Huge Chinese poem scroll painting tops $72K at Bruneau & Co.

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The top lot of the auction was this massive 19th century Chinese archaic poem scroll painting – 24 feet wide by 29 inches tall, which sold for $72,500. Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers image

CRANSTON, R.I. – A gigantic 19th-century Chinese archaic poem scroll painting – 24 feet wide by 29 inches tall – sailed past its estimate of $800-$1,200 to command $72,500 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ March 3 Antiques, Fine Art & Asian Arts auction. The buyer was an in-house Asian bidder acting as a broker for overseas buyers. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

About three-quarters of the scroll’s 24-foot image area comprised the painted landscape (above). Other features included several chops and collection seals along the borders of bold calligraphy. Some creasing and foxing on the paper didn’t deter bidders, who were evidently able to decipher the name of the artist, whereas Bruneau & Co. declined to weigh in. That accounted for the modest estimate.

“This was an action-packed sale with a very lively crowd,” said Kevin Bruneau, president and auctioneer of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. “I was on the phone with the underbidder of the Chinese scroll and he just kept saying ‘go-go-go’ from the time it opened at $400 right on up to $50,000 without hesitation. When it reached the $60,000 mark, he finally threw in the towel.”

The auction was highlighted by the gorgeous Asian antiques in Part 2 of the George Dagher collection of Chinese Export and the Ruth Latta collection of Japanese scrolls. The auction also featured a broad selection of original artworks by well-known American artists from different stylistic periods, as well as a tantalizing selection of fine antiques, furniture and decorative arts.

“Outside of the fireworks spectacular of the day it was a great sale, with strong results all around,” said Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer. “It was quite the experience selling the scroll, although half-way through I needed a quick breath. The secessionist tea set held up to expectations, with heavy interest on the phone, in the gallery as well as online.”

He was referring to the Austro-Hungarian silver and ivory tea set with an 18-inch diameter tray, a teapot (11 inches from handle to spout) and a sugar bowl, for an overall total weight of 89 troy ounces. The set, of whimsical form and fine craftsmanship, was marked with a Pest, Hungary assayer’s mark, an “MMM” lamp maker’s mark and an 1867-1872 date mark. It hammered for $5,000.

Following are additional highlights from the auction, which totaled $212,850 in gross sales.

All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.

A lovely 19th-century Chinese rosewood and mother of pearl inlaid and marble inset bench (below) went for $5,625. The 77-inch-wide bench was intricately inlaid with an allover floral tendril and animal pattern and stood on robust figural mythical beast legs. It was inset with mountainous dream marble and center rouge marble plaques and was in great overall condition.

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Chinese rosewood mother of pearl inlaid and marble inset bench, inlaid with allover floral tendril and animal pattern. Price realized: $5,625. Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers image

A pair of French Sevres-style, brass-mounted porcelain urns – palatial at 55 inches tall – finished at $3,750. The mid-20th-century urns were signed “N. Nerini” and were nicely decorated with individualized scenic genre courting scenes. The reverse had mountainous waterfront landscapes.

An 18th-century oil on canvas Old Master painting of Christ, signed on verso (possibly “Carlo” but listed in the auction catalog as artist unknown), brought $3,438. The painting, 19¾ inches by 16 inches, had some minor craquelure and surface issues but was in overall good condition.

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Eighteenth-century oil on canvas Old Master painting of Christ. Price realized: $3,438. Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers image

A fine Chinese porcelain dragon vase from the Guangxu period, 11¾ inches tall, commanded $2,812. The gilt and enamel decorated porcelain vase depicted a scrolling scene of a dragon chasing a phoenix, with attached figural dragon handles, a celadon glaze inside and a six-character mark to the underside. It had some repairs that were virtually impossible to detect.

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Fine Chinese gilt and enamel decorated porcelain dragon vase from the Guangxu period, 11¾ inches tall. Price realized: 2,812. Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers image

A Tiffany & Co. bronze repeater carriage clock, made in France in the 19th century and in fine working order, rose to $2,125. The gilt bronze neoclassical repeater carriage clock had a bronze dial signed “Tiffany & Co.” beveled glass case.

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Tiffany & Co. bronze repeater carriage clock, made in France in the 19th century and in fine working order. Price realized: $2,125. Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers image

A watercolor on paper Secessionist painting by Mildred Bailey Carpenter (Missouri, 1894-1985), titled Well Dressed Woman in the Woods, 20 inches by 25 inches in the frame, topped out at $2,000. The painting was artist signed lower right and had gallery paper remnants on verso.

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Watercolor on paper Secessionist painting by Mildred Bailey Carpenter (Missouri, 1894-1985), titled ‘Well Dressed Woman in the Woods.’ Price realized: $2,000. Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers image

A 19th-century European wall sconce lit up the room for $2,000. The gilt bronze electrified acanthus wall sconce had figural Pan and Nymph head supports, an overflowing fruit and flower topper and bottom finial. With the extended candle holders, the overall height was 23 inches.

For details  contact Bruneau & Co. at info@bruneauandco.com or 401-533-9980.