LARCHMONT, N.Y. – Clarke Auction Gallery is not taking a summer breather and will display its usual attention to detail and quality with its auction Sunday, June 30, at 10 a.m. Eastern time. It is a far-ranging sale that has choice offerings across the board. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
“The best lots in an auction usually have interesting back stories and along with the thrill of the hunt is the spark of curiosity to learn the history of an antique or a painting,” said owner and auctioneer Ronan Clarke. “We have two wonderful paintings by Qi Baishi that have fascinating backstories and a beautiful set of highly carved furniture by the premier maker R.J. Horner, but more than that, this auction is well-rounded overall, ranging from Asian arts to American furniture to diamond jewelry and paintings.”
Expected to lead the auction is the R.J. Horner winged griffin oak dining set in its original finish patina ($20,000-$30,000) featuring the elaborate carving the New York firm was renowned for in the 19th century. The 10-piece set, which has been in a local estate for over 30 years, includes a griffin table with leaves, six chairs, china cabinet (above) and two servers.
Senko Imamura, Clarke’s Asian art and antiquities specialist, said the Asian arts section is especially strong here, led by two paintings by noted artist Qi Baishi (Chinese, 1863-1957), Squirrel with Grapes and Shrimp (below).
“This sale will feature many items from the estate of Kathryn and Henry R. Lieberman, including the pair of Qi Baishi (Chi Pai-shih) paintings,” she said. “While the Squirrel with Grapes painting was much favored by their daughter, Linda Teurlinckx, the artist’s works featuring shrimp are equally, if not more so, sought after at auction.”
The Shrimp painting is inscribed to “Li Po-wen, which Imamura discovered was a nickname given to Lieberman as both a pun on his last name and an apt moniker meaning “well-educated writer.” Lieberman had a long and influential career as an editor at the New York Times.
In 1948, Lieberman wrote an article for the Times describing his experience having visited Qi Baishi’s house and he commissioned a painting personally. At the end of this article, he describes watching the artist create this particular painting of shrimp. “It takes him 10 to 30 minutes to complete one of his paintings, which he executes in swift, bold strokes.”
“Even at $10,000-$15,000, these estimates are conservative for documented works by Qi Baishi, and we expect these to sell for a significant return over the original $5 paid for the painting in 1948,” Imamura said.
From the same collection comes a painting by Chen Banding, who created joint commissions with Qi Baishi around the same time, and a fine set of porcelain plaques set as tables. Also included in this sale is a handscroll depicting the Great Compassion Sutra, inscribed by Qiu Pu of the Wumen School of painting, dating from the 17th century. Qiu Pu appears to be another courtesy name for the Ming master, Qiu Ying, and another scroll signed Qiu Pu is attributed to Qiu Ying and is held by the Guangzhou Provincial Museum.
The Asian category will also feature a Zao Wou-ki (Zhao Wuji, France/China, 1920-2013) lithograph from 1967 $1,500-$2,000) and a Manchu military officer’s ceremonial armor, Qing dynasty, late 19th century ($5,000-$7,000)
The auction will offer a wide variety of jewelry and silver from local estates. Leading the diamond selection is a stunning GIA-certified 5.25-carat emerald-cut diamond with an estimate of $30,000-$50,000 (below), as well as a 9 carat platinum and diamond Riviere-style necklace estimated at $8,000-$12,000.
“The jewelry selection is vast, ranging from antique to contemporary,” says Whitney Bria, Clarke’s jewelry and silver specialist. “Out of a local Rye estate, we have one of the best quality groupings of Victorian jewelry I have had the pleasure of working with – not only aesthetically appealing but inscribed with historical provenance that adds to the appeal.
“In the realm of more contemporary pieces, we have Lalaounis, Yurman gold, Julius Cohen and Gil Albert. Silver will also not disappoint … ranging from Puiforcat, Italian silver, a wide range of English pieces, Buccellati, Tiffany, and one of my personal favorites is a grouping of two English silver boxes with beautiful enamel decorated scenes.”
Fine art will be represented in the auction, featuring fine American and European paintings by well-known artists, photographs and prints. Highlights include a Frank Lobdell (American, 1921-2013) oil on canvas from 1978 depicting an abstract composition, 28¼ by 25 inches ($15,000-$25,000) and an Alfred Maurer (American, 1868-1932) oil on canvas laid to board still life, 24 by 35½ inches ($10,000-$15,000).
The popular mid-century category will present a Vladimir Kagan contour upholstered chaise from a stately Greenwich, Conn., home, measuring 60 by 18 by 29 inches ($2,000-$3,000); a Sam Francis (American, 1923-1994) artist’s proof lithograph, “Blue-Green,” 1963, 25 by 36 inches ($1,500-$2,500) and a striking Raymond Lowey two-sided bar/cabinet designed by Loewy in the 1960s for Doubinsky Frères ($1,000-$1,500). The freestanding cabinet has four-colored plastic doors with shelves, drawers and bustle holders, 36 by 78¾ by 20 inches.