KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Leroy Neiman party scene and an early miniature portrait of a Chickasaw brave were the most celebrated lots at Case Antiques, Inc. Auctions & Appraisals‘ Summer Auction, held July 9-10. A total of 95% of the lots sold, and the sale total tallied 17% above the high estimate.
The audience broke into applause when a collector on the floor placed the winning bid of $78,000 for the Leroy Neiman painting. The painting of a dinner party or wine tasting was dated 1965, relatively early in Neiman’s career, before he became famous for his sports-related images. It was one of several items in the auction from the estate of publishing executive Margaret Harold Roberts, and it had hung in her Palm Beach mansion prior to moving with her to the Chattanooga area several years before her death.
A miniature portrait of a young Native American man named Kinheche also proved to be a highlight. Early portraits of Native Americans are scarce in any size; this one was painted in 1830 by Caroline Dudley during a Chickasaw treaty summit with President Andrew Jackson held in Franklin, Tennessee. Estimated at $8,000-$10,000, the three-inch-by-two-inch portrait soared to $60,000. The buyer was Colonial Williamsburg, which was underbid by phone and floor suitors, including two other institutions.
American Art flourished throughout the two-day sale. Performing especially well was an impressionistic watercolor of cranes overlooking a lily pond by South Carolina artist Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, which tripled its estimate to sell for $43,200.
A Swiss automaton pocket watch attributed to Pierre-Simon Gounouilhou and a 2.85-carat diamond solitaire ring tied for top lot status in the estate jewelry and watches category, with both achieving $31,200. The watch featured a kitchen scene with multiple clockwork-powered moving parts, while the diamond, placed in an 18K gold and platinum setting, carried a GIA certification with VS2 clarity and F color.
A Chinese white jade carved pendant made a big splash on the auction’s second day, with a full bank of phone bidders chasing it to $26,400. Other Asian highlights included a pair of famille rose hexagonal porcelain jardinieres, which attained $5,520; a rectangular famille rose jardiniere, which realized $2,400; and a 16in rose medallion punch bowl, which sold for $1,680.
A Tennessee museum beat out several competitors for a late 19th-century African American applique quilt, created by Josie Covington of Triune, Tennessee. It ultimately sold for $14,400. The quilt, from the collection of Southern historian Richard Hulan and his late wife Kathleen, had been exhibited in a 1978 traveling exhibition sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Art and was the cover image for the accompanying publication, The Afro-American Tradition in the Decorative Arts.
For more information, or to consign to Case Antiques, Inc. Auctions & Appraisals, call 865-558-3033 or 615-812-6096, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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