Category Archive 'Auction Sales'
17 Dec 2020

Rock Island Auctions TR’s Silver-Plated Colt Peacemaker

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12 Dec 2020

Kato Gizan, “Jigan”

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Sale 19017

Japanese and Korean Art
New York
22 September 2020

Lot 21

KATO GIZAN (B. 1968)
Jigen (Manifestation)
Signed Gizan and cursive monogram
Carved wood sculpture
43 3/8 in. (110.2 cm.) high without stand
With original metal stand

USD 30,000 – USD 40,000
Price realised
USD 312,500

Via: Artemis Dreaming.

21 Nov 2020

St. George

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Sotheby’s Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art
November 24, 2020 — London

Lot 19 Property from an Important European Collection

Italian, late 17th/ early 18th century
Saint George and the Dragon
polychromed terracotta

43cm., 17in. (including lance)

Italian, late 17th/ early 18th century
Estimate: 4,000 – 6,000 GBP — $5,315.24 – $7,970.36

12 Nov 2020

Marshal Ney’s Telescope


November 18, 2020, 11:00 AM CET
Paris, France

Lot 341: TELESCOPE OF MARÉCHAL NEY (1769-1815). Large rosewood telescope, four-draw model
Est: €2,000 – €3,000
2,000 0 bids

Large rosewood telescope, a retractable model with four draw sections of gilded brass that belonged to Marshal Ney as indicated in the handwritten inscription on the case “Telescope that belonged to The Mal Ney, given to my grandfather, André Philippe former quartermaster of supply and war commissioner under the 1st Empire, Émile Clavel, Honorary Archivist of the Chamber of Deputies.”

Another label accompanying the object specifies that it was acquired on the death of the marshal in 1815: “Telescope of Marshal Ney that my grandfather André Philippe, commissioner of wars under the 1st Empire had at his death (1815).”
Preserved with its original case, missing its lid.
Folded: Diam. 7 cm (2.8″) – L.: 112 cm. (44″).
Unfolded: Diam. 6 cm (2.4″) – L.: 29 cm. (11.4″).

The provenance seems credible, though hardly definitive. Just imagine the sights during countless battles, the retreat from Moscow, and at the moment of crisis at Waterloo seen through this glass by Napoleon’s fighting-est Marshal, “the bravest of the brave.”

Michel Ney, Marshal of the French Empire, Duc of Elchingen, Prince of Moscow, 1812.

01 Nov 2020

Movie Stars’ Racing Watches

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Paul Newman’s Big Red Daytona.


On December 12, Phillips will hold a live online auction featuring two iconic watches: a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona that actor and race-car driver Paul Newman was given by his wife and actor, Joanne Woodward, as well as a Heuer Monaco, one of six identical watches worn by actor Steve McQueen while filming the classic racing film Le Mans. The auction spotlights the importance of celebrity backstories to big sales. Read the rest of this entry »

01 Nov 2020

Richard Avedon, Marilyn Monroe, and the “Blonde Moment”

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Christie’s Sale 2877 | Photographs | New York | 29 September 2014

Lot 107
RICHARD AVEDON (1923-2004)
Sunny Harnett, Evening dress by Grès, Casino, Le Touqet, August 1954

Price realised

USD 43,750

USD 20,000 – USD 30,000

Excerpted from Philip Gefter’s “What Becomes a Legend Most: A Biography of Richard Avedon.”

[Marilyn Monroe] was the skillful illusionist of her own image: the deliberate construction of her persona is underscored with an anecdote often recounted by Susan Strasberg in which she and Marilyn were walking down a Manhattan street in the mid-1950s, Marilyn in her civilian clothes—jeans, a baggy sweater, and sunglasses, hair covered with a scarf; no one noticed them until Marilyn turned to her friend and asked, “Want to see me do her?”

Simply by removing the scarf, revealing her blond hair, and shifting her body rhythm, the anonymous pedestrian became Marilyn Monroe and, immediately, a rushing crowd surrounded them.


The growing phenomenon of Marilyn Monroe did not escape Richard Avedon’s reading of the cultural moment. In 1954, aware that the wind was blowing in the direction of, well, that platinum “sex goddess” from Hollywood, he took Sunny Harnett to Paris for the collections. Harnett, a slender, nimble model whose blond hair could look strikingly platinum in black and white, was a departure from the dark-haired, toned-down, quietly simmering Dorian Leigh.

After shooting Harnett in Paris for the collections, Dick traveled with her and his entourage of stylists and assistants about two and a half hours to the casino in Le Touquet Plage, on the northern coast of France, near Calais, the gateway for passage to Britain.

Avedon photographed Sunny Harnett at the casino in a variety of evening dresses from the major designers, including Dior, Balenciaga, and Balmain. Yet, in what would become one of his most enduring fashion photographs, he photographed Harnett leaning on the edge of a roulette table in a creamy, sleeveless, figure-hugging Mme Grés gown, which Harper’s Bazaar described as “a long, malleable cling.”

The décolletage cuts at a diagonal across her chest, her breasts swaddled in lustrous fabric, their contours delineated as she leans forward with her weight on her arms. Her gesture, in which the naked shoulder is inched into an almost unnatural forward shrug—so that both shoulders appear to be parallel to the picture surface—accentuates a choreography of bodily curves. The forward shoulder is an Avedon signature with roots in his love of dance. Of course, everything about her gesture, never mind the entire mise-en-scène—the roulette table, the hanging lights, the patrons in black tie in the background—is in service of the dress.

Sunny Harnett, Le Touquet, August 1954 has the look of a film still in which a simmering Hitchcock blond, say, is waging a sly assessment of the croupier. She is a well-constructed femme fatale aware of her impact and in command of her prey. In all the pictures he made at Le Touquet, Dick would take advantage of Harnett’s sleek and elegant contour with her almost elasticized bodily gestures that derive from the vocabulary of modern dance.

27 Sep 2020

Kylix Painting Attributed to Makron

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Attic red-figured kylix painting attributed to Makron and signed by Hieron as potter.

Christie’s SALE 18865

New York|13 October 2020

USD 1,200,000 – USD 1,800,000

Christie’s Magazine speculates that this one may set a new record price for a Greek vase.

This Attic red-figured kylix — attributed to the painter Makron and of ‘outstanding provenance’ — could be about to eclipse a landmark figure set 20 years ago, says Harry Seymour

The year 490 BC was a memorable one for the people of Athens: 10,000 of the city’s soldiers crushed the much larger Persian army of Darius the Great; work commenced on the first Temple of Athena Parthenos on the Acropolis; and the modern marathon was born when a messenger with good news supposedly ran 26 miles to the city before dropping dead.

It is also thought to be the year in which an artist known as Makron began his decade-long career painting ceramics in the Kerameikos — the potters’ quarter — in Athens.

‘He soon established himself as one of the best painters of his generation,’ says G. Max Bernheimer, international head of Antiquities at Christie’s. ‘And this Attic red-figured wine cup — offered on 13 October at Christie’s in New York — is the best example by the fabled artist to come to auction in decades.’

Makron worked in a relatively new style known as ‘red-figure’, which involved creating shapes from negative space against a painted background. Details were then added with a brush and slip. This technique replaced the predominant ‘black-figure’ style, which required detail to be incised into painted figures, and made portraying pictorial depth tricky.

Makron’s name survives today thanks to a single signed work, a skyphos now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which features the words ‘Makron drew me’ painted on one handle.

The underside of one of the cup’s handles was inscribed by the potter with the words, ‘Hieron made me’

In the 20th century, however, a further 350 ceramics (including this one) were attributed to Makron by the Oxford University professor Sir John Beazley (1885-1970). Beazley catalogued thousands of Greek vases by studying each painter’s style in minute detail. In the case of Makron, his characters feature distinctive round heads with flat tops and drapery folds drawn with great finesse.

Today, nearly all of Makron’s vases are housed in major institutions, including the Met, the Louvre, the British Museum and the Getty. According to Bernheimer, ‘Hardly any are left in private hands, which makes this one all the more desirable to collectors.’


07 Sep 2020

Packard PT Boat Engine

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Bring a Trailer auctions sold this for $13,450 On 8/17/20.

This Packard 4M-2500 engine is one of approximately 12,700 built and is believed to have powered a US Navy patrol torpedo (PT) boat during World War II. The supercharged 41-liter V12 produced 1,200 horsepower when new and features overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It is not in running condition and sits in a wooden box equipped with castors. Retained equipment includes a Holley downdraft carburetor, centrifugal supercharger, and a Delco-Remy electric starter. The engine was donated in 2008 to the seller, the Tahoe Maritime Museum, and is now sold on a bill of sale at no reserve in Carson City, Nevada.

Originally developed by Packard in the 1920s for use in aircraft, the water-cooled 1A-2500 V12 was eventually developed into a marine engine. The 4M-2500 was the fourth marine variant, succeeding the 900 horsepower 1M-2500, 1,000 horsepower 2M-2500, and the 3M-2500, which debuted in 1939. Only 15 examples of the 1M, 2M, and 3M versions were built, but 4M production ramped up ahead of the United States’ entry into World War II, resulting in 12,700 examples being manufactured between 1940 and 1945.

With a 6.375” bore and a 6.5” stoke, this gasoline-powered OHC V12 displaces 2,490 cubic inches (40.8 liters). A Holley 1685FR downdraft carburetor, crank-driven centrifugal supercharger, and Delco-Remy 841 electric starter motor are retained. The 4M variant produced 1,200 horsepower when new.

Serial number P3255 is stamped in the crankcase base as pictured above. 4M engine serial numbers range from 701 to 13,400, and the seller states this unit was likely built during the early portion of US involvement in World War II. The engine and ancillaries are finished in gray paint, which is peeling throughout.


It was evidently purchased by an enthusiast who is rebuilding a WWII PT-Boat. The discussion at the bottom goes into a lot of interesting technical details.

09 Aug 2020

Chinese-French Abstract Expressionism

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Sold 25 November 2017

Poussée Cristalline (Unrevealed Crystal)

Price realised

HKD 22,300,000 ($2,899,000)

HKD 10,000,000 – HKD 16,000,000



Chu Teh-Chun or Zhu Dequn (24 October 1920 – 26 March 2014) was a Chinese-French abstract painter acclaimed for his pioneering style integrating traditional Chinese painting techniques with Western abstract art. …

Chu Teh-Chun was born in 1920 in the town of Baitu in Xiao County, which was then in Jiangsu province but now part of Anhui province. In 1935 he entered the National School of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, graduating in 1941. At the school he studied Chinese painting under Pan Tianshou and Western art under Fang Ganmin and Wu Dayu, who were prominent Chinese artists trained in France. …

In 1945 Chu became a faculty member of the architecture department of the National Central University in Nanjing, then China’s capital. With the communist victory in mainland China, Chu moved to Taiwan in 1949, joining the National Taiwan Normal University where he taught Western-style painting. He moved to Paris in 1955, where he lived for the rest of his life. He became a French citizen in 1980, and a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1997. …

Inspired by Nicolas de Staël’s abstract landscape paintings, Chu abandoned figurative painting and adopted a unique style using bold strokes of colour which evoked Chinese calligraphy. His new style was immediately successful. In 1964, an exhibition of his works at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh brought him international fame. On 17 December 1997, Chu was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts of France, the first Frenchman of Chinese origin to be chosen. He was also made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2001. His paintings are now in the permanent collections of more than 50 museums all over the world. Major exhibitions of his work were held at the Shanghai Art Museum in 2005 and Beijing’s National Art Museum of China in 2010.

29 Jun 2020

Nice Vase

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Lot 132: DAUM Important tubular vase with conical neck on pedestal.

Est: €18,000 – €20,000
€18,000 0 bids

July 2, 2020, 2:30 PM CET
Paris, France

Important tubular vase with conical neck on ringed pedestal. Made in purple and white marbled glass. Decorated with violets etched with acid and entirely enhanced with natural polychrome enamel. Lower part and pedestal decorated with engraved leaves and insects enhanced with gilding.
Signed in gold under the base.
High. : 70 cm

Similar to model presented by Daum Establishments at the Nancy International Exhibition in 1909.


I get lots of auction notices by email.

I’d buy this one for my wife like a shot, except not for €18,000, alas!

13 May 2020

“Thou Still Unravish’d Bride of Quietness, Thou Foster-Child of Silence and Slow Time”

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Lempertz KG
May 16, 2020, 11:00 AM CET
Berlin, Germany

Northern Italy, circa / after 1810, design tentatively attributed to Karl-Friedrich Schinkel.
Lot 238: An important translucent white Carrara marble vase

Est: €30,000 – €40,000
€15,000 0 bids

Vessel comprised of two parts: The upper section a broad cuppa with a beaded rim and two mascarons on either side, the lower section a flaring twist-fluted base. The shaft with a beaded border beneath the disc-shaped node above a laurel leaf frieze. Frank C. Möller discovered a very similar basin around 15 years ago, the production of which could be assigned to the studio of Christian Daniel Rauch. Rauch’s account book mentions a certain Francesco Menghi who was charged with carving the piece on 15th March 1824 after a design by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The piece consists of two parts, namely the broad bowl with its beaded rim and the twisted grapevine handles as well as the fluted base. The basin was presented at the Academy exhibition in 1826, where Prince Wilhelm purchased it and had it carried to the crown prince in December 1826. It remained in the possession of his descendants until the auction of the Welf estate in 2005. Another very similar basin was identified by Frank Möller in the inventory of the New Pavilion. It was produced a year earlier for King Friedrich Wilhelm III. A third smaller basin was made for Rauch’s daughter, Agnes von Rauch. All these vases are mentioned in Rauch’s second account book and all are identified. It is assumed that there was also a first account book, which has been lost, so that we have no information about possible further royal orders based on Schinkel’s designs. Like the three abovementioned pieces, this basin also diverges from the well-known prototypes of the Warwick, Medici, and Borghese vases. Versions of these famous designs in various materials had decorated the gardens and interiors of the European aristocracy since the late 17th century. In contrast to these models, the present work is designed to evoke an air of antiquity without being a direct copy. Its form departs entirely from classical models, and its bold design with a broad rim is entirely unique. The marble is also carved exceedingly thinly, with some parts measuring only 3mm in thickness. The two masks in the lower section of the vase are the only direct historical quotations in the design. They are a reference to the calyx krater-form vessel known as the Borghese vase, which features similar heads. Frank C. Möller has suggested that the heads represent the two guard figures Gog and Magog from the London guildhall. He assigns the basin to Schinkel’s early period, dating it to around 1810, and does not rule out that it was sent as part of the Italian delivery containing the sarcophagus of Queen Luise. The history of the sarcophagus’ delivery was an adventurous one, as the ship in which Rauch personally transported the finished object was captured. An English boat was able to regain the cargo and it finally arrived, damaged by salt water, in Charlottenburg in the spring of 1815. Unfortunately, it cannot be proven indefinitely that the basin was included in this particular order. All that is known for certain is that it originates from English aristocratic ownership. A cousin of Queen Luise, Queen Charlotte – née Duchess Sophie Charlotte von Mecklenburg – became Queen of England in 1761 and who may have ordered or received this bowl as a gift. She lived temporarily in Kew Place, where there is an enchanting garden with the most beautiful flowerpots. The basin presented here shows signs of use, which could indicate that it was used there. Another possible former owner could be William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (1790 – 1858), who was also a great lover of gardening and had many such vases and tazze in his possession.

H 41.5 [15.34″], D 69 cm.[27″]

Artist or Maker
Northern Italy, circa / after 1810, design tentatively attributed to Karl-Friedrich Schinkel.

Thinly worked white Carrara marble.

Condition Report
Patinated and partially filled older crack (possibly caused during production) to the upper edge, circa 11 cm.

Cf. a design for a stembowl by Karl Friedrich Schinkel with a similarly broad cuppa (so-called Beuth-Dish) in cat.: Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Geschichte und Poesie, Berlin-Munich 2012, cat. 173, illus. 3.

Provenance English aristocratic ownership.


A lovely object, but terribly pricey for a Garden Urn.

22 Apr 2020

Gangster Guns Coming to Auction

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RIA will be offering some pretty serious historic collectable firearms at its Premier Auction, May 22-24, 2020: Pretty Boy Floyd’s 1911 Government Model .45 ACP Colt, Al Capone’s Model 1908 Colt .380 Automatic Pocket Pistol, and (!) a Colt Thompson Model 1921 Submachine Gun with provenance from the Dayton, Ohio Police Department describing it as “confiscated from a bank robber,” with some possible connection to John Dillinger.

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