi hammered for $13,000 ($16,510 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. This series, published in 1888, amounts to a survey of bijin (female beauties) of different backgrounds and occupations from the reactionary Kansei era (1789-1800) to the more open Meiji restoration (1860-1912). The word for ‘Aspect’ or ‘Type’ or ‘Appearance’ (sô) had been famously used by earlier artists such as Utamaro and Kunisada. A technical term borrowed from physiognomists who analyzed character on the basis of physical facial features, it could also mean ‘flower.’

Estate and designer jewelry head to market in New York March 12

Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet, estimated at $36,000-$43,000 at Jasper52.

NEW YORK — The newly announced Estate and Designer Jewelry sale at Jasper52 on Tuesday, March 12 represents a golden opportunity to add style and luxury to any collection. The catalog is now open for bidding exclusively at LiveAuctioneers.

Leading the highlights is a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet made of 18K gold, coral, and chrysoprase with diamond accents. The bracelet features five elongated coral planks framed in 18-karat yellow gold, while the coral’s salmon coloring is perfectly even, with no spots or cavities. The bracelet is estimated at $36,000-$43,000.

Next up is an elegant pair of Graff earrings, made of platinum, diamonds, and multi-colored sapphires. Each earring has three heart-shape sapphires (yellow, pink, and green), one round sapphire (purple), and three round diamonds. The gems are set in a line, one above another, to create a gorgeous sparkling thread. The set is estimated at $28,000-$34,000.

Savor a view of the past with this 1940s-era Cartier 18K gold diamond watch. Featuring a Longines movement, the watch is described as being in excellent original condition and is estimated at $24,000-$29,000.

Franz von Stuck silver-plated nautilus cup leads our five lots to watch

Silver-plated nautilus cup designed by Franz von Stuck and produced by WMF, estimated at $3,000-$5,000 at Turner Auctions + Appraisals.

Silver-plated Nautilus Cup Designed by Franz von Stuck

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – This nautilus cup was one of the first sculptural works created by German painter and sculptor Franz von Stuck (1863-1928). Related to a calendar illustration for the month of October published in the Fliegende Blatter in 1889, it is thought to predate the Glaspalast exhibition in Munich in 1892, when the artist displayed his more famous work titled Athlet.

Stuck himself owned a bronze version of the model, mounted with a real nautilus shell, that he occasionally used as a prop in his paintings. However, most surviving examples were made in electroplate by WMF (Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik).

This one will be offered at Turner Auctions + Appraisals on Saturday, March 9 with an estimate of $3,000-$5,000. It is part of a sale dedicated to the estate of Edward S. Stephenson (1917-2011), a production designer for television who launched the leading prop house Hollywood Studio Gallery. Turner sold his large holdings of Japanese woodblock prints in May 2023.

Italian 17th-Century Wrought-Iron Four-Poster Bed

Italian 17th-century wrought iron four-poster bed, estimated at $1,000-$10,000 at Ashcroft and Moore.
Italian 17th-century wrought iron four-poster bed, estimated at $1,000-$10,000 at Ashcroft and Moore.

HATBORO, Penn. – With the news that High Point, North Carolina dealership Randall Tynsigner is closing after almost 35 years in business, auction house Ashcroft and Moore is conducting a retirement sale. The three-day auction, taking place Tuesday, March 12 through Thursday, March 14, numbers almost 900 lots, many of them priced at a fraction of retail levels. This four-poster bed fashioned in wrought iron is a type once common in 17th-century aristocratic Italy. Similar theatrical beds embellished with scrollwork decoration survive in a number of museum collections: this example was previously used as a movie prop in the 1933 film Queen Christina, starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in their fourth and final film together. Although it was priced at an eye-watering $140,000 in the Randall Tynsigner gallery, it has a more approachable auction estimate of $1,000-$10,000.

Star Trek’ Signed Cast Photo, Inscribed by William Shatner

‘Star Trek’ cast photo, signed by seven members and inscribed by William Shatner with the words that opened each episode of the original TV series, estimated at $1,700-$2,550 at Nate D. Sanders.

LOS ANGELES – Star Trek autographs don’t get much better than this one that will appear in Nate D. Sanders’ Thursday, March 14 Memorabilia Auction. Not only is the photo signed by seven leading members of the cast – William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, James Doohan, and Walter Koenig – but Shatner additionally writes in silver felt-tip the famous opening sequence: ‘Space the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.’ Offered together with an image of Shatner recently adding his words, it has an estimate of $1,700-$2,550.

Louis Comfort Tiffany Painting of a River Landscape

River landscape by Louis Comfort Tiffany, estimate $6,000-$8,000 at Willow Auction House.
River landscape by Louis Comfort Tiffany, estimate $6,000-$8,000 at Willow Auction House.

LINCOLN PARK, N.J. – Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) is best known for his work as a glassmaker and jeweler catering to the Gilded Age elite, but he was also a formally trained artist of some merit. His oils and watercolors are of particular interest for their choice of subject matter. In addition to typical Hudson River School-style landscapes of upstate New York, Tiffany applied the lessons of French realism to paint scenes of industry along the Hudson River and the slums of New York City. His apparently tranquil scenes of Seabright, New Jersey also depict its mixed-race fishing community and the economic strife faced by African Americans who moved north after the Civil War.

This oil on canvas of houses in a river landscape is signed at the lower right and measures 10 by 12in. It has an estimate of $6,000-$8,000 at Willow Auction House on Thursday, March 14.

Mid-18th-century Chinese Coromandel Lacquer 10-panel Screen

Mid-18th-century Chinese coromandel lacquer 10-panel screen, estimated at $4,000-$6,000 at Clarke Auction Gallery.
Mid-18th-century Chinese coromandel lacquer 10-panel screen, estimated at $4,000-$6,000 at Clarke Auction Gallery.

LARCHMONT, N.Y. – This mid-18th-century Chinese coromandel lacquer 10-panel screen will be part of the Sunday, March 10 estates auction at Clarke Auction Gallery. It has an estimate of $4,000-$6,000 and a provenance that includes former ownership by Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness (1883-1940), the British shipping magnate who, during his lifetime, was one of the richest men in the world. The screen, decorated to one side with a continuous pavilion scene in red, green, brown, and gold and to the reverse with calligraphy and precious objects, was later sold by Mallett & Son in London in 1969, at Parke Bernet in New York in 1971 for $5,500, and again in 1993 for just under $10,000. It comes for sale from a Greenwich, Connecticut estate.