‘Madeline’ works by Ludwig Bemelmans, commissioned for Onassis yacht, sell at Ahlers & Ogletree May 16

Ludwig Bemelmans, 'Madeline and the Bad Hat', estimated at $15,000-$25,000 at Ahlers & Ogletree.

ATLANTA — Three oils on canvas laid to board re-creating images from Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline children’s books, commissioned from the artist-author for Aristotle Onassis’s yacht, will appear at Ahlers & Ogletree on Thursday, May 16 as part of the Collection of Jerome & Bridget Dobson sale. The complete catalog is open for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Shipping line magnate Aristotle Onassis (1906-1975) loved the sea. When he purchased the Canadian anti-submarine River-class frigate the HMCS Stormont in 1954, he reconfigured it into a luxury yacht and renamed it the Christina O, after his second child and only daughter, Christina Onassis (1950-1988). Apparently, Christina was taken with the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans (1898-1962), so Onassis commissioned him to create a series of paintings in mural-like fashion to line the walls of the yacht’s playroom.

The Dobson collection includes three of these Bemelmans originals. The top-estimated lot of the group is Oh, Genevieve, Where Can You Be?, measuring 66.75 by 22.5in. A&O’s lot notes state, “Some of the murals differ slightly from the book illustrations; they are Bemelmans’ adaptations from the original compositions in Madeline’s Rescue and Madeline and the Bad Hat.” Oh, Genevieve carries an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

Madeline and the Bad Hat is a re-creation of the book’s cover art, and measures 37.75 by 22.5in. Puppet Show bears the same dimensions and estimate as Bad Hat at $15,000-$25,000.

Fine art photography exposes all walks of life in New York May 14

Slim Aarons, 'Fan Mail', estimated at $2,500-$3,000 at Jasper52.

NEW YORK — More than 90 lots of fine art photography arrive at Jasper52 on Tuesday, May 14 as perfect additions to any home or office environment. The catalog is now available for review and bidding exclusively at LiveAuctioneers.

Alain Le Garsmeur (b.1943-) appears to have been most active in the 1970s and 1980s, shooting on film transparencies for publications such as Le Figaro Magazine, Newsweek, and the Sunday Times. Savannah Skateboard is a 1983 image printed in 2022 from an original transparency. It measures 20 by 22in and is estimated at $400-$500.

Slim Aarons (1916-2006) was a world-famous photographer of celebrities and socialites. Fan Mail is a 1952 image of a then-ascendant Marilyn Monroe wearing a red negligee while sorting through her fan mail shortly after the release of her film The Asphalt Jungle. The 30in square print is stamped for the Slim Aarons Estate and is from an edition of 150. It is estimated at $2,500-$3,000.

Winter Tan by Alain Le Garsmeur captures a man tanning with a sun reflector on a street near Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York in February 1973. It is estimated at $400-$500.

1883 Amberina Tankard by Libbey Cut Glass leads our five lots to watch

Late 19 th-century amberina tankard made by Libbey Cut Glass, estimated at $20,000-$25,000 at Woody Auction May 18.

DOUGLASS, KS – The Saturday, May 18 sale of American and Brilliant Cut Glass at Woody Auction includes this remarkable amberina tankard made by Libbey Cut Glass in 1883.

Rated by the auction house as the finest piece of amberina glass it has ever offered for sale, it is pictured in Carl Fauster’s 1979 book Libbey Glass Since 1818, A Pictorial History and Collector’s Guide, and is thought to be the tankard of this type featured in the 1968 exhibition Libbey Glass: A Tradition of 150 Years 1818-1968, held at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio. It is consigned from the estate of David Fuchshuber, a native of Fort Worth, Texas who was a fellow of the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. It carries an estimate of $20,000-$25,000.

Rankin-Bass set piece for ‘Punch and Judy,’ estimated at $1,000-$1,500 at Millea Bros. May 16.
Rankin-Bass set piece for ‘Punch and Judy,’ estimated at $1,000-$1,500 at Millea Bros. May 16.

BOONTON, NJ – Rankin-Bass created some of America’s most beloved holiday stop-motion animated specials of the 20th century, including the 1960s classics Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy, and Frosty the Snowman. In the early 1990s, Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass were searching for another winner in an adaptation of the centuries-old English puppet show, Punch and Judy.

Alas, the show never got beyond the planning stage, but this set piece for what would be the ‘booth’ survived in the collection of Olga and Arthur Rankin, who have consigned it with Millea Bros. as part of its three-day Select sale spanning Wednesday, May 15 to Friday, May 17. The unique and historic piece of Rankin-Bass memorabilia is modestly estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

DUBLIN – A classic enameled Bulgari Serpenti bracelet watch dating to circa 1960 will appear at Adam’s Auctioneers. The 18K gold, diamond, and purple, brown, black, and white enamel bracelet watch is estimated at €40,000-€60,000 ($42,730-$64,100) as part of a Tuesday, May 14 Fine Jewellery and Watches auction. 

Serpenti jewelry, which followed the launch of Bulgari’s signature gold Tubogas bracelets in the 1940s, was featured in Vogue and other fashion magazines on countless occasions in the Sixties. However, such was its expense that fewer than 100 pieces were actually produced across the decade. Most were made for Bulgari by the Valenza-based jewelry manufacturing company Carlo Illario e Filli. The key to their form and flexible memory was an internal white gold double spring kept in place by ingenious threaded gold pins.

The Serpenti bracelet watch offered by Adam’s is distinguished by the Vacheron & Constantin watch dial and movement concealed in the head of the snake. Other more common watch suppliers to Bulgari at the time were Movado and Jaeger-LeCoultre. The bracelet watch is accompanied by a certificate from Amanda Triossi, a Bulgari specialist and author, stating the bracelet was manufactured for and retailed by Bulgari in the 1960s and that the Vacheron Constantin watch is original to the bracelet. 

SHELTON, CT – Joshua Lionel Cowen (1877-1965) always chafed at the term ‘toy trains,’ and after 30 years of hearing it used to describe his Lionel electric train product line, he asked his chief engineer, Joe Bonnano, to do something about it. Bonnano developed a highly realistic, near-scale line of O gauge (1:48 proportion) trains that would become the most popular items Lionel sold in the pre-World War II period.

The jewel in the crown was 1937’s Lionel no. 700E New York Central J-1e Hudson steam locomotive, a workhorse that pulled some of the NYC’s top passenger trains. Lionel’s model was incredibly accurate, with hundreds of hand-applied detail parts that took days to assemble, compared to most toy products that could be built in a few hours. Highly prized, the top-dollar 700E would vanish from the line – as did its defeatured and far more affordable cousin, the no. 763 Hudson – as the war approached and Lionel retooled for military contracts.

After the war, fans clamored for the return of the Hudson, and so the no. 773 Hudson was born. Using the same boiler tooling but without all the hand-applied details, it was more of a revived 763 than a 700E. Buyers responded, and Lionel kept the 773 in the line for a number of years.

Lloyd Ralston Gallery brings a boxed 773 and 2426W whistle tender to market as part of its May Toy Train Sale on Saturday, May 18. In good condition, though the tender box is a bit tattered, the set is estimated at $500-$700 – a far cry from late-1990s prices, when 773s were commanding upwards of $3,000 – making this a very good opportunity to own a postwar classic for relative pocket change.

ASHBURN, VA – The art form known as tian-tsui, made using the electric blue feathers of the Eurasian kingfisher, reached its apotheosis in the Ming and Qing periods. Originally, tian-tsui crowns or feng guan were reserved for empresses and members of the royal household. However, by the late Qing period in the 19th century, it was common for feng guan to be worn either by a wealthy bride on her wedding day or by a woman with honorable rank on formal occasions. Most Qing examples are adorned with traditional motifs emblematic of good fortune.

This example is accentuated by carved floral and hanging details in tourmaline, citrine, jade, jadeite, pearl, and coral. It will be offered on Sunday, May 19, in the final session of the three-day auction devoted to Chinese works of art at Oakridge Auction Gallery from May 17-19. The late owner, who was from Rancho Mirage, California, had an antiques business in San Francisco with Asian art his primary focus.

Tony Bennett charts yet another hit with a 4X estimate sale at Julien’s

Tony Bennett's Sinatra Family Crest Signet Ring, which sold for $50,000 ($65,000 with buyer’s premium) at Julien's.

NEW YORK — Julien’s Auctions‘ dispersal of the late Tony Bennett’s personal collection made four-times its presale estimate in an enduring testimony of the music legend’s popularity more than a year after his passing. Complete results for the sale, which was held on April 18-19, are available at LiveAuctioneers.

The sale realized more than $2.1 million. Collectors from the US, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Spain, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia generated more than 14,000 bids.

Items reflecting Bennett’s legacy as a global icon and civil rights activist brought top dollar. Tony Bennett’s signed Martin Luther King, Jr. letter hammered for $60,000 ($78,000 with buyer’s premium), blowing out its presale estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

Frank Sinatra commissioned 12 copies of his own gold pinky ring featuring the Sinatra family crest to give to close friends and family members.  The Sinatra Family gave one of these commissioned copies to Tony Bennett as a gift of thanks on the occasion of the establishment of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a New York City public high school founded by Bennett and his wife Susan Benedetto in Astoria, Queens. Estimated at $3,000-$5,000, it hammered for an amazing $50,000 ($65,000 with buyer’s premium).

David Hockney (b. 1937) and Tony Bennett were good friends. This still life was gifted to Tony by David, and features a black and white image printed on 24 panels of poster board mounted to backing material. The scene features a table top with a teapot, an edition of the Los Angeles Times featuring an image of Tony Bennett and Hockney’s signature dachshund in the background. Bennett had this piece prominently displayed in his living room. Estimated at $10,000-$15,000, it hammered for $22,500 ($29,250 with buyer’s premium).

Yet another gift from Sinatra to Bennett — this time, a Pasha De Cartier wristwatch — exceeded expectations. Engraved To Tony Thanks Frank A. Sinatra, the watch was anticipated at $3,000-$5,000, but hammered for an astounding $40,000 ($52,000 with buyer’s premium).