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Francois Linke bibliotheque leads Bonhams auction in San Francisco
An important François Linke Louis XV style gilt bronze mounted marquetry bibliotheque, late 19th century, height 100in (254cm); width 108in (274cm); depth 19in (48cm). Sold for $353,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Bonhams announced its Fine European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction achieved more than $2 million, March 17 in San Francisco. It was led by a never before offered Francois Linke, Louis XV/XVI style, gilt bronze and marquetry bibliotheque that sold for $353,000.

The bibliotheque came from the Collection of Jack and Helen Tramiel of Palo Alto, Calif., and was one of the masterpieces illustrated in Christopher Payne's “Nineteenth Century European Furniture." The cabinet features 11 marquetry trophy panels, impressive scale and jewel-like ormolu mounts that combine to make it one of the finest examples of 19th century cabinetmaking. Its maker, Francois Linke, was one of the leading French ebenistes of the second half of the 19th century.

The sale was also highlighted by a late 19th century, Louis XV style bureau plat, after Charles Cressent, from an Important Atherton, Calif., Estate, that brought $112,500 (est. $40,000-60,000).

Additionally of note from that estate was a fine Louis XVI style porcelain mounted commode a vantaux, after Guillaume Benneman by François Linke, that took in $93,750 (est. $40,000-60,000); a Louis XV style palisander commode, attributed to Theodore Millet, that sold for $90,000 (est. $30,000-50,000); a rare Louis XV style rosewood table de nuit by Emmanuel Zwiener, that claimed $81,250 (est. $30,000-50,000); a Louis XVI marquetry and parquetry commode, after a model by H. Riesener by François Linke, that achieved $43,750 (est. $20,000-30,000); and a pair of Louis XV style tapestry upholstered bergères a la reine that fetched $43,750 (est. $5,000-7,000).

Notable highlights continued with a pair of Louis XIV boulle marquetry ebonized encoignures aux quatre saisons in the manner of Andre-Charles Boulle, from the third quarter of the 19th century, that sold for $56,250 (est. $30,000-50,000) from the Private Collection of Mitchell and Tracy Cutler of Saratoga, Calif.

The very strong market for 19th century French furniture and decorative arts continued in the various owners collections, including a Louis XVI style porcelain mounted walnut cabinet on stand, from the fourth quarter of the 19th century, that took in $37,500; a pair of Louis XV style tabourets by Emmanuel Zwiener, that sold for $35,000 (est. $3,000-5,000); and a Louis XV/XVI style kingwood and mahogany commode by Paul Sormani, from the early 20th century, that took in $20,000 (est. $10,000-15,000).

English offerings were highlighted by fine pair of George III mahogany library chairs, likely by William Linnell, of the third quarter of the 18th century, that achieved $47,500, from the collection of Mr. Peter Newton of San Francisco and St. Helena, Calif.

Notable offerings of fine Continental furniture and decorative arts included an Italian Rococo style giltwood mirror that brought $27,500 (est. $12,000-18,000); a Roman style mosaic panel on a patinated iron base that brought $23,750 (est. $3,000-5,000); an Italian Rococo giltwood and lacquer tea table that achieved $22,500 (est. $8,000-12,000); and an impressive Italian Baroque lacquered secretary that sold for $20,000 (est. $10,000-15,000).

Of the sale, Jeffrey Smith, Vice President and Director of the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department at Bonhams, commented, “This sale’s strong prices were reflective of the superb quality of the offerings, with items from private collections that had not been on the market in more than 40 years. Collectors from 19 countries came forth for a chance to acquire masterpieces of French and Italian furniture.”

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