ATLANTA – At the start of each month, ACN columnist Ken Hall gathers top auction highlights from around the United States and beyond. Here’s what made headlines since last month’s Gallery Report. All prices include the buyer’s premium.
Bob Thompson work, $212,500, Hindman
A 1961 allegorical painting by Bob Thompson titled The Sack (The Snook) sold for $212,500 at a Spring Fine Art Sale held May 20-21 by Hindman in Chicago. Also, Miyoko Ito’s Irrigation went for $112,500; Roger Brown’s Dancing Houses, The Earthquake of 1994 brought $100,000; Theodore Clement Steele’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monuments of Indianapolis from 1917 fetched $131,250; and Roy Lichtenstein’s prints Crying Girl and Blonde made $32,500 and $35,000, respectively.
Clementine Hunter oil, $8,750, Crescent City
An oil on board painting by Clementine Hunter (La., 1886-1988), titled Wash Day (circa 1966), signed and framed, sold for $8,750 at an Important Summer Estates Auction held June 13-14 by Crescent City Auction Gallery in New Orleans. Also, a platinum engagement ring with a 3.83-carat emerald cut diamond brought $37,500; and an oil on canvas by Thomas H. Willis (British, 1850-1925), titled Ship’s Diorama of the Robin Hood, titled and signed in monogram, fetched $3,750.
Frye ‘Mae West’ gas pump, CA $7,800, Miller & Miller
A Fry visible “Mae West” gas pump made in America in the 1920s sold for CA$7,800 (US $5,742) in an Advertising, Toys & Historic Objects auction held June 20 by Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd., in New Hamburg, Ontario. Also, a Kuntz tin lithographed beer tray, made in Canada, with a St. Bernard dog graphic, brought CA$7,500; a Coca-Cola school policeman sign, 60 inches tall, realized CA$3,900; and a J.M. Fortier Cigar framed lithograph, went for CA$3,000. Prices are in Canadian dollars.
Presentation pipe tomahawk, $664,200, Morphy Auctions
A silver-mounted and inlaid presentation pipe tomahawk signed “R. (Richard) Butler” and inscribed to “Lt. John Maclellan (sic)” sold for $664,200 at a sale of Extraordinary, Sporting & Collector Firearms held May 22-29 by Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pa. Also, Annie Oakley’s “Little Miss Sure Shot” rifle engraved with her name and the town where she resided, gaveled for $528,900; and a pipe tomahawk dated 1760, gifted by King Louis XV to Indian chief allies, went for $168,000.
Blown-molded cream jug, $7,605, Jeffrey S. Evans
A cobalt blue blown cream jug molded in a baroque pattern designated as GV-14 by George and Helen McKearin, circa 1830, sold for $7,605 in a Glass & Lighting Auction held May 19-20 by Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates in Mount Crawford, Va. Also, a New England Glass Co. Caryatid figural-stem candlestick in a unique sapphire blue, 9¾ inches tall, gaveled for $7,020; and a brilliant medium green vase in the Loop/Leaf pattern, just over 9 inches tall, rose to $5,850
Heath Ledger autograph, $10,236, RR Auction
A color satin-finish signed photo of the late actor Heath Ledger, in his Oscar-winning role as the Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, sold for $10,236 in an online auction held May 13 by RR Auction, based in Boston. Also, a Mahatma Gandhi letter from 1932, discussing raising funds for the Anti Untouchability Association, commanded $17,045; a Raoul Wallenberg Schutz-Pass associated document rose to $11,251; and a Sun Yat-Sen handwritten letter changed hands for $112,542.
Alfons Walde painting, $612,500, Skinner Inc.
A painting capturing the beauty and grandeur of skiing in the Alps by Alfons Walde, titled Aufstieg der Schifahrer (1937/38) sold for $612,500 at an auction of American & European Works of Art held May 31 by Skinner Inc. in Boston. Also, Alfred von Wierusz-Kowalski’s A Daring Escape / A Coaching Scene reached $504,500; Hans Hofmann’s Image in Blue finished at $125,000; and Leon Bonvin’s watercolor titled Wildflowers on a Wooded Path knocked down for $118,750.
Stankiewicz sculpture, $162,500, Doyle
A sculpture from the mid-1950s by Richard Stankiewicz (1922-1983) titled Tribal Diagram, made from found objects welded together, sold for $162,500 at an auction held May 20 by Doyle in New York City. Also, a large-scale painting by Cecil Skotnes (1926-2009), a circa 1980 painted and incised wood panel measuring 49½ inches by 97½ inches, brought $106,250; and a floral still life from 1954 by Abstract Expressionist painter Grace Hartigan (1922-2008) went for $187,500.
Redmond oil painting, $225,000, John Moran
An oil on canvas wildflower landscape with poppies and lupine by Granville Redmond (Los Angeles, 1871-1935) sold for $225,000 at a California & American Fine Art auction held May 17 by John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, Calif. Also, an oil and gold leaf on canvas board depicting white cockatoos in an avocado tree by Jessie Arms Botke (Calif., 1883-1971) realized $87,500; and an oil painting by Edgar Alwin Payne (Calif., 1883-1947), titled Adriatic Harbor, brought $43,750.
George Rodrigue Blue Dog, $112,500, Heritage
A painting by the late Louisiana artist George Rodrigue (1944-2013) of his beloved dog Tiffany, titled Blue Dog (1966), 14 inches by 11 inches, sold for $112,500 in an auction held June 16 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. It was a record for a Blue Dog of that size. Also, Helen Frankenthaler’s Leprechaun, an acrylic on canvas from 1991, brought $362,500; Wayne Thiebaud’s 1961 oil Orange Drink went for $750,000; and Friel Dzubas’s acrylic Above-Below (1983) made $112,500.
P.G. Wodehouse’s pocket watch, $4,375, Freeman’s
Author P.G. Wodehouse’s pocket watch, elaborately engraved with his monogram, sold for $4,375 at an auction of the P.G. Wodehouse Collection of William Toplis held May 7 by Freeman’s in Philadelphia. Also, a corrected typescript of Do Butlers Burgle Banks, which featured extensive autographs, revisions and annotations by Wodehouse himself, changed hands for $8,750. The auction featured first editions, manuscripts, original art, sheet music, libretti, scripts and more.
Richmond Barthé sculpture, $629,000, Swann Galleries
A cast bronze sculpture by Richmond Barthé, titled Feral Benga, modeled in 1935 and cast in 1986, sold for $629,000 at an African-American Fine Art auction held June 4 by Swann Galleries in New York City. Also, a circa 1960 oil on board by John Biggers, titled Women, Ghana, soared to $269,000; an untitled paper collage and tempera on board by David Hammons from 1965 made $137,000; and a carved mahogany sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett (1975) went for $125,000.
Unrigged swan by Birch, $132,000, Guyette & Deeter
An unrigged swan decoy by Charles Birch, deaccessioned from the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, sold for $132,000 at an Annual Spring Decoy & Sporting Art Auction held May 29-30 by Guyette & Deeter in St. Michaels, Md. Also, an important robin snipe by Nathan Cobb, Jr. flew off for $90,000; a sleeping mallard drake by Fred Homme realized $81,000; an old squaw by the Mason Decoy Factory fetched $78,000; and a Hans Janner fish decoy changed hands for $14,400.
Officer’s flintlock pistols, $575,000, Rock Island
A pair of gold-mounted officer’s flintlock pistols, intricately designed and engraved by Nicolas-Noël Boutet, sold for $575,000 at a Premier Auction held June 5-7 by Rock Island Auction Co. in Rock Island, Ill. Also, one of three known Smith & Wesson lever-action repeating carbines hit the mark for $488,750; and the last factory engraved Colt 1st generation single-action Army revolver in mint condition brought $195,000. The auction overall grossed $21.1 million.
Copy of ‘Weird Mysteries #5,’ $19,200, PBA Galleries
A copy of Weird Mysteries #5 (June 1953, Gilmore Magazines), featuring one of the most lurid covers of the pre-code era, graded CGC 7.5, sold for $19,200 at an auction held June 4 by PBA Galleries in Berkeley, Calif. Also, Weird Mysteries #7, CGC 9.2, gaveled for $9,000; a copy of The Thing! #15, CGC 7.0, earned $3,000; a copy of Tomb of Terror #5, CGC 9.0, hit $3,600; a copy of Shock Illustrated #1, CGC 6.6, made $3,600; and Mister Mystery #12, CGC 5.0, brought $1,920.
Kurt Cobain’s guitar, $6.01 million, Julien’s
The retro acoustic-electric 1959 Martin D-18E that grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain played during his MTV Unplugged performance from 1993, just five months before his death by suicide at age 27, sold for $6.01 million in an auction held June 19 by Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles. It was the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction and came with a case that Cobain had decorated with a flyer from punk rock band Poison Idea’s 1990 album Feel the Darkness.
Marblehead Pottery vase, $150,000, Rago Arts & Auction
A stylized Arts & Crafts vase by Arthur Hennessey and Sarah Tutt for Marblehead Pottery sold for $150,000 in an American Art Pottery auction held June 20 by Rago Arts & Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J. Also, a tall gourd form vase by Taxile Doat for University City brought $81,250; an innovative low-fired vase form vase by Fritz Albert for Teco Pottery, model 310, earned $43,750; and a frog-themed centerpiece by Adelaide Robineau knocked down for $47,500.
Early religious texts, $5,375, Pook & Pook
Two early religious texts, both books containing watercolor fraktur bookplates and one, titled das ist Etilche Schone Christliche Lieder (1774) having a leather cover, sold for $5,375 in a Decorative Arts Auction held May 20 by Pook & Pook Inc. in Downingtown, Pa. Also, a James Seagraves redware figural pup, initialed and dated 1957, brought $1,813; a set of ironstone with morning glory decoration dishes hit $1,688; and a Gaudy ironstone service with a vine pattern finished at $1,438.
Hans Hofmann painting, $60,000, Michaan’s
A 1951 oil painting by Hans Hofmann, titled Circles, sold for $60,000 in a Summer Fine Art Sale held June 19 by Michaan’s Auctions in Alameda, Calif. Also, a Kashmir 1.75 carat sapphire and diamond ring went for $30,000; a circa 1950 Louis Vuitton steamer wardrobe trunk reached $10,200; a Patek Philippe 18K gold and leather transitional wristwatch earned $3,600; a “Chan” coffee table by Philip and Kelvin Laverne hit $5,400; and a Tiffany acorn pattern lamp shade rose to $5,400. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
By KEN HALL