Karl Bodmer engravings, Asian art to star in Michaan’s Auctions March 9

Karl Bodmer engravings

Karl Bodmer ‘Pehriska Rupa (dancing) McEnnitarri Warrior,’ one of the hand-colored engravings in the auction. Estimate: $5,000-$7,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The San Francisco Bay area, gateway to the Pacific, has long played an important role in the trade of Asian art treasures. At Michaan’s Auctions high-quality Asian art and antiques have been a core business since the company’s inception. In the March Gallery Auction on Saturday, March 9, Michaan’s will offer precious Chinese snuff bottles, a bronze elephant and Japanese woodblock prints by Hiroshige. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.  

Also among the March highlights is the large collection of engravings by Karl Bodmer (ab0ve), whose body of work forms an important historical record of the American West. Bodmer’s exquisite 19th century scenes of Native Americans will thrill collectors of fine art as well as American history buffs.

Estate jewelry, period furniture and many more fabulous finds will also be offered at Michaan’s on March 9.

A good snuff bottle collection is a survey of Chinese art, in miniature. The inside-painted snuff bottles (est. $400-$600 for the lot of three) feature the delicate brushstrokes of traditional Chinese painting. The pair of overlay glass snuff bottles (est. $600-$800) features the carved glass technique perfected by Chinese artisans after centuries of carving jade. A glazed snuff bottle (est. $300-$400) is robin’s egg blue, a favored hue among collectors of Chinese porcelain.

Revered by many cultures and cherished by even more, the elephant is an important motif in the decorative arts and interior design. March brings to Michaan’s a handcrafted bronze Asian elephant estimated at $1,000-$1,500, with polychrome decoration and a lovely patina.

Karl Bodmer engravings

Large bronze elephant. Estimate: $1,000-1,500. Michaan’s Auctions image

The works of master printmaker Hiroshige (1797-1858) are fundamental to any collection of Japanese woodblock prints. Hiroshige’s reputation was already well established in his day, and later in the 19th century his works were discovered and even copied by the European Impressionists including Van Gogh. A collection of 11 Hiroshige woodblock prints ($1,800-$2,000) is featured in the March auction.

Karl Bodmer engravings

Hiroshige, 11 Japanese woodblock prints. Estimate: $1,800-$2,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

Scroll paintings, embroidered textiles, carved jade and fine Chinese porcelains are also offered.

The art of Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) is presented in March by fine art specialist Susan Paffrath, who offers 10 lots of Bodmer’s hand-colored engravings.

“The value of Bodmer’s work is recognized by historians as well as art collectors,” notes Paffrath. “His wonderful images document the great diversity in Native American cultures, while also highlighting the individuality of his particular subjects.” Bodmer’s engraving of a dancing warrior titled Pehriska-Ruhpa is estimated at $5,000-$7,000, one of many Indian portraits on offer. Also offered are the wildlife scene, Herd of Bison and Elk ($2,000-$3,000) and a view of 19th century Niagara Falls ($1,000-$2,000).

Milestone Mountain ($3,000-$5,000), an Ansel Adams print with excellent provenance, is another fine art highlight. Works by Peter Max and Roy Lichtenstein are offered. Summer, a bronze by cowboy artist William Moyers (1916-2010) is estimated at $2,000-$4,000. The large oil painting Jungle by Fernand Pierre is one of two works by Haitian artists. Pierre’s lush pictorial style recalls that of the 19th century French painter Henri Rousseau, while springing wholly from the natural environment and artistic heritage of his native Haiti.

Brilliant color and lushness can also be found in Michaan’s fine jewelry. A stunning floral enameled jewelry suite features diamonds, ruby cabochons and cultured pearls set in 22K gold. The large Mughal-style suite by a contemporary Indian designer is estimated at $30,000-$50,000. Also offered is a beautiful jadeite jade bangle bracelet ($4,000-$6,000). “The bangle comes with a GIA report confirming ‘A’ jade, no color treatments, and has wonderful translucency,” notes Michaan’s gemologist Elise Coronado.

Karl Bodmer engravings

Indian C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons diamond, ruby, cultured pearl, enamel, 22K yellow gold jewelry suite. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

A standout in March is the custom diamond ring designed as a comet, with a trail of diamonds following from the brilliant-cut center stone of over one carat ($2,000-$3,000). The sapphire ombré bead necklace ($1,800-$2,500) is another highlight. A gleaming 18k gold bracelet, heavy with gold coins and charms, is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

Karl Bodmer engravings

Gold coin, 18K yellow gold charm bracelet. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

Estate furniture highlights include the McGuire bamboo form dining table and eight chairs, a great find at $1,000-$1,500.