CRANSTON, R.I. – An 18th century Chinese Qing Dynasty bronze tripod censer soared to $30,000 at a Fine Art & Antiques Auction held Aug. 17 by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. The sale featured 380 lots, pulled from prominent estates. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
The front and underside of the 5-inch-tall censer, which was originally used to burn incense to honor ancestors, purify the air or cure ailments, were both impressed with the Xuande character seal mark. In overall good condition, with original untouched patina, the lot sailed past its estimate of $3,000-$5,000 to be the sale’s top achiever. The auction featured French furniture and accessories, lovely paintings, bronzes, jewelry, clocks, Chinese arts and modern arts.
“Overall it was a great day, with active participation from both the house and online,” said Bruneau & Co. president Kevin Bruneau. “Asian arts again proved to be the wild card of the antiques business, as you never know what something will sell for. That censer was truly an exceptional example, plus the fact that it’s going back to China says something in itself.”
Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer, added, “Every auction always ends up being an exciting one for me, especially when you get to hammer down a pricey bronze censer. Outside the censer, it was nice to see Heinrich Kley’s market remaining hot and viable as results stayed consistent with what we achieved in 2017. Bidders competed hard for the Kley painting.”
He was referring to the watercolor and ink on paper by Heinrich Kley (German, 1863-1945), titled Der Patient (“The Patient”), a mythical illustrative work depicting an ill dragon resting on a pillow stuffed with gold as a wizard inspects its wound. A bare-breasted woman stands nearby with a worried look. The 8½-by-13-inch (sight) painting found a new owner for $4,375.
All prices quoted here include the buyer’s premium.
A finely cast sculpture of the Greek poet Sapho by Emmanuel Villanis (French, 1858-1914), on a base and with an overall height of 28½ inches, changed hands for $2,250. The sculpture, signed “E. Villanis” and titled “Sapho” on the base, depicted Sapho standing with her lyre in flowing diaphanous drapery. Sapho, through her poems, became a symbol of female homosexuality.
A pair of 19th century French Sevres urns, 20½ inches tall, Greco-Roman in form with organic acanthus leaf ormolu mounts, gaveled for $3,438. The porcelain urns, marked Sevres on the bottom, were decorated with opposing romantic neoclassical panels of voluptuous nude women with diaphanous drapery among cherubs. Scenic landscape panels showed classical architecture.
A 68-piece Carrs Sheffield (England) sterling silver flatware set in the Kings pattern finished at $3,438. The service for 12, weighing a total 130 troy silver ounces, came in a wooden box lined with velvet measuring 12½ inches by 19 inches. A plaque on the inside lid was engraved with “Carrs Sheffield England Silverware” and the cutlery handles were stamped “Sterling England.”
A pastel on paper figurative abstract painting by Louis Schanker (N.Y./Conn., 1903-1981), of humanoid figures dancing over a tricolored background, fetched $938. Schanker utilized a blend of abstraction and cubism to create a vibrant imagery of people, animals and still life. The untitled 8-by-16-inch work was signed “Schanker” upper right and dated 1940.
A Chinese Qing Dynasty reverse glass panel painting, telling a story and broken down into four scenes, realized $938. The last panel depicted His Wang Mu and her counterpart Mu Gong riding on a cloud of mist in front of spectators. Also, a 14K gold braided rope-twist bracelet brought $3,438. The 8-inch-long bracelet, maker unknown, weighed 34.7 grams.
For details contact Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-533-9980.