Paul Sawyier painting, M.C. Escher print top Clars’ May 19 sale

M.C. Escher

This oil on board titled ‘Promenade Prospect Park, Brooklyn’ by artist, Paul Sawyier (1865-1917) sold for $55,350 making it the second highest global record for an oil painting by the Kentucky artist. Clars image

OAKLAND, Calif. – The important fine art, photography and prints presented at Clars’ May 19 sale resulted in numerous offerings soaring past their estimates with new auction records being set. Fueled by robust global bidding, the auction produced strong results across all categories on the investment level property that was offered. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Fine Art

Having had the two highest global auction records for watercolors, Clars offered yet again another excellent work by Kentucky artist, Paul Sawyier (American, 1865-1917). From 1913 to 1915, Sawyier moved to Brooklyn, New York, from his native Kentucky trying to find a new market for his work. Once settled, he chose to depict the sun-dappled scenes of the beautiful parks of the area. Promenade Prospect Park, Brooklyn (above), a spectacular oil on board that epitomizes the artist’s technique, was estimated at $15,000-$20,000. However, a flurry of telephone bidders forced the price higher and higher, finally selling for $55,350 making it the second highest global record for an oil painting by the artist. “Clars has definitely proven to have the highest outcomes for works by Sawyier both nationally and internationally as was apparent yet again this past Sunday,” said Rick Unruh, vice president and director of fine art at Clars.

America’s most beloved comic strip artist, Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000), creator of the Peanuts comic series, proved once again that his creations are timeless and their value is increasing. Clars presented five original ink on paper signed comic strips created for both the Sunday and daily United Feature Syndicates. The collection of these five original renderings sold for $55,350 with the top seller featuring a Snoopy in a Halloween scene from Oct. 21, 1984, which surpassed its high estimate selling for $33,825.

M.C. Escher

By Charles M. Schulz (American, 1922-2000), this ink drawing for an October 1984 comic strip surpassed its high estimate selling for $33,825. Clars image

The highly anticipated rare work by Jay DeFeo (American, 1929-1989) titled Painting with Eggshell (below), 1959, an oil with found materials (eggshells) on canvas, achieved $43,050. Also earning $43,050 and surpassing high estimate was the charcoal study titled Boy in Santa Suit, 1957, by Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978). The study was later used for a Hallmark Christmas card in 1957.

M.C. Escher

This rare early work by Jay DeFeo (American, 1929-1989) titled ‘Painting with Eggshell,’ 1959 sold for $43,050. Clars image

A definite surprise was had on a work by Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863-1944). Titled Sketch for The United States of Europe III, circa 1916, the graphite and black crayon on collaged paper was estimated to achieve $6,000 -$9,000. Once presented, heated bidding drove this work to over three times its high estimate to $33,825. The work was accompanied by a handwritten note and stamp from the National Gallery, Oslo, Norway, dated 1948, on the verso as well as the Museum of Modern Art Loan, EL 70.726, tag.

Also performing impressively was Harry Humphrey Moore’s (American, 1844-1926) monumental oil on canvas titled A Persian Beauty, which sold for $29,520.

Prints & Multiples

The prints and multiples offerings saw a number of exciting results. Headlining this section was the early lithograph titled Atrani, Coast of Amalfi, 1931 by M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972). This work was offered with the estimate of $18,000-$24,000 but soared to double its high estimate achieving $55,350 setting a new auction record for this piece by the artist.

M.C. Escher

This early lithograph titled ‘Atrani, Coast of Amalfi,’ 1931 by M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972) doubled its high estimate achieving $55,350 setting a new auction record for this piece by the artist and a new high for the prints category at Clars. Clars image

Achieving a new world auction record was a print by Nathan Oliveira (American, 1928-2010). Titled Angel Rocker, 2005, this print more than doubled its high estimate selling for $12,300. This sale price was a new world record for a print by this artist, doubling any previous price achieved.

M.C. Escher

Nathan Oliveira’s ‘Angel Rocker,’ 2005, sold for $12,300, which is a new world record for a print by this artist. Clars image


Photography led this important sale powered by a newly discovered collection of over 100 photographic proofs by Ansel Adams selling for more than $150,000 with most surpassing their high estimate and 100 percent of the collection being sold. The leading photographic proof of this collection was Sonoma County, Hills and Sheep which sold for $6,400. Coming in close behind was Central Valley, which sold for five times its high estimate for $5,440.

Decorative Arts & Furnishings

An antique Chinese silk and gilt metal thread carpet, late 18th/early 19th century, was another surprise of this exciting sale. Measuring 4 feet 9 inches by 7 feet 11 inches, this carpet was estimated to achieve $4,000 but flew past all expectations selling for $28,750.

M.C. Escher

This antique Chinese silk and gilt metal thread carpet sold for $28,750. Clars image

Also performing well beyond expectations was a wonderful piece of history, a 1920 Ford Model T Dreyer’s Ice Cream delivery truck. Coming to the sale from the Nestle’ Dreyer’s Ice Cream Co. corporate collection, this truck sold for $23,370.

Fine Jewelry

Diamonds lead the jewelry offerings with a natural fancy yellow oval brilliant-cut 3 carat diamond and 18K gold and platinum ring selling for $25,830. A diamond and platinum pendant necklace featuring a 4 carat pear-cut diamond sold for over high estimate for $13,750.

Also surpassing its high estimate was a Rolex GMT-Master “Fuchsia” stainless steel wristwatch, ref: 1675, circa 1967, which fetched $17,220.