Winter Estates: Art, Antiques, Americana, Oriental Rugs, Asian & Decorative Arts

Auction: Saturday, December 20, 2014, 10am est
Exhibition: December 18-19, 11am-5pm

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In the middle of the holiday season, Material Culture will host a Winter Estates sale subtitled “Art, Antiques, Decorative and Ethnographic Arts.” Over 700 lots come fresh to the market in this December 20 sale, including fine art, Oriental rugs, Asian decorative arts, and American advertising, ephemera and decorative arts. With a broad range of collectibles, a fine selection of vintage postcards, antique Continental ceramics, art books, and more, the auction promises to have tempting lots for almost every kind of collector.
Fine art at the auction presents pieces in many different genres. Oil pantings on canvas, such as “Bathing Boys” (lot 29), by Indonesian painter I.W.J. Munut (b. 1941) are on offer in the sale. A color woodcut by Luigi Rist (American, 1888-1959), titled “We Repeat (Still life with Radishes)” (lot 400) is charming with a hint of the surreal. Sculpture is led by a Curtis Jere tabletop sculpture of birds, rendered in bronze, flying upwards from a marble base (lot 37). A selection of photography includes two works by Jeanneatte Montgomery Barron (American, b. 1954)—“Los Angeles (Still Life),” dated 1987 and “Francesco Clemente’s Studio N.Y.C.,” dated 1988 (lot 457).

Over fifty lots of Oriental carpets are led by a large antique Bakhshaish rug from late 19th century Persia (lot 51) and another sizeable Persian Serapi carpet from circa 1900 (lot 52). Smaller, though of extremely fine quality, is an Eagle rug from the Caucasus (lot 45), also dating to circa 1900. Asian decorative arts are extremely well-represented in a rich variety of ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, panels, embroideries, prints and more. Two Japanese censers made of bronze (lot 15) date to the Meiji period (1868-1912), a gorgeous Chinese balustrade form vase shines with the deep blood-red of sang de boeuf or flambe glaze (lot 151), and a Chinese gilded bronze Buddha (lot 200) is just one of many graceful and finely-detailed figural pieces.

One highlight of the auction is a true wealth of antique and 20th century European ceramics, led by several pieces of majolica ceramics. The Italian variety of this tin-glazed pottery, called maiolica, is represented by three very fine antique pieces. A molded dish on a raised foot is an excellent example of an ‘istoriato,’ or history plate, featuring a depiction of Apollo and the Muses after a Raphael painting (lot 13). Portraits of a young man and a young woman with a crown adorn a large albarello drug jar, probably made in Venice or Caltagirone (lot 289). A pair of similar tin-glazed apothecary jars, but from 18th century France, bear a reserve panel with the intended contents written in Latin (lot 290). Dozens of ceramic figures from France, Italy, Germany, and Czechoslovakia are brought forward in this sale, including several for the Italian Capidomonte porcelain company, by Carmelo Ganci (lot 364) and Tiziano Galli (lot 370).

American decorative arts at the sale also feature notable ceramics, including a beautiful early 20th century stoneware vase made by the Pewabic Pottery studio of Detroit, Michigan (lot 14). A Reed and Barton vermeil tea service, marked 1872 and crafted in the aesthetic movement style of that time period, contains a teapot, a creamer, a lidded canister and a samovar (lot 304).

Nearly 1000 vintage and antique postcards are grouped into approximately 30 lots. An estate from Allentown, Pennsylvania provides a museum-sized collection of French, European and American risqué cards, from a group of ten French Victorian-era silver gelatin emulsion photographic postcards of a model undressing in her boudoir (lot 10), to a lot of 160 American mid-century pin-ups and bathing beauties (lot 536).

A variety of vintage items featuring pin-up girls are also brought forward, including a lot of Marilyn Monroe Norma Jean artifacts, with three calendars from 1955 and a silver gelatin photograph of the nude Monroe (lot 24). A 1948 “Nifty Numbers” calendar (lot 525) features the artwork of Earl Moran (1893-1984), an American pin-up and glamour artist. Fourteen vintage “Tijuana Bibles” are grouped in a single lot (565); these small pornographic comic books often put a licentious twist on characters from popular culture and newspaper strips, and titles in this lot include “Laurel and Hardy in The Girlfriend,” “Tyrone Power in The Rescue,” “Henry,” and “The Adventures of a Fuller Brush Man.” In other ephemera, seven lots of vintage American advertising fans include a Shirley Temple Royal Crown Soda fan (lot 514) and a group of twelve from the early 20th century (lot 515) with artistic, patriotic and political images, such as a portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The auction offers a wide field of collectibles, opening with an antique cast-iron grave marker for a member of the Odd Fellows fraternal society (lot 1). A commemorative John Wayne Winchester model 94 rifle remains in its original box (lot 7). Ten lots of antique daggers include a Caucasian dagger with a silver repousse and leather decorated sheath (lot 6) and an Ottoman or Persian dagger measuring 27 inches long (lot 121).  A pre-Columbian chieftan figure made of Tumbaga gold is rendered holding a scepter and a chicken, with detailed finery and a flame-shaped crown (lot 131). An impressive calcite crystal geode measures 14 by 15 by 8 inches (lot 34).

Closing the sale are twenty lots of quality art reference books, but one item is of particular interest as a publication and work of art in its own right. Jasper Johns’ “Target 1970” was produced in conjunction with the MOMA’s exhibition “Technics and Creativity: Gemini G.E.L.” The exhibition was a selection of prints and multiples such as Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and others, and each catalogue for the show was accompanied by a specially-commissioned multiple by Jasper Johns. The offset lithograph is accompanied by three watercolor disks and a paintbrush, inviting the owner to collaborate with Johns by painting a version of his “Target” (lot 700).