Dylan Lewis bronze leads our five auction highlights

Dylan Lewis, ‘Lioness Standing On Sloped Base, Maquette’ bronze, which hammered for $10,000 and sold for $12,500 with buyer’s premium at Auctions at Showplace.

Dylan Lewis Bronze ‘Lioness Standing On Sloped Base, Maquette’, $12,500

NEW YORK – South African Dylan Lewis (b. 1964-) is widely regarded as a master sculptor of animals, with a particular focus on lions and tigers. He spends a large amount of his time in the wild observing, tracking and sketching animals, which he then takes back to his studio in Stellenbosch, where he works in his preferred medium of clay. His final works are then rendered in bronze and sold in limited editions to collectors worldwide.

Lewis is one of the few artists to ever have a solo sale at Christie’s, beginning in 2007 and continuing every few years thereafter. Lioness Standing On Sloped Base, Maquette was first auctioned at Christie’s London in its Predator & Prey: The Dylan Lewis Bronzes sale on June 16, 2011. Numbered 9 from an edition of 15 and signed by Lewis, the bronze measures 23.5in in height by 25in wide, which delivers an impressive impact on the viewer. The design is archetypically Lewis, with the proud lioness standing at attention on an incline, observing her surroundings.

Lioness Standing On Sloped Base, Maquette returned to the market at Auctions at Showplace January 7 as part of the house’s New York City Estate Auction sale. It carried a presale estimate of $6,000-$8,000 but hammered for $10,000 ($12,500 with buyer’s premium), demonstrating continued demand for Lewis’ styled bronzes.

Norman Lindsay Lithographs for ‘Satyrs and Sunlight’ by Hugh McRae, $1,220

‘Satyrs and Sunlight’ by Hugh McRae with illustrations by Norman Lindsay, which hammered for A$1,500 and sold for A$1,830 ($1,220) with buyer’s premium at The Book Merchant Jenkins.
‘Satyrs and Sunlight’ by Hugh McRae with illustrations by Norman Lindsay, which hammered for A$1,500 and sold for A$1,830 ($1,220) with buyer’s premium at The Book Merchant Jenkins.

BRISBANE, Australia – Norman Lindsay (1879-1969) was one of Australia’s most prolific artists, excelling in areas as diverse as painting, illustration, cartooning, sculpting, art criticism and even professional boxing. He was the author and illustrator of one of Australia’s most beloved children’s books, The Magic Pudding, which was released to great acclaim in 1918.

Being an artist, Lindsay was no stranger to controversy. His 1938 book Age of Consent focused on a love relationship between a middle-aged painter and his teenage muse, causing the book to be banned in Australia until 1962, just a handful of years before his death.

In 1909, early in his career, Lindsay created a series of eight stone lithographs for Hugh McRae’s book Satyrs and Sunlight. It was the most extravagant and opulent fine art book ever published in Australia, designed in a large format to showcase Lindsay’s original artworks.

Unfortunately, it was highly controversial. Its contents were considered so obscene that the staff of John Sands, a major Australian printer and publisher founded in 1888, simply would not print it. The task of publication then fell to D. H. Souter.

Today, Satyrs and Sunlight is considered McCrae’s finest published work. The author signed an edition of 130 copies, of which number 83 came to market on January 3 at The Book Merchant Jenkins. Originally estimated at A$600-A$800 ($400-$540), the book ended up hammering for A$1,500 ($1,000) and selling for A$1,830 ($1,220) with buyer’s premium.

Korean Joseon Period Moon Jar Converted to a Lamp, $14,300

Table lamp formed from a Korean Joseon period moon jar, which hammered for $11,000 and sold for $14,300 with buyer’s premium at William Bunch.
Table lamp formed from a Korean Joseon period moon jar, which hammered for $11,000 and sold for $14,300 with buyer’s premium at William Bunch.

CHADDS FORD, Penn. – The top lot in William Bunch‘s January 9 Eclectic Variety Auction was a table lamp formed from a Korean Joseon period moon jar.

Made using baekja, a refined white kaolin clay with little to no iron oxide that gave the porcelain its white color, these distinctive vessels were created in Korea in the 17th and 18th centuries as household food storage jars. Referred to as a daeho (big jar), these vessels were thrown on a wheel in two halves before being united at their widest point prior to firing.

While utilitarian in nature, they assumed new status in the early 20th century as they became appreciated as distinctly Korean and indicative of the Confucian ideals of frugality and purity. An artful asymmetry became a key part of their appeal.

This example was certainly marred by a large hole that had been cut into the base to allow for an electric light fitting. However, it may have been a 17th-century piece (these earlier jars have a compressed and more rounded opening at the top), and it attracted many hopefuls at its estimate of $60-$120. As 30 bidders watched, it hammered for $11,000 and sold for $14,300 with buyer’s premium.

Album of Rare and Possibly Unique Photos Taken in China Between the 1860s and 1890s, $13,300

Photo album containing rare and possibly unique views in the Treaty Port of Chinkiang, China, which hammered for £8,200 and sold for £10,450 ($13,300) at Flint’s.
Photo album containing rare and possibly unique views in the Treaty Port of Chinkiang, China, which hammered for £8,200 and sold for £10,450 ($13,300) at Flint’s.

THATCHAM, U.K. – An album containing rare and possibly unique views in the Treaty Port of Chinkiang, China hammered for £8,200 and sold for £10,450 ($13,300) at photographica specialist Flint’s on January 9. Offered by a descendent of the original owner, it was knocked down to a phone bidder some distance above the estimate of £3,000-£5,000 ($3,820-$6,360).

The concession area at Chinkiang (which is modern-day Zhenjiang) was divided into 19 lots across a 500-yard section of the south bank of the Yangtze River in 1861. The British Consulate there was originally part of a Buddhist temple, but in 1871, funds became available to construct a permanent building – a two story consul’s house and constable’s quarters. After they were burned and looted in February 1889, the complex was rebuilt in 1890.

Accompanied by 55 more general topographical views of Egypt, Somalia, Japan, and the Channel Islands, the album of 82 albumen prints included images of the Chinkiang area, the Customs House after rebuilding, and most notably, images of the ruins of the old British Consulate after the riot. Among the people pictured in the photographs are John George Whitford Gearing, an agent in Chinkiang and a member of the committee of the Land Renters Council in the British Concession of Chinkiang. This album was owned by him and was consigned by his great-granddaughter.

The images may be the work of several photographers. One photograph is inscribed ‘Griffith’ in the negative, probably for David Knox Griffith, a British commercial photographer listed as working in Shanghai from 1872. Griffith photographed the upper reaches of the Yangtze. Another is labeled for Henry Cammidge, a photographer working in Shanghai from 1866 through 1874. The photos are bound together in green cloth with a label that reads ‘Tien Dhing, Book Binder, Stationer and Printer, Honan Road, Shanghai.’

Part of the lot was a scrapbook with multiple newspaper clippings, including a report from the North China Herald recording the riot on February 8, 1889 and handwritten minutes concerning the Chinkiang concession, the treaty rights of British subjects and local opposition to British rights and ownership of land.

Cyril Power, ‘The Sunshine Roof,’ $83,000

‘The Sunshine Roof,’ a linocut by Cyril Power, which hammered for £55,000 and sold for £65,400 ($83,000) with buyer’s premium at Bonhams London.
‘The Sunshine Roof,’ a linocut by Cyril Power, which hammered for £55,000 and sold for £65,400 ($83,000) with buyer’s premium at Bonhams London.

LONDON – Many of Cyril Edward Power’s (1872-1951) most sought-after subjects for his Futurist-style linocuts involve different methods of public transport in London. This one, titled The Sunshine Roof, dates from circa 1934 and came about after the artist took a trip from London to Hertford at the suggestion of his son, who worked for a time as a Green Line bus driver.

Like most Grosvenor School prints, it was produced in a relatively small signed and numbered edition – in this case, just 60 impressions – and only six copies are recorded as selling at auction in the last 25 years. Appearing at Bonhams’ dedicated December 12 sale of Grosvenor School prints in New Bond Street, London, titled The Age of Speedthis example was billed as ‘a very good impression’ of the 10 by 13in (26 by 33cm) print.

The estimate of £25,000-£35,000 was in line with previous prices but, with no example emerging for more than two years, it drew significant interest, hammering for £55,000 and selling for £65,400 ($83,000) with buyer’s premium, a record for the edition.

Modern Art Masters sale explores power of works on paper, May 24

Bernard Buffet, ‘Clown on Red Background,’ est. $200-$250
Bernard Buffet, ‘Clown on Red Background,’ est. $200-$250
Bernard Buffet, ‘Clown on Red Background,’ est. $200-$250

NEW YORK – A Pablo Picasso linocut, an Egon Schiele self-portrait lithograph, and a Bernard Buffet lithograph will fight for top lot status at Jasper52’s Modern Art Masters auction, which will be conducted on Tuesday, May 24, starting at 3 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Continue reading