1957 Chevrolet Bel Air marketing artwork leads our five auction highlights

Original artwork for 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air promotional materials, which hammered for $2,050 and sold for $2,357 with buyer’s premium at Toystrainsandotheroldstuff.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Original Marketing Illustration, $2,357

FOWLER, Ind. – Jack Juratovic (1939-2018) was a legend in the automotive art space. He worked as a designer for General Motors in the 1960s with Larry Wood, who would go on to become a lead designer for Mattel’s Hot Wheels line just a few years later. Juratovic also created an extensive line of art generally featuring great steam locomotives of the past gloriously chugging along while being paced by vintage classic automobiles.

Juratovic was also an automotive memorabilia expert, and upon his passing his massive collection went to his children, who decided to return everything to the market so that other automotive enthusiasts could enjoy his lifetime of work. And so Toystrainsandotheroldstuff was chosen to disperse the collection in a sale held January 27.

One of the most sought-after items from the Juratovic trove was original artwork of the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air created by staff artist E. H. Gressendorf of McCallum Associates, a Detroit agency working in support of the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. The so-called “tri-five” (1955-1957) platform was peaking with the 1957 model year, when the Bel Air’s fins would reach their apex before an extensive redesign in 1958.

Two dozen bids between the floor and online bidders ensued, sending the matted artwork to $2,050 ($2,357 with buyer’s premium) after the LiveAuctioneers bidder triumphed.

Large Early 20th-century Japanese Cloisonné Vase, $41,250

Japanese cloisonné vase with narrative decoration, which hammered for $33,000 and sold for $41,250 with buyer’s premium at Locati LLC.
Japanese cloisonné vase with narrative decoration, which hammered for $33,000 and sold for $41,250 with buyer’s premium at Locati LLC.

PINEVILLE, Penn. – The unexpected top lot in Locati LLC’s January 21 sale was this large early 20th-century Japanese cloisonné vase. Although unsigned and of good rather than outstanding quality, the decoration is most unusual. In addition to geometric and floral border patterns are panels of narrative decoration executed in the musen (wireless) technique: to one side a scholar at his desk, to the other a boy on a water buffalo.

Likely a piece made for the domestic market rather than export (in Buddhist parables, a herd boy’s search for his lost oxen is analogous to the pursuit of enlightenment), it hammered for $33,000 and sold for $41,250 with buyer’s premium against an estimate of $300-$500. The winning bid came via LiveAuctioneers.

Two Works by Paul Sawyier: ‘Garden with Fountain,’ $49,125, and ‘Fountain and Rose Garden,’ $28,820

Paul Sawyier, ‘Fountain and Rose Garden,’ which hammered for $22,000 and sold for $28,820 with buyer’s premium at Clars Auction Gallery.Paul Sawyier, ‘Garden with Fountain’, which hammered for $37,000 and sold for $49,125 with buyer’s premium at Clars Auction Gallery.
Two Works by Paul Sawyier: ‘Garden with Fountain,’ $49,125, and ‘Fountain and Rose Garden,’ $28,820

OAKLAND, Calif. – While most American Impressionists were based in the New England area, the style spread westward in the early years of the 20th century. Kentucky’s best-known exponent is Paul Sawyier (1865-1917). After studying under William Merritt Chase in New York City, he spent much of his career painting in watercolor close to the Kentucky River.

The two Paul Sawyier oils on board offered at Clars Auction Gallery on January 19 were probably painted in the last years of his life when – although changing his medium and moving to Brooklyn and then heading for the Catskills – he continued to paint Kentucky park scenes based on photographs. Both works at Clars were 2ft-by-20in garden scenes showing classical-style sculptures amid pastel flowers in full bloom, and came for sale from the New York estate of Philip F Schaefer.

Although estimated at $10,000-$15,000 each, buyers preferred the landscape format scene Garden with Fountain, which hammered for $37,000 and sold for $49,125 with buyer’s premium. The portrait format scene Fountain and Rose Garden hammered for $22,000 and sold for $28,820 with buyer’s premium.

Postal Facing Slip from the RMS Titanic, $18,200

A facing slip from the RMS Titanic postal service, which hammered for $14,000 and sold for $18,200 with buyer’s premium at Alex Cooper.
A facing slip from the RMS Titanic postal service, which hammered for $14,000 and sold for $18,200 with buyer’s premium at Alex Cooper.

TOWSON, Md. – The British and American postal clerks aboard transatlantic liners had the duty of sorting the mail during the passage. They used what were called ‘facing slips’ with printed headings for letters that were being sent to common destinations, franking them with a postmark recording the clerk, the ship, and the date.

Those sent from the RMS Titanic are particularly rare. This example offered for sale at Alex Cooper on January 27 is dated April 10, 1912 – five days before the ship sank – and carries the stamp of Oscar S. Woody. On the night of the wreck, Woody celebrated his 44th birthday with the four other clerks, the party cut short by the iceberg collision. They immediately began to haul the mail to the main deck to move it into the lifeboats, but in the end, none of the mail was saved, and all of the clerks perished. Woody’s body was recovered several days later, with a number of these ‘Brooklyn, NY’ facing slips in his pockets.

On the market for the first time since it was purchased at Matthew Bennett Philatelic Auctions in January 1970, it was estimated at $5,000-$8,000 and hammered at $14,000 and sold for $18,200 with buyer’s premium.

John Linnell’s Portrait of His Son James, $9,445

John Linnell’s watercolor and pen bust-length portrait of his son James, which hammered for £5,500 ($6,945) and sold for £7,480 ($9,445) at Dawsons Auctioneers.
John Linnell’s watercolor and pen bust-length portrait of his son James, which hammered for £5,500 ($6,945) and sold for £7,480 ($9,445) at Dawsons Auctioneers.

MAIDENHEAD, U.K. – This watercolor and pen bust-length portrait by the English artist John Linnell (1792-1882) is a particularly personal work. Painted circa 1825, it depicts his second son James Thomas Linnell (1820-1905) as a long-haired, red-headed boy and is inscribed on the verso ‘James Thos. Linnell’s Given to him by his father John Linnell 1879.’

During the early part of his life, John Linnell was associated with William Blake, to whom he introduced Samuel Palmer, George Richmond, and other members of the group of artists known as the Ancients. His eldest daughter Hannah married Samuel Palmer.

This 10 by 8in (25 by 20cm) portrait came for sale at Dawsons Auctioneers on January 25, attracting plenty of interest before hammering at £5,500 ($6,945), some 10 times the top estimate. With buyer’s premium, it sold for £7,480, or about $9,445. James Thomas Linnell would himself become a successful landscape artist in his own right, exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1850 to 1888.

Mennello collection of American Impressionism showcased at Freeman’s Hindman Feb. 21

Richard Edward Miller, 'The Necklace (La femme au collier),' estimated at $150,000-$250,000 at Freeman's Hindman.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Together with his wife Marilyn, Michael Mennello (1933-2020) spent his entire life collecting and championing regional artists from Florida, while amassing a one-of-a-kind collection of American Impressionists. The Menellos founded the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, which today houses the largest collection of works by self-taught folk artist Earl Cunningham (1893-1977).

Freeman’s Hindman has been charged with dispersing the remainder of the Mennello collection in an event titled A Lasting Legacy: Estate of Michael Mennello. The catalog for the Wednesday, February 21 sale is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The sale’s top-estimated lot is The Necklace (La femme au collier), a 1913 oil on canvas by Richard Edward Miller (1875-1943). A native of St. Louis, Miller studied in Paris and became a member of the Giverny (France) Colony of American Impressionists. He was known for his paintings of women sitting idly, which The Necklace typifies. Freeman’s Hindman estimates the 36 by 29in painting at $150,000-$250,000.

Joseph Raphael (1869-1950) was born in the California Gold Rush town of Jackson in the Sierra Nevada mountains, but as a young artist moved to Europe, where he resided until the outbreak of World War II. He would resettle in San Francisco, where he had previously conducted numerous sales of his American Impressionist originals with the assistance of local benefactors such as Alfred Bender, who also championed Ansel Adams and Diego Rivera. Children of the Artist is a 57.75 by 59.25in oil on canvas depicting Raphael’s three daughters in the 1920-24 period, when he and his wife lived in Uccle, Belgium. The work is estimated at $40,000-$60,000.

No collection of American Impressionism is complete without a Guy Carleton Wiggins (1883-1962). Silver and Gold at the Plaza was painted just a year prior to the artist’s passing, and features the snowy but adoring treatment of New York Wiggins is known for. Best of all, the work has been authenticated in writing by Wiggins’ son Noel. The 28 by 42in oil on canvas carries a $30,000-$50,000 estimate.

The Mennello collection also contains two works by John French Sloan (1871-1951), a founding member of what was called the Ashcan School of American Art. Adherents focused on gritty depictions of working class life in New York City, and Sloan would often gain inspiration by peering through his studio window in Chelsea. Sloan did apparently leave the city now and again, as seen in Fassett’s Cove and Black Rocks and Ledges, both dated 1915 and both estimated at $25,000-$35,000.