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Fine French Bordeaux, Alphonse Mucha, and Chinese antiques made September a banner month at Michaan's Auctions
Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860 - 1939), The Seasons, lithographs. Sold for $15,600.

ALAMEDA, CA.- Michaan’s final quarter of 2021 got off to a rollicking start in September, with sales from three auction events achieving a combined total of more than $850,000. At the Estates and Collections sale held on Friday, September 17, a Chinese antique theatrical diorama, as well as fine American and European art, topped the highlights. Saturday, September 18 brought the monthly Gallery Auction, where fine French wines, jadeite jade jewelry, and rare gold coins sought by collectors ignited fiery competitions between live and remote bidders alike. Kicking off this string of exciting sales was Michaan’s monthly Annex Auction, which has expanded to three days’ duration to support its growing size and enduring popularity. September’s Annex Auction saw standout sales in every category, across an expansive range of property.

The Art Nouveau poster art of Alphonse Mucha is known and loved in every corner of the globe. Michaan’s September 17 Estates and Collections Auction featured four separate Mucha lots, their combined sales totalling $33,000. Lot 5202, the set of four color lithographs representing “The Seasons,” realized $15,600. Another fine art highlight was Lot 5191, the rainy street scene of Paris at the turn of the 20th century, which sold for $30,000. The artist, Edourd Leon Cortes (French, 1882-1969), has been featured at Michaan’s a number of times in recent years, as his paintings continue to grow in value and renown.

A nude by the American Arts and Crafts Movement pioneer, Arthur Frank Mathews (1860-1945) was particularly exciting to collectors in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Mathews and his wife, Lucia, exerted broad influence over the arts. “Pandora,” the oil on canvas by Arthur Mathews, sold for $15,600 at Michaan’s on September 17. Another California artist played a starring role in the Estates and Collections auction: Henrietta Berk (1919-1990), whose works are avidly sought by Calfornians and worldwide collectors. Berk’s “Olive Mill Road” (Lot 5177) brought $14,400, and her 1965 view of Napa Valley (Lot 5176), with its bold swipes of the palette knife in contrasting reds and greens, sold for $6,500.

An atmospheric 19th-century landscape by the New England artist Benjamin Champney (1817-1907) drew many bids on September 18 and realized $6,000. Modern art at Michaan’s in September included Tom Wesselmann’s 1988 nude, “Monica Lying on Blanket,” a work in enamel on laser cut steel; Lot 5182 on September 17th, sold for $24,000. Wesselmann’s work is found in America’s finest museums and in the Tate Modern and Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, among others.

Collectors of Chinese art are at present very active in the world’s auction market, with Michaan’s buyers no exception. On September 17, Michaan’s Asian Art Specialist Annie Zeng presented a very special opportunity: the rare and magnificent, monumental Chinese theatrical diorama. Resplendent with intricate details such as kingfisher feather embellishment, the ornate diorama enclosed a troupe of costumed figures, capturing a scene from a historical drama of great cultural significance; Lot 5299, sold for $20,400.

Among the Chinese porcelains sold in September were several austere pieces destined to attract the true connoisseur. The rare celadon ground bowl decorated sparingly with five iron-red phoenix roundels (Lot 5282 on September 17) realized $9,600. In the following day’s auction, the guan-type brush washer (Lot 427), a petite oval basin estimated at $700-$900, was free of all embellishment save the poem incised in its base; it sold for $5,100. Also highlighted in Asian art, the large bolt of silk brocade embroidered with dragons and stylized clouds (Lot 452, September 18) brought $4,800, far surpassing estimates.

Jadeite jade shone most brightly in Michaan’s jewelry department on September 18, with some astonishing sale prices achieved. Lot 292, the pair of jadeite jade, 14k gold drop earrings estimated at $500-$700, created a tremendous stir among bidders. Their simple design perfectly showcased the jadeite’s beautiful color and quality, and the dust didn’t settle until the jadeite drop earrings had realized $19,200.

Jewelry designs in bright yellow gold were also big winners in September at Michaan’s, where the eternal chic of gold coins held sway. The gold coin, 14k gold charm bracelet (Lot 243) brought $5,700, while lot 221, the gold coin, diamond, and 18k yellow gold necklace, sold for $3,900. The braided Chinese bracelet, of 22k yellow gold and enhanced by dangling gold coin charms (Lot 274) sold for $3,900.

Many wonderful auction lots of furniture and decorations were sold at Michaan’s in September. The selection of fine handmade carpets included Lot 82 in the September 18 Gallery Auction: the Ferahan Sarouk rug, $4,800. Coin collectors bid up rare gold coins such as the US 1887 Indian Princess $1.00 coin, very rare (Lot 324, $3,900) and the 1824 English Sovereign (Lot 338, $5,400). The English half-guinea gold coin dating to 1813 brought $4,800.

Michaan’s growing Wine and Spirits auction category is headed by Specialist Jill Fenichell. September’s auctions saw great enthusiasm for fine French Bordeaux, such as the lot of 24 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux, 1970, which sold for $11,400. On September 18, a single bottle of 1964 Chateau Petrus Pomerol Grand Vin Bordeaux brought $2,700. Napa Valley wines also sold well; the case of 1969 Beaulieu Vineyard Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon realized $1,140.

October at Michaan’s brings not only the monthly Annex and Gallery Auctions, but also on October 15: Theme and Variations: 200 Years of Decorative Arts, featuring property from a distinguished Alameda, CA estate.

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