Chinese Jardinière with six-character Qianlong mark leads our five auction highlights

Chinese blue and white dragon jardinière with a Qianlong mark, which hammered for $120,000 and sold for $150,000 with buyer’s premium at Amero Auctions.

Chinese Jardinière with Six-character Qianlong Mark, $150,000

SARASOTA, Fla. – A Chinese sleeper awoke at Amero Auctions on January 21. The small 8in (20cm) diameter jardinière with a six-character Qianlong (1735-1796) mark to the base was estimated at $300-$500 but hammered for $120,000 and sold for $150,000 with buyer’s premium.

Several mark and period examples of this form, size, and decoration have appeared on the market in recent memory, including those at Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Nagel, and Poly. They share the same vibrant and rich cobalt-blue decoration with a pair of five-clawed dragons striding among clouds above a band of foaming waves. Another similar jardinière is in the Nanjing Museum and is pictured in the 2003 book Treasures in the Royalty: The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty.

Royal Doulton Bunnykins Spook Prototype, $13,125

Royal Doulton Bunnykins Spook prototype figure, which hammered at $10,500 and sold for $13,125 with buyer’s premium at Lion and Unicorn.
Royal Doulton Bunnykins Spook prototype figure, which hammered at $10,500 and sold for $13,125 with buyer’s premium at Lion and Unicorn.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – The Royal Doulton Bunnykins range of figures issued by art director Walter Hayward and design manager Harry Sales show rabbits in a full range of zoomorphic roles, from sportsmen to historical and literary figures. There are hundreds in the range, but the ‘holy grail’ models are the prototypes that never entered general production.

This Spook Bunnykins figure is a riff on the famous Doulton HN series figure Spook by Harry Tittensor, issued in the 1920s. Hand-decorated in a multi-color cloak, the backstamp to the base underlines that it was the property of Royal Doulton Ltd and not intended for sale. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Lion & Unicorn on January 20, it hammered at $10,500 and sold for $13,125 with buyer’s premium.

Some of the Bunnkykins trial figures have sold at remarkable sums. In July 2022, the prototype tableau group Celebration Time, made in 1998 in anticipation of the Millennium, took a mighty £35,500 ($45,050) at Potteries Auctions in Stoke-on-Trent, England. It had previously sold at Bonhams in 2004 for £7,000 ($8,880) as part of the auction of selected items from the Doulton Museum.

Circa-1941 ‘Poison This Rat’ Trade Stimulator, $7,800

Circa-1941 ‘Poison This Rat’ flip-ball arcade machine, which hammered for $6,000 and sold for $7,800 with buyer’s premium at Revere Auctions.
Circa-1941 ‘Poison This Rat’ flip-ball arcade machine, which hammered for $6,000 and sold for $7,800 with buyer’s premium at Revere Auctions.

ST. PAUL, Minn.– The Poison This Rat flip-ball trade stimulator was manufactured by Groetchen Tool Co. during the Second World War years. The object of the game is to insert balls into the mouth of the moving Hitler figure, who wears medals reading Invasion of Britain 1940Outstanding Double Cross 1941 and Liars Medal. The penny it cost to play the game went towards war bonds.

A number of these machines survive, and they are popular both with collectors of militaria and trade simulators. This example, offered for sale in original but malfunctioning condition at Revere Auctions on January 24, hammered within estimate at $6,000 and sold for $7,800 with buyer’s premium. The winning bidder was from LiveAuctioneers.

Japanese Cloisonné Miniature Teapot by Namikama Yasuyuki, $11,520

Japanese cloisonné miniature teapot by Namikama Yasuyuki, which hammered for $9,000 and sold for $11,520 with buyer’s premium at Echoes Antiques & Auction Gallery.
Japanese cloisonné miniature teapot by Namikama Yasuyuki, which hammered for $9,000 and sold for $11,520 with buyer’s premium at Echoes Antiques & Auction Gallery.Japanese cloisonné miniature teapot by Namikama Yasuyuki, which hammered for $9,000 and sold for $11,520 with buyer’s premium at Echoes Antiques & Auction Gallery.

SEAFORD, N.Y. – The most eagerly contested lot at the Echoes Antiques & Auction Gallery sale on January 23 was a Japanese cloisonné miniature teapot bearing the mark of the great Namikama Yasuyuki. Estimated at $300-$500, it hammered for $9,000 and sold for $11,520 with buyer’s premium.

Namikawa began his career as a cloisonné artist in or around 1868 and worked with the Kyoto Shippo Kaisha between 1871 and 1874 before opening his own studio. He exhibited his work to great acclaim at national and international expositions, and in 1896, he was appointed an imperial craftsman to the Meiji emperor.

Working across half a century, his work assumes a number of different styles. The 4.5in (11cm) teapot offered in Seaford, New York was finely worked with a design of scattered polychrome flowers and butterflies probably dated to circa 1890. It is signed on a silver plaque to the base ‘Kyoto Namikawa.’ With only a tiny speck of enamel loss to count against it, it was in the perfect condition cloisonné buyers desire.

Another example of this model with a yellow-brown ground sold for £7,500 ($9,520) in November 2023 at Bonhams in London.

Edward Hopper, ‘Night Shadows’, $20,480

‘Night Shadows,’ an Edward Hopper etching that hammered for $16,000 and sold for $20,480 with buyer’s premium at Bonhams Los Angeles.
‘Night Shadows,’ an Edward Hopper etching that hammered for $16,000 and sold for $20,480 with buyer’s premium at Bonhams Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES – Edward Hopper (1882-1967) focused on printmaking only during a specific period of his career. In 1915, with the help of fellow artist Martin Lewis (1881-1962), he began to concentrate on this medium, producing around 70 etchings and drypoints before dedicating himself solely to painting from 1928 onwards. Among the trademark examples is Night Shadows, an image from 1921 showing a solitary figure from a high vantage point by a street corner (the same location as his 1913 painting Corner Saloon, now in The Museum of Modern Art, New York).

Copies appear relatively often at auction but sell for a range of prices, depending on the date of the impression and how strong the contrasts of light and shadow appear on the paper. The highest price at auction for Night Shadows came at Swann Galleries in New York in May 2023 when an artist’s proof copy realized $75,000. That copy, an etching on white wove paper, was an early impression that would have been printed by the artist himself with his own inking.

The etching was later published in an edition of approximately 500 as part of a limited edition portfolio titled Six American Etchings, printed for The New Republic, New York. These copies were made on a different paper. Today at auction, prices for this 1924 edition are markedly lower than the rarer earlier prints.

A copy of Night Shadows that emerged at the online prints sale that ran from January 9-19 at Bonhams Los Angeles was estimated at $8,000-$10,000, hammered for $16,000, and sold for $20,480 with buyer’s premium.

Edward Hopper’s Cape Ann connections explored in July exhibition

Edward Hopper, ‘Hodgkin’s House,’ 1928. Oil on canvas, 28 by 36in. (71.1 by 91.4cm). Private collection. © 2023 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Edward Hopper, ‘Hodgkin’s House,’ 1928. Oil on canvas, 28 by 36in. (71.1 by 91.4cm). Private collection. © 2023 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Edward Hopper, ‘Hodgkin’s House,’ 1928. Oil on canvas, 28 by 36in. (71.1 by 91.4cm). Private collection. © 2023 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

GLOUCESTER, Mass. – The Cape Ann Museum will unveil Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape in 2023, an exhibition of the critically acclaimed American artist during a turning point in his life and career when he came to Cape Ann from 1923-1928. This major exhibition is the first dedicated to Hopper’s formative development on Cape Ann, marking the pivotal summer of 1923 when Edward Hopper and his future wife, Josephine “Jo” Nivison, visited Gloucester. Edward Hopper & Cape Ann opens on Hopper’s birthday, July 22, runs through October 16, and is presented in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art, the major repository of the Hoppers’ work.

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There’s still time to explore ‘Edward Hopper’s New York’ at the Whitney

Edward Hopper, ‘Early Sunday Morning,’ 1930. Oil on canvas, 35 3/16 by 60 1/4in. (89.4 by 153cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.426. © 2022 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Edward Hopper, ‘Early Sunday Morning,’ 1930. Oil on canvas, 35 3/16 by 60 1/4in. (89.4 by 153cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.426. © 2022 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Edward Hopper, ‘Early Sunday Morning,’ 1930. Oil on canvas, 35 3/16 by 60 1/4in. (89.4 by 153cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.426. © 2022 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

NEW YORK — Through March 5, 2023, the Whitney Museum of American Art will present Edward Hopper’s New York, an exhibit focused on the artist’s relationship with the famed metropolis.

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Whitney exhibition examines Edward Hopper’s life in New York City

Edward Hopper, Manhattan Bridge, 1925–26. Watercolor and graphite pencil on paper, 13 15/16 × 19 15/16 in. (35.4 × 50.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1098 © 2022 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

NEW YORK — Edward Hopper’s New York, on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art from October 19, 2022, through March 5, 2023, offers an unprecedented examination of Hopper’s life and work in the city that he called home for nearly six decades (1908–67). The exhibition charts the artist’s enduring fascination with the city through more than 200 paintings, watercolors, prints, and drawings from the Whitney’s preeminent collection of Hopper’s work, loans from public and private collections, and archival materials including printed ephemera, correspondence, photographs, and notebooks. From early sketches to paintings from his late in his career, Edward Hopper’s New York reveals a vision of the metropolis that is as much a manifestation of Hopper himself as it is a record of a changing city, whose perpetual and sometimes tense reinvention feels particularly relevant today.

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Bruce Museum receives gift of American and European art

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, ‘Two Little Sisters,’ circa 1901-02. Image courtesy of the Bruce Museum
Mary Stevenson Cassatt, ‘Two Little Sisters,’ circa 1901-02. Image courtesy of the Bruce Museum
Mary Stevenson Cassatt, ‘Two Little Sisters,’ circa 1901-02. Image courtesy of the Bruce Museum

GREENWICH, Conn. – The Bruce Museum announces the promised gift of a major collection of European and American art — ranging from French and American Impressionism to the works of Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Andrew Wyeth and others — which will come as a bequest from an anonymous Greenwich couple. The private collection of 70 works, encompassing paintings, sculpture, watercolors, drawings, prints and photographs, will be the largest gift of art in the Bruce Museum’s 112-year history.

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Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields show ‘Embodied’ explores the human figure

Roberto Lugo (American, b. 1981-), ‘The Expulsion of Colin Kaepernick and John Brown,’ 2017. Porcelain, china paint, luster, 47in by 24in by 24 in. (installed). Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Martha Delzell Memorial Fund, 2019.15A-B © Roberto Lugo. Courtesy of Wexler Gallery.
Roberto Lugo (American, b. 1981-), ‘The Expulsion of Colin Kaepernick and John Brown,’ 2017. Porcelain, china paint, luster, 47in by 24in by 24 in. (installed). Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Martha Delzell Memorial Fund, 2019.15A-B © Roberto Lugo. Courtesy of Wexler Gallery.
Roberto Lugo (American, b. 1981-), ‘The Expulsion of Colin Kaepernick and John Brown,’ 2017. Porcelain, china paint, luster, 47in by 24in by 24 in. (installed). Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Martha Delzell Memorial Fund, 2019.15A-B © Roberto Lugo. Courtesy of Wexler Gallery.

INDIANAPOLIS — Embodied: Human Figures in Art, an exhibition currently on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, consists entirely of artworks from the museum’s permanent collection and is displayed in a newly renovated corridor of galleries leading directly to the Clowes Pavilion, which will open in early 2022. All of the featured artworks depict the human body and are organized in a global thematic display.

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