Ancient Egyptian sculpted pharaoh’s toe brought $38K at Thomaston Place

Silver mounted pink granite toenail fragment from a colossal statue of Ramses II, $31,000 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.

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THOMASTON, Maine — An ancient Egyptian sculptural fragment was the most eagerly contested lot in Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ Autumn Majestic sale on November 10, November 11 and November 12. The toe from a monumental pink granite statue of Ramses the Great (1279-1213 B.C.E.) hammered for $31,000 ($38,750 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $2,000-$4,000.

According to a framed letter dated 1919 included with the lot, the 5in (12cm) carving was collected by photographer, author and adventurer Sigmund Krausz (1857-1928) in 1899 at the entrance to the Luxor temple. He said he saved it from the crumbling statue as it risked being lost and took it home to Chicago where it was mounted in silver. The mount is inscribed Small Toenail from Colossal Statue of Ramses II. Temple of Luxor, Feb. 13th, 1899.

Krausz wrote a record of his time in Asia Minor, Egypt and India, Towards the Rising Sun, a Story of Travel & Adventure, published by Laird & Lee in Chicago, 1903.

Another standout lot from the second day was a Rhode Island mahogany block-and-shell chest of the type made famous by the Townsend and Godard workshops of Newport. The type was fashionable for a quarter of the century or more, but most are dated circa 1765. This one was relatively small, at 2ft 10in wide, and had web-less claw and ball feet rather than the more usual tapered ogre bracket feet. The brasswork and the backboards, with termite loss, were thought to be the originals, although some of the interior drawer components were old replacements. “Well deserving of restoration” was the opinion of the cataloger, and bidders agreed. Estimated at an appealing $6,000-$8,000, it hammered for $50,000 ($62,500 with buyer’s premium).

Leading the line was a late Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting of a young girl with flowers in a waterside landscape offered in what was probably the original Impressionist matched corner frame. In a private collection in Maine since it was bought from a New York gallery in 1952, it was estimated at $40,000-$60,000 and took $65,000 ($81,250 with buyer’s premium). The scene, measuring 19 by 16in,  probably depicts Cagnes-asur Mer, where Renoir lived from 1908 to 1919. In fragile health, he suffered from such a debilitating arthritism it required him to change his painting technique, tying brushes to his wrist when needed.
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Silver-mounted pink granite toenail fragment from a colossal statue of Ramses II, which sold for $31,000 ($38,750 with buyer’s premium) at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.
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Rhode Island mahogany block-and-shell chest, which sold for $50,000 ($62,500 with buyer’s premium) at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.
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Pierre-Auguste Renoir oil of a young girl at Cagnes-asur Mer, which sold for $65,000 ($81,250 with buyer’s premium) at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.
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Variety of art genres found favor at Neue auction

Constantin Kluge, ‘Place de la Madeleine,’ $9,840
Constantin Kluge, ‘Place de la Madeleine,’ $9,840
Constantin Kluge, ‘Place de la Madeleine,’ $9,840

BEACHWOOD, Ohio – An oil painting by the Japanese-American artist Kikuo Saito (1939-2016), a colorful Parisian street scene by Constantin Kluge (French, 1912-2003), and a large stoneware vessel by Claude Conover (American, 1907-1994) all finished well above their high estimates in Neue Auctions’ online-only Fine Art & Antiques auction on October 30.

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