Pressure building for New Orleans Auction Galleries’ Aug. 8-9 sale
One of the most impressive pieces comes to New Orleans Auction Galleries via a northern route. It is a George III sterling silver epergne by John Christopher Romer, regarded as one of the last great masters of the art of rococo silver tableware. The epergne is hallmarked London, 1765-1766. Standing 14 1/4 inches high, the epergne has a large pierced basket raised on four cast rococo-scroll legs and eight scrolling arms, each supporting a circular pierced basket. Described as having beautiful patina, the epergne boasts an estimate of $18,000-$25,000.
“It’s a fantastic piece, especially since you don’t see Georgian silver like this in fine condition,” said Charles Cage, office manager and silver specialist at New Orleans Auction Galleries.
The auction catalog notes that Romer was born in Norway around 1715 and immigrated to England before 1744. His mark appears regularly on high-quality table silver from 1760 into the 1770s. Cage said that Romer was certainly related – probably a brother – to Emick Romer, a prominent silversmith who immigrated to England.
“It’s only recently been discovered they came from Norway,” said Cage.
Also noteworthy to silver enthusiasts, and far more affordable, is lot 383 consisting to two Continental silver spoons of Jewish interest. One is marked Gdansk, Poland, 1771-1779, by Johann Christoph Wonecker Jr. (1730-1813). While there is no evidence that Wonecker was Jewish, it is known that he made ritual articles for Danzig’s large Jewish population. The other is marked Vilnius, Lithuania, 1899-1908, by Leiba Schmuelovich Gold (1826-1904), who worked in a settlement where Jewish craftsmen were allowed to practice their trade. The estimate for the pair is $100-$200.
Another fascinating and seldom-seen item available at the auction is a set of trench binoculars, sometimes called “donkey ears.” The brass periscopic device comes with a mahogany and brass field tripod. Manufactured following World War I by Ross, London, the set has a $1,500-$2,000 estimate.
In the furniture category, an American Neo-Grec inlaid rosewood cabinet attributed to Alexander Roux has a single door with an oval porcelain plaque. A similar double-door cabinet with identical bronze capitals and grain-inlaid pilasters is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Made in the third quarter of the 19th century, this ornate cabinet is in good overall condition and has a $6.000-$9,000 estimate.
Also from the third quarter of the 19th century is a Louis XV-style rosewood and kingwood commode having a bombe case and a shaped Breche Arlequino marble top. With two short drawers over two long drawers – all with floral inlays of exotic wood – the commode is 46 inches wide, 33 1/2 inches high and 26 1/2 inches deep. It has a $7,000-$10,000 estimate.
Also carrying a $7,000-$10,000 is a desk crafted for the U.S. House of Representatives. The American Renaissance Revival oak desk was one of 262 desks designed by Capitol architect Thomas Ustick Walter for the 1857 renovation of the House Chamber. They remained in service until an 1873 remodeling, when the desks were wither given to congressmen or sold.
“The man who owned it had it all his life. He used it when he was a kid because they’re kind of small,” said Cage. The slant-lid desk is 36 1/2 inches high, 29 5/8 inches wide and 20 1/2 inches deep.
Estimated to make $3,000-$5,000 is an 18th-century Chinese walnut altar table having an 89-inch-long single-plank top with inset upturned ends. Phoenix heads and scrollwork are carved in relief on a solid apron.
Among the top paintings in the auction are two by French artists Charles Clement Calderon (1870-1906) and Felix Armand Heullant (circa 1834-1905). Heullant’s An Acadian Idyll is an oil on panel, 17 3/4 by 24 inches and is in a period carved ebonized and parcel giltwood and plaster frame in the Barbizon style. Its estimate is $9,000-$12,000. Calderon’s painting of boats in the Grand Canal in Venice is 29 1/2 by 49 1/4 inches. Calderon was a Parisian born artist best known for his views of Venetian life. He was a student of Alexandre Cabanel and his works were represented at the Colonial Exposition of 1906. The collector from Louisiana acquired the painting from Mortimer Brandt Gallery, New York, in the 1940s. It has a $14,000-$18,000 estimate.
Topping the list of estate jewelry is a lady’s modern diamond ring with a 7.01-carat yellow diamond flanked by 1-carat diamonds, which has a $60,000-$90,000 estimate. Three lots have $35,000-$50,000 estimates: a pair of 18-karat gold emerald and diamond earrings, a platinum diamond and emerald ring with a 21.63-carat rectangular step-cut emerald, and an 18-karat white gold and diamond wide bracelet composed of 26.83 carats of diamonds arranged in diagonal rows.
Previews are held daily at New Orleans Auction Galleries, 801 Magazine St. An evening preview Aug. 1 will coincide with White Linen Night, the high point of the summer in the Crescent City. The annual arts celebration takes place throughout the Warehouse/Arts District, and at the Contemporary Arts Center. White Linen Night is a time to put on your white outfits, get out and enjoy the works of the city’s art community. With about 20 art galleries participating, four blocks of Julia Street will be closed off for a New Orleans-style block party.
The auction will begin Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. Central at New Orleans Auction Galleries. The auction will resume Aug. 9 at 11 a.m. Central.
For details phone 504-566-1849.
View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet during the sale at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
Click here to view New Orleans Auction Galleries, Inc.’s complete catalog.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE