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Tiffany lamps drive Clarke Auction to $1M tally

Leading the auction was this Tiffany Studios ‘Lotus’ table lamp at $150,000, signed, 14in tall. Clarke Auction

LARCHMONT, N.Y. – What a difference a month makes. Clarke Auction Gallery’s first two auctions of the year boasted good-sized attendance as usual but its March 22 sale, which came two days after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a stay-at-home order, saw online and phone bidding supplant in-house bidding. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

One might think this would have negatively affected bidding but if anything, the auction saw even more participation as the auction grossed just over a million dollars and went off without a hitch. Offerings in the sale were strong across the board overall with a diverse selection of top draw goods.

While not billed as a designer auction, it’s little surprise that leading the sale were designer names and renowned firms like Tiffany Studios, Gio Ponti, Rene Lalique, David Webb, Steinway and Bulgari.

“Even though the news was changing daily, almost hourly, in the days leading up to the auction, we were confident we could responsibly present an auction that would keep safe both our staff and anyone who came to preview,” said owner and auctioneer Ronan Clarke. “We made sure our online and phone bidding capabilities would run smoothly and allow for higher-than-usual capacity. And having an embarrassment of riches crossing the block from rare Tiffany lamps to works by listed artists and luxury accessories didn’t hurt either.”

The top two lots of the auction were fine Tiffany table lamps that came out of an important New York City collection. Earning $150,000 was a signed “Lotus” lamp, standing 26¼ inches tall, that attained $150,000. Following closely on its heels at $125,000 was a vivid “Peony” table lamp, having a 10-inch shade, that was used as an illustration on page 51 in Egon Neustadt’s renowned book on Tiffany lamps. Another standout among Tiffany lamps was a large and signed Tiffany Studios chandelier having a geometric pattern with piano border, 17 inches tall, that realized $25,000.

Bringing $125,000 was a vivid Tiffany ‘Peony’ table lamp, also having a 14-inch shade. Clarke Auction image

Driving across the auction block was a white 1959 Cadillac Series 62 Deville convertible, that sold for $57,500, which was bought at RM Sotheby’s in 2008 but its new owner passed away shortly after and the car remained in a garage. It was recently consigned by the owner’s estate and driven a short 10 miles to Clarke.

This 1959 white Cadillac series 62 Deville convertible sold near its high estimate at $57,500. Clarke Auction image

Fine art was an integral part of the auction with listed artists figuring prominently in the auction, including a Frank Stella offset lithograph, Cipango 1972, signed and dated, that realized a healthy $6,250 and a Jim Dine (American, b 935) mixed media self-portrait from 1996, earning $7,500, which came from a New York City collection.

Several lots did well over their estimates, including a Continental School (17th/18th century) oil on canvas laid to board, portrait of a gentleman, estimated at $600-$900, that went out at $7,500, and a rare set of four copper Art Nouveau copper sconces, measuring 20 by 12 inches, with signed Quezal art glass shades having great color that trumped its $1,000-1,500 estimate to realize $8,750.

Rene Lalique was well represented in the auction with a signed Grande Nue Bras Levés figure that went within estimate for $31,250, having frosted glass with wood base and from an important New York City collection, 24½ by 8 by 8 inches, including the base; a signed opalescent “Bacchantes” vase, 9½ inches tall, that sold within estimate for $9,375 and a signed  “Camee” vase, 10 inches tall, that went well over estimate at $7,500.

Asian art is always a large part of Clarke auctions and highlights in this sale were led by a pair of carved cinnabar “Dragon” incense stands that did well at $6,250. The 20th century and Xiangji stands have square tops delicately carved with dragons among clouds above pierced waists and aprons, 35½ inches tall.

Midcentury modern is one of those perennially popular categories and can be mixed and matched into nearly any type of decor. This auction featured two nice pieces by Gio Ponti (1891-1979): a pair of sculptural chests, Model 2129 Modern by Singer, 47 by 19 by 36½ inches, which brought $22,500, and a Gio Ponti Singer and Sons walnut credenza, circa 1955, 70 by 19 by 63 inches, going for $6,875.

This pair of Gio Ponti sculptural chests brought $22,500. Clarke Auction image

Rounding out the auction were a Steinway & Sons Model B Piano serial #489132 that attained $18,750, a silver grouping of Continental objets d’art, including a German .935 silver hinged case, two Russian enamel-decorated salt cellars with matched spoons and an 18K yellow gold sewing kit far, which far surpassed its $300-500 estimate to bring $6,875, and a sterling Tiffany & Co. Hampton flatware set, totaling 117.3 troy ounces, going for $9,375.

A Steinway & Sons Model B Piano serial #489132 made $18,750. Clarke Auction image

The jewelry category was led by a David Webb 18K gold, platinum and diamond statement ring with a central panel of round brilliant cut diamonds flanked by two tiers of round brilliant cut diamonds that attained $17,500. The ring came out of the familial estate of founder and longtime owner of the Buffalo Bills, Ralph Cookery Wilson Jr.

Leading jewelry offerings was this David Webb 18K gold, platinum and diamond ring that earned $17,500. Clarke Auction image

Other jewelry highlights included a Russian emerald, ruby, pearl, and diamond bracelet set with alternating faceted rubies and emeralds that made $7,500. According to the consignor, this bracelet was brought back from Russia by her grandfather, a furrier who frequently traveled there. Also featured was a Bvlgari Serpenti Spiga 18K rose gold, diamond and white ceramic, tuboga-style snake watch that doubled its high estimate to bring $7,500.

All prices reported include the 25 percent buyer’s premium.

For details contact Clarke Auction Gallery at 914-833-8336.

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