Extraordinary M.C. Escher print tops Clars sale at $98K

The star of Clars’ Sept. 15 sale was the 13-foot-long ‘Metamorphosis II,’ by M.C. Escher (shown here in consecutive segments) which sold for $98,400. Clars image

OAKLAND, Calif. – Important fine art led Clars’ sale on Sept. 15 as bidders competed strongly for the investment-level works offered. Numerous offerings in all categories soared well past expectations making this an exciting sale. The property offered at this sale came from prominent California estates as well as museums, private institutions and special collections. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

The star of the show was the highly anticipated and rare 13-foot-long woodblock print by M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972) titled Metamorphosis II, 1939/1940 (above). Considered Escher’s most ambitious project, this work was offered for $80,000-$100,000 and sold for $98,400.

Taking second place, and creating a frenzy of international bidding, was an oil on canvas by Vladimir Becic (Croatian, 1886-1954). Landscape, Bosnia#1, (below) was estimated to sell for $2,000-$4,000. Bidding opened at $1,000 and immediately jumped to $21,000 creating a bidding war that drove the price to $49,200.

This oil on canvas by Vladimir Becic (Croatian, 1886-1954) titled ‘Landscape, Bosnia #1,’ was estimated to sell for $2,000-$4,000 but soared to an astonishing $49,200. Clars image

Experiencing a similar bidding frenzy was the oil on canvas by James Taylor Harwood (American, 1860-1940) titled Autumn Waterfall (Utah). Offered for $8,000-$12,000, this work quickly escalated to more than double its high estimate selling for $28,290.

This oil on canvas by James Taylor Harwood (American, 1860-1940) titled ‘Autumn Waterfall (Utah),’ escalated to more than double its high estimate selling for $28,290. Clars image

This trend continued on an Italian School (16th/17th century)/Follower of Raffaello Sanzo da Urbino Italian, (1483-1520) work. Portrait of a Woman (Maddalena Strozi Doni), an unsigned oil on panel soared from its estimate of $5,000-$7,000 to the final sale price of $20,910.

An oil on canvas by Joseph Kleitsch (American, 1862-1931) sold for triple its high estimate. Titled Seville, 1926, the oil on canvas sold for $19,680.

The other top performers in the Fine Art category included the Old Master work, Enthroned Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels from the Arezzo School/Circle of Neri di Bicci (Italian, 1419-1491) which achieved $43,750.

Commanding the second-highest price of the sale was Abstract Landscape by Liu Guosong/Liu Kuo-sung (Chinese, b.1932). This ink and color on paper was offered for $15,000-$25,000 and the bidding opened at $7,500. Once again, heated bidding drove the final price higher and higher to an incredible $55,350. (Provenance: acquired through Jeanne Watten, founder and director of the Art Guild, a collective gallery in Taipei Taiwan, representing contemporary artists from 1966-1974.)

‘Abstract Landscape’ by Liu Guosong/Liu Kuo-sung (Chinese, b.1932) soared to $55,350. Clars image

Ancient Egypt topped the charts in the decorative arts and furnishings category with a 26th dynasty (500 B.C.) Egyptian bastet selling $12,300. (Provenance: Prominent San Francisco Bay Area Collection thence by family descent.)

This 26th dynasty (500 B.C.) Egyptian bastet sold for $12,300. Clars image

Leaded glass lamps from Tiffany and Handel realized impressive prices. A Tiffany Studios patinated bronze and leaded glass Acorn table lamp sold for over high estimate for $11,070 as did a Handel patinated bronze and leaded glass lamp that realized $6,150.

This sale presented a strong selection of midcentury modern design furniture. A pair of circa 1960 Preben Fabricus & Jorgen Kastholm FK 82 “X” chairs commanded $6,400. A pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar caned and black lacquered wingback lounge chairs, Model 6016, went out for $5,120.

The fine jewelry dazzled the bidders and the prices realized reflected the rich selection that was presented. Topping this category was a sapphire (11.95 carats), diamond and 18K white gold ring that soared to $29,520 against its $6,000-$9,000 estimate.

This sapphire (11.95 carats), diamond and 18K white gold ring soared to $29,520. Clars image

Also, more than doubling its estimate was an emerald (14.05 carats), diamond and gold platinum ring that fetched an impressive $27,060.

For more information email Clars Auction Gallery at info@clars.com.