Auction Reports : what's forthcoming
Portrait of British Rear-Admiral who burnt down the White House to be sold
A portrait miniature of Sir Pulteney Malcolm GCB GCMG (1768-1838), a Scottish Naval officer from Dumfriesshire, is to feature in the Fine Portrait Miniatures auction at Bonhams, Knightsbridge, on Thursday 8th April at 2pm.
On August 24, 1814 Sir Pulteney Malcolm was third in command of a fleet which set fire to many public buildings in Washington D.C., including the White House. The fire also raged through the buildings housing the Senate and the House of Representatives and the interiors of both buildings, including the Library of Congress, were destroyed. While the troops advanced, America's First Lady, Dolley Madison stoically stayed at home attempting to rescue valuables and documents. She was finally persuaded to leave moments before the invading soldiers entered and the fire destroyed the building. The smoke was reportedly visible as far away as Baltimore, yet a tornado swept through the city less than a day after the attack began, putting out the fires.
Historians agree that the attack was in retaliation for the American looting of York, Upper Canada (now Toronto) in 1813, which included the burning down of their Parliament buildings.
Sir Pulteney Malcolm went on to command a squadron in the North Sea during The Hundred Days' War in co-operation with the army under the Duke of Wellington, and after numerous promotions he attained the rank of Admiral of the Blue in 1837.
The sale features another Engle heart miniature of Malcolm's younger brother, Sir Charles Malcolm, who also served in the British Navy. This lot is estimated at £8,000-12,000.
'One small step for a man one giant leap for mankind'On Sale
An annual auction that celebrates space flight, from the earliest experiments to the present day, The Space History Sale is set to take place at Bonham’s in New York on Tuesday April 13. Featuring over 290 lots, the sale contains objects and ephemera from all of the most memorable NASA space flight programs including Mercury, Gemini and Apollo and the Space Shuttle.
Forty years to the day of the Bonham’s auction, Apollo 13, the third lunar mission to the moon, suffered an oxygen tank explosion and the crew famously radioed back the words, 'Houston, we've had a problem.' The emergency checklist from that flight, used and marked after the explosion by the Apollo 13 crew on April 13, 1970, will be offered in the sale. It serves as a poignant reminder of the precarious state the three astronauts' lives were in.
During the emergency, the crew had to stabilize and re-align their spacecraft while saving enough power and oxygen to survive the long voyage back home. Their survival and safe return to earth is one of the most celebrated triumphs of American 20th century space flight (estimate: $20,000-30,000).
Directly consigned from Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, a mission patch flown to the moon is a leading lot in the auction and is signed by all three Apollo 11 astronauts (estimate: $40,000-60,000).
A diamond and gold pin given to Deke Slayton, NASA Director of Flight Crew Operations, is an extraordinary artifact whose history spans the Apollo program, from the tragic loss to the triumphant highs. Presented to Slayton by the widows of the Apollo 1 astronauts who died in the flash fire at the Cape Canaveral launchpad in 1967, it had originally been planned as a gift to Slayton from the Apollo 1 astronauts themselves. After receiving the pin, Deke lent it to Neil Armstrong, who took it to the lunar surface on Apollo 11 (estimate: $80,000-120,000).
Another notable Apollo 11 lot is a flight plan sheet signed and inscribed by Neil Armstrong, 'One small step for a man one giant leap for mankind'. Given to John McLeaish, NASA press officer, by Neil Armstrong while both were in quarantine after the trip, this is particularly unusual as Armstrong has said he never wrote this phrase for anyone, and no other example has ever come to auction (estimate: $60,000-80,000).
Flying Boat on offer for first time
Bonhams announces the sale of a 1917 Curtiss MF Seagull Flying Boat, to be offered at auction on Tuesday April 13 in New York. Sourced from the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio, the flying boat will be the first vintage plane auctioned in Manhattan, and it is expected to realize between $300,000-500,000.
A plane designed by one of the leading pioneers of American aviation and archrival of the Wright brothers, Glenn H. Curtiss, the Seagull is an eloquent symbol for one of the Curtiss company's greatest achievements the perfection of the seaplane. As part of the celebrations surrounding the auction, the aircraft will be on public view in the Sculpture Garden Atrium at 590 Madison Avenue from Saturday April 3rd to Tuesday April 13th.
2,500 year old vases - £20,000 to £250,000
A delicate wreath made of fine gold oak leaves with acorns, of the type worn by Alexander the Great's father, Philip II of Macedon, is one of the highlights of Bonhams sale of Antiquities on April 28 in New Bond Street. This stunning artefact, estimated at £100,000-120,000, may once have graced the head of a ruler or dignitary over 2,000 years ago. “The fact that this delicate collection of fine gold leaves and acorns formed into a wreath has survived the centuries is almost miraculous,” says Madeleine Perridge, Antiquities Specialist at Bonhams. The sale also boasts a private English Collection of finely-painted Greek vases of exceptional condition. Previously exhibited at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, they are painted by leading artists from Classical Athens. They include, an Attic red-figure stemless kylix by Douris, circa 480 B.C. showing a draped youth with defined musculature, standing in an Athenian wine-shop amongst large amphorae, (estimate £30,000-40,000). Exhibited in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard from 1937, this drinking cup is a fascinating image of Athenian life in the Classical period.
An Attic red-figure hydria in the manner of the Meidias Painter, (Circa 420 B.C.) depicts two Maenads draped in clinging diaphanous chitons, dancing away from each other while holding a number of ritual objects. It is estimated to sell for £25,000-35,000.An unusual Attic stamnos painted in the rare Six technique, from the workshop of the Antimenes Painter, circa 510 B.C. showing Theseus and the Minotaur with Ariadne. Estimated to sell for £150,000-250,000, it was previously in the Ferrucio Bolla Collection in the 1950s and the Stavros S. Niarchos Collection, and it has been exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, in 1980.
Numerous works by Penn and other photographs on offer
Three Decades with Irving Penn: Photographs from the Collection of Patricia McCabe, is the most significant group of photographs by Irving Penn (1917-2009) ever to come to auction. The sale will take place on the evening of April 14th, 2010 at Christie's New York and will be preceded by public exhibitions in its Galleries at Rockefeller Center on April 10th to13th.
The 67 photographs in the Collection were gifts from Irving Penn to Patricia McCabe, his trusted personal assistant for over thirty years. The images span the breadth of Penn's long and illustrious career and include such masterpieces as Cuzco Children, 1948, (estimate: $100,000-150,000), Street Photographer, New York, 1950 (estimate: $25,000-35,000), Poppy: Glowing Embers New York, 1968 (estimate: $70,000-90,000), and Two Guedras, Morocco, 1971 (estimate: $40,000-60,000). Not only is the collection remarkable for its size, it displays an extraordinary cross-section of Penn's artistic production.
14th - 15th April
Christie's will hold the sale of two other collections of photographs, in New York on April 14 and 15. These are Selections from the Baio Collection of Photographs as well as a separate photographs collection from various owners). Combined, the auctions will present the finest offerings in the category with a selection of works that range from the late 19th century through the 20th and 21st centuries, representing many standout examples in the medium and including a variety of subject matter. With over 300 lots across three sales, the works offered are expected to achieve between of $5.4-7.9 million.
Artist community makes bid to save the earth
Many of the world's leading artists are making Christies Green Auction, to be held on April 22-- 'A Bid to Save the Earth' a sweeping success. They would be contributing works in styles ranging across the artistic spectrum to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Christie's, on its part is convening an unprecedented group of leaders from the worlds of art, philanthropy, finance, fashion and celebrity to advocate for the Earth.
“This is the kind of collective action that will help us meet the tremendous challenges our earth faces,” commented Susan Kohn Rockefeller, who along with David Rockefeller, Jr. will chair the event at the Rockefeller Centre.
This global affair benefits four highly respected and effective environmental not-for-profits who will directly receive all of the proceeds from the auction: Oceana, Central Park Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council and Conservation International. Christie's will waive all fees and commissions, so that all funds raised can be put to use to advocate for the environment by these four leading organizations, who have earned a top four-star rating by Charity navigator, the not-for-profit rating agency.
The international reach is mirrored by the origins of the artists contributing works for auction, including Denmark's Olafur Eliasson, to the London-born Matthew Ritchie and Turner Prize winning Keith Tyson to India's Subodh Gupta. Regardless of their geographic home, the artists involved in the Green Auction are some of the most significant working today. Their involvement highlights the scale of the environmental challenge facing the planet and the commitment of so many ready to meet that challenge.
Many of the artists contributing works draw inspiration from the beauty and fragility of the natural world, from the lush landscapes of Wolf Khan to the intricate marine-inspired designs of Michele Oka Doner's work. Maya Lin, perhaps best known for designing the Vietnam War memorial in Washington, DC, is contributing In the Land of Milk and Honey, a sculpture in cardboard that challenges accepted notions of what constituted a “natural” landscape. Keith Tyson, winner of the 2002 Turner Award, is donating Cloud Choreography.
On her participation, Keith Tyson said, “Collectively these artworks will give voice to the disturbing transformations Earth is undergoing, and to the positive change we can effect when we work together.”
The Green Auction is hardly limited to artists typically associated with the natural world, though. From Dale Chihuly's fanciful blown glass to the conceptual art of Joseph Kosuth to David LaChapelle's hyper-colored, irony-laden celebrity portraits, the breadth of styles on the auction block underscore that diverse strategies will be needed to resolve the critical environmental challenges of our generation.
Celebrities participating are Leonardo DiCaprio, Harrison Ford, Tobey Maguire, Salma Hayek, Candice Bergen, who have promised to pledge for the cause. The master of ceremonies will be Chevy Chase.
One of a kind experiences, such as a falconry lesson with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. or a culinary outing with Alice Waters, and high fashion items from Zegna, Bulgari, Duncan Quinn and others, will also be available for auction. The LIVE auction, will be available globally via Christie's LIVE (www.christies.com) and conducted by acclaimed auctioneer Christopher Burge. The accompanying silent auction, powered by Charitybuzz.org, will also include important photographic works, paintings, and sculpture starting at very accessible price points.
The jewel of Catherine the Great on sale
2010 holds promises to be another exceptionally strong year for rare jewels in the global auction market. Christie's New York sets the tone of this trend, by bringing two of the most historically important jewels under the hammer. Emperor Maximilian's Diamond and the Emerald and Diamond Brooch worn by Catherine the Great of England. Both jewels will highlight Christie's first major jewellery sale of the year on April 22, 2010.
Both gems had not been seen in public for decades. The Emperor Maximilian Diamond is of 39.55 carats and the Catherine the Great Emerald and Diamond Brooch, set with a Colombian emerald is over 60 carats.
Russian Art from 18th to 21st century
Christie's Russian Art sale on 23 April in New York comprises an extensive representation of the history of Russian Art from 18th century works of art to 21st century paintings. A silver and enameled Imperial presentation charger by Sazikov leads an impressive section of 210 works of art, highlighted by a wide selection of cloisonné enamels and more than 60 works by Fabergé. In 2009 Christie's New York established a market share of more than 60% for works of art by the renowned house of Fabergé in the US. Among the paintings, Konstantin Makovsky's ‘In from a stroll’ will lead a fine selection of paintings from the 19th to 21st centuries.
7th – 8th April
Fine jewels online
This spring, Saffronart presents an auction of fine jewels, featuring 203 lots, including traditional and contemporary pieces, signed jewels by Indian designers and international jewelry houses like Cartier and Boucheron, and a selection of watches and jeweled objects. The sale will be accompanied by viewings in New Delhi, Mumbai and New York and a preview in Mumbai.
Jewels on sale
On 20 April 2010 Sotheby's will offer three sessions of jewellery comprising a single-owner sale Always in Style: 150 Years of Artistic Jewels and Magnificent Jewels. The day begins with a comprehensive survey of period and signed jewels dating from the 19th century to modern day, and representative of the main design themes of the last two centuries. Following, the Magnificent Jewels sale features important diamond and colored stone jewels, many from distinguished private collections, including those of Patricia Kluge, Ann Getty and the estate of Nancy M. Daly, as well as jewels formerly in the collections of Marlene Dietrich and Isabella Stewart Gardner.
A Sapphire and Diamond Panthère Wristwatch, Cartier, French, circa 1985, (est. $100–150,000) speaks of Mrs. Kluge's sophisticated appreciation of workmanship and her refined taste. A Magnificent Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Necklace (est. $2–3 million), property from a private collection, features 42 GIA-certified fancy vivid yellow diamonds weighing a total of 100.17 carats set in a graduated riviere style necklace.
Bouguereau's iconic 'L'Amour et Psyché' under hammer after half a century
Sotheby's will bring to the market a L'Amour et Psyché, dated 1899, by iconic French Academic painter William Bouguereau on April 23. Estimated at $1.8–2.2 million this will feature in the sale of 19th Century European Art. Sold from a distinguished private collection, the painting has been off the market for almost half a century. Its last known public exhibition was at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900.
Throughout his career, Bouguereau repeatedly interpreted the subject of Love drawing inspiration from key figures in Greek mythology such as Cupid, Venus, and Psyché. While many of Bouguereau's compositions featuring this subject depict an adult maiden surrounded by cherubic putti; a child Cupid taunting a more mature Venus; or both Cupid and Psyché as children, L'Amour et Psyché shows the mythological lovers Cupid and Psyché as young adults, one of only three known versions of this subject. Complementing the rarity of the subject matter is its size; the two characters are almost larger than life, a powerful visual effect made even more dramatic by their apparent suspension mid-air. The large scale draws attention to Bouguereau's superior technical skill, both figures are strikingly life-like, their skin and musculature carefully modeled to suggest living bodies.