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Karoly Patko’s 1932 tempera on board ‘Cetara, Italy’, which sold for $110,000 ($133,000 with buyer’s premium) at Andrew Jones Auctions on April 29.

Károly Patkó’s ‘Cetara, Italy’ leads our five auction highlights

Károly Patkó, ‘Cetara, Italy’, $133,000

LOS ANGELES – In his native Hungary, Károly Patkó (1895-1941) is a recognized name in early 20th-century art. A student at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, a member of the artist colony of Nagybánya, and a participant in Hungary’s most influential inter-war exhibitions, many of his paintings are kept by the Hungarian National Gallery.

This large 2ft 5in by 4ft 5in (1.04 by 1.25m) tempera-on-board coastal scene, offered by Andrew Jones Auctions as part of a Pebble Beach collection on April 28-29, is signed and dated 1932. It depicts the town of Cetara in southwest Italy, which Patkó visited as a fellow of the Hungarian Academy in Rome between 1929 and 1932. It was during this period that the artist’s easy-on-the-eye geometric style emerged. 

Relatively few of Károly Patkó’s paintings appear for sale in the English-speaking nations, but in Hungary, his work is relatively common at auction, and more than a dozen of his pictures have sold for more than $100,000. According to Artprice, the current high for the artist stands at more than $450,000, bid in December 2022 for a 1930 scene of shipwrights in a Mediterranean harbor sold by Kiselbach Gallery of Budapest. In this context, the estimate of $10,000-$20,000 for this large-scale, prime period work was attractive. As 30 potential bidders ‘watched’ on LiveAuctioneers, it hammered for $110,000 ($133,000 with buyer’s premium).

19th-century Dwarf Tall Case Clock by Massachusetts Artisan David Studley, $19,375

19th-century dwarf tall case clock by David Studley, which sold for $15,500 ($19,375 with buyer’s premium) at South Bay Auctions on May 1.19th-century dwarf tall case clock by David Studley, which sold for $15,500 ($19,375 with buyer’s premium) at South Bay Auctions on May 1.
19th-century dwarf tall case clock by David Studley, which sold for $15,500 ($19,375 with buyer’s premium) at South Bay Auctions on May 1.

EAST MORICHES, NY – A dwarf tall case clock made by David Studley of Hanover and Hingham, Massachusetts sold well above its $1,500-$2,500 estimate at South Bay Auctions on May 1, hammering for $15,500 ($19,375 with buyer’s premium).

Diminutive clocks of this early 19th-century type – it measures just 3ft 7in (1.10m) high – are native to this part of southern Massachusetts. This example has a white-painted wooden dial signed ‘David Studley, Hanover’, the town where Studley was born in 1783 and died at the age of 90 in 1873. He was one of several makers of shelf clocks and dwarf clocks who served apprenticeships under the local Quaker clockmaker John Bailey Jr. 

James Sowersby’s ‘The Mineral Conchology of Great Britain’, $22,760

‘The Mineral Conchology of Great Britain’, a seven-volume work by James Sowerby, which sold for £18,200 ($22,760 with buyer’s premium) at Flints on May 1.
‘The Mineral Conchology of Great Britain’, a seven-volume work by James Sowerby, which sold for £18,200 ($22,760 with buyer’s premium) at Flints on May 1.

THATCHAM, UK – The Science, Medicine & Early Technology auction at Flints on May 1 was led by a complete seven-volume set of The Mineral Conchology of Great Britain by James Sowerby (1757-1822). The first six volumes of this famous work were published between 1812 and 1829, with the unfinished seventh volume or supplement published much later, from 1840 to 1846, in eight parts. Typically, it is absent from most surviving sets.

All of the volumes in this set, except for the supplement, have ink corrections and additions in the same unidentified contemporary hand. They include many of the printed specimen titles crossed out and corrected, changes to the text, alterations to page numbers and contents and, in the case of Volume IV, two pages completely handwritten. As an intriguing and complete copy, it hammered for £14,000 ($17,510) and sold for £18,200 ($22,760) with buyer’s premium, well above the estimate of £2,000-£4,000 ($2,500-$5,000). 

The Mineral Conchology, a comprehensive catalog of many invertebrate fossils found in England, was one of several monumental publishing projects attempted by James Sowerby. As he died in 1822, some of the 650 colored plates were completed by his sons James De Carte Sowerby and George Bettingham Sowerby.

1913 Silver Yachting Trophy, $26,880

Silver yachting trophy made in 1913 for the winner of the Eastern Yacht Club Cruise, which sold for $21,000 ($26,880 with buyer’s premium) at Marion Antiques Auctions on May 4.
Silver yachting trophy made in 1913 for the winner of the Eastern Yacht Club Cruise, which sold for $21,000 ($26,880 with buyer’s premium) at Marion Antique Auctions on May 4.

MARION, MA – The May 4 sale at Marion Antique Auctions included a 1913 yachting trophy made for the winner of the Eastern Yacht Club Cruise. That winner turned out to be Elena, a 136ft vessel owned by railroad baron Morton Plant (1852-1918). A member of the New York Yacht Club, Plant was also known for a famous 1917 trade with the jeweler Pierre Cartier in which he swapped his Fifth Avenue home in New York City for a double strand of natural saltwater pearls valued at $1 million. Plant gave the necklace to his wife, and Cartier turned the property into his namesake company’s New York office. 

The campana-form trophy Plant won with his first-class schooner in 1913 weighs 92 ounces and features a repoussé design of a galleon at sea and wreaths of victory. It was made by holloware specialist Herbert Taylor, who was part of the Gardner, Massachusetts workshop of Arthur J. Stone (1847-1938). Consigned for sale by Plant’s great-grandson with an estimate of $5,000-$10,000, it sold for $21,000 ($26,880 with buyer’s premium).

Owl-form Amphora Porcelain Lamp, $16,640

Amphora lamp in the form of an owl perched on a column, which sold for $13,000 ($16,640 with buyer’s premium) at Alderfer Auction on April 24.
Amphora lamp in the form of an owl perched on a column, which sold for $13,000 ($16,640 with buyer’s premium) at Alderfer Auction on April 24.

HATFIELD, PA – This large porcelain lamp modeled as an owl perched on the capital of a Corinthian column dates from the golden era of the Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel factory – better known as Amphora. The best of around 30 ceramics factories in Turn-Teplitz, Bohemia (now Tronvany, Czech Republic), at the time, Amphora was drawing upon the creative talents of two men: artistic director Eduard Stellmacher, who had studied at the Arts and Crafts Academy in Dresden, Germany, and his classmate and brother-in-law, Paul Dachsel. 

This 2ft high lamp is a scarce but known model from circa 1900. Another example of the form went to auction in 2019 and failed to sell against an estimate of £1,500-£2,000 ($1,875-$2,500). Remarkably, this one, offered at Alderfer Auction on April 24, was estimated at up to $500 but brought $13,000 ($16,640 with buyer’s premium).