GENESEO, NY.- Cottone Auctions
celebrated 30 years in business in style with a 519-lot sale on March 19th that grossed around $1.7 million. Leading the charge was a porcelain enamel on steel work by the iconic pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (Am., 1923-1997), titled Modern Painting in Porcelain. It brought $189,750. Works by Alexander Calder also did well, as did Tiffany lamps.
The auction was held in Cottone's gallery at 120 Court Street in Geneseo. A capacity crowd of more than 150 people attended in person, while approximately 2,000 others participated online, via LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Hundreds of absentee (or left) bids were recorded, while a bank of a dozen phones was kept busy throughout the day, especially for the better items.
Needless to say, we were pleased with the outcome of this sale, conveniently coinciding with our 30-year anniversary, said Matt Cottone of Cottone Auctions. We decided to pack all 500-plus lots into one busy day, and that may have contributed to the excitement and the success. There was more a sense of urgency to bid now and buy now, without that second day.
The auction was billed as a Fine Art & Antiques Auction and it featured original artworks by Lichtenstein, Calder, Josef Albers, Wendell Castle and others, Tiffany lamps, period furniture and more. The items were consistent with Cottone auctions past: quality merchandise pulled from prominent estates and collections. Much of it was fresh to the market, never before offered.
Four artworks by Lichtenstein came up for bid, all from the estate of Molly McGreevey, the former actress and contemporary art collector. The aforementioned top lot was signed on the reverse and numbered (3/6). Done in 1967, it measured 34 ½ inches by 45 inches and utilized various colors, lines and forms to create an abstract composition in the artist's trademark style.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer's premium.
Three market-fresh gouache and ink on paper works by Alexander Calder (Am., 1898-1976) also came up for bid. One, titled Segmented Spiral (1974), signed lower right and measuring 29 ½ inches by 43 ¼ inches, fetched $100,625; while another, simply titled R (1975), artist signed and measuring 43 inches by 14 ½ inches, hit $63,250. Works by Calder are always in high demand.
A vinylite on plywood board by the German-born American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976), titled Structural Constellation F-8 (1953), wowed the crowd before gaveling for $55,200. The work measured 17 inches by 22 ½ inches and was artist signed on the reverse. Albers was known for his serial geometric, non-objective painting.
From the 20th century category, a fine and rare stack laminated walnut trompe loeil (trick of the eye) table, crafted in 1978 by Wendell Castle (Am., b. 1932) and purchased by Dr. J. Raymond Hinshaw, former Chief of Surgery at Rochester General Hospital (N.Y.), hammered for $51,750. The gorgeous table, which stood 40 inches tall, was signed and dated on the underside by Castle.
A fine grouping of fresh to the market Tiffany lamps was led by a leaded glass, bronze and glass ball lamp that illuminated the room for $72,450. The lamp, 29 inches tall, had a signed shade and base and boasted reticulated bronze work and fine glass balls. Also, a Tiffany Studios Daffodil lamp with a bronze patinated base and 25-inch shade, both signed, 25 inches tall, made $35,650.
Certainly one of the more intriguing items in the sale was an Egyptian carved basalt stone (dark, glassy volcanic rock) dating to around 600 BC and measuring 17 inches tall by 10 inches wide. The stone, from the estate of Prof. M. H. Abrams of Cornell University, was initially assigned an estimate of a few thousand dollars. But a 1971 sales receipt for the object from Bernheimer's in Camden, Mass., shed new light on its potential worth and drove the final price up to $110,400.
Returning to artwork, a watercolor painting by the renowned American artist Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), titled Fishnets, Nova Scotia, (1960), signed, 15 inches by 20 inches (sight), brought $63,250. Also, an oil on panel by Canadian artist Bertram Charles (BC) Binning (1909-1976), titled Signals at Night, signed lower left, titled and dated 1952 on the reverse, went for $23,000.
Cottone Auctions' next big sale is a two-day event planned for the weekend of May 20-21, also in the Geneseo gallery. Already consigned is an important collection of rare coins, plus original artwork, period furniture, fine decorative accessories and more. Hundreds of lots will be sold.