MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc. tested the waters with a single-estate auction format on Oct. 7 and was so pleased with the results, it will likely offer more of these auctions in the future. Featuring the art collection of the Orentreich Foundation of Cold Spring, N.Y., with a portion of the proceeds going to the biomedical/medical research foundation, the auction presented just under 200 lots but boasted total sales of more than $50,000, including the buyer’s premium. Considering the auction house’s monthly Red Carpet auctions are normally just over four times as big, this small sale featuring the longtime art collection packed a powerful punch. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
“We wanted to try this format and were quite pleased with the money we were able to raise for the Orentreich Foundation,” said Pam Stone, owner and founder of the Benefit Shop Foundation. “A lot of the artwork was not by listed artists so there were a lot of happy surprises. The late collector accrued artworks over decades and they were all fresh-to-the-market so there was considerable interest. I also think Dr. Orentreich would have been pleased that his personal passion for Haitian art was shared by so many buyers as this genre was a big hit in the auction.
Setting a robust tone for the auction right away was lot 1, a Jules Moigniez (1835-1895) signed bronze eagle statue ($500-$2,000) that depicted an eagle in mid-flight with one foot perched on a branch. Measuring 31½ inches tall, the bronze fetched $3,840 from a phone bidder and was shipped to its new home in England.
The Haitian art on offer in the auction was not your typical floral still lifes that would look at home in an English drawing room. These paintings were vibrant, colorful, sometimes folky, and whimsical and they easily found favor with bidders. Leading the selection were a vivid Gérard Valcin signed oil on panel, depicting a murder of crows in a field, earning $1,792; a colorful Andre Normil signed oil on panel of a traditional Haitian folk art scene of a town full of people celebrating with music, food and games, $1,280; a S.E. Bottex signed oil on canvas of an ox tied with a rope, flanked by two cranes, against a bright neon green background, $1,280; and a Salnave Phillippe-Auguste signed oil on board of vines growing a bounty of brightly colored fruits and flowers, $1,216.
Rounding out the auction were a Reginald Gray acrylic on board, signed, of Adam and Eve that more than doubled its high estimate to bring $2,304; an oil on canvas, signed Erio and inscribed to Orentreich, featuring an abstract portrait of a faceless woman, which brought $896; and a David Hockney lithographed poster for the summer 1982 edition of the New World Festival of the Arts that earned $640. The latter was one of several posters to bring over $500 each.
Monthly sales here typically feature choice collections of antique, midcentury modern, brand-name furnishings, sterling, china, crystal, jewelry and fine art.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For more information, contact the Benefit Shop Foundation Inc. at 914-864-0707.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/