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What Happened and What's Forthcoming

Auction Report

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Portrait of Emperor Jahangir sells for £1.4M

April 5

The magnificent portrait the Mughal Emperor Jahangir who reigned from 1605-1627, attributed to Abu'l Hasan, Nadir al-Zaman and dated AH 1026/AD 1617, sold for £1,420,000 at Bonhams Indian and Islamic Sale. It went to a Middle Eastern museum. The sale total was £2.7m

The picture is a political tour de force in which the Emperor lays claim to a world-wide ambition. This is achieved through its full life-size magnificence, use of precious items in its creation, and the words that accompany it, all make his all conquering ambition plain.

The portrait in gouache heightened with gold leaf on a fine woven cotton canvas shows the Emperor seated on a European-style throne. His head is surrounded by a radiating nimbus and he is wearing an embroidered floral tunic over a patka and striped pyjama, with applied plaster jewellery.


Brooch Jewellery belonging to Queen Victoria Reigns over Jewellery sale

April 6

A gold, enamel and garnet bodice brooch from 1830 that belonged to Queen Victoria made fourteen times its pre-sale estimate at Bonhams Jewellery Sale. With a pre-sale estimate of £600  800, the brooch sold for £11,400

The finely detailed brooch is embellished with green and red enamel, set with cabochon garnets that suspend an elongated drop of a similar design.

The brooch originally belonged to Victoria, Duchess of Kent, who on her death in 1861 left her jewellery to her daughter, Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria subsequently gave the brooch to her third daughter Helena, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, as a present on her 24th birthday in 1870. The reverse of the brooch has a simple, yet very personal engraving: “Belonged to dear Grandmamma V. From Mama V.R. to Helena 25th May 1870.". Helena was considered the most active member of the royal family, carrying out an extensive programme of royal engagements. She was also a committed patron of charities, and was one of the founding members of the Red Cross. She was also the original president of the Royal School of Needlework, and president of the Royal British Nurses' Association.

Sculpted Marble makes £490,400 in strong £3.2M Antiques Sale

April 13

Classical sculpture new to the market after decades in the ownership of Sir Daniel Donohue, a Californian businessman and philanthropist, sold outstandingly well at Bonhams Antiquities sale in New Bond Street.

Of the 62 lots consigned by the Donohue Collection 60 sold. The top item in the Collection was the front cover lot, a sculpted panel showing a chariot and four horses being driven by figures believed to be the gods Aphrodite and Mars. The panel sold for £490,400. The sale made a total of £3.2m.

Madeleine Perridge, Head of Antiquities at Bonhams says: “The Donohue Collection was a remarkable monument to Sir Daniel and Countess Bernadine's passion for collecting. They filled their houses and gardens with stunning pieces of ancient sculpture from over-life-size marble goddesses, to small finely cast bronze figures. The top item in the sale, the charioteer panel achieved an unprecedented price. We knew we had something special, hence the decision to put it on the front cover.” Another 800 items from the Donohue Collection was a `white glove' 100% sold success in another Bonhams sale in LA earlier this month.

Phillips De Pury

Spectacular Results from The New York Photographs Auction

April 9

Phillips de Pury & Company's Photographs sale comprising 260 lots, sold 94.5% by value and 90.4% by lot totaling $5,802,250 (including premium).

The New York Photographs week completed with outstanding results. The inaugural Photographs Auction Day was launched with an insightful Photographs Aficionado Class, followed by Chief Auctioneer Simon de Pury's masterful conducting of a most dynamic auction that was hugely successful in attracting over 400 clients, and enhanced by the opportunity to receive an individual digital portrait by contemporary fashion and entertainment photographer Sophie Elgort. Collectively, the series of events generated a strong and unmistakable buzz across the photographs world.

“I am thrilled with the results of our inaugural Photography Sale on Park Avenue, which allowed us to achieve an excellent total and to break many records.” Simon de Pury, Chairman and Chief Auctioneer, Phillips de Pury & Company.

Top Lots included Cindy Sherman Untitled at $242,500, Desiree Dolron Xteriors VI at $194,500, Robert Frank Café-Beaufort, South Carolina, at $182,500, Irving Penn Miles Davis hand and trumpet, New York, July 1 at $122,500 and Peter Beard Tsavo North on the Athi Tiva, circa 150 lbs. - 160 lbs. side Bull Elephant, $120,100.



Important Watches & Clocks bring $5.8 Million

April 13

Today's auction of Important Watches & Clocks at Sotheby's achieved $5,789,318, meeting the pre-sale high estimate and selling 88.5% by lot. This marks the second highest total ever for a various-owner Watch sale at Sotheby's New York, and follows the highest-ever total for a Watch sale at Sotheby's Hong Kong earlier this month. The sale was led jointly by A Fine and Rare 18K Yellow Gold Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Wristwatch with Register, Tachometer and Moon-Phases, Ref 1518, 1950 and  A Magnificent and Rare Parcel-Gilt Bronze Vase-Form Musical Singing Bird Automaton Clock with Hour and Half Hour Striking,  circa  1828, each of which brought $302,500.

“We are very pleased with the results of today's sale,” commented John Reardon, Head of Sotheby's Watch & Clock department in New York. “We welcomed a significant number of new bidders and buyers, including many private collectors, from a truly international audience: American, European, Asian and Russian clients showed strong participation. As an international team, we look forward to developing these new relationships while we continue to strengthen old ones. Our approachability and expertise, combined with our events and emphasis on online media, are opening new doors in our marketplace.”

$39.4 million is the highest-ever total for a Spring auction of jewellery

April 14

The sale of Magnificent Jewels achieved a spectacular $39,367,350, exceeding the pre-sale high estimate of $35.6 million and selling 84.2% by lot. This represents the highest-ever total for a spring auction of jewelry at Sotheby's in New York, and marks the highest total for any jewellery sale in New York thus far this season. The sale was characterized by a series of incredible prices for unique, top-quality diamonds and designs, which attracted a global audience of both private collectors and members of the trade. Competition was especially fierce for Magnificent Jewels from a Distinguished Family Collectiona wonderful group featuring romantic diamonds and fabulous Cartier designs from the firm's creative peakthat brought $7,885,125, more than double its high estimate.

Gary Schuler, Director of Jewelry in New York continued, “Collectors are willing to pay a premium for diamonds with charm, and that was a hallmark of today's sale. Whether they feature old-world cuts or magnificent and unique colors, the opportunity to compete for these stones is exactly why buyers come to auction.”

Forthcoming auctions


Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

May 3

Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York will offer an impressive range of paintings and sculpture from across the period. A spectacular group of 10 paintings by Pablo Picasso will be led by Femmes lisant (Deux personnages), a striking portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter from 1934 (est. $25/35 million). Impressionist, Expressionist and Surrealist paintings and sculpture will feature works by iconic artists including Paul Gauguin, Alexej von Jawlensky, Claude Monet and René Magritte, among many others.

Works from both the Evening and Day Sales will be on view in Sotheby's York Avenue galleries beginning 29 April, alongside highlights from the Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

The highlight of the sale will offer an impressive group of ten paintings by Pablo Picasso that span the artist's long career. The canvases date from 1901 to 1970, offering a truly encyclopedic tour of his life, work and the women who inspired him: Blue Period, Neo-Classical, Surrealist and late works are all represented, as are depictions of Olga Khokhlova, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Jacqueline, and his daughter Paloma. Since the turn of the 21st century, Picasso has come to dominate the fine art market unequivocally, and his works have been the top lot of 5 of the past 7 seasons.

American Indian Art to Include Pieces From Major Private Collections

May 18

Sotheby's sale of American Indian Art in New York will include major pieces from a number of distinguished private collections including The Bruce and Nancy Berman Collection of Navajo Blankets, paintings from the Hascoe Family Collection and the Davies-Cooke Collection. The standout highlight from the various owner section of the auction is an Oglala Sioux Beaded and Fringed Hide War Shirt which once belonged to Chief Black Bird, one of the most documented Native Americans of his generation. The shirt is made all the more remarkable by the existence of photographs showing it being worn by its original owner (est. $250/350,000).

Photographic documentation of an artifact as important as the Oglala Sioux Shirt is very rare. In this case though, several images exist of Chief Black Bird wearing the shirt, providing an important insight to its history and to the life of the Chief. Compared to other equivalent historical figures, much is known about this Sioux chief. He is recorded in the Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger, meaning he fought in the Great Sioux War of 1876-77, and is likely to have been present at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

The photographs show him with his wife and a son in Omaha in 1899, in a photo entitled Little Wound and Sioux Chief's taken at the Indian Congress, Pan American Exposition in 1901 and in a promotional postcard for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in which he participated in England in 1902. The shirt is made all the more remarkable by its distinguished provenance, having been in the collections of Amy Vanderbilt and later Ed Vebell.


Francis Bacon masterpieces to hit the auction block

May 11

Christie's is pleased to announce the sale of two works by one of the greatest British painters of the 20th Century, Francis Bacon (1912-1992). The works will be exhibited in the United Kingdom for the first time, having resided in private American collections. Three Studies for Self Portrait, 1974 and Untitled (Crouching Nude on Rail), 1952, are expected to realize more than $45 million combined at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 11, 2011. The paintings exhibit Bacon's timeless sinuous renditions of elasticized flesh that touch on the human condition and the fleeting nature of life. The paintings will be on display from April 16-19 at Christie's London, in addition to historic works by Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko, which will be auctioned at Christie's New York's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 11, 2011.

The arrival of these landmark works to the market is buoyed by significant recent sales of Bacon's work  most notably Bacons' Portrait of Lucian Freud from 1964, which realized more than $37 million in February of this year.

“I loathe my own face, but I go on painting it only because I haven't got any other people to do… [there is] nobody else left to paint,” said Francis Bacon, in 1975. Francis painted only 10 self-portraits in the 1970s. In Three Studies for Self Portrait, each of the three distorted, guttural faces of Bacon is placed against a dark, muted background on 14” x 10” canvases.

The work (estimate available on request) is one of the most anticipated lots of the Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale and joins a cadre of important self-portraits to be offered in the auction, along with those by Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Urs Fischer and Mike Kelley.

Bacon's unequivocally timeless, richly-hued self-portraits convey psychological intensity akin to Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Bacon's depictions of himself express with haunting power the existential nature of the human condition. Having suffered the loss of many near to him in the mid-1970s.

Winston Churchill Canvas Painted during a critical window in history to be offered for the first time at auction

May 11

Offered for the first time at auction, Christies announce the sale of Villa on the Nivelle, 1945, by Sir Winston Churchill, O.M., R.A. (1874-1965) in London on 26 May 2011 (estimate: £200,000-300,000). Churchill executed this work during a critical window in history: between the British general election on the 5 July - resulting from the coalition government's resignation following the triumphant defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945 - and the announcement of the result on 26 July, which heralded Labour's unexpected victory. Blissfully unaware of the pending outcome, the heroic wartime Prime Minister and his wife Clementine took a short holiday in the Basque region of France, at the Château de Bordaberry. Inspired by the beauty of his surroundings and persuaded by his companions in France, this painting marks only the second time that Churchill had picked up a paintbrush since the start of World War II. The existence of the remarkable photograph, documenting Churchill working on this canvas is extremely rare and highly evocative.

Rachel Hidderley, Christie's International Specialist and Director, 20th Century British Art: “The market for Churchill is consistently strong and extremely international due to the enduring appeal of his style, decorative choice of subjects and his political significance.”



Christie's Hong Kong Sale of Important Watches to Fetch over HK$ 80 Million

May 30

Hong Kong Watch enthusiasts, beginners and seasoned collectors can look forward to an extremely wide array of magnificent timepieces at Christie's Hong Kong Important Watches Spring Sale at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. With 540 lots on offer and a total estimate exceeding HK$80 million/US$10 million, the Spring Sale dazzles with rare enamel and pocket watches, opulent ladies' jewellery watches, exceptional vintage wristwatches and inspirational modern complication wristwatches.

Enamel and Pocket Watches

Undoubtedly the most prominent highlight of the sale is a magnificent pair of matching gold and enamel Singing Bird Pistols (Lot 2174, estimate: HK$20,000,000 – 40,000,000). The matching mirror-image pistols set with diamonds, agate and pearls, attributed to world renowned craftsman Frères Rochat, is the only publicly known pair of singing bird pistols in the world. This sale offers a singular collecting opportunity to acquire, not ONE but TWO of these museum pieces, at the same time.

Jewellery Watches

Checking the time has never been so beautiful. When world-renowned watch manufacturers such as Piaget and Audemars Piguet wish to dazzle their audience, they create jewellery timepieces of such astonishing design and elegance that they rival in opulence with creations from the world's greatest jewellery houses.

Piaget shines again with this trio of lady's gold watches lavishly set with marquise diamonds and sapphires, rubies or emeralds. Made in 1998, each of these Haute-Joaillerie” watch is a unique piece and is sold individually.

Phillips De Pury

New York Contemporary May Sales

May 12-13

Works By Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Gerhard Richter, Georgia O'keeffe, Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly, David Hockney, Joan Mitchell, Jeanmichel Basquiat, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Damien Hirst, Wade Guyton, Kelley Walker, Tom Friedman, Mark Bradford, Louise Nevelson, Robert Ryman

The sales will feature important and iconic modern and contemporary works. Contemporary Art Part I includes 51 lots with a pre-sale estimate of $84,970,000 to $120,500,000. Contemporary Art Part II includes 308 lots with a pre-sale estimate of $8,467,000 to $12,153,000.

Andy Warhol's, Liz #5, 1963 is a rare and exquisite example of the world renowned images of feminine paragons of grace that catapulted the artist to prominence nearly 50 years ago. This glamorous portrait of the legendary actress, Elizabeth Taylor, embodies the most important themes of Warhol's oeuvre.

Roy Lichtenstein's, Still life with Mirror, 1972 estimated at $6,000,000 to $8,000,000 illustrates Lichtenstein's inspiration from all forms of mass produced printed material rendered in a flat, two dimensional painting paradoxically reaching three-dimensional status.


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