ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The scenic oceanfront city of Charleston, S.C., commands center stage in Brunk Auctions Jan. 3-4 sale. For starters there is Louis Rémy Mignot’s 1854 luminist painting with the poetic title Solitude or Sunset. Mignot, one of Charleston’s most celebrated artists of the 19th century, was only 23 when he completed Solitude or Sunset. It was one of the most important paintings of his career.
The painting has remained for generations in the possession of the Chazal family, French Catholic entrepreneurs originally from Santo Domingo. The 30 inch by 41 7/8 inch painting is in its original Barbizon gilt-wood frame and is estimated at $100,000 to $150,000, with an $80,000 reserve.
Co-starring with the Mignot is a 1795-1804 Charleston inlaid secretary bookcase with butler’s panel in mahogany with white pine secondary. It descended in the McDonald and Bourne families of Georgetown, S.C. The McDonalds owned a large plantation near Georgetown. Brad Rauschenberg and John Bivens, Jr. documented the secretary/bookcase in their book, The Furniture of Charleston, 1680 to 1820. It carries a $25,000 reserve and is expected to sell for $30,000 to $50,000.
One of the sale’s larger collections comes from Historic Charleston Foundation, the non-profit devoted to protecting and preserving Charleston’s buildings, landscape and artifacts. Most of the 69 lots were donated to the foundation to benefit the acquisition fund. Included is a 1750-1770 mahogany Charleston Chippendale chest on chest with cyprus secondary. The graduated drawers on the 72½-inch-tall chest are all finely dovetailed. Its presale estimate is $50,000 to $80,000 (reserve $40,000).
Found in Charleston in the early 1960s was a most unusual cache of Confederate money. All of the currency was in a 100-year-old safe located in a Charleston office. One lot consists of 100 Confederate Type 65 $100 notes dated February 17, 1864 with consecutive serial numbers and bound in their original paper wrapper (est. $3,000-$6,000). Another bank pack of 100 Type 69 Confederate $5 notes, also dated February 17, 1864, is estimated at $600 to $1,200. Many notes in the eight-lot collection are in almost uncirculated condition.
Three watercolors by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876-1958) are expected to attract attention from those who revere the work of this native-born Charleston Renaissance artist. Featured on the cover of the 219-page color catalog is Smith’s painting of wood storks ascending from a lagoon (est. $10,000-$20,000, reserve $8,000). Also included are a watercolor of a mountain landscape with a river (est. $5m000/$10,000) and a small watercolor of a Southern belle signed “A.R.H.S.” It is opposite the edition page in a 1936 limited-edition book by Smith, A Carolina Rice Plantation of the Fifties (est. $1000/$2000).
Private estates consigned jewelry with everything from pearls and emeralds to jade and opals. Included are four unmounted diamonds that range from a 3-carat stone (est. $10,000-$15,000) to a 6-carat stone (est. $16,000-$24,000). Between these extremes are a 3.7-carat diamond (est. $18,000-$28,000) and a 5-carat diamond ($15,000-$25,000). All are round, brilliant cut with color I to M and clarity I1 to VS1. There are also diamonds in rings (a 5.0 ct. solitaire, est. $12,000/$24,000), necklaces, bracelets and brooches.
Brunk Auctions is located at 117 Tunnel Road, Asheville, N.C. The sale begins at 9 a.m. EST Saturday Jan. 3, and 9 a.m. EST Sunday Jan. 4. Leave absentee bids or bid live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. For more information, visit www.brunkauctions.com or call 828-254-6846.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE