LARCHMONT, N.Y. – Paintings took four out of the top five spots in Clarke Auction Gallery’s May 5 sale that was filled with strong and surprising results with many items defying their estimates. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
Leading the top paintings were two watercolors on paper made in 1969 by Shiy De-Jinn (Xi Dejin, China, 1923-1981). The top lot of the auction was a vibrant street scene of a market and crowds outside a temple and bright storefronts (above) that attained $30,000. The other was a river landscape (below) depicting the rolling mountains of Taiwan and misty waterways splashed in blues and greens $18,750. Both works measure 18¾ by 24¾ inches.
“Both paintings were notable for their bold use of color and resonated with buyers,” said Senko Imamura, Clarke’s Asian art and antiquities specialist.
All prices reported reflect a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
Japanese artists were also represented in the auction, including a pair of abstract paintings by 106-year old Shinoda Toko, who has primarily worked with Japanese sumi ink and lithography. A 1983 interview in Time magazine asserted “her trail-blazing accomplishments are analogous to Picasso’s.” Achieving $9,375 were Toko’s Nexus and After the Rain ($8,000-$$12,000), typical of her works from the 1960s, that sold together as one lot.
Also performing well in the Asian arts category were a porcelain plaque signed Wang Qi from the Republic Period, China, 15.175 by 9¾ inches, that defied its $1,000-$$1,500 estimate to bring $11,250 amid a flurry of bids, and a small turquoise bowl with a Yonzheng mark ($500-$700), 1.375 by 2.875 inches, that went out at $4,500.
“We were quite pleased with the success of the Chinese and Japanese artworks – both paintings and sculptural objects – in this auction but also with fine art overall,” said owner and auctioneer Ronan Clarke. “Many lots significantly outperformed expectations and there were surprises all across the board.”
Among the surprises in fine art were a William Herbert Dunton (1878-1936) oil on canvas depicting a Western chase scene ($4,000-$6,000) that made $22,500 and an oil on canvas, Trouville, signed Boudin (below), that had not gone through the authentication process and was sold “as is” as an estate find with a conservative estimate of $1,000-$1,500. Buyers evidently thought there was something there and sparked a bidding war, pushing the painting to $13,750.
“The Dunton was a particularly exciting painting,” said William Schweller, Clarke’s fine art specialist. “This scene is trademark Dunton, displaying the artist’s mastery in capturing the mythology and landscape of the American West dramatically.”
Buyers can always count on finding interesting baubles and statement jewelry pieces at Clarke auctions and this month’s headliner was a 28.07 carat GIA certified Colombian emerald cabochon ring with diamond accents that made $9,375. “This was a most unusual – and gorgeous – piece and buyers responded accordingly,” said jewelry and sterling silver specialist Whitney Bria. Also going above estimate was a Hammerman Bros. 14K gold necklace ($800-$1,200) that brought $6,875 and a Van Cleef & Arpels 18K yellow gold rope twist bangle that more than doubled its high estimate to fetch $5,000.
Leading the silver category were a contemporary 117-piece Christofle Malmaison silver-plated flatware service for $3,375 and a piece of artfully decorated Persian silver Judaica in the form of a pedestal bowl in .875 silver with figural Judaic scenes to the bowl and a Hebrew inscription to the border, with a 10-inch diameter, $2,500.
The mid-century modern category featured an original Parzinger lacquered and signed two-door cabinet, 33¼ by 17 by 32 inches, that quadrupled its high estimate to earn $6,000 and a rare pair of Adrian Pearsall high back hooded lounge chairs ($600-$900) that earned $4,250.
Rounding out the auction were a Cartier 18K gold, enamel and diamond cigarette case, Art Deco, having black geometric enamel work and an applied diamond inlaid “Jean” inscription on the lid that made $6,250 and two large and heavy busts on stands in a great patina, 35 by 11½ by 35 and 34 by 17½ by 11 inches, that also did well above estimate at $5,250.
For more information call Clarke Auction Gallery at 914-833-8336.