First Nations artist Annie Pootoogook’s illustrations skyrocketed at LAMA

Annie Pootoogook, 'Napachie and Annie Drawing,' which sold for $40,000 ($52,400 with buyer’s premium) at LAMA.

VAN NUYS, CA — Three original illustrations created during the short career of Inuit illustrator Annie Pootoogook (1969-2016) soared well beyond their individual estimates of $1,000-$1,500 at Los Angeles Modern Auctions on April 24 as part of the house’s Art: The LA Edition sale. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

Pootoogook was only active for a handful of years, but her work was highly influenced by her artist parents and grandmother. She applied her naive style to depictions of everyday Inuit life in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, ranging from shopping or watching television to more traditional First Nations activities. She worked largely with a traditional graphite pencil, pen, and colored pencils to achieve her vision, favoring a small format.

Napachie and Annie Drawing captures the artist and her mother working on illustrations in a bedroom environment with small artworks dotting the walls. Starting at just $50, the 18.125 by 25in work hit a chord with buyers as it escalated rapidly to $8,000 and then hammered for an astounding $40,000 ($52,400 with buyer’s premium).

Two other Pootoogook originals each took $38,000 ($49,780 with buyer’s premium). Composition (Kneeling) shows a young woman on her knees in a room environment, crying and speaking what is possibly Inuit hieroglyphs in a cartoon bubble. A short phrase from Hebrews 11:5 hangs on the wall behind her.

Plucking Beard Hairs portrays a young Inuit man sitting on a pillow before a playing boom box with a small angel hanging on the wall. Like the other two works, it was estimated at just $1,000-$1,500, and its five-figure final price demonstrates that North American collectors continue to have a strong appetite for First Nations and American Indian art.

Full-length self-portrait by Édouard Vuillard leads our five lots to watch

Full-length self-portrait by Édouard Vuillard, estimated at $150,000-$250,000 at Heritage Auctions June 4.

Full-length Self-portrait by Édouard Vuillard

DALLAS – Heritage Auctions will offer the only known full-length self-portrait created by avant-garde artist Édouard Vuillard (1868-1940) on Tuesday, June 4 as a lead lot in its Fine European Art sale.

Measuring 30.25 by 19.5in, the oil on board laid to canvas dates to around 1900, just as the French avant-garde group Les Navis – of which Vuillard was a key member – was disbanding. Though known to be of smaller stature, the self-portrait depicts Vuillard as substantially taller. In addition, in contrast to his normally disheveled everyday appearance, he portrays himself in fine clothes with a dapper hat, clearly having fun with the depiction. The location is believed to be Amfreville on the Normandy coast of France. Heritage estimates the painting at $150,000-$250,000.

First Hugo Science Fiction Award Ever Given

Hugo award given to Forrest J. Ackerman by Isaac Asimov at the 11th WorldCon in 1953, estimated at $5,000-$7,000 at Freeman’s Hindman on June 7.
Hugo award given to Forrest J. Ackerman by Isaac Asimov at the 11th WorldCon in 1953, estimated at $5,000-$7,000 at Freeman’s Hindman on June 7.

CHICAGO – The first Hugo award ever given forms part of an auction of Fine Books & Manuscripts at Freeman’s Hindman on Friday, June 7. Presented to author, agent, publisher, and general science fiction fanatic Forrest J. Ackerman (1916-2008) at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1953, it is estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

The 11th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon), held at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia on September 5-7, 1953 included the event’s first-ever awards ceremony. The now familiar trophy, formed as a futuristic chrome-plated rocket ship, was named after ‘father of the genre’ Jugo Gernsback, founder of the magazine Amazing Stories.

Though the Hugo Awards were originally conceived as a one-off event, they proved so popular that organizers, having skipped handing them out during the 12th WorldCon, reinstated them in 1955 and thereafter made them a tradition. Today, the Hugo is widely considered the premier award in sci-fi writing. 

This award – one of seven bestowed in 1953 – is accompanied by photograph of Ackerman receiving the award from the Foundation series author Isaac Asimov. 

International Order of Odd Fellows Heart-in-Hand Plaque

International Order of Odd Fellows heart-in-hand plaque, estimated at $2,000-$4,000 at New England Auctions – Fred Giampietro June 6.
International Order of Odd Fellows heart-in-hand plaque, estimated at $2,000-$4,000 at New England Auctions – Fred Giampietro June 6.

BRANFORD, CT – Fred Giampietro’s New England Auctions will offer a circa-1865 wooden plaque for the International Order of Odd Fellows Thursday, June 6 as a featured lot in its Americana Collection of Frank Gaglio.

Founded in 1819 at the Seven Stars Tavern in Baltimore by Thomas Wildey, the IOOF is a fraternal organization similar to the Masons, but with a decidedly more working-class angle. Odd Fellowship began in England in 1730, and though the two orders are independent, they maintain a fraternal relationship.

As with the Masons, the IOOF uses a number of symbols as part of its identity. Three chain links, usually with the letters FLT (for Friendship, Love, and Truth) are common, as is the all-seeing eye denoting a higher presence. But unique to the Odd Fellows is the heart-in-hand symbol, signifying an emphasis on charity to those in need.

In excellent condition, the hand-carved open palm and forearm contain a classic red heart backed up by a shield. The plaque is estimated at $2,000-$4,000.

Chinese Famille Verte Kangxi Period ‘Birthday Celebration’ Vase

Large Chinese famille verte Kangxi period ‘birthday celebration’ vase, estimated at £30,000-£50,000 ($38,140-$63,565) at Dreweatts Donnington Priory on June 5.
Chinese famille verte Kangxi period ‘birthday celebration’ vase, estimated at £30,000-£50,000 ($38,140-$63,565) at Dreweatts Donnington Priory on June 5.

NEWBURY, UK – Dreweatts Donnington Priory will conduct a sale titled The Palmer Family at Bussock Wood: Four Generations of Connoisseurship on Tuesday, June 4 and Wednesday, June 5. The consignors are direct descendants of the Victorian manufacturing giants Huntley and Palmers, which was one of the first global brands and at one time was the world’s largest maker of cookies. 

Bussock Wood in Berkshire, England was purchased by William Alexander Palmer in 1963 and housed an important family collection of art and antiques, including the Reginald and Lena Palmer collection of Chinese Art, elements of which were sold by Christie’s in Hong Kong in 2023. Among the highlights of the more than 400 lots in the upcoming Dreweatts sale is a 17in (43cm) high Kangxi period famille verte ‘birthday celebration’ vase. Purchased by Ada Palmer, the mother of Reginald Howard Palmer, and left to him in her will in 1953, it now has an estimate of £30,000-£50,000 ($38,000-$64,000).

Late Classic Navajo Man's Wearing Blanket

Late Classic Navajo Man's Wearing Blanket in Second Phase Chief’s Pattern, estimated at $80,000-$120,000 at Heritage June 4.
Late Classic Navajo Man's Wearing Blanket in Second Phase Chief’s Pattern, estimated at $80,000-$120,000 at Heritage June 4.

DALLAS – Robert Stewart Davis (1877-1923) was a prospector in the American Southwest in the late 19th century. At some point he traded for a Late Classic Navajo man’s wearing blanket in the Second Phase Chief’s Pattern, which descended through his family to modern times. It now comes to market for the first time at Heritage Auctions in its Tuesday, June 4 American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Art sale.

Dated by Heritage to the late third quarter of the 19th century, the native handspun wool, indigo, and cochineal blanket measures 69.5 by 52in and has been in the same family since Davis traded for it while prospecting. It is estimated to bring $80,000-$120,000.

Jasper52 showcases Exclusive Estate and Designer Jewelry June 4

Pair of 18K gold and tiger’s eye bracelets by David Webb, estimated at $32,000-$38,000 at Jasper52.

NEW YORK – On Tuesday, June 4, beginning at 8 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will hold its next Exclusive Estate and Designer Jewelry auction. This edition will showcase exactly 300 lots of rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, bangles, and more from esteemed houses and designers as well as unsigned pieces. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Among the highlights are a pair of 18K gold and tiger’s eye bracelets by David Webb, estimated at $32,000-$38,000. The hammered gold bangles date to the 1990s and each contain three carved beads of semi-precious tiger’s eye.

Another head-turner is an 18K gold chunky cocktail ring set with a 4.86-carat Old European-cut diamond. The band is size 7.25 and its maker is unknown, but it is believed to be contemporary. The stone, which has K-L color and SI3 clarity, contrasts beautifully with the slightly textured gold, and the whole is estimated at $72,000-$86,000.

Completing the trio of highlights is a pair of Mario Buccellati 18K yellow and white gold diamond earrings from the 1960s, estimated at $22,000-$26,000. Each piece in the pair is fashioned from twisted gold wire that is crisscrossed inside an oval gold shape to create a rhombus pattern. Each rhombus, in turn, has a white gold element to stage a round brilliant-cut diamond. The stones have G-H color and VS clarity and together weigh 2.30 carats.

Imperial Fabergé and Romanoff family treasures lead $5.69M Russian Art Auction at Heritage

Imperial FabergĂ© Diamond Set and Enameled Gold-Mounted Bowenite Egg-Shape Frame, which sold for $600,000 ($750,000 with buyer’s premium) at Heritage.

DALLAS — Heritage Auctionsfirst sale dedicated to Imperial Russia more than doubled its high estimate, bringing $5.69 million on 179 lots with a 98% sell-through rate, and a new record set for FabergĂ©. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

“It was a classic Russian Works of Art sale, with Imperial FabergĂ©, enamels, paintings, sculpture, furniture, decorative arts, and Imperial ephemera of a type not seen in the US since the 1990s, when the Russian market moved to London. Collectors responded eagerly,” said Nick Nicholson, Heritage’s senior specialist in Russian works of art. “All the objects in the sale were consigned by American collectors and American estates, and the majority of significant lots were purchased by US collectors. The sale shows that the market remains strong for superlative objects with important provenances.”

Thirteen lots in the auction sold for six figures, and leading that list was an auction record-breaker: An Imperial FabergĂ© diamond-set and enameled gold-mounted Bowenite egg-shape frame from a California private collection hammered for $600,000 and sold for $750,000 with buyer’s premium — the highest recorded price for a FabergĂ© picture frame. It contains an original photo of Empress Maria Feodorovna and predates 1896. Works in this collection had made their way to California via Prince Vasili Romanoff; the young prince Vasili, his mother Grand Duchess Xenia, the Dowager Empress, and many FabergĂ© treasures had traveled from Crimea to safety abroad.

Outstanding works from the studios of the Russian goldsmith and jeweler Carl FabergĂ© that were once owned by the Romanoff family provided a foundation for the auction. Imperial FabergĂ© from several collections made up eight of the top ten lots in the event, among them this FabergĂ© diamond and champlevĂ© enameled gold-mounted purpurin elephant once owned by Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, which hammered at $250,000 ($312,500 with buyer’s premium).

A FabergĂ© two-color gold and opalescent pink guillochĂ© enameled diamond-shaped clock that belonged to the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna brought $240,000 ($300,000 with buyer’s premium). An Empress-owned FabergĂ© gold-mounted hardstone cockerel made $240,000 ($300,000 with buyer’s premium). And a FabergĂ© Feodor RĂŒckert cloisonnĂ© and En Plein enameled gilt silver box owned by the Empress sold for $200,000 ($250,000 with buyer’s premium).

The second-highest-priced object in the sale came from the Nelkin collection and broke from FabergĂ© for an exciting round of bidding. “It was the greatest pleasure for me as a specialist,” said Nicholson, “to rediscover the Imperial Lampada designed by Feodor Solntsev for the Chudov Monastery at the Kremlin and watch it reach a historic price of $380,000 ($475,000 with buyer’s premium).”

The Tsesarevich Alexander Nikolaevich had commissioned the lampada to commemorate the recovery of the Tsesarevna and her son the Grand Duke in a period of family ill health and grieving; it was to be placed before the tomb of the young Grand Duke’s patron, Saint Metropolitan Alexis of Moscow, whose relics had been venerated within the Church of Saint Alexius built within the Chudov Monastery of the Kremlin since 1485. Confiscated by the Soviets and sold abroad, it has not been seen in public since 1980.