Eye on Auctions

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Discerning the decorative arts

Fine and decorative arts and high-powered single-owner collections predominate in New York auctions in the coming weeks. Here are the most enticing, which you can view during the free public exhibitions that precede each sale (see the websites for details). Browse the catalogs online; you may want to acquire some for future reference.  


Sotheby's NY (sothebys.com)  

The Oct. 23 auction of Important English & European Decorative Arts features gorgeous 18th- century furniture and a large Empire Savonnerie carpet. Stellar examples by important English cabinetmakers from the Collection of Niki & Joe Gregory (former Lehman Bros. President) will be sold on Oct. 24. Among Important Silver, Vertu & Russian Works of Art Oct. 29 is a charming Fabergé gold and enamel photograph frame set with diamonds. The Nov. 6-7 auction of Impressionist & Modern Art stars a private collection of European works from the early decades of the 20th century, including Balla's 1913 "Automobile in corsa," and top-notch paintings and sculptures from other major collections. There are delightful paintings by Zandomenghi and Sorolla in the Nov. 8 sale of 19th-Century European Art. Headlined by Warhol's "Liz #1," the Nov. 13-14 auction of Contemporary Art is designed to make a splash. Included are works from the Dia Foundation being sold to establish a fund for acquisitions, and 18 dramatic pieces of jewelry by Calder from the Makler Family Collection. Then, on Nov. 15, the first installment of a stupendous tribal art collection assembled over 50 years by the late art dealer Allan Stone offers rare Power Figures from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and important Oceanic and Indonesian objects. More African works, pre-Columbian and Native-American objects will be sold in November 2014. 


Christie's NY (christies.com) 

Examples of Important English, Continental & American Silver to be sold on Oct. 23 include elaborate creations by Lamerie, Schwestermüller, and Tiffany. Among works of 19th-Century European Art on Oct. 28 are three paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, notably Tissot's tour-de-force, "In the Conservatory (Rivals)" that was gifted to the museum by Mrs. Jayne Wrightsman, and twelve works being sold by the Toledo Museum of Art to benefit their Acquisitions Fund. On Oct. 29, the fourth sale of works from the late Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow's renowned rare book collection comprises illustrated editions of the Neoclassical, Romantic, Symbolist & Modern Periods, such as a hand-colored copy of Blake's "The Grave." The Nov. 4-5 "tribute auction," entitled "A Dialogue through Art," contains works galore by Giacometti, Klee, Matisse, Picasso and others presented in a heavily annotated 2-volume catalogue celebrating the collection of the late Jan Krugier, who transcended his early experiences as a holocaust survivor to become one of the most important international art dealers of the 20th century. A monumental "Reclining Figure" by Henry Moore, 1967-70, to be offered in the Nov. 5-6 sale of Impressionist & Modern Art, will be installed in the Rockefeller Center plaza near Christie's in late October. An auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art is slated for Nov. 12.  


Swann (swanngalleries.com) 

Along with many ever-popular images, the Oct.18 sale of Rare & Important Travel Posters from around the world contains rarities such as an enticement to take the new railroad to "Montauk Beach on the Slender tip of Long Island, NY," circa 1929. Thereafter, book auctions alternate with prints, drawings and editioned sculpture. The Oct. 24 auction of Art, Press & Illustrated Books features fine private press books and richly illustrated works on Chinese ceramics. A very early impression of Rembrandt's 1648 etching, "Self-Portrait Drawing at a Window," and a complete set of the scarce second edition of Goya's "Caprichos," c. 1799, exemplify the Old Master through Modern Prints to be sold on Oct. 30.  To commemorate the centennial of the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show, which exposed avant-garde art to the American public for the first time, a thematic auction on Nov. 5 is devoted to works by European and American artists who showed in The International Exhibition of Modern Art, held right across 25th Street at the 69th Regiment Armory. A diverse selection of Early Printed, Medical & Scientific Books on Nov. 12, and Contemporary Art on the 14th round out the mix. 


Phillips NY (phillips.com) 

The Oct. 28 sale of prints and other multiples, entitled Editions, is a selection of bold contemporary images.    

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