Michaan’s May 14 auction delivers glamorous art, jewels, Old West books


Louis Icart (French 1888-1950) “Perfect Harmony” aquatint etching. Estimate: $800-$1,200

ALAMEDA, Calif. – No matter where you are during this unforgettable season, spring 2020, the fabulous finds at Michaan’s Auctions are within reach. Michaan’s May 15 Gallery Auction, offered for online and absentee bidding only, features a collection of earthly delights curated with care by Michaan’s specialists. Glamorous Art Deco etchings, fine Chinese porcelains, diamonds and rare books are among the highlights. View the catalog and bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The etchings of Louis Icart (French, 1888-1950) epitomize the depiction of women during the Art Deco period. Whether seductive or pensive, Icart’s women have the lush, stylized allure that makes Art Deco art and illustrations so striking. Three Louis Icart aquatint etchings are offered at Michaan’s in May. “Perfect Harmony” and “Meditation (Dans les Rêves)” are $800-$1,200 each, and “The Lamp” is estimated at $500-700. The Icart etchings are just a few of the May auction’s many wonderful works by international artists such as M.C. Escher and Peter Max. Contemporary mixed media pieces by Kim Frohsin are among the American works of art on offer. A small etching by the great James Abbot MacNeill Whistler, “Billingsgate,” dates to 1859 and is offered at $400-$600.


Bertha Lum (American 1869-1954) “Marionette (Eastern Maiden with Parasol.” Hand-colored raised line woodblock print. Estimate: $800 / $1,200

Works by American women — Marian Steele (1912-2001), Ludmilla Pilat Welch (1867-1925), Bertha Lum (1869-1954), to name a few — are abundant in Michaan’s May sale. Lum was an innovator whose work will intrigue collectors of fine prints including woodblocks. Three of her woodcuts are held in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. While living in Peking in 1922, Lum developed a new type of print, often referred to as a raised line print, of which the prints in Michaan’s May auction are excellent examples. First, she molded wet paper over a carved wooden block. After the paper dried, she hand painted the embossed paper using raised lines to delineate areas of color. “Marionette (Eastern Maiden with Parasol)” by Bertha Lum is estimated at $600-800. Lum’s “Dancers” is estimated at $800-$1,200.


Chinese Longquan Kinuta “Bamboo Neck” vase. Estimate: $1,500 / $2,000

Michaan’s is a leading resource for international collectors of Asian art. Among the treasures offered in May is the Chinese Lung-ch’uan guan type “bamboo neck” vase ($1,500-$2,000). Lung-ch’uan porcelain is prized for its beautiful green hues and silky, tactile glazes. Historically, Lung-ch’uan potters enjoyed the patronage of the Imperial court, which for many centuries supported innovation and refinement in the art of Chinese porcelain. The elegant silhouette of the vase offered by Michaan’s in May is typical of Lung-ch’uan pottery; many Lung-ch’uan vase shapes were based on ancient bronzes. Its graceful neck is carved with “bamboo form” bands and its thick lustrous glaze resembles polished jade.

Another great find for collectors is the black Ding ware Yuhuchun vase. The classical vase shape known as Yuhuchun originated in ancient temples as a holy water vessel, evolving over time into an iconic Chinese porcelain vase form. Here it is beautifully rendered in Ding ware, the most refined of the Song Dynasty porcelains. The subtle yet powerful allure of black Ding ware is exemplified by this piece, estimated at $1,200-$1,500.


Chinese purple-lavender Narcissus bowl. Estimate: $1,200 / $1,800

Blue and white fine Chinese porcelains include the Arabic-inscribed ewer ($1,500-2,000) and the zhadou with Phoenix decoration ($1,200-1,800). A zhadou is a porcelain vessel for tea leaves; its broad silhouette offers a nice contrast to slender vases in a collector’s display of fine pottery. Another May auction highlight is the Jizhou vase with ‘tortoise shell’ glaze, $1,000-$1,500.

Jewelry is a top draw at Michaan’s. Let the sparkle and shine of fine jewelry brighten your prospects for summer and beyond. Colored gemstones are featured in May, in jewelry of various styles and periods. Gold is always in demand and the May auction offers fine gold bracelets among others. Silver jewelry includes the lot of two link bracelets, Midcentury designer classics by Georg Jensen & Wendel.


Diamond, 14K white gold ring. Estimate: $4,000 / $6,000

Fine diamonds are always among the great finds at Michaan’s. For May diamond buyers: the solitaire ring centering a stone of almost 3 carats, estimated at $4,000-$6,000.  The 18k white gold bib necklace is dripping with fine diamonds at $2,000-3,000. Rose-cut diamonds adorn the painted portrait miniature pendant watch suspended from a lovely diamond, seed pearl and 18K gold link chain ($800-$1,200).


Jadeite jade 22K yellow gold pendant. Estimate: $400 / $600

Michaan’s year-round jewelry sales feature fine pieces from many countries and cultures. Native American and Mexican silver, Tibetan beads, fine Swiss timepieces, Danish modern sterling jewelry, Italian designer jewels … all these and many more have appeared time and again at Michaan’s. Carved jade is a perennial favorite. In May, the selection includes the large jadeite jade pendant superbly carved with dragon, lantern and bamboo motifs ($400-$600). International jewelry treasures are again featured in Michaan’s Summer Fine Sale scheduled for June 12.

A very special highlight of the May 15auction is the selection of fine books on Western Americana, Western sites and the art of the American West. These include two illustrated first editions by Charles Elliott Perkins: The Pinto Horse (1928) and The Phantom Bull (1934). Perkins (1881-1943) was a son of a Western railroad baron and a friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt. His stories won critical praise for their haunting beauty and authenticity. The auction also features four books about Charles Marion Russell, renowned painter of the American Old West.


Collection of four books on Charles M. Russell, including Charles M. Russell Sculptor by Rick Stewart;, Charles M. Russell Word Painter, Edited by Brian W. Dippie; Charles M. Russell by Renner, and a Limitless Sky, the Work of Charles M. Russell by Ginger Renner. Estimate: $400 / $500

Whether you are a designer, a retailer or feathering your own nest, you’ll find many fine choices in Michaan’s selection of decorative and collectible objects. May auction lots include the intricate French Empire brass mantle clock ($500-$800), featuring the figure of a woman and a porcelain plaque painted with a fox in a landscape. The E. Howard & Co. Number 5 banjo clock is a wonderful piece estimated at $600-$800. The banjo clock, a graceful wall clock, is based upon an original patented design dating to the early 19th century, uniquely American in origin and enormously popular for over 200 years.

Many of Michaan’s auction lots are perfect enhancements for chic and bohemian interiors. In May these include the Rococo Revival carved wood parcel gilt wall mirror, a grand statement piece estimated at $500-$800. Another May highlight is the mixed metal parrot hanging sculpture ($800-$1,200), a fabulously on-trend vintage find. It is signed by the artist, Carlos del Conde, who worked with the metal sculptor Sergio Bustamante.

Michaan’s Auctions thanks its loyal customers for their continued support during these unprecedented times. They are respecting the governor’s shelter-in-place policy but encourage all bidders to participate absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item, call 510-740-0220. Start time is 10 a.m. Pacific Time / 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

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