CLEVELAND – Gray’s Auctioneers’ spring auction is a diverse fine art, furniture and decorative art event that will be held virtually on Wednesday, March 24, starting promptly at 10 a.m. Eastern. Online bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.com. The auction begins with several fine art lots. Evening on the Banks of the Nile by Hermann Corrodi, is a sublime yet exotic scene of 19th-century life reflecting Corrodi’s extensive travels throughout Egypt, Syria and the Near East. Corrodi was renowned during his lifetime for landscapes and royal history painting, but it is these glowing scenes of life painted towards the end of his life, that have long been the most sought after of his works. This painting has some areas of poor restoration in the sky to the upper left and right of the canvas, but nonetheless it should reach its estimate of $30,000 -$50,000.
An unsigned 17th-century Neapolitan school painting of St. Peter has long thought to be the work of the master Jusepe de Ribera by collectors. Deba Gray of Gray’s Auctioneers sought the opinion of the leading de Ribera expert, Nicola Spinosa. He examined high-resolution images and images under UV and did not think the painting was by de Ribera, but rather by the lesser-known Flemish painter Hendrick van Somer, who was active in Naples at the time and who for a time studied under Ribera in his studio. The painting has had campaigns of restoration and has been relined. The frame has a remnant of a wax seal indicating that it once was in a notable collection, but just whose collection only adds to the mystery. The estimate is a modest $3,000-$5,000.
A charming 17th-century miniature portrait of a young noble boy, painted with oil on copper and set in a silvered frame with scroll surmount and glass, is unsigned but strikingly reminiscent of Cornelius Johnson’s (1593- 1661) exceptionally elegant and detailed miniature portraits of nobility. It is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Henry Joseph Breuer, the early 20th-century American artist known for his paintings of the majestic California, Oregon and Arizona landscape is represented with a striking oil of Yosemite’s El Capitan. Breuer was greatly influenced by the French Impressionist Barbizon school of rural landscapes. This study deftly captures the magnificence of the iconic, almost vertical, white granite rock face.
Buckminster ‘Bucky’ Fuller, the American futurist inventor and thinker coined the term “tensegrity” in the 1960s to describe structures of tensional integrity. To illustrate the principle, he handmade structures of differing sizes and shapes. The auction includes a 24-inch Geodesic Tensegrity Sphere from an edition of 50, together with a letter of authenticity from Fuller. It was given by the artist to the current owner in 1982. Also in the sale is a rare study by Fuller for his triangular-based tensegrity structure titled Twelve Degrees of Freedom. It was also given to the current owner, after the artist passed in 1983 with the words, “Bucky wanted you to have it.”
The auction features a fine collection of jewelry and silver lots. Leading the way is an intricate Vietnamese Four Seasons pierced-gold bracelet made from a beautifully toned 18K gold presented in its original presentation box. A Chinese export silver five-piece tea set circa 1910 from the makers Wang Hing & Co., is also featured. A rare Tiffany and Co., Paris silver five-function travel clock with its original leather travel box includes a clock, a compass, a calendar, barometer and Fahrenheit/centigrade thermometer. The silver is marked with Paris Boar’s head hallmark and a maker’s mark.
There are several collections in the auction, from a whimsical collection of Midcentury Beatrix Potter animal figures to enameled porcelain Battersea Boxes, and a fine collection of Cleveland Print Club limited edition prints.
Asian lots also include a delicate Japanese Satsuma Thousand Butterflies bowl. The detail is so finely executed with the bowl itself telling a story in each of its pictorial panels. Another great Asian example is a Japanese carved boxwood netsuke depicting a rooster on a drum. It is signed, but the signature is illegible.
There is an abundance of fine rugs and textiles in this diverse spring auction including a rare and very fine 19th-century Kashmir shawl also known as a dochalla, from northern India. Woven and hand stitched from Pashmina wool, silk and cotton it has a dense foliate design with an ornate central motif and a merchant’s mark hand stitched just off center.
Among the featured European decorative art is a Black Forest carved Swiss mountain dog grouping of a Mother and her puppies in the manner of Walter Mäder and his son Heinrich, master carvers from Brienz, who specialized in detailed renditions of Swiss mountain dogs.
There are more than 350 lots in Gray’s spring sale. The full catalog is online now and pre-bidding is open at LiveAuctioneers.com.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/