LARCHMONT, N.Y. — Clarke Auction Gallery rode a Halloween-themed sale to monstrously good results, with several fine art and decorative items scaring up excellent numbers well above their estimates on October 15. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.
The Spooktacular Estate Sale was headlined by a Tiffany Studios Daffodil lamp from a Danbury, Connecticut estate. With minor cracks in the original shade, the 20in lamp hammered at $42,000 ($53,760 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.
Henry Koerner (1915-1991) was an Austrian American painter and graphic designer whose works ranged from fine art to illustrated covers for Time magazine and American propaganda posters for the Office of War Information. After the war, Koerner continued to work for the U.S. government, but would also embark on more personal works, such as his acclaimed Showboat, which recently sold at Heritage Auctions for $262,500 including buyer’s premium. A newly discovered study for Showboat, created by Koerner and authenticated by his son, was a featured lot in the sale, with highly competitive bidding driving the final price to $40,000 ($51,200 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.
Two Cartier Art Deco-era designs sold for more than double their top estimates. A Cartier rock crystal and diamond desk clock with its original leather-bound hard case was estimated at $10,000-$15,000 but hammered at $38,000 ($48,640 with buyer’s premium). A Cartier enamel with agate desk clock and barometer made $30,000 ($38,400 with buyer’s premium), doubling its high estimate.
A very interesting three-quarter-length portrait of an Elizabethan gentleman, attributed to the circle of the court painter George Gower (circa 1540-1596), hammered for $32,000 ($40,960 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $3,000-$5,000. Although in outwardly poor condition, the cracks to the panel had been cradled and several areas of paint loss were confined to the costume, where restoration could work wonders.
Equally, while the name of the subject dressed in the circa-1580 fashion was not identified, the Latin inscriptions and the heraldry (a shield of three gold escallops and two chevrons on a red ground) will give the purchaser some clues. Flanking the sitter are vignettes of cherubs and the words Quot capita, Tot sententiae (so many men, so many opinions) and the wistful lines Nemo ex omni parte beates (There is no perfection so absolute) and Eft virtus rara qua non fortuna guberuah (Rare is the virtue that’s not ruled by Fortune).