Archive for September, 2011

Sotheby’s – 20th Century Chinese Art 二十世紀中國藝術

September 16th, 2011 by

The 20th Century Chinese Art Department will offer over 140 works of art this autumn. Highlights of this sale include remarkable masterpieces by Chinese modern masters including Zao Wou-ki, Wu Guanzhong, Chu Teh-chun, Wang Yidong and Chen Yifei. Featured above, 10.1.68 by Zao Wou-ki was exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1968 as part of a solo exhibition for the artist. This painting has been in a private collection for over twenty years and is set to lead the market with its first appearance. Additionally, this sale will also introduce two dedicated themes focusing on female Chinese artists and works on paper.

Sotheby’s – Anita Mui – Jewels & Watches from the Estate 芳華絕代──梅艷芳珠寶手錶珍藏

September 16th, 2011 by

Sotheby’s announced today that it will hold the Anita Mui – Jewels and Watches From The Estate auction on 5 October during Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Sale 2011, offering exclusively 43 lots of jewels and watches as well as memorabilia items from the estate of Anita Mui – the legendary canto-pop diva and award-winning actress from Hong Kong.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers – Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts

September 16th, 2011 by

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers handles a wide variety of furniture and decorative arts including American, English and Continental Furniture and Decorative Arts; Twentieth Century Decorative Arts; Asian Works of Art; and Rugs, Carpets and Textiles.

Sotheby’s – Modern & Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings

September 16th, 2011 by

This autumn, Sotheby’s Hong Kong presents powerful masterpieces by artists who shaped Modern Indonesian Art. Tuak Manis (Sweet Wine) by Hendra Gunawan is equal parts artistic achievement, emotional resonance and intellectual triumph and is undoubtedly a rare example of the artist’s best works. Also featured in the auction is a tour-de-force self portrait by Gunawan’s fellow modern master, Affandi, and works by artistic leaders S. Sudjojono and Theo Meier, as well as by contemporary tastemakers such as I Nyoman Masriadi and Ronald Ventura.

Sotheby’s – New York – Contemporary Art

September 16th, 2011 by

The September 22nd Contemporary Auction offers carefully selected works by artists from the Post-War period through the present day. The sale covers a range of works from movements including Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Contemporary Photography and Contemporary Chinese along with many of today’s most exciting young artists.

Fresh discovery: Victor Higgins Taos school oil painting could bring six figures at Mapes’ Sept. 30 auction

September 16th, 2011 by

Victor Higgins (Taos school, 1884-1949), oil on canvas, circa 1929, 27 x 30 in., scene of woman in front of adobe building, held in same family for 80+ years. Est. $200,000-$400,000. Mapes Auctioneers image.

Purchased prior to Wall Street Crash of 1929, artwork remained in family for 80+ years


VESTAL, N.Y. – An exciting fine-art discovery – a fresh-to-the-market late-1920s oil-on-canvas painting by Taos Art Colony luminary Victor Higgins (1884-1949) – will headline Mapes Auctioneers’ Sept. 30 auction.


An old family piece, the 27- by 30-inch artwork depicts a Native American woman in front of an adobe building with a vine-covered column in the foreground. It was purchased directly from the artist approximately 80 years ago and passed through descent to the consignor, who is the original owner’s great-nephew. The painting has never before appeared at auction or been offered for sale.


“The Higgins came from a retired gentleman who lives less than a mile from our gallery,” said David Mapes, owner of Mapes Auctioneers. “He walked into my office one day and said he and his wife were moving to Colorado and had two paintings they wanted to sell. The other painting was nice, but when I saw the Higgins, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was similar to a smaller painting by the artist that sold at Christie’s a few years ago for over $400,000.”


Closeup of central figure in Higgins painting

Mapes recalls that he told the consignor, “That’s a very good painting,” to which the consignor replied, “How good?” Mapes then delivered the news that, in his opinion, it was worth more than $100,000, adding that the auction record for a Victor Higgins painting is $769,000. “The consignor was stunned,” Mapes said.


Several identifications are written on the artwork’s stretcher – the name “Ruth” and the notation “Victor Higgins $600.” Mapes said it is likely that the original owner made the purchase prior to the Wall Street Crash of 1929.


“From what the consignor tells me, his great-uncle was an art aficionado who once served as director of the Municipal Art League of Chicago. He was also an attorney who lost a great deal of money when the stock market crashed. It’s unlikely that he would have been buying art after incurring major financial losses, so we think the painting may have been purchased in 1928 or 1929,” Mapes said.


According to Mapes, Higgins was a visionary in search of “the real America” and moved to New Mexico around 1915, when Taos was still an isolated village with dirt roads. “He was fascinated by the native people of Taos and became both a permanent resident and a member of the Taos Society of Artists, in 1917.”


Higgins’ signature from lower left of painting

The Higgins painting has been examined by a major art restorer who works with museums, Mapes said, and it was determined that the painting has never been cleaned or restored. “It is in original condition and in a nice period frame that may be the original,” Mapes said. The painting will be offered with a $200,000-$400,000 estimate.”


The other painting coming from the Higgins’ consignor is a 24- by 26-inch

Carl Hoerman (Taos school, 1885-1955), Arizona Desert, oil on canvas, 24 x 26 in., signed and dated ‘1929.’ Est. $1,000-$2,000. Mapes Auctioneers image.

Southwestern mountain landscape by Taos school artist Carl Hoerman (German/American, 1885-1955), titled Arizona Desert. Signed and dated “1929” on the front, the framed oil-on-canvas artwork is executed in soft desert hues with depictions of cacti and numerous other indigenous flora. On auction day it is expected to make $1,000-$2,000.


The 300-lot sale also includes a collection of 60 pieces of 19th-century New York state stoneware from an estate in Trumansburg, N.Y. Most of the vessels are ovoid jugs and jars, although there are also some 3-sided examples and later molded pieces from White’s Utica. Most have a floral motif, although one features a bird. Individual estimates range from $100 to $1,000.


American blue opaline glass fluid lamp, possibly Sandwich, Flame Bull’s-Eye pattern, 13 inches. Est. 750-$1,500. Mapes Auctioneers image.

A beautiful American blue opaline glass fluid lamp that may be by Sandwich measures 13 inches high and was crafted in the Flame Bull’s-Eye pattern. In excellent condition, it could bring $750-$1,500. Another glass highlight is the Steuben verre de soie perfume bottle with blue stopper, estimated at $200-$400.


The nicely mixed selection of antiques and fine art also includes a 35-inch-tall Theodore Coinchon (French, 1814-1881) garden bronze of Pan playing his flute, est. $2,000-$4,000; a Chief Big Moon cast-iron mechanical bank in original condition with 90% paint, est. $2,000-$4,000; and a 19th-century coin-silver teapot on stand by Bailey of Philadelphia, est. $1,000-$2,000.


Also, a 5-piece array of Deldare ware will be offered. The grouping includes vases and two trays, which aren’t commonly found. The smaller tray measures 9 by 12 inches and is titled “Dancing Ye Minuet,” while the 10- by 13-inch tray is titled “Heirlooms.” Both are in excellent condition, and each carries a presale estimate of $200-$400.


Mapes’ Sept. 30 Antiques & Fine Art Auction will commence at 5 p.m. Eastern time, with a preview the same day from 1-5 p.m. Their gallery is located at 1729 Vestal Parkway West, Vestal, NY 13850. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through


For condition reports on the art or any other item in the auction, call 607-754-9193 or

e-mail Visit the company online at View the fully illustrated auction catalog online at

Educating the Guardians of our History – By Jeffrey Herman

September 15th, 2011 by

Copyright Jeffrey Herman,

I find it’s time to discuss a very troubling trend I’ve witnessed in silver displayed in museums: over cleaning. Years ago, I visited a prominent northeastern museum housing a large and impressive silver collection. Major presentation and historically important American and European silver were on exhibit. I was on a museum tour at the time, explaining to the other silver aficionados in the group how some of the pieces were created. I became alarmed at what I had been viewing: silver objects stripped of every last bit of patina!  I soon asked the docent why the silver had been stripped, leaving it so white, so one-dimensional. She replied: “The museum wanted to display the silver the way it looked upon completion by the silversmith.” I pointed out the obvious purple-colored firestain that mottled many of the objects, and that it would not have left the silversmith’s workshop in that condition. That the smith would have “fired” their piece, then given it an acid bath to dissolve the copper from the surface of the sterling, leaving a fine silver finish. Over decades of polishing, the oxidized copper (or firestain) may be revealed.  Silversmiths, especially those practicing up through the 19th century and into the 20th, probably would have patinated an ornamental piece, giving it a more three-dimensional look. “That’s just the museum’s policy,” the docent said. I had the immediately urge to confront the museum director and curator of decorative arts, but that wasn’t the time.

Modern “taste,” fickle at best, has no place in museum conservation. And, I am not alone in thinking that museums over clean their silver. Recently, a spoon collectors club visited my workshop. Below is an excerpt from an e-mail I received from one of the collectors after the visit: “I am always distressed to see museum silver with all the patina carefully removed. New sterling is now even being sold looking as though it just had a bath in Tarn-X.” 

Much time had passed from that eye-opening day at the museum visit to receiving that letter. It is a reminder of my responsibility to silversmiths long passed, to collectors unknowing of possible impending alterations to their bequests, and to museum decision makers entrusted with preserving our history. Museums are considered the authority of how our objects maintained. If ground-breaking or ill-conceived ideas are made without consulting others in the field (and that includes silversmiths themselves), irreversible mistakes will continue to be made without the public’s knowledge. And if we consider a museum’s policy to be the last word, we will then accept those poor conservation techniques as our own.

Jeffrey Herman started Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation in 1984, and has built a national reputation of quality craftsmanship and sensitivity towards the finishing of every piece. Herman has repaired & reconstructed everything from historically important tankards, tea services, and tureens to disposal-damaged flatware. And yes, he will also polish a single spoon or fork. He considers himself an environmentalist, using the safest, non-toxic, most organic products whenever possible.

Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation

PO Box 786

West Warwick, RI 02893

800/339-0417, 401/461-6840

Fax: 401/461-6841



Sotheby’s – Hong Kong – The Classic Cellar from a Great American Collector VIII

September 15th, 2011 by

The autumn season of wine sales at Sotheby’s Hong Kong opens with the eighth auction of wine from the Classic Cellar from a Great American Collector, the greatest Single-Owner wine collection in Sotheby’s history. Offering over 500 lots, this auction features the finest Bordeaux from the last three decades.

Sotheby’s – London – Musical Instruments

September 15th, 2011 by

We are delighted to present our October sale, which features a wide variety of instruments and bows, catering for musicians and collectors alike.  Our highlight is a stunning and great sounding violin by G.B. Rogeri towards the end of his life, and based on Amati’s grand pattern. Other major Italian makers who feature include C.F. Landolfi, Antonio Gragnani, Camillus Camilli and Dom Nicolo Amati.  France is also well represented with violins by J.B. Vuillaume and François Pique.

Amongst the 20th century makers we have a very fine violin from 1927 by Annibale Fagnola, which has been in a private collection in the UK for decades, and good instruments by Sannino and Tarasconi.  A good selection of cellos includes instruments by Giovanni Grancino and Gennaro Gagliano, and there are bows by many of the great French makers, including Tourte, Henry, Maire, Pajeot, Vuillaume, Vigneron, Sartory and Lamy.

Phillips de Pury – London – Design

September 15th, 2011 by

London – Phillips de Pury & Company is pleased to announce the ceramics highlights from its London Design auction. The sale will offer the most important group of Modernist ceramics ever to appear at auction. Approximately forty works have been selected from the renowned Berkeley Collection. Formed during a period of nearly thirty years of close friendship between the collectors Harley Carpenter and Geof Walker and the Viennese born potter Lucie Rie. This auction is a unique opportunity to acquire some major works with an extraordinary exhibition history and well documented provenance by these most revered of ceramic artists. The ceramic works and wall will be displayed in the Phillips de Pury gallery in an innovative setting designed to enhance the viewers’ experience of the exhibition.’

Lucie Rie gave Harley Carpenter and Geof Walker access to some of her best pieces and encouraged them to also collect those of her friend and collaborator Hans Coper. The collection grew steadily and soon became the first port of call for Museum curators looking for willing lenders. Many of the works on offer are recently returned from a groundbreaking tour of Japan, the first retrospective of Hans Coper’s work in that country. Some pieces have also been shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Issey Miyake’s Design Foundation in Tokyo, The Barbican in London, The Museum Angewandte Kunst in Vienna and The Gardiner Museum in Toronto amongst others.