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A wealth of fine and decorative art, estate furniture, jewelry awaits bidders in Sterling Associates' Sept. 15 auction
19th-century French marble-top commode with marquetry, parquetry and dore bronze mountings; after the model of the commode “de Fontainebleau” by Riesener. Sterling Associates image.

CLOSTER, NJ.- Those who have had a long involvement with antiques and art may very well experience a touch of déjà vu at Sterling Associates’ Fall Fine Art & Furniture Auction preview. Each category in the Sept. 15 sale abounds with high-quality estate pieces from the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tri-state area.

“When you walk into the showroom, it looks like a very complete, well-stocked antique store of the 1960s or ’70s, where there would be a large selection of goods from literally every category, not just a few examples of this and that,” said Sterling Associates’ owner Stephen D’Atri. “There isn’t a category in our September auction that could be described as sparse. It’s a true, complete antique, art and furniture sale.”

The 500-lot event features an excellent array of fine and decorative art; Asian antiques, furniture and jewelry. Paintings and other artworks comprise a sizable portion of the sale, and bidders will have their choice of periods, genres and artists spanning a timeline of approximately 250 years. There are American, English, Continental and Russian artworks dating from the 17th- through the mid-20th century, with even a few Old Masters included.

Many of the paintings are from listed artists and are “the type that would be sought after by those who like to decorate their homes tastefully with art,” D’Atri said. Among the artists represented are Friedrich Schaper (German, 1869-1956), William Robert Shulgold, Christian Wilhelm, Rodolfo Mishaan, Bob Evans and Eugenie Marron. Additionally, there is an oil painting attributed to Hermann Ottomar Herzog (German/American, 1832-1932).

“This will be our fifth sale since establishing Sterling Associates. In our first four auctions we sold a tremendous amount of art to overseas bidders who weren’t able to attend the preview but were still very happy with their purchases. In particular, we’ve found that Europeans will buy 16th- to 18th-century art if they can attribute it, whether they preview it in person or not,” D’Atri noted.

A circa-1975 color lithograph by renowned Harlem Renaissance painter Romare Bearden (African-American, 1911-1988) is expected to attract its fair share of attention. Titled “Pepper Jelly Lady,” it depicts a black woman and a chicken, with a house in the background. Hand-signed and numbered, the “folky” 28 x 24-inch (sight) artwork is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

Sixty lots of desirable Asian porcelain, ivory and jade antiques will be auctioned on Sept. 15, with 40 of the lots coming from a single residence. Most of the items remained in the same collection for 60 to 75 years. The star lot is expected to be the set of 12 very finely carved ivory lohan figures symbolizing the Chinese zodiac years. They are in exceptionally fine condition and date to the 18th century, possibly earlier. Each of the 5-inch figures is hollow, reflecting an old technique that was employed to prevent ivory from absorbing humidity and cracking. The set’s pristine condition, superior carving and completeness have earned it a presale estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

Another interesting Chinese piece is a small Qianlong celadon vase. It is signed, but cannot be positively identified. “It has that feel of something that could turn out to be very special,” D’Atri said.

A wonderful selection of furniture will be offered, including many 18th- and 19th-century chairs, dining sets and modern designs. Unquestionably, the premier furniture lot is a French, 19th-century marble-top commode with marquetry and parquetry, and dore bronze mountings. After the model of the commode “de Fontainebleau” by Riesener, it is an even finer example than one that sold recently in a major West Coast auction for more than $45,000. Measuring 72¾ inches wide by 37 inches high, it is entered in Sterling Associates’ sale with a conservative $14,000-$16,000 estimate. “We are letting the marketplace determine its true value,” said D’Atri.

Decorative-art highlights are plentiful. A circa-1820 Continental bas-relief carved-ivory procession measures 9¼ inches wide by 3½ inches high. It is not a flat piece, D’Atri pointed out. “It was carved directly onto a rounded tusk, which makes it unusual,” he said.

Two beautiful European triptych reliquaries are to be sold. One is 18th-century Italian majolica, while the other, a German wood and carved-bone shrine, has an attribution label that identifies it as a 16th-century work.

Highlights among the bronzes include a 27-inch-high Isis on Sphinx by Louis Jules Franceschi (French, 1825-1893) and a superb 19th century dore, silvered and patinated bronze bust of “Raphaella” by Vincent Desire Faure de Brousse, a French artist who exhibited at the 1876 Paris Salon. Attractively adorned with lapis lazuli and ivory accents, the 26-inch bronze of Raphaella is of Victorian style with some Art Nouveau influence.

Among the hand-painted porcelain plaques in the sale are examples by Sevres, Royal Vienna and KPM. A standout in the group is a 12-inch-high KPM framed porcelain plaque of a young woman peering through the reeds at baby Moses in his cradle. Other top decorative-art lots include a pair of stamped Tiffany & Co. repousse sterling silver compotes with gilt tops, and a circa-1860s Black Forest wall clock.

The plentiful selection of estate and other fine jewelry includes Tiffany gold money clips and other quality accessories in addition to diamond and gemstone jewelry. In all, 60 jewelry lots will be offered.

Sterling Associates utilizes an innovative hybrid auction method. “The way our auctions work, all bidding is conducted remotely, but we’re very much a permanent brick-and-mortar company where anyone can come in to inspect the goods,” said D’Atri. “It will be run exactly like a live auction, but without a live audience.”

Sterling Associates’ Fall Fine Art & Furniture Auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, starting at 12 noon Eastern Time. Bidding options include by phone, absentee, or live via the Internet through No in-house bidding.

The live gallery preview is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 8 and Sept. 11-14 inclusive, and on auction day from 10-11 a.m. The gallery is located at 70 Herbert Ave., Closter, NJ 07624.

For additional information on any item in the auction, call 201-768-1140 or e-mail Visit Sterling Associates online at View the fully illustrated catalog online at

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