A spring and fall tradition, Dan Ripley’s Mission to Modern auction always attracts a fine group of old and new Antique Helper friends. The October 28 Auction was no exception, as an energized crowd came early and stayed late, ready to participate in a sale so large that the catalogue was printed in two volumes in order to accommodate photographs and descriptions of the 644 lots.
FURNITURE FAIRS WELL
Offerings included Mission and Arts and Crafts furniture, Old Hickory and a Russell Wright collection. Offered early in the sale, furniture brought solid prices. A 1946 Old Hickory of Martinsville four section sofa sold at its high estimate of $1200, and a pair of Old Hickory open weave armchairs sold just below high estimate at $759.38 Rounding out the Hickory selection, a Windsor-style sack-back chair exceeded high estimate of $400, bringing $534.38 from a floor bidder. Going to the same floor bidder was an Edward Wormley designed shell console table by Dunbar and a Dunbar pickled mahogany mirror, offered with original receipt, selling for $2,812.50 and $956.25 respectively.
Considered by many to be among the darlings of the Mission to Modern sale, the two sets of Deco aluminum Goodform tables and chairs designed by Green and Probala and produced by Rorimer and Brooks for Higbee’s Silver Grill in Cleveland, were the epitome of Art Deco Design. Dispersed into four lots, all sold to a Texas bidder, whose combined high bids totaled $2,849.38.
Fairing even better was a Machine Age chrome and enamel round top table by Formica. It more than doubled high estimate of $500, which brought $1,293.75 from a floor bidder. A Kohinoor series (1949) vanity/desk by Heywood Wakefield easily surpassed high estimate of $600, bringing $2,266.25 from an eBay bidder. A savvy floor bidder took home a modern server, possibly by Glenn of California (est. $400-$600), with a winning bid of $988,
While Twentieth Century design continues to grow in popularity, new collectors can still find some agreeable deals on solid, well-designed Mid-Century Modern furniture. Affordable Mid-century favorite Russell Wright saw representation in both furniture and dinnerware, and brought fair prices in both categories, most selling within estimate. A Kneehole desk, designed by Wright for Conant Ball sold just above high estimate, for $306.25, to an eBay bidder; in a similar vein, a six-piece Heywood Wakefield rattan lounge set sold for a comfortable $337.50, to a happy floor bidder.
Since appropriate lighting is essential to complete the look of every style, Antique Helper included a selection of lamps and fixtures. A modern Italian desk lamp by Gino Sarfatti (Italian, 1912-1985) brought $3,307.50, from an eBay bidder, and a Eero Saarinen Tulip table lamp for Herman Miller managed $367.50, also from eBay. Another highlight in this section of the sale was a pair of wrought iron and bronze French Art Deco floor lamps with frosted amber glass inserts depicting kneeling female nudes in the style of George de Feure. This breathtaking pair easily surpassed high estimate of $4,500, and sold to a local floor bidder for $5,625.
PENCHANT FOR POTTERY
As always, this auction presented collectors with the opportunity to augment their collections of American Art pottery, with the majority of pieces selling within estimate An incised vase by Overbeck sisters Hanna and Elizabeth brought its expected high estimate of $3,525, including buyer’s premium, selling to an East Coast telephone bidder. On a more modern bent, a large Gambone Italian art pottery vessel sold within estimate, bringing $3,675 from eBay.
The large Russell Wright consignment included dinner sets as well as outstanding individual pieces. A Bauer #11 Manta Ray bowl went to a telephone bidder for $969.36, while a set of three Russel Wright Theme Formal Yamato serving pieces, including a platter, creamer and covered casserole sold within estimate, bringing $1,225 from an eBay bidder.
FINE ART FINDINGS
A number of Twentieth Century European and American sculpture saw strong bidding. A bronze Art Deco nude by Joseph Emmanuel Cormier Descomps (French, 1869-1950) sold within estimate, bringing $1,181.25, including buyer’s premium, from a local floor bidder. “Louis,” a wonderful New Orleans WPA era carved wood sculpture by M. Hadley surpassed its high estimate of $1,800, with very active bidding, with the gavel falling in favor of an East Coast telephone bidder, to the tune of $2,467.50. Another East Coast bidder claimed a terra cotta African American male portrait bust by American artist Gertrude Schmidt, with a winning bid of $1,410.
A strong representation of African American artists gave collectors the opportunity to own works by J.W. Hardrick and Harry Fisk, among others. “Workers in an Oil Field,” a circa 1940 oil on masonite by William Edouard Scott (American, 1884-1964) brought $6462.50 from an absentee bidder; while an eBay bidder scooped up a large, unsigned Hardrick (1891-1968) landscape, which sold just under estimate for $888.13.
Modern European artwork brought solid prices. “Le Moulin de Erdeven,” an oil on canvas, ca. 1970, by Yolande Ardissone (French, born 1927) sold to an eBay bidder for $1531.25, and a 1981 color lithograph, “Étude de Corps Humain” by Francis Bacon (1909-1992)brought $4,900, from an eBay bidder. A local floor bidder took home a 20th Century Italian School painting, signed Jones for $1,235.50.
Works by American artist Robert Lohman have experienced increasingly strong sales in recent auctions, and the Mission to Modern event was no exception. Sculptural pieces from the artist’s personal collection sold within or above estimate. A wooden abstract figure brought $2,025 from a floor bidder, and a bronze nude male dancer, dated 1946 with the H. Bergman Cire Perdue foundry mark more than doubled its high estimate of $900 when it sold for $2,587.50, going to a happy local collector. A bust of Lohman’s friend and fellow artist Karl Chenowoth far exceeded high estimate of $250, with bidding ending at $1237.50.
GLASS GLITTERS AGAIN
A large selection of Italian art glass attracted international attention. Spurred by Antique Helper’s highly successful all-Italian Art Glass auction held in September, serious telephone and floor bidders were very active. Familiar names including Barovier and Toso, Barbini, Fratelli Toso and Flavio Poli topped the list. A number of the top sellers went to an English telephone bidder. Selections included a Barovier and Toso Eugenio glass figural sculpture. It brought $3818.75. Chiming in with the same figure was another Barovier and Toso Eugenio glass figural sculpture, despite an internal crack in the left hind leg. Also going to England, Martinuzzi Twist Pelugoso white art glass vase sold for $2,937.50, while an eBay bidder claimed a 1930s Barovier and Tosa Pasta art glass Zebra, to the tune of $4287.50.
The undisputed star of the auction was a Barovier Toso Intarsia vase. Featuring polychrome and clear patches, this beauty attracted a bevy of telephone bidders, and easily surpassed its high estimate of $10,000. The final bid of $18,212.50 added this rare and wonderful piece to the collection of a European telephone bidder.
Antique Helper staff is now gathering another fine selection of art and antiques in preparation for our first auction of 2008, scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 10. Adding even more excitement to a promising spring, Dan Ripley will present the spring All-Italian Art Glass Auction on Saturday, March 29, followed by the Spring Mission to Modern Sale on Sunday, March 30. For more information about these exciting auction events, or to view our online catalogs, please visit our website, www.antiquehelper.com, or call 317-251-5635.