Gallery Report: Swann hosts Bisa Butler’s $75K auction debut

ATLANTA – At the beginning of every month, ACN columnist Ken Hall delivers top auction highlights from around the United States and the world at large. Here’s his June 2021 edition of Gallery Report. All prices include the buyer’s premium, except where noted.

Bisa Butler

Bisa Butler artwork, $75,000, Swann Auction Galleries

Bisa Butler’s (American, b. 1973-) 2007 quilted and appliqued dyed cotton fabrics titled Nandi and Natalie (Friends) sold for $75,000 at an African American Art auction held April 22 by Swann Auction Galleries in New York City. Also, Howardena Pindell’s (American, b. 1943-) tempera, gouache, postcards, punched paper, nails, fluorescent paint, glitter, and thread on board titled Oval Memory Series: (Rhinoceros) Heaven, created between 1980 and 1981, changed hands for $100,000. It was a new record price for the artist.

Bisa Butler

Supertest petroliana sign, CA$21,240, Miller & Miller

A Canadian Supertest service station double-sided porcelain hanging sign from the 1940s sold for $21,240 in an online Petroliana & Advertising auction held May 15 by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada. Also, a Canadian 1930s Goodrich Tires Mountie porcelain sign realized $16,520; a 1940s Bennett 541 Supertest gas pump hit $20,060; and a 1920s Canadian Orange Crush store soda cooler brought $7,670. All prices given for this sale are in Canadian dollars.

Bisa Butler

Wendell Castle table, $70,110, Neue Auctions

An important and beautiful dining table custom designed by Wendell Castle (American, 1932-2018) sold for $70,110 in an online-only Modernism sale held May 15 by Neue Auctions in Beachwood, Ohio. Also, an oil on canvas still life painting by Le Pho (Vietnamese and French, 1907-2001), titled Fleurs (Flowers), brought $20,910, and an oil on canvas Still Life with Sculpture on Table by Claude Venard (French, 1913-1999), executed with heavy impasto, sold for $15,990.

 

Bisa Butler

 

10-gallon visible gas pump, $87,600, Morphy Auctions

A 10-gallon visible gas pump with its oil dispenser restored in Stanocoloa Gasoline livery sold for $87,600 at an auction held May 11-15 by Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania. Also, an Esmeralda 5-cent fortune teller, maker unknown, with cylinder record player and record, played a sweet tune for $78,000; a late 19th century mirrored Brunswick triple arch-back and front bar reached $66,000; and a Chevrolet Buick porcelain neon sign hit $45,600.

Bisa Butler

Bandai Japanese friction toy, $55,200, Milestone Auctions

A Japanese Bandai friction-powered Flying Spaceman on Super Cycle with original caped, green rubber ‘Superman’ figure, along with a colorfully illustrated box lid, sold for $55,200 at a Spring Spectacular Toy Auction held May 1 by Milestone Auctions in Willoughby, Ohio. Also, a Walt Disney-authorized Mickey Mouse Krazy Kar with figures of Mickey, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto rose to $34,800; and a Masudaya 15-in battery-operated Target robot from the ‘Gang of Five’ made $13,800.

Bisa Butler

Letter from Hamilton to Madison, $113,850, Lion Heart Autographs

A letter written by Alexander Hamilton to James Madison in 1790, in which he mentions Thomas Jefferson, sold for $113,850 on April 28 at Lion Heart Autographs, Inc. in New York. Also, Mahatma Gandhi’s quote on faith realized $11,500; a handwritten Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening poem by Robert Frost sold for $35,650; a John Adams letter about the war between France and Britain brought $26,450; and a Benjamin Franklin inscription went for $14,375.

 

 

Bisa Butler

1953 Hank Williams poster, $150,000, Heritage Auctions

An advertisement for a 1953 Hank Williams show that never happened, found in an Ohio barn and purchased for $5 in 1981, sold for $150,000 at an Entertainment & Music Auction held May 1-2 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. It was the most ever paid at auction for a concert poster, eclipsing the $137,500 commanded by a Beatles Shea Stadium concert poster in April 2020. Also, a 1966 Grateful Dead Skeleton & Roses poster, graded CGC 9.6 and signed by artist Stanley Mouse, brought $84,375.

Bisa Butler

Sterling silver dish, $9,375, John Moran

A Maison Odiot French sterling silver dish sold for $9,375 at a Tradition Collector sale held April 28 by John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, California. Also, a French Louis XVI carved giltwood sofa brought $9,375; an oil on canvas Portrait of a Gentleman went for $4,375; a large Japanese Sumida Gawa figural vase knocked down for $4,688; and an oil on canvas by Lilian Chevoit (English, 1884-1932), titled A Pair of English Cocker Spaniels, hit $5,626.

Bisa Butler

China Trade painting, $63,000, Doyle New York

A large 19th century China Trade painting depicting the Qing army subjugating the citizens of a southern region with a boat-filled harbor sold for $63,000 at a Pacific Trade Auction held May 4 by Doyle in New York. Also, a circa-1840 partial suite of China Trade hardwood furniture, made for Captain Robert Bennet Forbes realized $20,160, and a Japanese Meiji-Taisho Period silver figure of the goddess Kannon hit $20,160.

Bisa Butler

Alphonse Mucha painting, $456,500, Hindman 

A 1920 painting by Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939), titled Woman with Flowering Branches, sold for $456,500 at Fine Art auctions held May 3-5 by Hindman in Chicago. Also, Did You Hear Something? a 1981 work by Jim Nutt (American, b. 1938-) brought $181,250; Four Polo Players by Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987) hit $137,500; and Pennsylvania Impressionist works by Edward Willis Redfield and Daniel Garber both sold for $150,000.

Bisa Butler

Yayoi Kusama painting, $4.59 million, Bonhams

An untitled oil on canvas by Yayoi Kusama (Japanese, b. 1929-) sold for $4.59 million at a sale of early works by Kusama from the collection of the late Dr. Teruo Hirose, held May 12 by Bonhams in New York. The 11-lot sale was 100 percent sold and totaled $15.2 million, and represents a world auction record for a single-owner collection of works by Kusama. The group comprised three paintings and eight works on paper. Kusama and Dr. Hirose were lifelong friends.

Bisa Butler

Howard Finster folk-art, $32,500, Slotin Folk Art Auction

A folk-art rendering by Howard Finster (American, 1916-2001), titled The Angel from the Lord, sold for $32,500 at a Self-Taught Masterpieces auction held April 24 by Slotin Folk Art Auction in Gainesville, Georgia. Also, Martin Ramirez’s Caballero hammered for $46,250; Myrtice West’s Who is Worthy finished at $26,250; M. L. O’Kelley’s Family Wagon sped off with $24,375; Clementine Hunter’s Uncle Tom realized $20,625; Nellie Mae Rowe’s Fish made $20,000; and Frog Smith’s Dowling Camp rose to $17,500.

 

Bisa Butler

Tiffany Dandelion lamp, $3.7 million, Rago Arts & Auction Center

A Tiffany Studios Dandelion lamp from the 1900 Paris Exposition sold for $3.7 million at Early 20th Century Design and Modern Design auctions held May 13-14 by Rago Arts & Auction Center in Lambertville, New Jersey. Also, a 1975 sculpture by Peter Voulkos (American, 1924-2002) went for $400,000; a Sculpture Front cabinet by Paul Evans garnered $312,500; and a Frenchman’s Cove II dining table and a set of eight Conoid dining chairs by George Nakashima made $131,250 and $106,250, respectively.

Bisa Butler

Janet Jackson jacket, $81,250, Julien’s Auctions

Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation jacket with 1814 metal plaque, cap, and gloves sold for $81,250 at an auction of items from the career and life of the famed signer, held May 14-16 by Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles. Also, Jackson’s iconic single key earring fetched $43,750; her 1956 Chevrolet 3100 Cameo ½-ton pickup truck brought $112,500; and the outfit she wore during her induction ceremony at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame rose to $32,000.

Bisa Butler

Hamilton flintlock pistols, $1.1 million, Rock Island

A pair of flintlock holster pistols inscribed “AH” and presented to Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, along with field service epaulettes he wore while serving as an officer in the Continental Army, sold for $1.1 million at a Premier Auction held May 14-16 by Rock Island Auction Company in Rock Island, Illinois. Also, an Ulrich engraved Winchester Exhibition Model 1873 rifle reached $718,750, and Bat Masterson’s Colt pistol hit the mark for $488,750.

Bisa Butler

Kobe Bryant basketball jersey, $3.69 million, Goldin Auctions

Kobe Bryant’s earliest known game-worn jersey sold for $3.69 million–a new record for any basketball jersey or Kobe Bryant item–in an online May Elite Auction held by Goldin Auctions, based in Runnemede, New Jersey. The winning bidder was billionaire Bob Duggan. Also, an autographed Michael Jordan NBA All-Star Game Used Patch Card went for $2.1 million, and a 1909-1911 T206 white border Honus Wagner baseball card, widely known as the Holy Grail of baseball cards, reached $3.7 million.

Bisa Butler

Tim Storrier painting, $37,200, Potter & Potter

A framed acrylic on canvas signed by Tim Storrier (Australian, b. 1949-) and titled Noonline Blaze sold for $37,200 at a Vintage Posters, Prints & Works on Paper auction held May 15 by Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago. Also, The Seasons by Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939) realized $21,600; The Rape of Callisto by Tony Scherman (Canadian, b. 1950-) gaveled for $5,760; and Cognac Jacque by Camille Bouchet (French, 1799-1890) changed hands for $3,840.

Bisa Butler

Dragons and Waves vase, $2.2 million, Freeman’s

A Chinese carved and underglazed red Dragons and Waves vase, Meiping, sold for $2.2 million at an Asian Art Auction held April 8 by Freeman’s in Philadelphia. Also, a Chinese grayish-white jade carving of a foreigner on a mythical beast fetched $63,000; a large kesi tapestry Dragons panel brought $63,000; a Chinese carved rock crystal seal garnered $50,400; and a Ming dynasty blue and white porcelain large bowl, which happened to be the first lot of the sale, rose to $30,240.

Bisa Butler

Monet Water Lily painting, $70.4 million, Sotheby’s

A large-scale late Water Lily painting by Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) sold for $70.4 million at sales of Impressionist, Modern & Contemporary Art held May 13 by Sotheby’s in New York. Also, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s (American, 1960-1988) Ultimate Challenge to Status Quo hammered for $50.8 million; and Robert Colescott’s (American, 1925-2009) bold confrontation with history, titled George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook, soared to $15.3 million.

Bisa Butler

Picasso painting of his muse, $103.4 million, Christie’s

Pablo Picasso’s (Spanish, 1881-1973) 1932 portrait painting of his muse Marie-Therese, Femme assiste pres d’une fenetre, sold for $103.4 million at a 20th Century Evening Sale held May 13 by Christie’s in New York. Also, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work titled In Case went for $93.1 million; Grace Hartigan’s The Phoenix (1962) achieved $687,500; a 1962 untitled work by Lee Krasner earned $7.2 million; an untitled 1977 Joan Mitchell work along with a 1989 Mitchell painting, titled Rain, brought a combined $19 million.