CRANSTON, R.I. – A fine bronze sculpture of a female nude by Mexican-born realist Enrique Alferez (Louisiana/Texas, 1901-1999), titled The Bather (1983), climbed to $13,750 and a beautiful Tiffany & Co. pearl necklace with a diamond-encrusted platinum clasp brought $10,625 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ Winter Antiques & Fine Arts Auction held Jan. 6. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
The 379-lot auction was conducted at Bruneau & Co.’s Cranston gallery, which attracted around 135 in-house bidders, despite frigid temperatures.
The Alferez sculpture (above), dated 1983, was the sale’s top lot. Standing 8 ¼ inches tall, it depicted a nude woman kneeling and wringing her hair after bathing. It was signed on the base, along the edge. Alferez drew influence from his Mexican heritage and in general the Art Deco period. He was an active artistic leader in the WPA and created numerous landmarks throughout Louisiana.
“It was satisfying to achieve yet another strong result for modern Mexican art in Rhode Island,” said Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer, adding, “In the Feb. 3rd sale, we will be offering a figurative bronze sculpture of a mother and child by another fine Mexican artist, Jose Luis Cuevas (1934-2017). The piece is coming out of the same estate as the Alferez.”
The circa-1900 strand of pearls by Tiffany & Co. (below), with diamond-encrusted platinum clasp, was the runner-up top lot, with good reason. The 17-inch strand showed off dazzling white pearls that graduated from 7mm to 3.5mm. It was housed in its original Tiffany gilt decorated red Morocco covered satin and velvet lined case. It was the only other lot to crack the $10,000 mark.
Kicking off the auction were 75 lots of fine art from several prominent estates, including pieces from a man’s collection in Dorchester, Mass. That was followed by 19th- and 20th-century decorative arts that included fine bronzes, elegant and unusual chandeliers and Part 1 of a collection of over 60 lots of Chinese Export porcelain out of New York.
“It was great to see the number of collectors who came in person to observe and handle the selection of Chinese Export,” said Kevin Bruneau, company president and auctioneer of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. “I know many bidders left already in a state of high anticipation of Part II of the collection. That will happen sometime this spring. Our website will offer details.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
An Italian Baroque carved walnut figural table stand, circa late 18th or early 19th century, with beautifully carved wolves, blossoming bellflowers and putto, went for $5,000.
A pair of Egyptian Revival bronze bookends by the Ephraim Keyser (American, 1850-1937), titled The Wireless, rose to $3,750.
A German 20th-century Black Forest carved figural bookcase shelf, naturalistically carved with timber form supports adorned with bear cub figures, 72 inches high, brought $6,875.
Two Chinese lots posted identical selling prices of $3,438. One was a Ming dynasty archaistic bronze vase of Hu form, decorated with a banded pattern in relief over a stylized Greek key pattern background, 8 ¼ inches tall. The other was a watercolor on paper painting of radishes, with the image flanked on the right by a calligraphic poem, 14 inches by 16 inches in the frame.
An oil on canvas still life table-top painting of fruit by Robert Spear Dunning (American, 1829-1905), a founder of the Fall River School and a revered still life painter, realized $3,438.
A bird’s-eye maple cylindrical stick barometer, crafted around 1865 by artisan Charles Wilder of Petersborough, N.H., 38 ½ inches long and known as “the baseball bat barometer,” made $2,074.
For details contact Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers at email@example.com.