Rainbow American Brilliant Cut Glass Decanter

Rainbow American Brilliant Cut Glass decanter, estimated at $7,500-$9,500 at CriticalGlass.com.

ATLANTA – CriticalGlass.com is a relatively new seller in the cut glass space, but judging from its recent auctions, its team has deep connections to high-end collections and has been successful in convincing collectors now is the time to bring certain pieces to market.

That must have been the case when this rainbow American Brilliant Cut Glass (ABCG) decanter came to the house’s attention. Measuring 13.5in high by 6in in diameter, this stunning example of cutting and light control almost defied explanation by superlative. Fortunately, CriticalGlass.com catalogers rose to the occasion:

Rainbow glass is perhaps the rarest of color combinations from the period, but large pieces like this decanter are hardly ever seen. And to top it all off, it’s American! This piece features such good color distinction that you can even see all 3 colors passing through a couple of the hobstars. Even more so, the neck is fully colored and fluted dividing up the colors perfectly – incredible control. This is a one-off piece and one of the rarest pieces of rainbow to ever be made.

Coming to market Saturday, February 17 as part of its initial 2024 schedule and only its eighth auction ever, CriticalGlass.com estimates the rainbow ABCG decanter at $7,500-$9,500.

Julien Vallou de Villeneuve, ‘Nude Study’

‘Nude Study’ by Julien Vallou de Villeneuve, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Heritage Auctions.

DALLAS – Not long after the invention of photography was the invention of the photographic nude. French artist Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (1795-1866), who took up the new medium in 1842 as an adjunct and aid to his graphic work, was among the first to produce such ‘academic studies’. He opened a studio in Paris in 1850 and found a ready market for ‘Etudes d’apres nature’ sold as salted paper prints from paper negatives.

This example, titled simply Nude Study, dates from circa 1853. It carries an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 as part of the sale Depth of Field: The Body Photographed at Heritage Auctions on Wednesday, February 14. Perfect for Valentine’s Day?

Hubley Ferris Wheel Mechanical Bank

Hubley Ferris Wheel mechanical bank, estimated at $4,000-$6,000 at Alderfer Auctions.

HATFIELD, Penn. – Hubley is one of the great names in American toymaking, though it lives in the shadows of other, more prominent manufacturers such as Louis Marx & Co. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania company was founded in 1894 by John Hubley and soon released a line of cast-iron playthings that would become highly sought-after collectibles in the decades to follow.

The Hubley Ferris wheel debuted circa 1906 and featured cast-iron construction and a wind-up (clockwork) chain-driven mechanism to turn the wheel. It faded in and out of the Hubley line, then reappeared around 1930 with a mechanical bank angle. Mounted on a cast-iron base with the words Ferris Wheel Bank in gilt-relief on its base, the clockwork mechanism was hidden in the base-coin box and could be activated with the drop of a coin.

This is the rarest and most desirable version of any Hubley Ferris Wheel, far more valuable than the standard Ferris Wheel variants that can sell for as little as a few hundred dollars. Alderfer Auction has a prime example in its upcoming Mechanical Banks and Toys sale scheduled for Tuesday, February 13. In largely original condition with minor repainting and a repaired but original key that still winds the clockwork mechanism, the mechanical bank has an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.

1903 Letter from Pablo Picasso to Max Jacob

Four-page letter with sketches by Pablo Picasso, sent to his roommate and friend Max Jacob in 1903, estimated at €500,000-€800,000 ($539,915-$863,865) at Piasa.

PARIS – Max Pellequer (1903-1973) was a French banker and businessman who early in the 20th century began to collect works from Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Raoul Dufy, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, and many others. But it was his association and friendship with Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) that placed Pellequer’s name into the art world for all time. In the 1920s, he began collecting Picasso works, and ultimately became Picasso’s business advisor, acquiring many Picasso-related items during his lifetime.

One such item is a 1903 letter from Picasso to his friend and roommate Max Jacob, who would become Picasso’s first supporter. In the letter, Picasso writes “If I can work here I’ll stay but if I see that I cannot do anything I’ll get the hell out for Paris.”

“This drawing I’m sending you in the first page is a sketch for paintings I made,” Picasso explains, before asking: “You will write often, no Farewell mi old Max. Kisses. Your brother Picasso.”

The letter is accompanied by four extraordinary drawings, including a study for hands, a woman with arms extended, and an embracing couple who served as a study for the paintings Repas frugal and Pauvre couple dans un café.

Piasa is bringing this letter and 50 other lots from the Pellequer collection to market on Thursday, February 15 in a sale titled Pablo Picasso and His Friends. The letter is estimated at €500,000-€800,000 ($539,915-$863,865).