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Four oil paintings by Birger Sandzen sell for a combined $371,000 at Woody Auction
Oil on canvas painting by the renowned Swedish-born Kansas painter Birger Sandzén (1871-1946), untitled but possibly Glimpse of Mountain Lake ($160,000).

DOUGLASS, KAN.- Woody Auction celebrated the grand opening of their new Douglass auction hall with a major antique and fine art auction on Saturday, February 24th, one that featured four oil paintings by renowned Swedish-born Kansas painter Birger Sandzén (1871-1946), plus outstanding collections of Royal Bayreuth, Daum Nancy, Galle, Tiffany, Pairpoint, art glass and period American furniture.

The four Sandzén paintings sold for a combined $371,000, easily making them the superstar lots of the auction. One of the works, titled Cedars and Rocks, brought $160,000. It was a vivid and colorful oil on canvas landscape rendering of Manitou Springs, Colo., dated 1922. The 36 inch by 48 inch painting was professionally cleaned by WCCFA in Denver in 2015 and came housed in its original wood frame.

The other paintings were Lake in the Rockies, a 26 inch by 22 inch oil on canvas using thick paint with high ridges (the meringue technique), in the original frame, dated 1921 ($75,000); Horses in Wyoming, a 20 inch by 24 inch oil on board, a subject for another painting, circa 1930 ($26,000); and an untitled oil on board (but possibly Glimpse of Mountain Lake), 36 inches by 48 inches, circa 1938 ($90,000).

“We had bidders attend from as far away as California, but three of the four Sandzén paintings sold to Kansas residents,” said Jason Woody of Woody Auction. “The fourth went to a former Kansas resident who now resides in Wyoming.” He added, “I spent nearly a year finding the Sandzén paintings for this auction. We developed a real nice sale based around the paintings. Bidder interest was pretty intense.”

Birger Sandzén was born in Blidsberg, Sweden, in 1871. He studied art in Stockholm and Paris early on, before coming to Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas in 1894, to teach languages and assist in the art and vocal music departments. He remained at Bethany for the remainder of his career, becoming the principal art instructor in 1899 and retiring in 1946. He painted right up until his death in 1954.

All four of the Sandzén paintings are fresh to the market, not offered to the public in over 50 years. By themselves they would have made for a fine auction, but for Mr. Woody they were just for starters. “I gathered art, sculptures and other rare and important antiques for about nine months in preparation for this auction,” he said, “and we only got the formal OK to occupy the building a week prior to sale.”

The new showroom is located at 130 East Third Street in Douglass, located south and east of Wichita, not far from Interstate 35 and Hwy. 54/Kellogg Rd. “We were thankful the hall was ready for the grand opening event,” Woody said. “The new hall is 5,000 square feet, the perfect setting for our first auction. We look forward to many more high quality auctions there for years to come.”

The numbers tell the story of a premiere auction event that was a success by any measure. Nearly 1,000 people registered to bid online (via the bidding platform, and 2,475 bids were placed over the Internet, for a total of 108 winning bids. The number of visitors to the auction catalog online on auction day was a staggering 10,932. Also, 32 absentee bidders placed bids on 207 items.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted are hammer. All lots sold to the highest bidder, with no reserves or minimums.

The McCaslin Royal Bayreuth collection of 132 items out of Indiana featured many of the rarest animal forms available. A private collection from Illinois presented a great selection of Daum, Galle, Tiffany, Pairpoint, pattern glass and additional quality art glass. A period furniture collection showcased Meeks, Wooton, Hunzinger and other makers. Also sold were bronze statues, lovely brides baskets, and more.

A fantastic figural table lamp with a signed Galle French cameo art glass shade having a carved pink and green floral design with elaborate interior floral carved highlights, on a figural bronze base artist-signed “F. Gopnik”, lit up the room for $17,000. Also, an all original Tiffany desk lamp, 15 inches tall, with a signed “L.C.T. Favrile” decorated art glass shade and signed on the weighted base, made $7,000.

Furniture attracted keen bidder interest. A Wooton (Indianapolis) American Renaissance Revival two-hinge, standard grade patent desk, walnut with burl walnut and birds-eye maple highlights, circa 1874, in outstanding condition, went for $12,000; while a couch and parlor chair set by Meeks in the Stanton Hall pattern, laminated rosewood and with both pieces having red velvet upholstery, realized $3,250.

A figural bronze statue signed “Raoul Verlet” (Fr., 1857-1923), titled Cerberus (in mythology a multi-headed, monstrous dog, guarding the Gates to Hades), 39 inches tall and having the foundry mark of “Ferdinand Barbeditenne Paris”, gaveled for $4,500. Also, a Moorcroft art pottery vase in the Eventide pattern, with beautiful colors and a tree and mountain scene décor, 10 ˝ inches tall, garnered $3,250.

Vases by Tiffany and Daum Nancy consistently brought high prices. A French cameo art glass vase signed Daum Nancy, 15 ź inches tall, having a mottled yellow and amethyst background with a cameo carved floral décor, brought $3,750; and a Daum Nancy French cameo art glass vase with a beautiful fall season décor and showing great colors, 4 ž inches tall, went to a determined bidder for $3,000.

A rare Tiffany Cypriot art glass vase boasting gorgeous colors, 5 ˝ inches tall and signed “L.C. Tiffany Favrile 8324J”, knocked down for $6,000. Also, a Tiffany art glass vase, 6 inches tall and iridescent butterscotch in color, with an opalescent pulled feather design with textured diamond quilting and a square mouth, signed “L.C.T. K287”, an example of the highest quality, changed hands for $3,000.

A French cameo art glass vase signed Daum Nancy, 4 ˝ inches tall and showing three blackbirds on a winter scene background, finished at $3,500. Also, a Mt. Washington Burmese art glass vase, nicely decorated with three full-figure fish, seaweed, and enameled seine net, in outstanding condition, was the top-selling example by that maker, finding a new owner for $3,750.

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