American art, diamond jewelry, and Asian ceramics and painted scrolls make a splash at Michaan's in August

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American art, diamond jewelry, and Asian ceramics and painted scrolls make a splash at Michaan's in August
An extensive selection of twentieth century American art comprised much of the sale’s fine art.

ALAMEDA, CA.- August 2022 saw Michaan Auction’s monthly Annex Auction from Monday, August 15 through August 18, followed by the Gallery Auction on Saturday, August 20. An extensive selection of twentieth century American art comprised much of the sale’s fine art, including two pieces by Henrietta Berk (American, 1919-1990), a mural by Warren Chase Merritt (American, 1897-1968), and an array of works by Haig Patigian (American/Armenian, 1876-1950). Several diamond jewelry items were offered at the sale, not least of which was a 2.20 carat unmounted diamond. Nearly every genre of Asian ceramics was also represented, from Jun articles to Jian bowls, as well as a painted scroll by Zhang Daqian (Chinese, 1899-1983) that was not to be missed.

Furniture and decorative items kicked off the auction with Lot 32, two Flora Danica porcelain articles estimated at $500-$800 realizing $3,382.50. A number of decorative clocks could also be found at the sale including Lot 49, a Victorian walnut and mahogany cuckoo clock which sold for $2,337.00.

August presented an excess of fine art, particularly when it came to renowned twentieth century American artists like Henrietta Berk, Warren Chase Merritt, and Haig Patigian. Several casts and architectural elements, as well as two sets of watercolors by Patigian were available at the sale, with Lot 252, four sculptures of Diana, selling for $3,075.00. Berk’s paintings proved popular with bidders, with Lot 176, Speedboat California, realizing $5,227.50, and Lot 175, Self Portrait, a beautiful, warmly colored example of Berk’s bold style selling for $9,225.00. The auction also offered Lot 168, Merritt’s set of eight paintings and first mural, The History of Paper Making (1929). Ordered in 1929 by Crown Zellerbach for its San Francisco headquarters, the panels depict the making of paper from Ancient Egyptian papyrus to the Gutenberg press to the contemporary production of paper by Crown Zellerbach. The set sold for $9,225.00 as well.

Diamond pieces comprised much of August’s jewelry, including two diamond, platinum rings, a diamond, 14k white gold necklace, and a Tambetti diamond, 18k yellow gold ring; but the stars of this month’s diamonds were Lot 312, a platinum tennis bracelet, and Lot 408, an unmounted diamond with a pendant mount. Featuring thirty-four round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing a total of 5.15 carats, the bracelet sold for $4,920.00. Weighing approximately 2.20 carats, the unmounted diamond was estimated at $4,000-$6,000, but bidders fought for the stone until ending at a total of $10,455.00. A collection of stamps and ephemera could also be found at the sale with Lot 424, a set of US nineteenth century covers, selling for $1,045.50.

The auction concluded with Asian art. Nearly every genre of ceramics made an appearance including Longquan vases, Jun pottery, Jian bowls, and famille rose porcelain articles. The most desirable ceramic proved to be Lot 488, a rare Chinese blue and white moon flask depicting perched birds on flowering branches. Estimated at $700-$900, the flask ran away with $19,680.00. It was not, however, the lot that commanded the highest price; that claim went to Lot 551, a painted scroll of a landscape attributed to Zhang Daqian (Chinese, 1899-1983). Daqian was one of the best-known Chinese artists of the twentieth century, and mastered many different styles from highly detailed portraits to splashed-ink landscapes. These landscapes are his most sought-after works, of which this scroll is an example. Made of golden paper, the scroll depicts a mountainous scene shaded with splashes of blue-green ink. Estimated at $2,400-$4,000, bidders fought for the piece until the final price amounted to $23,370.00.

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