Salazar portraits to turn heads at Crescent City’s Jan. 19-20 auction

Rare oil portrait painting by the Mexican-born Louisiana artist José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza (1750-1802), titled ‘Matias Francisco Alpuente y Ruiz.’ Estimate: $100,000-$150,000. Crescent City Auction Gallery image

NEW ORLEANS – Two rare oil on canvas portrait paintings by the Mexican-born Louisiana artist José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza (1750-1802) will headline a major auction slated for Jan. 19 and 20 by Crescent City Auction Gallery. Nearly 1,000 lots will be offered. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The first painting (lot #330, to be sold on Day 1, Jan. 19) was rendered in New Orleans circa 1785-1795 and depicts Matias Francisco Alpuente y Ruiz (1750-1812), a member of the distinguished Caribiner Cavalry and the financial administrator of New Orleans, under Spanish rule. The work, measuring 36½ inches tall by 28½ inches wide, has an estimate of $100,000-$150,000.

The other portrait, to be offered immediately following, at lot #331, is either one of Marguerite Amirault Duplessis Alpuente y Ruiz (1761-1790) and son Francisco Bonaventure Alpuente y Ruiz (1783-1842), or Isabel Henriette de Chouriac de Alpuente y Ruiz (1773-1850) and Child. It was painted in New Orleans circa 1785-1795 and is 35 inches by 27 inches (est. $80,000-$120,000).

Mother-and-child oil portrait painting by Mexican-born Louisiana artist José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza (1750-1802). Estimate: $80,000-$120,000. Crescent City Auction Gallery image

José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza was a Yucatan-born painter who came to Louisiana in 1784 and spent 18 years creating portraits in New Orleans during the Spanish administration (1762-1802). He’s now recognized as North America’s only known 18th century Spanish colonial portraitist. Fewer than 50 portraits are documented and most remain in New Orleans collections and museums.

Salazar’s beautifully executed likenesses of New Orleans leading military figures, merchants and their families are highly prized by collectors. He was the recent subject of an exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, titled Salazar: Portraits of Influence in Spanish Louisiana (March 8-Sept. 2, 2018). Bidding on the two portraits in the auction is expected to be spirited.

The rest of the auction is packed with the broad mix of merchandise people have come to expect from a Crescent City auction: fine period French furniture and antique French clocks, original artworks by New Orleans and other regional artists, silver, estate jewelry (including wristwatches by Piaget, Tag Heuer, Omega, Breitling and Bulova) and decorative accessories.

Fine French clocks will feature a 19th century three-piece gilt bronze Sevres mounted clock set, together with a pair of matching urn garnitures with Sevres-like mounts (est. $1,000-$2,000); and a 19th century Napoleon III gilt bronze and alabaster clock, depicting Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, and presented in a blown glass dome on an ebonized base (est. $800-$1,200).

Stunning 19th century Napoleon III gilt bronze and alabaster clock, depicting Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, and presented in a blown glass dome on an ebonized base. Estimate: $800-$1,200. Crescent City Auction Gallery image

Original artworks by artists from New Orleans and Louisiana will be plentiful, to include these:

– An untitled (Evangeline with Oak Tree) pastel on paper work by George Rodrigue (Louisiana, 1943-2013), signed by the artist famous for his Blue Dog series (est. $3,000-$5,000).

– A painting by Colette Pope Heldner (New Orleans, 1902-1990), titled Swamp Idyll, signed lower left and titled on verso, 23½ inches by 29½ inches (est. $1,000-$2,000).

– An oil on canvas by Robert Rucker (Louisiana, 1932-2001), titled Boathouse Along the Shore, artist signed lower right and measuring 23¾ inches by 36 inches (est. $1,200-$1,800).

– An oil on board landscape rendering by Steele Burden (Louisiana, 1900-1995), titled Moss Gathering in the Swamp, unsigned, 21½ inches by 27¾ inches (est. $3,000-$5,000).

Oil on board landscape rendering by Steele Burden, titled ‘Moss Gathering in the Swamp,’ unsigned, 21½ by 27¾ inches. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Crescent City Auction Gallery image

Decorative items will include a mid-19th century American coin silver serving tray by Gorham, 35½ inches wide, weighing 199.8 troy ounces (est. $3,000-$5,000); a large post-1945 Rene Lalique clear and frosted class swan (Cygne) centerpiece, presented with an octagonal mirror “lake,” with the swan 6¾ inches tall by 14 inches wide (est. $1,000-$2,000); and a set of 11 English Coalport cabinet plates, 19th century, each one 9½ inches in diameter (est. $800-$1,200).

Beautiful mid-19th century American coin silver serving tray by Gorham, 35½ inches wide, 199.8 troy ounces. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000. Crescent City Auction Gallery image

The fine period French furniture will include a 19th century carved cherry Louis XVI-style bowfront commode, 33½ inches tall by 43½ inches wide; and a late 19th century Louis XV-style inlaid walnut vaisselier, 98 inches tall by 55 inches wide. Both have $1,500-$2,500 estimates.

For details contact Crescent City Auction Gallery at 504-529-5057 or info@crescentcityauctiongallery.com.