Ansel Adams photos snap up over $64K at Clars auction

This spectacular gelatin silver print by Ansel Adams titled ‘Vertical Aspens’ (1958) sold for $11,495. Clars Auction Gallery image

OAKLAND, Calif. – Clars Auction Gallery hosted their annual sale of fine photography on Jan. 21 in conjunction with their monthly Fine Art, Decorative Art, Furniture, Jewelry/Timepieces and Asian Art Auction. The market responded strongly to the important photography offerings and impressive prices and surprises were seen across the board. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

Clars presented over 50 fine works by some of the most important masters in photography from several private collections. These works earned over $107,000 with the highlight being a rare portfolio of 15 gelatin silver prints by Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984). Titled Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian, this work sold for $51,425. Another spectacular gelatin silver print by Adams, Vertical Aspens (above), also performed well realizing $11,495.

Rounding out the top sellers in this collection was Magnolia Blossom (Tower of Jewels) by Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976), which earned $7,320.

Imogen Cunningham’s photograph titled ‘Magnolia Blossom (Tower of Jewels),’ taken in 1925, sold for $7,320. Clars Auction Gallery image

While the photography collection was the highlight of this category, the market took note of the several fine paintings that were offered. Achieving a most impressive price and doubling its high estimate was an oil on canvas by Italian master Gaetano Bellei (1857-1922). Untitled (The Card Game) experienced robust bidding driving the sale price to $27,830.

This oil on canvas by Italian master Gaetano Bellei (1857-1922). Untitled (The Card Game) sold for double high estimate at $27,830. Clars Auction Gallery image

The Asian offerings had a number of surprises with several lots soaring past expectations. During the Saturday, Jan. 20, session, an Asian wood Buddha was offered with an estimate of $200-$400. The bidding opened at $100 and intense bidding quickly drove this lot higher and higher to a final sale price of $14,520.

This Asian wood Buddha was offered with an estimate of $200-$400 but intense bidding quickly drove this lot higher and higher to $14,520. Clars Auction Gallery image

Following suit during the Sunday session a Himalayan painted thangka carried an estimate of $1,500 – 2,500 but, once again, demand drove the final sale price to $13,310.

The Decorative Arts and Furnishings category was led by the first offerings of items from the Sterling Vineyard Winery Art Collection of Calistoga Calif. An early 18th-century Ottoman tortoise and mother of pearl coffer was offered with an estimate of $1,000-1,500. Collectors took notice and drove the final sale price to ten times its estimate selling for $12,100.

This early 18th-century Ottoman tortoise and mother of pearl coffer achieved $12,100. It measured 19 in high x 25 in. wide x 15.5 in diameter. Clars Auction Gallery image

The next lot from this collection, a Continental iron lockbox, circa 1780, experienced similar demand selling for $8,470, over four times its estimate. A large collection of items from Sterling Vineyard Winery will be offered at Clars February 2018 auction.

An exceptional selection of art glass was offered. Topping these offerings was an Emile Gallé Marine wheel cut and fire polished vase, circa 1900, which sold for $8,470.

Fashionistas drove the final sale price on a Hermes red Togo leather Birkin 35 handbag over the high estimate to $6,655.

Exceptional works by Cartier reigned supreme in the jewelry catagory with both lots offered far exceeding expectations. The first was an amethyst, turquoise and diamond 18K yellow gold bird brooch that was offered with an estimate of $1,000-2,000 but collectors vied heatedly driving the final sale price to an astonishing $19,360.

This Cartier reigned amethyst, turquoise and diamond 18K yellow gold bird brooch sold for an astonishing $19,360. Clars Auction Gallery image

Experiencing similar demand was a lapis lazuli, diamond and 18k yellow gold ladybug pin that was estimated at $1,500-2,500. Once again, intense bidding drove this beautiful piece to a final sale price of $9,075.

Luxury timepieces also performed well with a Manfredi 18K yellow gold wristwatch commanding over high estimate selling for $7,260 and an Ebel Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 18k yellow gold wristwatch selling for $6,655.

For more information contact Clars Auction Gallery via email: info@clars.com.