Norman Rockwell charcoal study crests at $242K

Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978) created ‘Study – Crestwood Commuter Station,’ for the cover illustration of an issue of the ‘Saturday Evening Post.’ The double-sided charcoal on paper sold for $242,000. Clars Auction Gallery image

OAKLAND – On Sept. 15-16 Clars Auction Gallery conducted a major Fine Art, Decorative Art, Furniture, Jewelry and Asian Art Auction, which Redge Martin, company president, described as their strongest sale of the year. The highlight was an original charcoal on paper by Norman Rockwell that sold for $242,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

“The specialists worked hard to get an exceptionally strong collection of pieces, and our marketing department promoted them strongly through a variety of media,” noted Martin.

The double-sided charcoal on paper by Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978) titled Study Crestwood Commuter Station,” (for the cover illustration, Saturday Evening Post, Nov. 16, 1946)/Portrait of an Equestrian Gentleman, circa 1946,roared to more than double its $70,000-$100,000 estimate. This meticulously realistic work (above) of commuters at a busy train station posted the third-highest price ever achieved for a charcoal on paper by Rockwell.

The sale of the spectacular oil on canvas titled, Greek Fishing Boat (1992) by Gregory Kondos achieved the second highest price for this American artist. Solidly surpassing its high estimate of $45,000, this work from the corporate collection of Nestlé S.A. – Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Inc., Oakland, California, sold for $67,650.

The oil on canvas titled ‘Greek Fishing Boat’ by Gregory Kondos (American, b. 1923) realized $67,650. Clars Auction Gallery image

The works of American cartoonist Charles Schulz (1922-2000) continue to enchant collectors worldwide with ever increasing value. Three works of Peanuts from 1996 were offered at this sale, two Sunday comic strip originals and one lot of three daily comic originals (all inks on paper). All three offerings surpassed expectations selling for a combined total of $101,475. Individually, the set of three daily comic strips (below) sold for $36,900, and the two Sunday comic strips achieved $33,825 and $30,750.

‘Modern Tapestry 1968/1968-73’ by Roy Lichtenstein soared to twice its high estimate selling for $24,600. Clars Auction Gallery image

Rounding out the top American offerings was Modern Tapestry 1968/1968-73 by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997). From the Modern Painting Series, this wood and cut pile weave tapestry soared to twice its high estimate selling for $24,600.

‘Modern Tapestry 1968/1968-73’ by Roy Lichtenstein soared to twice its high estimate selling for $24,600. Clars Auction Gallery image

In the European offerings, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) took the top spot with his large linocut titled Femme Au Collier (1959). This impressive work was the featured multiple at the sale and it sold for $58,425.

This large linocut by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) titled ‘Femme Au Collier’ (1959) sold for $58,425. Clars Auction Gallery image

A great surprise came during the Saturday session when an “artist-unidentified” Old Master painting came on the auction block. Titled Preparing the Feast, the painting was determined to be most likely German, circa 1600-1630. This work was estimated to sell for less than $1,000. Within minutes, the battle ensued driving the price on this “unknown” Old Master higher and higher to a final sale price of an astounding $52,275.

Estimated at less than $1,000, this 17th-century European School painting was the surprise of the sale, selling for $52,275. Clars Auction Gallery image

The sculptures offered also performed well. A bronze by Henry Moore (British, 1898-1986) titled Two Piece Reclining Figure, Maquette No. 5, 1962, sold for $28,290. Richard MacDonald’s (American, b. 1942) bronze titled Bullwhip (2010) achieved $22,140 and the bronze sculpture titled The Bronco Buster, after Frederic Remington (American, 1861-1909), foundry mark “Cast by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co. NY 1895,” sold for over triple high estimate at $17,220.

After the sale, Rick Unruh, vice president and director of Fine Art, stated, “this month’s important fine art sale was one of the best in Clars’ history realizing over $1.2 million.”

Yet another highlight was a Tiffany Studios New York leaded glass table lamp, circa 1910. Executed in the Woodbine pattern, this lamp surpassed the high estimate selling for $30,750.

Topping the offerings in Asian art category was a Chinese underglaze blue and gilt dragon floor vase that soared beyond a $3,000-$5,000 estimate to achieve $43,050.