13th-century Limoges tabernacle soars to $295K at Jackson’s International
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Neither rain, snow, ice or a faltering economy thwarted buyers from participating in Jackson’s International’s auction of Dec. 2 and 3. The two-session 1,000-lot sale featured American and European fine art together with Russian works. A total of 465 registered bidders from 27 countries participated, producing sales of $2.3 million.
The highlight of the auction was an early 13th-century Limoges enamel tabernacle that had been featured on the front cover of the auction catalog. The 10-inch four-sided container with pyramidal top drew interest from museums, collectors and dealers far and wide. Conservatively estimated at $40,000-$70,000, it opened at $75,000 and slowly wound its way upward as bidder after bidder dropped out. It reached its bidding pinnacle at $295,000 (all prices quoted inclusive of 18% buyer’s premium).
The auction opened with a varied offering of European paintings, beginning with a charming oil on canvas by French artist Jacques C. Wagrez (1856-1908) depicting a story teller amongst a gathering of attentive listeners. The 54 inch by 42 inch unframed painting sold to a collector in Estonia for $20,000. That was followed by a large mythological painting depicting The Death of Leander by French artist Charles A. Sellier (1830-1882) which sold for $10,620.
A frozen river landscape painting with skaters by Dutch artist Charles H. Leickert (1818-1907) attracted one potential buyer who flew in from Holland but ended up being the underbidder as the painting crossed the block at $35,400. Other noteworthy sales of European paintings included a watercolor and gouache depicting two bust-length women by Marie Laurencin (1883-1956), which sold for $14,160. A large and impressive triptych type painting by French artist Isidorius Van Mens (1890-1985) depicting the Muslim feast of Eid at Fitr sold to a phone bidder from the Netherlands for $35,400. And a 12 inch by 9 inch oil depicting a rather hungry looking gentleman gazing at a plate of noodles, by Italian artist Giovanni Muzzioli (1854-1894). sold to an Italian bidder for $8,850.
Other European works included a 7½-inch hollow-back cast silver corpus attributed to the workshop of Italian sculptor Nicola da Guardiagrele (1381-1946). It reached the midpoint of its estimate ($15,000-$20,000), bringing $17,700. A fine gilt-copper over wood Italian processional cross dating circa 1400-1500 and measuring 14½ inches sold above the high estimate, bringing $14,160. A set of seven stained-glass windows depicting religious scenes sold for $41,300.
An interesting carved and polychrome folding screen in the Renaissance revival taste sold for $11,210. A pair of 19th-century French gilt bronze angels that once probably supported a reliquary, sold for $7,080. A diminutive 10-inch carved-ivory figure depicting the Goddess of Flowers after the original by Francesco Barzaghi (1839-1892) sold to a buyer from Texas for $5,900, whereas a large and impressive carved-ivory triptych depicting the marriage of King Louis XIV and Maria Theresa went unsold.
Russian works sold next, beginning with a charming (albeit unsigned) gouache on paper depicting a peasant girl by Zinaida Serebrykova (1884-1967). It sold to an in-house bidder for $61,360. That was followed by a colorful oil-on-canvas depiction of a Russian Baba by Filip Malyavin (1869-1940) that sold to a buyer in Moscow for $56,640.
Noteworthy sales of Russian decorative arts include a 4-inch Fabergé silver-gilt and guilloche enamel case which sold for $47,200. A breast star and badge of the Order of St. Alexander Nevskiy with swords by Albert Keibel, St. Petersburg, circa 1895 sold for $37,760. A 3½-inch Fabergé nephrite cigarette case made $17,700; and a similarly sized silver and guilloche enamel case by Sumin, with some damage, sold for $12,980.
Icons also witnessed strong bidding with a pair of silver-gilt and shaded enamel covered icons, one depicting Christ, the other the Virgin, (a wedding set) each measuring 12 inches by 10 inches, sold to an in-house bidder for $171,100. Another icon of the Virgin and Child with gilded silver oklad (cover) sold to a New York buyer for $35,400. And a small (2 inch diameter) personal locket-style icon depicting a guardian angel sold for $25,960. A pair of icons depicting Saints Peter and Paul, dating to the 17th century and measuring 35 inches in height, sold to a phone bidder from France for $41,300. An attractive 12 inch by 10 inch icon depicting various saints and dated 1915 sold to a Russian buyer for $21,240.
The second session opened with a small offering of American paintings beginning with a 15 inch by 30 inch rural Iowa oil-on-canvas landscape by native artist Marvin Cone (1891-1965), which sold for $147,500 against an estimate of $60-$80,000. A small 10 inch by 13 inch oil landscape sketch by John Sloan (1871-1951) sold for $17,700. A fall landscape measuring 16 inches by 20 inches, by Alfred H. Hutty (1877-1954), sold to a buyer from Pennsylvania for $8,260.
A Santa Barbara landscape by A. M. Podchernikoff (1886-1933) sold to a California collector for $5,900; while a 14 inch by 16 inch spring landscape by Arkansas artist Adrian N. Brewer did well, selling for $8,260. An interior mother/daughter scene by Joseph Lauber (1855-1948), titled The Sewing Lesson, sold to a buyer from Kentucky for $5,900; and a 9 inch by 17 inch landscape by Harrison Brown (1831-1915) sold for $4,720.
A small but interesting offering of American and European bronzes and sculpture sold next, the highlight being a bronze figural grouping of Leda and the Swan by French artist Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, which sold for $9,440. A carved-marble figure of Rebecca at the Well by 19th-century Italian sculptor Carmelo Fontana, displayed losses but nevertheless sold to a buyer in Massachusetts for $7,670.
A lovely cold-painted bronze Sioux Indian chief by Austrian artist Carl Kauba (1865-1922) sold for $6,962. A Credo figure by French artist Emmanuel Friemet (1824-1910) made $6,136. A bronze figural grouping of Aegina and Zeus by French artist Jean Coulon (1853-1923) went to an in-house bidder for $5,428; and a bronze figure of Icarus by Philippe Grass (1801-1876) was purchased by a bidder from Florida for $3,068.
Next to sell was furniture and furnishings, which, while rather on the soft side, still saw strong prices for unique items. Some examples included a Swiss carved Black Forest tall-case clock that sold for $25,960. A lovely French Neo-Classical gilt bronze and marble garniture depicting a Bacchanal scene after the original by Clodion sold for $14,750. A beautiful Italian carved Renaissance Revival shrine sold to a buyer in Las Vegas for $10,030. An interesting Victorian carved figural mahogany parlor table depicting a kneeling woman supporting the tabletop and measuring 35 inches in height sold for $8,850; while a collection of 12 Victorian papier-mâché and black lacquerware decorative furniture pieces totaled $6,845. A French Empire gilt-bronze and rouge marble mantle clock sold to a buyer in Alabama for $5,900; and a Swiss carved Black Forest figural bear hall tree realized $3,540.
A mixed bag of silver followed furnishings, beginning with a 197-piece set of sterling flatware by Georg Jensen in the Acorn pattern that sold to a California buyer for $10,030. A set of 8 Georg Jensen sterling plates in Acorn, each measuring 6 inches in diameter, earned $3,304; and a Georg Jensen matching sterling silver bracelet and necklace sold to a buyer from the UK for $1,770.
A pair of George III silver on copper wine coolers, 10 inches in height, sold to a phone bidder from England for $3,068. A George III silver hot water urn by John Denzilow, London circa 1783, sold for $2,832. A French Art Nouveau silver-gilt centerpiece, 17 inches in length, sold for $2,596; and a set of seven George III silver sauce dishes by Bateman, London 1800, closed at $2,124.
Of the small offering of porcelain, ceramics and glassware, some highlights include: a small (9 inch) German porcelain figural group showing some early repairs selling for $2,596, followed by a somewhat more contemporary grouping of German military horseman figurines that sold for $2,124. A large three-piece Carl Thieme Dresden-style porcelain clock and matching 32-inch-tall covered urns sold to an in-house buyer for $8,490. A modern Daniel Lotton table lamp dated 2002 sold for $4,720; and two 10-inch art glass bowls by his father, Charles Lotton, sold for $2,596.
While sales of Oriental rugs were very soft, the same cannot be said with regard to Orientalia, which saw a great amount of interest, especially from buyers in the Far East, whose auction presence continues to grow at Jackson’s. A collection of Oriental carved ivory saw heated competition with a well-carved Japanese doctor’s-style reclining nude bringing well above the $500-$700 estimate and selling for an impressive $4,012. A carved Chinese Communist-theme tusk fragment sold to a phone bidder for $2,124; and a contemporary carved fossilized mammoth tusk fragment brought slightly more at $2,596.
Overseas collectors in China and Hong Kong took notice of the collection of snuff bottles that sold next, with most lots selling to the phones well above their high estimate. A collection of 15 Chinese snuff bottles totaled $12,390; a 4-inch-diameter Qianlong jadeite bowl sold for the high estimate, bringing $5,664; and a group of three small gilt-bronze deities measuring from 4 to 6 inches achieved $4,956.
Commenting on the overall health of the market, Jackson’s International’s President and CEO James L. Jackson said, “There is no doubt the market is tightening, and in some areas it is soft, particularly with regard to mundane or ordinary items in any category. However, when it comes to blue chip, first-tiered and/or unique and interesting items, the market appears very stable.’
“Our problem is in obtaining quality merchandise to sell,” Jackson continued. “I literally receive a dozen phone calls a day from various collectors worldwide eagerly asking if we have anything coming up of interest to them. Fortunately, I have most always been able to say ‘yes,’ which is perhaps why we continue to grow.”
Visit Jackson’s Web site at www.jacksonsauction.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE