A gorgeous pair of French 18th century Louis XV giltwood fauteuils à la reine sold for $225,000 at an Estate Treasures Auction held March 14th and 15th by Nye & Company Auctioneers
, online and in the firms showroom at 20 Beach Street in Bloomfield. The chairs were easily the auctions top lot.
The unexpected discovery of the fauteuils in a New York City collection was a pleasant surprise, since much of what came from that group was primarily decorative, said John Nye, president of Nye & Company Auctioneers. They were, however, of the highest quality, and generated inquiries from all over the world as the word spread. The competition was intense.
The chairs, originally part of a suite of at least six, were made in France circa 1755-1760 by Jean Gourdin, after designs attributed to Nicolas and Dominique Pineau. One was stamped Pere Gourdin and both had a handwritten label 89/4. Two pair from the original suite sold at Christies in 2001.
More than 100 people attended the auction in person over the course of the two days. Mr. Nye said attendance was robust and heavier than usual from the trade and private sector, which he attributed in part to the interest in the fauteuils. There was a strong international presence in this sale, he said. People flew over from Europe just to participate and bid on the pair of fauteuils.
Overall the auction performed very well and continued to show a strengthening market for traditional decorative arts. In addition to the lively crowd in the room, about 1,100 bids were placed via the online bidding platform LiveAuctioneers.com, and 2,300 more were placed through Invaluable.com. Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted here include the buyers premium.
Two etchings by Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (British, 1890-1978), piqued bidder interest. Both were of the same subject Dorette Woodward, a young woman Brockhurst met in 1929 when she was a 17-year-old model at the Royal Academy Schools in London. The etching titled Adolescence sold for $15,000, while the other, titled Dorette, brought $3,400. Both were signed.
A ceramic head pitcher by Pablo Picasso (Sp., 1881-1973), for Madura, black and white with hints of blue, plus a Picasso dove and face plate, marked on verso, went for $4,400. Also, a KPM painted tile, depicting a seated scholar with a feather, books and a globe, signed Eckard, rose to $2,000; and an 18th century gilded silver Russian icon, Christ the Pantocrator, made $5,300.
From Asia, a handsome 20th century Chinese hardwood horseshoe-back chair with a carved back splat knocked down for $6,800; a 19th/20th century Chinese paint-decorated panel, fitted as a low table, found a new owner for $4,375; and a 20th century Chinese Art Deco rug with lovely butterfly and floral decoration on a purple field went to a determined bidder for $2,000.
In the furniture category, a pate de verre glass side table signed Daum (France), with a glass top attached by cast bronze frog hardware, wowed the crowd for $4,100; a pair of 19th/20th century Italian figural giltwood occasional tables commanded $4,000; and a beautiful French Louis XVI-style 19th century mahogany bureau plat with tooled leather inset top, hammered for $2,813.
Other highlights included a Reubens School oil on canvas portrait of a gentleman, unsigned, in a 19th century Italian frame, brought $3,125; a folk art painted desk stand inkwell from the early 20th century, possibly Pennsylvania, the top adorned with carved figures of a male and female lion on a rocky bluff and a band of leaf carvings around the waist made $2,250; and a pair of 20th century Neoclassical-style marble pedestals mounted with ormolu-vases with crystals hit $1,875.
Nye & Company Auctioneers will conduct an Estate Treasures Auction, online and live at the Bloomfield gallery, on Wednesday, April 25th. The catalog will go online April 11th. The sale will feature property from the Phillips Hathaway Collection, Ragamont House, Salisbury, Connecticut.
Phillips, known as "Pete," was a friend and confidante of Joan Rivers and many other celebrities. His various homes and apartments have appeared on the pages of such glamour magazines as Art & Auction, Elle Décor, Town and Country, Travel and Leisure, House & Garden, Architectural Digest and W. Now, after a dozen years of restoring and inhabiting the landmark "Ragamont House," Phillips is changing gears, downsizing and moving into a sheik contemporary home.