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William Wendt's Patriarchs of the Grove hits $299,000 at Cottone Auctions
The top lot of the auction was William Wendt's Patriarchs of the Grove, which made $299,000.

GENESEO, NY.- An original oil on canvas painting by the renowned American artist William Wendt (1865-1946), titled Patriarchs of the Grove (1920), sold for $299,000 at a multi-estate auction held Mar. 22-23 by Cottone Auctions, in the firm’s gallery located at 120 Court Street in Geneseo, in upstate New York. The painting was the top lot of the 950 total lots offered.

Wendt signed the painting in the lower left, on a painting that measured 40 inches by 50 inches. Wendt was born in Germany but immigrated to the United Stated and became one of California’s best-known landscape painters of the late 19th and early 20th century. His renderings were especially known for their rich greens and browns. Wendt founded the California Art Club.

Two other lots topped the $100,000 mark in an auction that grossed around $2.9 million. One was an original oil on canvas by Jonas Lie (Am., 1880-1940), titled Manhattan. The work, signed lower right, realized $126,500. Lie was born in Norway. He’s best known for his colorful coastlines of New England and New York City scenes.

The other was a late 19th century bronze group of a bogatyr (character in medieval East Slavic legend, similar to a Western European knight-errant) by Evgeni Lanceray (Russ., 1848-1886). The bogatyr, Ilya Muromets, was signed on the base (1885) and cast by Chopin. It showed a warrior wearing a helmet and chain mail carrying a banner, sword and bow ($115,000).

The multi-estate sale boasted hundreds of quality lots of fine arts and antiques in an array of categories. In addition to fine art, offerings included Asian objects (to include jade, ivory and snuff bottles), sterling silver, estate jewelry, period furniture, Native American objects and more. Between 250-300 people per day attended the auction in person, a great turnout by any yardstick.

In addition, 2,000 people registered to bid online (via and several hundred phone and absentee bids were recorded. “This auction did well because so much of the merchandise was new to the market,” said Matt Cottone of Cottone Auctions. “All the top lots were first-time offerings. Some of the artwork had been painted for the family of the consignor.”

Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

Asian objects included a 19th century Chinese ivory model of the Imperial Nine Dragon Wall, each side carved with nine heavy relief dragons and floral relief ($29,900); a Chinese marble head of a bodhisattva (in Buddhism, an enlightened being), 9 inches tall ($27,600); and a Chinese spinach jade censor with carved dragons and foo dogs on a teakwood stand ($18,400).

The auction featured an outstanding collection of late 19th/early 20th century snuff bottles. A few of the top sellers included a pottery snuff bottle as a round, flattened flask with landscape design ($8,625); a cased glass snuff bottle as an ovate flattened flask with birds and flowers ($8,510); and a Chinese porcelain figural snuff bottle ($8,050).

From period furniture, a rare Gustav Stickley oak corner cupboard, 69 ½ inches tall, crafted circa 1905 and descended in the family of the original owners, topped out at $92,000. Also, an Egyptian sarcophagus (funeral receptacle) for Djeserkare Amenhotep (ruler of Thebes, circa 1069-945 B.C.), with clenched hands and striped wig, hit $31,050.

A Tiffany Pomegranate lamp with dichroic glass, stamped shade (#7457) and stamped base (#585), 21 inches tall with a 16-inch-diameter shade, lit up the room for $20,125; a 19th century signed Galle fire polished cameo vase fetched $8,510; and a set of 12 Russian plates from the banquet service of the period of Alexander II sold as one lot for $13,225.

Returning to fine art, an oil on canvas by Felix Schlesigner (Germ., 1833-1910), showing children feeding rabbits, signed lower left, changed hands for $39,675; and an oil on canvas by Andrew Melrose (Am., 1830-1902), titled Beach at Newport, R.I., signed lower left and with a 1951 purchase label price of $900, brought $24,150.

An original watercolor rendering by Henry Roderick Newman (Am., 1843-1917), titled Mosque, signed lower left, dated 1887, breezed to $18,400; and an Old Master’s charcoal drawing from the Flemish School by an unknown artist, drawn circa 1700 on laid blue paper and dated on the reverse (Aug. 1856, Antwerp, Belgium) realized $11,150.

Rounding out just some of the auction’s top lots, a 19th century KPM plaque with three ladies, signed illegibly in the center, hit $18,975; a 19th century KPM plaque of ruins and a figural scene with a fountain, made $15,525; and a 19th century North West Coast Shaman headdress with polychrome paint rose to $13,225 to lead the Native American items category.

Cottone Auctions’ next big auction is slated for Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m. (EST). The sale will feature vintage clocks, fine antiques and automobiles.

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