19th-Century Uzbekistani Suzani Textile
PHILADELPHIA – Material Culture, specialists in ethnographic art, is selling the Russell S. Fling collection of rugs and textiles on Monday, December 4. Based in Columbus, Ohio, Fling trained as a structural engineer (specifically in the design of reinforced concrete buildings) but his private passion was Oriental rugs and textiles. He and his wife Dora published a book, Silk Road Splendour, in which many of the pieces in the sale are illustrated.
The 319 lots will be offered without reserve, with estimates starting at $100 but rising to $20,000-$30,000 for this 19th-century Uzbekistani suzani, a type produced in Samarkand. Like several of the finest pieces in the collection, it was exhibited at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC in the late 1990s. It was acquired by Russell Fling from the London dealer Clive Loveless.
Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘Gestapo Informer Recognized’
PITTSBURGH, Penn. – Photojournalism tells stories through a marriage of words and images. This medium largely did not exist until the 1930s, when more sophisticated and mobile-format cameras and film were developed and released. World War II brought the profession to the forefront as part of the domestic propaganda effort and the rest, of course, is history.
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) came from a well-to-do French family who enabled him to pursue his interest in photography from a relatively young age. In 1931, he acquired a Leica camera and embraced the 35mm film format, then rapidly growing in popularity. His first photojournalism job was in 1937, covering the coronation of King George VI in London, during which he took only photos of people watching the procession, and none of the new king. In an instant, Cartier-Bresson had invented what is now called street photography.
The photographer spent nearly three years as a German prisoner of war, and escaped to Paris on his third attempt. There, he dug up his beloved Leica from a secret hiding place and began documenting both the resistance as well as the liberation of France by Allied forces.
In 1945, Cartier-Bresson found himself in Germany at the very moment a former Gestapo informant was outed before occupation authorities. He captured the scene – the location is unknown – with what appears to be a concentration camp survivor on the periphery. The look on the crowd’s faces says it all, in a perfect expression of Bresson’s legendary street photography.
A silver gelatin print of this image is a star lot at Concept Art Gallery’s upcoming Art, Design, Jewelry, Antiques, Books sale, set for Saturday, December 2. It comes from a private estate and is estimated at $8,000-$14,000.
Kobe Bryant Game-Worn Nike Air Jordan 17 Sneakers
LOS ANGELES – The term ‘game-worn’ can take what appears to be an ordinary sports-related item and elevate it to the top of the market. But establishing an item as having been actually worn and used in a sporting event — and not just a signed item cranked out by the athlete in question for profit — can be a tricky endeavor.
The incredible escalation in values for game-worn items has in turn led to the rise of third-party authentication companies that use in-game photography as a primary means of establishing authenticity. One such firm is Sports Investors Authentication, a two-person company headed by founder David Randolph and lead authenticator Austin Bevere.
Los Angeles Estate Auction turned to SIA for authentication of a purportedly game-worn Nike Air Jordan 17 pair of shoes bearing what appears to be a Kobe Bryant signature. After extensive photo analysis, SIA was able to positively determine the shoes as having been worn by Bryant during the 2002-2003 season for the Los Angeles Lakers, during which he had no shoe contract and was free to wear whatever footwear he pleased.
SIA conclusively photo-matched Bryant wearing these shoes on December 15, 2002. During this game, Kobe Bryant had 21 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and two blocks. SIA did not provide any signature authentication, as that is not its area of expertise. Los Angeles Estate Auctions has estimated the shoes at $80,000-$100,000 in its December 3 Kobe Bryant Legendary Sports Auction event.
2nd-Century CE Roman Marble Head of a Triton
CHICAGO – The grandnephew of legendary Parisian art and antiquities dealer Ernest Brummer (1891-1964) has decided to part with a bequest from his aunt, Ella Bache Brummer, of a second-century CE Roman marble head of a triton. The 13in-tall bust goes on the block at Hindman as a featured lot in its Tuesday, December 5 Antiquities & Ancient Art sale.
It’s unclear when Brummer acquired the bust, but it has remained in the family some 60 years after his passing. Archaeologists determined it to be the head of a triton by its design; tritons were part-man, part-fish creatures in ancient Greek and later Roman mythology. A pair of more complete tritons are in the Musei Capitolini in Rome, and their heads and hair greatly resemble the features of the one from the Brummer collection.