Three Roman portrait busts head to market at Lyon and Turnbull March 21

Roman Trajanic marble bust of Pompeia Plotina, which hammered for £600,000 ($767,360) and sold for £780,000 ($988,120) with buyer’s premium at Lyon & Turnbull.

EDINBURGH, UK – Three larger-than-life-size Roman portrait busts with an 18th-century provenance linked to Cobham Hall in Kent, England will appear at Lyon & Turnbull this month. They form part of the firm’s first designated sale of Classical Ancient Art on Thursday, March 21.

The trio of massive second century heads come by descent from John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley (1767-1831), the Lord of the Manor of Cobham. A noted amateur cricketer who made at least 27 appearances in first-class cricket matches between 1789 and 1796, he employed the architect James Wyatt to remodel the interiors at Cobham Hall. The sculptures, each now placed on a 19th-century stand, remained in situ until the house changed hands in 1957. They were part of a sale held by Sotheby’s in London in July 1957.

In chronological order, and leading the group at £25,000-£35,000 ($31,990-$44,785), is a 3ft 3in (97cm) bust of Pompeia Plotina circa 110-120 AD. Born around 70 AD, she assumed the role of empress consort when Trajan rose through the ranks of the Roman military to become emperor in 98 AD. Although she eschewed many of the trappings of power and luxury often associated with imperial life, she is shown here as an idealized beauty with an elaborate coiffure and corkscrew fringe, and a palla draped over the back of her head and over her shoulders.

Trajan was conservative in nature, and Trajanic portrait sculpture was idealized to accentuate Roman virtues. With changing artistic sensibilities and philosophical trends, far more naturalism emerged during the reign of his successor, Hadrian. This is observed in a sensitively rendered bust of an older aristocratic lady of the middle Hadrianic period, circa 125-130 AD. The bust portrait is estimated at £20,000-£30,000 ($25,590-$38,385).

In 138 AD Antoninus Pius would succeed Hadrian as emperor, and his wife Faustina the Elder was granted the title of Augusta by the Senate. A highly idealized and rejuvenated image of the empress in the guise of the goddess Hera, dated to around 135-140 AD, is estimated at £25,000-£35,000 ($31,990-$44,785).

Numbering a select 16 lots, the inaugural Classical Ancient Art auction at Lyon & Turnbull features a range of ancient works of art and sculpture from several private collections. Two exceptional Apulian volute kraters (here and here) dating to circa 340 BC have been in a U.K. family collection since the first half of the 20th century. They carry estimates of £40,000-£60,000 each ($51,185-$76,775).

Decorated with mythological narratives and scenes from domestic life in the Ornate Style, in the words of Arthur Dale Trendall, co-author of the 1991 book The Red-Figured Vases of Apulia, they feature “perhaps the most elaborate naiskos scenes from the entirety of ancient Apulian pottery”. They are among the finest surviving work by an artist known as the White Saccos Painter, who worked in one of the Greek colonies in Southern Italy, probably at Canosa, in the late 300s BC. His or her innovative technique involved applying white slip to the ceramic surface before painting.

Hernando Ruiz Ocampo’s final painting could set $1M record at Clars March 21

Detail of the monumental 29ft painting ‘Mga Kiti’, created in 1978 by Hernando Ruiz Ocampo and estimated at $700,000-$1 million at Clars Auction Gallery.

OAKLAND, Calif. – The last monumental canvas created by Hernando Ruiz Ocampo (1911-1978) will be offered at Clars Auction Gallery on Thursday, March 21. Dating to the last year of the artist’s life, when Ocampo has reached national treasure status in his native Philippines, the scroll painting has an estimate of $700,000-$1 million. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Together with contemporaries Vicente Manansala and Cesar Legaspi, Ocampo was the leader of the modernist movement in the Philippines, championing Filipino Neo-Realism in the years after the Second World War. The Neo-Realists took their inspiration from the struggles of workers, family life, poverty, and the local landscape while painting in a style influenced by the European and American avant-garde.

The monumental 29ft scroll-like work presented at Clars is one of only two pictures made by the artist in this size. Titled Mga Kiti, it is rendered in acrylic paint on Tetoron fabric with a repeating pattern of forms that echo human figures, birds, lotus pods, and cellular structures. The style is reminiscent of batik, the Indonesian technique of wax-resistant dyeing of cloth.

Commissioned by Ocampo patron Ginny Jacinto, it was the final painting the artist completed before he died in December 1978. Several earlier paintings by Hernando Ruiz Ocampo have sold in the past for more than $500,000, most at Makati City auction house Leon Gallery. However, a $1 million sale of Mga Kiti would represent a new record for the artist at auction.

Reginald Marsh originals unearthed at Akiba’s March 26 John Cassara estate sale

Reginald Marsh, 'Men And Women At Play, Coney Island,' estimated at $25,000-$50,000 at Akiba.

DANIA BEACH, Fla. — John Victor Cassara (1934-2022) was an industry executive who created specialized insurance products for the Brownstone communities of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Boston Proper. Beyond the boardroom, he was a connoisseur of classical music, a skilled violinist since childhood, and an avid patron of the arts. And, it turns out, he was a huge collector of Reginald Marsh social realism originals depicting life in 1920s and 1930s New York. Twenty-five examples — along with numerous watches and other luxury items — come to market at Akiba Galleries Tuesday, March 26. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Marsh (1898-1954) was born in Paris to American artists who returned to America in 1900 when Marsh was two. The Marsh family was affluent, with the patriarch having made millions in the meat-packing business. Marsh would go to private schools and ultimately graduate from the Yale School of Art, where he served as a cartoonist and illustrator for the Yale Record, the college humor magazine. His initial career consisted of commercial illustration, but upon taking a trip to Paris, his first since returning to America, he happened upon social realist and regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, who greatly influenced Marsh to take up painting as a full-time profession.

Today, Marsh is best remembered for walking the streets of New York, sketching everyday — and often off-beat — scenes of regular working-class life. It is this period of work, that would continue up to his early death at 56, which comprises the bulk of the Cassara collection.

Akiba has placed the sinister-looking Two Women Picked by Ike for Top Places (Third Avenue El) at the top of the Marsh estimates, with a $30,000-$50,000 range. Produced only two years before his death in 1952, it carries provenance directly from Mr. and Mrs. Henry Luce, the former being the publishing titan who created Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated magazines.

Men And Women At Play, Coney Island shows Marsh’s unique ability to capture kinetic activity, a trademark of much of his work. The tempera on panel is signed and dated Reginald Marsh 1938 and was previously sold at Sotheby’s in 2012. Its estimate is $25,000-$50,000.

In high heels with her dress and long blonde hair blowing in the wind, Merry Go Round again celebrates the New York Coney Island environment with an active subject — in this instance, a happy young woman. Signed and dated Marsh 48, this oil-on-panel painting is assessed as being in ‘great overall condition.’ Akiba has placed an estimate of $20,000-$40,000 on this lot.

Bowery Bums, Babes, and Barber Poles may be the most quintessential Marsh painting in the sale. Featuring a combination of the aforementioned elements, the viewer is instantly taken to the place through the depiction of action and emotion. Created around 1944, the watercolor, ink, and gouache on paper has a $6,000-$12,000 estimate.

Marsh liked to paint New York beyond just its inhabitants. Brooklyn Bridge, from 1933, shows the iconic span along with tugs in the East River. The watercolor on paper is signed and dated Reginald Marsh 33 and is estimated at $6,000-$12,000.

A tiny Louis Vuitton trunk, a bronze lobster, and George Washington portraits triumphed at Thomaston Place

Louis Vuitton salesman’s sample trunk, which sold for $9,375 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.

THOMASTON, Maine – ‘Correct in detail, material and quality of construction, down to brass hardware, stencilled cloth and monogrammed leather trim’, a miniature Louis Vuitton trunk hammered for $7,500 and sold for $9,375 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries. Only a handful of these diminutive luggage pieces are known, made at the time either as salesman samples or as playthings for the children of wealthy Louis Vuitton customers. Following every detail of the full-size version, this suitcase measuring 11in (27cm) across was in good condition, save the interior, which had been relined in a marbled paper. Beneath it may be a label for Louis Vuitton’s offices at 149 New Bond Street and the Paris Champs Elysees. The miniature trunk sold well above its estimate of $800-$1,000, topping the first day of the February 23-25 Winter Enchantment auction.

Sharing its estimate and winning second place on Day One was a Meiji-period bronze model of a lobster. Described in the lot notes as ‘hyper realistic, fully jointed and moveable’, it was one of the remarkable models produced by Japanese metalworkers in the post-Samurai era. Despite lacking one of its antennae, it hammered for $6,000 ($7,500 with buyer’s premium).

Day Two was dominated by two portraits of George Washington by or after Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). Estimated at $3,000-$5,000 but sold at $27,000 ($33,750 with buyer’s premium) was a circa-1805 version of the classic George Washington bust portrait – the so-called Athenaeum type, painted from life in Philadelphia in 1796. Stuart referred to these portraits as his “$100 bills” as, whenever he needed the money, he would retire to his Boston studio and paint another. He sold more than 70 of them in his lifetime, and there are many others that were painted by followers after he died. This unsigned portrait in its original frame was attributed to Stuart.

Stuart created the original full-length portrait of George Washington at Dorchester Heights for the City of Boston in 1806. It shows the general in his battle pomp posing next to the backside of a horse. The original hangs in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with versions in Faneuil Hall in Boston and Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, but the version offered at Thomaston Place was one of many impressive if somewhat pedestrian copies. A stencil on the verso for Goupil & Co., New York dates it to the 1850s. Housed in a heavy gold molded cove frame standing 6ft high, it hammered for $26,000 ($32,500 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

Antique books from the 15th to 19th century are the focus at Jasper52 March 19

Illuminated Koran, estimated at $2,500-$3,000 at Jasper52.

NEW YORK — Historic books from the 15th through the 19th century come to Jasper52 with Ink of Ages, an unparalleled journey through the written wonders of centuries past taking place on Tuesday, March 19. The 506-lot sale is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Leading the sale is an early 19th-century illuminated Koran, the holy text of the Islamic religion. Written in Ottoman Turkish, its more than 600 pages feature many lavish illustrations. The book is estimated at $2,500-$3,000.

Published between 1500 and 1515, Olivier Maillard’s Sermones provides rare testimony on the slang language from the end of the Middle Ages. Wrapped in 18th-century brown calfskin and encompassing five volumes, the set is estimated at $4,000-$5,000.

Istorie Fiorentine by Scipione Ammirato (1531-1601) presents a history of the city of Florence, Italy. The three-volume set is in generally good, vellum-bound condition. It is estimated at $1,500-$2,000.

American Brewing Company Liberty Beer Pre-Prohibition serving tray leads our five lots to watch

American Brewing Company Liberty Beer Pre-Prohibition Serving Tray, estimated at $25-$250,000 at Morean Auctions.

BRIMFIELD, Mass. – The Sunday, March 17 sale of vintage beer cans and breweriana by Dan Morean Auctions boasts more than 550 lots for the collector, including this stunning pre-Prohibition serving tray from American Brewing Company of Rochester, New York.

Probably made in the first decade of the 20th century, the tray features the company’s American Indian chieftess in full headdress, along with arrows and a peace pipe. The tray’s rim promotes the company’s Liberty Beer ‘in bottles only.’ With only a single small dent to its otherwise pristine finish, the lot is estimated – like all lots sold through Morean – at $25-$250,000.