Porcelain, sculpture are top attractions at Michaan’s July 7 sale


Pair of Wucai dragon and phoenix bowls. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

ALAMEDA, Calif. – Modern sculpture, Asian porcelain, California paintings and estate gems bring excitement to Michaan’s July 7 Gallery Auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Among the top lots at Michaan’s in July is the pair of Wucai bowls from a fine Piedmont, Calif., estate. Bearing Daoguang Period marks, the bowls (above) are decorated with fierce dragon and phoenix motifs in shades of iron-red and green (est.  $8,000-$12,000). Another lot of great interest is the pair of Tang Dynasty painted pottery horse models ($1,000-$1,500), featuring lively poses and vestiges of color that remain after many centuries.

Works of Asian art are among the most highly anticipated lots at Michaan’s Auctions. Featured in July’s sale are several excellent 19th-century porcelain vases including the Meiji Period baluster vase of underglaze blue with lovely decoration. From the workshop of the eminent Kyoto artisan Kanzan Denshichi (1821-1890), it is estimated at $3,000-$4,000. Snuff bottle collectors will find an excellent lot of three ($2,000-3,000) in russet, celadon and black “chicken bone” carved jade. Also highlighted in jade is the lot of three white jade pendants, finely crafted during the Qing Dynasty and estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

Modern sculptures from masters of the medium will ignite Michaan’s Gallery Auction on Saturday. Fine art specialist Susan Paffrath will offer an outstanding wonderful work by Angel Botello, (1913-1986), the Puerto Rican modernist of international renown.  Jane, the bronze image of a seated woman (below), is a signature Botello work, at once ancient and modern in sensibility. Exuding vitality in spite of her pensive pose, Jane is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.


Angel Botello (Puerto Rican, 1913-1986), ‘Jane,’ bronze sculpture. Estimate: $15,000-$20,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

Also in this sale is a kinetic metal sculpture (est. $2,000-$4,000) by Bay Area artist Jerome Kirk (b. 1923). He began making mobiles in 1951, inspired by the legendary Alexander Calder, whose lithograph Papillon is offered in this auction at $2,500-$3,500.

On the walls of Michaan’s auction gallery in July are paintings by a diverse group of distinguished California artists, including one by contemporary painter Ira Yeager (b. 1938). Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, the untitled abstract work (below) was purchased from Yeager by the current owner.


Ira Yeager (American b. 1938), untitled abstract, oil on canvas. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

Also offered is a California Impressionist painting by Jennie Vennerström Cannon (1869-1952), founding member of the Carmel and Berkeley art colonies. Cannon’s oil Point Lobos (est. $2,000-$4,000) depicts the iconic coastal reserve near Big Sur. Flowers and Showers, Palm Springs (est. $1,500-$2,000) is a work by Carl Sammons (1883-1968), whose vibrant views of California have brought excellent results in earlier auctions at Michaan’s.

Another California artist with a major following is Millard Sheets, whose landscape in watercolor is offered in July at $3,000-$5,000. Sheets was active in the mid 20th century as a painter, muralist and architect in Southern California and was the subject of a New York Times feature article in 2016. Paffrath says of Millard Sheets: “His work is bold and sophisticated, yet easy to love. Sheets imbues his California landscapes with a muscular energy that makes them exciting as well as instantly recognizable.”

An exciting opportunity for collectors is White Calf (est. $1,500-$2,000), a lithograph by Thomas Hart Benton, the idiosyncratic and influential American figurative painter. Another important fine art lot is “Aspens” (est. $4,000-$6,000), a superb oil painting by Taos art colony founder Bert Geer Phillips (1868-1956).  Very different but equally gorgeous is Madison Square Park (est. $5,000-$7,000) by the Gilded Age painter Paul Cornoyer (1864-1923). The artist’s training in France is easy to detect in this lyrical cityscape, a view of New York at the turn of the 20th century.

Michaan’s has long been a premier Bay Area destination for collectors of fine silver. Featured in July is Shreve & Co.’s large sterling tea and coffee service, estimated at $3,000-$5,000. An elegant scroll-handled sterling punch bowl ($3,000-$4,000) dates to circa 1899.  Sterling flatware includes a 112-piece set by Holmes and Edwards ($3,500-$4,500).

Fine furniture offered in the auction includes a piece by François Linke (1855-1946). The gilt bronze mounted parquetry commode, in the Louis XV/XVI style, is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.


Louis XV/XVI-style gilt bronze mounted parquetry commode. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

Pocket watches of exceptional quality include one by Tiffany & Co. ($2,000-$3,000) and a minute repeater chronograph by F. Nicoud & Co. ($3,000-$5,000, with an 18K gold chain).


Tiffany & Co. enamel, 18K gold open-face pocket watch. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000. Michaan’s Auctions image

Jewelry shines brightly at Michaan’s in every season.  In July, specialist Elise Coronado features Art Deco diamonds, weighty gold chain necklaces, handsome gent’s jewelry items and Victorian heirlooms. Sterling silver is also offered, as in the fabulous Mexican jewelry suite heavily laden with amethyst cabochons.