BOONTON, N.J. – Millea Bros.’ Select three-day auction, scheduled for May 19-21, features a collection of collections, comprising 10 individual New York single-owner collections. Each is devoted to a particular area of interest, but all share a stunning level of scholarly expertise and reflect the obsessive drive to assemble only the best examples. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The May 19 session opens with the Chinese art collection of a New York scholar. A professor at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence who traveled to mainland China during the years before it opened to the West, the consignor’s massive collection spans the entire history of Chinese culture, from ancient Neolithic artifacts to Ming and Qing scroll paintings to Modern art of the Cultural Revolution. Highlights include a book of late Ming landscape paintings by the artist Kuncan; a 17th-century fan painting by Yun Shouping, considered one of the six Qing-era masters; and a group of unusual 19th- and 20th-century Yixing pottery teapots with examples by masters Gu Jingzhou and Shao Jingnan.
Important contemporary Chinese artworks include abstract scroll paintings by Lui Shou Kwan; a Huang Zhou donkey painting; and four Great Wall landscapes by contemporary artist Cao Jigang. Antiquities from the Near East and the Americas, part of a renowned collection assembled over decades by a powerful New York media mogul, include a tall ancient Egyptian wood carved figure with museum provenance; a Boeotian terracotta goddess; Byzantine gold jewelry and faience; and pristine Pre-Columbian pottery, including Nayarite figures and a pre-Aztec Teotihuacan offertory vessel. Modern art jewelry highlights include a signed Alexander Calder silver necklace, a Flemming Eskildsen for Georg Jensen jewelry suite, and pieces by Ed Wiener and Mary Kretsinger.
May 20 is devoted to modern art and design, and opens with works from the estate of the legendary New York art dealer Hester Diamond. Along with Leo Castelli and Ileana Sonnabend, Diamond was the most renowned and influential proponent of American post-war contemporary art. She amassed a singular collection of European and American Modernist art, only to sell it all in the 1980s and turn her focus to building perhaps the finest group of Great Masters works in private hands. The remaining works from her early Modern collection are offered, including pieces by Mark Tobey, Milton Avery, Larry Rivers, Ryan McGinness, Jeanne Reynal, Steve Gianakos, and Charles Seliger, along with custom furniture commissioned from designer Nick Dine.
Two oil paintings by Jim Dine, Nick Dine’s father, come from another important modern art collection–one of the largest and most coveted collections ever assembled–and include a Louise Nevelson assemblage, a Giacomo Balla wall sculpture, a Stephen Edlich collage, and works by David Hockney, Alan Davie, Camille Bombois, and Tony Rosenthal. Designs from the collection include Paavo Tynell lighting, Karl Springer, Diego Giacometti, and custom pieces by architect Ward Bennett.
Works from the collection of Litsa Tsitsera, scientist, political activist and art patron, feature Greek and Greek-American artists including museum quality examples by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, Jean Xceron, Theodoros Stamos, a large Chryssa painting and two neon light boxes, and major sculptures by Michael Lekakias and Dimitri Hadzi. Other artists in the collection include Joseph Stella, Anne Ryan, Robert Courtright, and Arnold Friedman. Designs include works by T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings for Saridis of Greece, Edgar Brandt, Line Vautrin, Dino Martens, and Venini glass, including a monumental pair of urn vases. Other design highlights include a unique George Nakashima writing table, an early deco Jules Leleu tabouret, and a pair of Art Deco Saturn lamps by Charles Martin.
The third and final session in the series, set for May 21, includes English antiques and American folk art from the Connecticut home of socialite Barbara Allen de Kwiatkowski, all sourced and assembled by decorators Sister Parish and Albert Hadley. It features custom Parish-Hadley designs; fine Jacobian, William and Mary, and George III English furniture; a John Thwaites column-form tall clock; and a monumental carved wooden eagle and a carousel goat.
An extensive Art Nouveau art glass and pottery collection contains a pair of Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows; a Tiffany Nasturtium vase; and a massive pair of leaded glass lanterns from Greene & Greene, as well as an extensive group of French pate de verre glass by G. Argy Rousseau, Daum, and Galle, as well as American art pottery by Rookwood, T. J. Wheatley, and Weller. Continental art and antiques from 510 Park Ave include ebeniste signed Louis XVI case pieces by Jacques-Laurent Cosson and Roussel, and an impressive group of Northern Italian Marquetry inlaid cabinets, including a signed piece by Giuseppe Maggiolini.
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