Fresh finds surface in Millea Bros. auctions Dec. 7-9

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Attributed to Huguette Clark (American, 1906-2011), ‘Portrait of a Woman’ in artist’s studio, oil on canvas, no signature observed, possibly the work of Clark’s favorite portrait painter Tadeusz Styka (Polish, 1889-1954), unframed, 34.5in. x 28in. Estimate: $1,500-$2,500. Millea Bros. image

BOONTON, N.J. – Auction’s bi-yearly three-day Select sale, on Dec. 7, 8 and 9, leads off with a recently discovered 1925 Paul Klee pencil drawing, art and antiques from the estate of recluse socialite Huguette Clark, a major contemporary Art collection and an intact early Jacques Grange interior commission. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

An exciting art find tops the December sale. The 1924 pencil on paper Bewegtes Stilleben (Still Life in Motion) was drawn during the Swiss artist’s residency at the Bauhaus. Held in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Bern until 1954, it was sold to an American private charitable institution in 1963, where it remained as an anonymous artwork until it was recently deaccessioned. Having shifted in its frame, the title and signature were obscured, and the drawing hung for decades in the foundation with unknown authorship. The work (below) is included in the Paul Klee Foundation Catalog Raisonne and offered without reserve.

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Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940), pencil drawing, ‘Bewegtes Stilleben’ (Still Life in Motion), 1924, graphite on paper, pen signed and pencil dated 3/12/1924, framed under glass, 8.75in.x 11.25in. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000. Millea Bros. image

Art, furniture and effects from the estate of Huguette Marcelle Clark (1906-2011) are also on view in the December sales. An heiress and philanthropist, renowned late in life as a recluse voluntarily living in a hospital for decades while her mansions remained empty, Clark was an accomplished artist and musician in her youth. Having studied under society portrait painter Tadeusz Styka, her paintings were exhibited in 1925 at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington. Millea presents five large scale canvases from this productive period, works that beautifully reflect the glamour of Jazz Age New York society. Furnishings from Clarke’s 907 Fifth Ave penthouse apartment and Santa Barbara mansion include a sample of European 17th–19th-century furniture, a custom American Art Deco suite, pristine Fortuny dresses, and a Corot oil painting among other fine art.

Pentti Kouri (1949-2009), a Finnish economist and venture capitalist with partner George Soros, built his prestigious art collection with the goal of opening a private art foundation focused on his interests in Minimalism, Arte Povera, Conceptual and Text-based art. Millea Bros will offer over 350 works at auction over the next year from Kouri’s collection. The December sale introduces the collection with a sample of 20 works that were Kouri’s personal favorites. Artworks include an early Dennis Hopper mixed-media montage titled Withheld up the mirror (1961), a Jasper Johns book of etchings titled Fooirades/Fizzles (1974)), an Eva Hild stoneware sculpture titled Breaking Up (2003)), an iconic Arturo Di Modica Charging Bull, and a large-scale Mark Handforth neon sculpture titled American Tristar (2004).

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Mark Handforth (American, b. 1969), neon light sculpture, ‘American Tristar,’ 2004, wall-mounted fluorescent light assemblage, 150in. x 150in. Estimate: $15,000-$20,000. Millea Bros. image

The complete furnishings from an early Jacque Grange New York City public commission are included in the Millea Bros December Select sale. A designer and art adviser closely associated with European tastemakers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Francois Pinault and Karl Lagerfeld, Grange has established himself in New York as the genius behind a number of notably grand public spaces including the Mark Hotel. This 760 Park Ave. lobby was an early laboratory of ideas that have come to define the Jacque Grange style; an exciting mix of custom, contemporary and traditional furnishings layered in playful and unexpected juxtaposition. Included for sale from this commission are a rare Jacque Grange designed long velvet canape sofa and matching club chairs, a custom pair of marble and bronze tables, a monumental two-part Chinese lacquered screen, and group of sourced contemporary and traditional Continental furniture.

Three notable collections of Chinese art form the core of a strong Asian sale day. The top lot is an import 15th-century Ming-era scroll of a flowering rose bush by imperial court painter Bian Jingzhao. The scroll is notable for having red seals of Emperor Xuan De, who commissioned the work. A large private collection of Ming/Kangxi era Chinese blue and white porcelain acquired over the 1960s-1980s is also on view. This wide-ranging collection includes many unusual examples, some deaccessioned from museum collections, and many purchased through the top auction houses and galleries of the day. A similarly extensive collection of high-quality antique carved jade comes from the collection of a Greek shipping magnate.

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Important Ming scroll painting, circa 1430, ‘Flowering Rosebush,’ pigments on silk, red seals of Bian Jingzhao and Ming Emperor Xuan De (Zhu Zhanji, 1399-1435), 49in. x 25in. wide (sight). $200,000-$300,000. Millea Bros. image

The December Auction is rounded out by a group of notable pieces from various estates including art and furnishings of a distinguished Tommi Parzinger designed Williamstown, Mass.; a selection of American Arts & Crafts and studio design including George Nakashima, Malcolm Wright ceramics; rare painted furniture by Anne Hyatt Huntington; L.C. Tiffany “Spider” and “Nautilus” table lamps; a fine selection of American and European antique and modern design including a rare set of 19th-centrury J.J. Werner dining chairs; Tyra Lundgren Art Deco ceramic vessel; Georg Jensen flatware; and a group of Persian carpets deaccessioned from the RISD Museum of art.

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Tiffany Studios leaded shade ‘Spider’ table tamp, shade and base both with impressed ‘Tiffany Studios’ and base has impressed model number, approx. 19in high x 15in. diameter Millea Bros. image

For further information call Millea Bros. at 973-377-1500.