MOUNT KISCO N.Y. – Auction records for artists are routinely set at large auction houses in New York City, but occasionally an auction house in the suburbs is able to achieve a record price. Such was the case on April 18 when the Benefit Shop Foundation got to do exactly that in its monthly sale. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
Featuring a striking selection of fine art, the auction was led by a rare and early folk art oil painting by Charles Fazzino (b. 1955), dated 1983. The 13-by-11-inch painting (above) depicted a barnyard scene of a horse-drawn hay wagon and people. The consignor’s parents purchased the painting while Fazzino was living at home in New York with his parents. The artist is better known for his silkscreen serigraph 3D-style constructions that he turned to later in his career.
The top auction price for a work by Fazzino was had been $1,500, and in this sale, buyers pushed the price to $5,715 with the painting going to an art collector through LiveAuctioneers, said Pam Stone, owner and founder of Benefit Shop Foundation.
“It was an exciting auction, we had an inkling this painting was going to do well based on the presale interest we were seeing but we had no idea we would set an auction record,” said Stone.
Another standout was a limited edition stone litho portfolio by renowned artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945), comprising 23 lithograph reproductions of the artist’s work, going well above the $500-1,000 estimate to fetch $2,857 from an online buyer through LiveAuctioneers. The portfolio traveled with the consignor’s family from the artist’s native Germany to Norway and then New York.
Several other artworks also performed well, including an energetic contemporary painting by Joe Taylor recreating the cover of Buckwheat Zydeco’s Hey Joe album and measuring about 6 by 6 feet, selling for $2,413 to a LiveAuctioneers bidder. It was painted for Tower Records’ Los Angeles store.
A surprise performance was an oil on canvas painting by Michele Harvey, titled Hadley, MA, showing a small country town surrounded by farmland, green mountains and blue sky with detailed clouds. It bested its $300-600 estimate to realize $1,778.
Besides fine art, Benefit Shop Foundation’s auctions usually feature a choice grouping of Oriental rugs. Leading this sale were an antique multitoned Oriental carpet runner, 170 by 38 inches, which earned $1,524, triple its high estimate, and an antique Russian handmade wool runner, 196 by 42 inches, selling comfortably over estimate at $635.
Rounding out the auction standouts were an ornately sculpted artist-signed chess set (below), signed Piero Benatti, that doubled high estimate to bring $1,016 and a pair of Lalique art glass crystal vases with female nude forms amid a grape design motif, in frosted and clear glass, 9 inches tall, that sold for $635, far above its $50-$100 estimate.
For more information, contact the Benefit Shop Foundation at 914-864-0707.