BOONTON, N.J. – Millea Bros.’ Spring Select auction arrives June 4 and 5, featuring Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities deaccessioned from the Newark Museum; 19th century African and Oceanic art from the Wright Art Trust; Folk Art and Native American artifacts from a trustee of the American Folk Art Museum; an Abstract Expressionist painting by David Smith; and a lost Russian masterwork, not seen in public since its 1924 New York debut (above). Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Day 1, featuring Asian Arts, Tribal Art and Modern Art and Design includes important African and Oceanic tribal artifacts from the collection of Martin and Faith-Dorian Wright. The Wright Collection is renowned for the quality of its holdings and the scholarship behind it. Considered pioneers in raising the profile and collecting importance of Oceanic Arts, pieces from the Wright Collection form the core of multiple museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Israel Museum. These works are joined by an equally impressive group of African, Pre-Columbian and Native American arts from the Nancy R. and Myron L. Mayer collection. Formed in the 1960s and 1970s, the Mayers acquired pieces from the most prestigious New York City galleries and private collections. Tribal highlights include an exquisite Bamara carved antelope Ci Wara headdress, a gold Baule pendant from the collection of Paul Guillaume, a 19th century Papua New Guinea bird ornament from the Stuttgart Museum and a fine 19th century Native American Cheyenne pipe bag.
The Modern Art and Design portion of the sale is headlined by a David Smith tempera and ink drawing from the legendary collection of Ben Heller, the New York art dealer instrumental in establishing the international dominance of American postwar art. Reminiscent of traditional Chinese calligraphy, this first generation abstract expressionist work on paper was a gift to Heller, and includes a touching dedication from the artist on the reverse sheet. It has remained in the family until now, its first time at auction.
Other art highlights include nine Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs and oil paintings by Hunt Slonem, Piero Dorazio and Dan Christiansen. Modern Design includes a full set of five Alessandro Pianon glass Pulcini birds. A focus on French Modern Design features Claude Lalanne Iolas serving utensils, a fine Eugene Printz bibliotheque table from 1928, Jules Leleu sideboard and lighting, six Pierre Patout armchairs from the SS Ile de France, and an impressive Line Vautrin ‘Soleil a Pointe” n0. 3 mirror.
Day 2 features antiquities, and American, British and Continental Art and Antiques including a large collection of folk art and Americana. The day opens with over 85 lots of ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian objects deaccessioned from the Newark Museum. Many of these items entered the museum collection over 100 years ago and were gifts from major private collections or acquired through museum-sponsored exploration. Highlights include an ancient Greek black-figure decorated pottery vessel, an ancient Egyptian wood carving of a scribe with his palette, and many bronze coins and cast figures of deities. The top art lot of the day is a lost masterpiece from famed Russian artist Konstantin Somov. An Old Ballet showed at the influential 1924 “Russian Art Exhibition” at New York’s Grand Central Palace, which introduced the West to early Soviet Era art. The work was quickly acquired by a local collector and has remained in private hands since its inception. Somov works, particularly from his Soviet period, rarely come to market, as most are held in museum collections.
Other highlights include a fine Tiffany Apple Blossom table lamp, a rare century 1868 pair of Minton majolica Nautilus Shell floor jardinieres, 16th century carved pedestals from the William Randolph Hearst collection, and paintings and sculpture by William Merit Chase, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, and others.
Thirty lots of American Folk art from the Nancy R. Mayer collection offers fine 19th century examples of decorative weather vanes, whirligigs, hunting decoys and toys, including a period Civil War-themed mechanical diorama, and a signed Mary Knight folk drawing, circa 1830.
For further information contact Millea Bros. at 973.377.1500.
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