Artworks by artist Nathan Oliveira pace solid results at Clars

Oliveira’s figurative portrait painting ‘Untitled (Face)’ soared past its $20,000-$40,000 estimate selling for $46,125. Clars image

OAKLAND, Calif. – Clars Auction Gallery hosted their most successful October sale in the company’s history with $1,025,000 in total sales, up 10 percent from 2018. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

After being purchased by a private investment group in August, Clars new CEO and President Rick Unruh commented, “Since the acquisition, the new Clars has come out of the gate very strong with two successful auctions. I believe we will continue to see record growth going forward as our market share in the West Coast and beyond increases with the exceptional property we will be offering.”

A collection of works by Nathan Oliveira (American, 1928–2010), one of the premier members of San Francisco’s Bay Area Figurative School, was the highlight of Clars Oct. 13 auction garnering an impressive evening total of $128,535 for the combined seven lots sold by the artist. Oliveira’s haunting figurative portrait painting, Untitled (Face), (above) soared past its $20,000-$40,000 estimate selling for $46,125. This was followed by Oliveira’s 44½-inch-high bronze sculpture, “Figure Five,” (below) commanding the impressive price of $52,275. Unruh remarked, “This was by far one of the best collections of Oliveiras ever to be offered. We were quite pleased with the strong results for this artist.”

Nathan Oliveira’s bronze sculpture titled ‘Figure Five,’ 1983 sold for $52,275. Clars image

Another Bay Area Figurative artist that outperformed at Clars on Oct. 13 was Berkeley artist Henrietta Berk (American, 1919–1993), whose oil on canvas, Spring Landscape, sold for $12,300 making it the second-highest record price for the artist. A lovely painting titled Japanese Panel (1921) by Spencer Baird Nichols (American, 1875–1950), who was a chief designer of the Tiffany Studios, also fared well selling for $11,685 well above its $2,000-$4,000 estimate.

The second highest record price for Henrietta Berk (American, 1919–1993), was achieved on ‘Spring Landscape,’ which sold for $12,300. Clars image

The first installment of the personal collection of entertainment icon, journalist and philanthropist Robin Leach (1941-2018) was presented on Oct. 13 and the world market responded. Just 68 lots were offered with most soaring past their estimate realizing a total of $64,515 for this initial installment.

Leach’s personal collection of fine wines and champagnes was heatedly sought out by collectors and connoisseurs alike. The 26 lots offered sold for over $25,000 with the highlights of this group being a 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut that earned an impressive $6,710  followed by a Richard Hennessy Cognac which went off for $2,440.

This 1990 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut from the Robin Leach Collection sold for $6,710. Clars image

Among the other highlights of this initial offering was a Golden Age-style  jukebox that more than doubled its estimate selling for $4,270 and a watercolor by Olivia de Berardinis (American, b. 1948) titled Pop Goes the Weasel, 1986, sold for $2,200.

This jukebox from the Robin Leach Collection more than doubled its estimate selling for $4,270. Clars image

Known as a premier collector of fine paperweights, this initial installment also presented a select group of 5 lots from his collection which performed beyond expectation realizing a total of $7,000.

The second installment of the personal collection of Robin Leach will be presented on Sunday, Nov. 17.

For information and comment on the Robin Leach Collection, please contact Cristina Campion, Senior Specialist at 510-428-0100, ext. 117 or email

The highlight of the decorative arts and furnishings category was a great surprise during the Saturday session when bidders fought heatedly for a pair of Russian bisque figurals of a man and woman. The estimate on this lot was $100–$200 but intense bidding kept driving this lot higher to  $13,420.

This pair of Russian bisque figurals was expected to sell for $100–$200 but intense bidding kept driving this lot higher to $13,420. Clars image

Among the other top performers in this category was an arts and crafts Gustav Stickley Morris chair, model 369 which achieved $4,575 and a lot of two Le Corbusier (French, 1887-1965) for Cassina black leather sofas, Petit Modele, LC2, also flew past its estimate realizing $5,500.

A Japanese silk panel screen on a wooden frame that featured embroidered birds and flowers captivated bidders and collectors. Expected to sell for $4,000, highly competitive bidding drove this lot higher and higher to a final sale price of $14,640.

The star of the the jewelry and timepieces category was a diamond and 18K rose gold necklace that featured 41 marquise-cut and 82 full-cut diamonds that sold for $9,760.

The second top performer in this category was a sapphire (approx. 4.63 carats) and diamond ring set in platinum. The sapphire was accented by 50 full-cut diamonds, This ring surpassed high estimate selling for $6,100.