Dirk Soulis to auction superb paintings, decorative arts Dec. 5-6
It will be Lot No. 1 of a 190-lot catalog. Internet bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.
The Koerner painting is a winter scene of two children sledding on tailor’s dummies, or mannequins, while another tailor’s dummy appears to have been set alight in a controlled campfire.
Soulis noted that the artist, who was Jewish, fled his native Austria at the onset of World War II. While serving in the U.S. Army, Koerner created posters for the Graphics Division of the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, DC. After the war he learned his parents and adult brother had been murdered in the Holocaust. Koerner’s son, Joseph Koerner, who is an art historian at Harvard University, has speculated that the woman painted on a brick wall in the background of the picture may represent the artist’s mother. The 30-by-40-inch painting was included in Koerner’s first US solo exhibition, which was at New York’s Midtown Galleries in 1949.
During session two on Saturday, Dec. 6, Soulis will offer “Three Centuries of Decorative Arts” in a 264-lot auction. The first item of the day will be a rare piece of RS Prussia porcelain known as the “Bailey Epergne” – one of only a few known to exist. The 17½-inch-tall epergne consists of a floral-decorated bowl and a single lily trumpet of the same mold and decoration mounted in the center on a silver-plated stand. In 2006 when Mary McCaslin chose the epergne for the cover of her book RS Prussia and More, it was the only one known to exist. It is estimated at $5,000-$10,000.
Beyond Koener’s Magic Realism masterpiece, several other paintings stand out in Soulis’ art auction, which is strong in American regionalism.
One is an oil-on-panel of a black sharecropper by German-born artist Joseph Paul Vorst (1897-1947). Vorst immigrated to the United States, first settling in St. Louis and later making his way to the Ste. Genevieve Artist Colony in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, where he became both a friend and student of Thomas Hart Benton. Vorst exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Biennial and even the New York World’s Fair. He also created several post office murals in Missouri and Arkansas for the Works Progress Administration. The painting of the sharecropper at work, one of his common themes, measures 37½ by 25 inches and has an $18,000-$25,000 estimate.
Another major work is an oil-on-canvas painting titled Tobacco Barns by Buell Whitehead (Florida, 1919-1933), which was the basis for a subsequent color lithograph.
“He’s best known for color lithography, and only of few of his oil paintings have been offered at auction,” said Soulis. The work has a $6,000-$8,000 estimate.
Several Western-theme paintings are offered in the auction, led by a signed and dated 1989 oil on canvas by James Reynolds (1926-2010) of cowboys herding cattle. The Straggler, 30 by 40 inches, presented in its original 40-by-50-inch frame, has an $18,000-$22,000 estimate. Reynolds, who lived and worked in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a prolific and highly respected Western artist.
Friday’s art auction will also feature three glass creations by Dale Chilhuly (b. 1941-): Goldenrod Macchia Olympic, 9¼ by 10 ½ inches (est. $35,000-$45,000); the two-piece Imperial Iris Persian, 7 by 2-2/5 inches (est. $3,000-$4,000); and a two-piece Bonfire Basket (est. $2,000-$3,000).
The auction will also contain about 10 pieces of studio pottery.
On Saturday, sterling silver items will likely be among the top performers, starting with a pair of 18th-century Irish salvers. The identical 18½-inch footed trays bear the hallmarks of Dublin silversmith John Craig and are dated 1747 and 1748. The ornate pair is estimated at $7,000-$9,000.
For formal holiday dining there’s a 247-piece sterling silver flatware service for twelve in the Watson Lily pattern, plus numerous serving pieces. The Art Nouveau flatware dates to the early 1900s and is estimated to fetch $6,000-$10,000.
“It’s notable to find a Watson Lily-pattern flatware set of this size,” said Soulis.
A unique collection of 19th-century European glass sulphide plaques, each featuring the bust of a historic figure, ranging from William Shakespeare to America’s Founding Fathers, will cross the auction block. They will be offered in more than 50 consecutive lots immediately following the RS Prussia epergne.
Rare 18th-century books, a vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk with original interior, and a Smith’s 3¾-inch terrestrial pocket globe dated 1810 are just a few of the other fine and unusual items in the auction.
Both auction sessions will begin at 12:00 noon Central Time, 1 p.m. Eastern Time.
For additional information on any item in the auction, contact Dirk Soulis Auctions, phone 816-697-3830 or 1-800-252-1501, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
# # #
View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE