Original gouache watercolor painting by Alexander Calder soars
to $114,000 at A.B. Levy's auction
Gouache on paper by Alexander Calder (1898-1976),
Red and Blue Egg ($114,000).
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 PALM BEACH, FL.- An original gouache (opaque watercolor) painting by
renowned artist Alexander Calder (Am./Fr., 1898-1976), titled Red and Blue Egg,
signed in the artist’s hand and dated 1969, sold for $114,000 at a two-session
auction held May 5th by A.B. Levy’s, in the firm’s main gallery located at 211
Worth Avenue. In all, over 450 quality lots were offered.
The Calder piece was the superstar of the fine art category. Impressive at 29
inches by 42 inches, the work on paper attracted attention because it was an
original, not a lithograph, and for its whimsical and colorful qualities. Calder
was famous as a sculptor, best known for his kinetic abstract mobiles. But he
was also a skilled painter who worked in watercolors, oils and gouache.
A standing room only crowd packed A.B. Levy’s gallery, with all 80 seats taken
and the spillover forced to participate standing. In addition, over 500 people
registered to bid online, via LiveAuctioneers.com and through the A.B. Levy’s
website (www.ablevys.com). The phones were also active and absentee bidding was
brisk in an auction that grossed about $1.14 million.
“We were excited that the top lots did so well, and the same was true of the
less expensive items,” said Albert Levy of A.B. Levy’s. “The middle market
merchandise didn’t fare quite as well, but overall it was still a successful
auction. There’s a real hunger out there for quality items – the best of the
best – and this sale demonstrated that. We were very pleased.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include
a buyer’s premium of 20 percent for up to $100,000 and 15 percent after that.
The top lot of the sale was a Cartier diamond ring, centered by a cut cornered
rectangular modified starburst cut fancy intense yellow diamond weighing 6.01
carats and boasting VS2 clarity. Flanking the main stone were trillion cut
diamonds, weighing about 1.23 carats. The size 6 ¾ ring – mounted in platinum
with 18kt yellow prongs – slipped on a new finger for $182,000.
Two works of fine art realized identical selling prices of $12,000. The first
was a piece by noted glassblowing artist Dale Chihuly (Am., b. 1941), consisting
of five “Persian” glass pieces in amparo blue with red lip wrap (circa 1999).
The other was a lithograph in colors on Arches paper by Marc Chagall (Fr./Russ.,
1887-1985), titled Les Mimosas (1968), signed by the artist.
In the furniture category, a late 19th or early 20th century mahogany marquetry
and parquetry bureau a cylindre (a desk with a front of curved quarter-circle
form), made in Paris after the model by Jean-Henri Riesner and numbered 100,
garnered $36,000; and a late 19th century Paul Sormani Louis XV-style
ormolu-mounted amaranth and bois satin bureau plat (French flat-topped writing
table with drawers to the frieze) with signed lock plate, hit $14,400.
Satsuma (early ceramics produced at the port of Satsuma, Japan, often with a
crackle glaze) was a big hit with bidders. Two Yabu Meizan Satsuma vases, both
signed and made in the Meiji Period (late 19th century) were sold as separate
lots for $21,600 and $11,070. The costlier vase was taller (7 inches, vs. 5
inches) and was of globular form (vs. rectangular tapered form).
In the antique clocks category, a fine Louis XV-style gilt-bronze and champlevé
enamel mounted onyx and marble tall case clock, circa 1900-1925, rose to
Fine watches included a Cartier 18kt yellow gold Tank Americaine ladies’
wristwatch with rectangular silvered dial and Roman numeral indicators on an
18kt yellow gold link bracelet with a deployment buckle ($10,200); and a Swiss
Piaget 18kt white gold “Dancer” automatic wristwatch with 38mm silver brush dial
and applied markers, on a Piaget bracelet ($10,800).
Noteworthy carved creations included a pair of Italian carved, painted and gilt
female figures made in the 18th century and each showing a semi-nude maiden
holding floral and fruit bouquets on a torch base, 61 inches tall ($24,000); and
a pair of Italian carved marble black figures (blackamoor) depicting a man and
woman, each on a raised circular pedestal ($12,000).
Jumping to jewelry, a size 9 ¾ platinum and diamond gentleman’s ring with one
bezel set round brilliant cut diamond, weighing 3.45 carats, with VS1 clarity
and 23.3 dwt, hit $24,000; a Versace 18kt yellow gold, diamond and emerald
necklace set with 135 round cut diamonds and weighing 4.46 carats, breezed to
$22,800; and a Verscae 18kt gold diamond and emerald bracelet with three “Mask
of Medusa” emblems and set with 117 round cut diamonds rose to $XX,XXX.
A fine diamond and sapphire necklace set with diamonds weighing approximately
14.50 carats, having G color and VS1 clarity and 25 sapphires weighing around
14.39 carats, went for $15,600; and a signed Lambert 14kt yellow gold and
diamond ring, set with three fine European cut round diamonds and a center stone
weighing 1.50 carats, with a 5 dwt, commanded $12,000.
Rounding out the day’s top lots, a fine pair of circa-1840 French Le Page
(Paris) cased percussion pistols, engraved “Deismas D’Acier” and with a complete
accessory set and fine presentation box, rang out at $30,000; a Hermes black
crocodile 32cm “Kelly” bag (Paris), with gold hardware, reached $30,000; and a
19th century continental carved ivory tusk made $18,000.
A.B. Levy’s next big auction will also be a two-session event, slated for
Sunday, Oct. 27, again at the Worth Avenue showroom in Palm Beach, starting at 1
p.m. (EST). Featured will be estate jewelry, artwork, fine china, antique clocks
and other antiques in many categories. Already consigned is a great collection
of 19th century Chinese red coral that is certain to garner attention.