GENESEO, NY.- A vibrant and colorful painting by the American artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976), a gouache on Canson and Montgolfier wove paper, titled Bosbies & Uniforms, measuring 29 ¾ inches by 43 inches (sight), sold for $109,250 at a two-day Fine Art & Antiques Auction held Sept. 25-26 by Cottone Auctions, in the firm's Geneseo gallery at 120 Court Street.
That the painting broke through the $100,000 mark came as no real surprise. Works by Calder are highly collectible and in constant demand. He is best known for his kinetic abstract mobiles and floor pieces, but was also an adept painter, working in watercolor, oil and gouache. Bosbies & Uniforms, typical of Calder's style, was the top lot in an auction that grossed about $2 million.
Obviously we were thrilled with what the Calder piece sold for, but the fact is the whole sale was strong across the board and across all categories, said Matt Cottone of Cottone Auctions.
Interest in the Calder painting was matched by the passion bidders showed for clocks, Navajo weavings, Asian items and more. An interesting mix of merchandise added up to a great sale.
About 150 people attended the auction in person over the course of the two days, while around 2,500 others registered to participate online via LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Phone and absentee bidding was brisk as well. We conduct two major auctions per year, in the spring and the fall, Mr. Cottone said, so expectations are high going in. We met those expectations.
The 725-lot auction was packed with American and European paintings, fine antique clocks, lamps by Tiffany and others, art glass, silver, sculptures, estate jewelry, American and European furniture, Asian items, Oriental rugs, Native American items, Americana and more. Some of the lots came from The Strong Museum and The Memorial Art Gallery; both are in Rochester, N.Y.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer's premium.
A wonderful example of Modern Design artwork by the Spanish-born master Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), a rendering on a plate titled Womans Face, with two stamps on the underside for Madura Plein Feu and DApres Picasso, gaveled for $25,300. Also, a carved and painted Tatanua mask from New Ireland, 16 inches tall, with some loss to the bottom, made $23,000.
Exclusive antique clocks from two major collections sparked intense bidding wars. From the collection of Dr. Joseph Arvay (N.J.) came a rare miniature Mark Leavenworth shelf clock with figured mahogany case ($31,050); and a fine and rare miniature Erastus Hodges (Torrington, Conn.) pillar and scroll clock with mahogany case, original finish and period finials ($9,487).
From the collection of Dr. Warren Hammerschlag (also N.J.) came a rare Asa Munger (Auburn, N.Y.) shelf clock, with grained mahogany case and tapered stovepipe metal pillars, gold leafed and stenciled ($39,100); and a wonderful Simon Willard tall case clock made for Capt. Benjamin Webb in 1778, majestic at 7 feet 6 inches tall, with figured and inlaid mahogany case ($48,300).
The surprise star of the Asian category was a trio of Japanese and Chinese beautifully painted scrolls, two of them signed by Chang Wen Jun (b. 1918) and depicting a mountain landscape, a peacock and blossoms and bees, all three in excellent condition ($80,500). Also, a room-size 19th century Serapi Oriental rug with nice even pile, 11 feet 1 inch by 14 feet 2 inches, made $32,200.
Staying in the category, a pair of Miyao Eisuke gilt bronze and mixed metal vases (circa 1890), with signed front panels depicting scenes with Samurai warriors, 15 inches tall, with the original patina, commanded $19,550; and a lovely pair of Chinese carved hardwood throne chairs (circa late 19th century), carved with figures, dragons and a landscape, 57 inches tall each, hit $15,525.
A rare Tiffany Studios (N.Y.) table lamp with turtleback counterbalance and shade signed and numbered (3582), with artichoke patterned base, 25 inches tall, with excellent shade and original patina on the base, fetched $44,850; and a 19th century Meissen Fire ewer (narrow-necked jug with wide spout and bulbous body), from the Four Elements series, 26 inches tall, hit $18,400.
Moving on to original artworks, an oil on canvas painting of figures on horseback by the French artist Paul Delamain (1821-1882), titled Arabian Salute (1880), signed, 39 inches by 52 inches, realized $44,850; and an oil on canvas titled Docked Ships by Josef M. Auchentaller (Austrian, 1865-1949), done in 1906 and signed, in its original condition and frame, topped out at $18,400.
Rounding out just some of the sale's top lots, a circa-1960 bronze sculpture by Charles Umlauf (Am., 1911-1994), titled Spirit of Flight, a quarter-scale model for a sculpture of the same name and commissioned for Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas, 5 feet 5 inches tall, rose to $18,400.
Cottone Auctions' next big auction is slated for November 13th and 14th. The sale will feature a mix of toys, dolls, clocks, artwork and more.