WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Nine oval miniature on ivory portrait paintings of prominent men and woman from Colonial-era America, all of them rendered by Charles Willson Peale (Md./Pa., 1741-1827), sold for a combined $94,163 to lead Louis C. Dianni LLC’s sixth annual Palm Beach Auction, held Feb. 14-16.
LiveAuctioneers provide absentee and Internet live bidding. More than 6,000 bidders from 70 countries participated via the Internet, to compete for the nearly 2,000 lots of unreserved offerings, making this the largest antiques, arms and art auction in the state of Florida.
The paintings included portraits of Lt. Col. Richard Cary, an aide-de-camp to then-Gen. George Washington; Gen. Anthony Lamb, who served in the War of 1812; and Robert R. Livingston, one of five men who drafted the original Declaration of Independence.
“This was our most successful auction to date, hands down,” said Louis J. Dianni. “We had a fabulous mix of merchandise, and so much to choose from, but the Peale portrait miniatures were the big draw. People flew in to bid on them – collectors, dealers and museum curators, you name it. But a local man acquired the group’s top-selling lot.”
That would be the miniature watercolor and gouache on ivory portrait of Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813), a Declaration signer and an American lawyer, politician and diplomat from New York. He is also considered one of the nation’s Founding Fathers, and was known as “The Chancellor,” after the office he held for 25 years. His portrait miniature gaveled for $23,600.
Charles Willson Peale was born in Maryland and was active there and in Pennsylvania. He became one of the first major figures in American art. He created an art and natural history museum that became world famous, especially for the gallery of more than 250 portraits he did of various distinguished Americans. These probably included the miniatures sold in the auction.
“It’s quite astounding, the fact that these miniatures were consigned less than two weeks prior to the auction date, unreserved, with no time for print advertising,” said Dianni.
An oil on board waterfall scene by John Gadsby Chapman (American/Italian, 1808-1889), titled Peyton Falls, Va., painted in 1862, sold for $7,080.
Asian objects were led by a red coral carving of a Guan Yin figure holding an ingzahi scepter and surrounded by nature and animals, mounted on a carved rosewood base and standing 11 1/2 inches tall, sold for $14,580.
Two very different lots realized identical selling prices of $6,847. One was a late 19th century trunk by Louis Vuitton of France, refinished, with brass handles and latches, three clothes holders and padding inside.
Also selling for $6,847 was an early bracelet Rolex watch, with a face measuring a diminutive one-half inch. The bracelet had an openwork gold hinged “wire” for an enveloping fit, along with six carats of diamonds.
A Civil War-era Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver, fourth model, .36 caliber with a 7 1/2-inch barrel, factory engraved and shipped to J. C. Grubb & Co., Philadelphia, on Nov. 23, 1861, achieved $12,150.
Louis J. Dianni LLC is always accepting quality items. To inquire about consigning an item, a collection or an entire estate, call 954-895-8727 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.