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Auction Previews & News2 Results
- Auction Result, Press Release
Augustus Saint Gaudens (American, 1848-1907) Diana of the Tower Bronze H. 38 ⅞ in. New York, Jan. 26: Among the various auctions of fine and decorative arts in New York held during “Americana Week”, Keno Auctions attained the highest price for any lot sold. On January 23rd, an iconic bronze sculpture of Diana by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) soared past its estimate of $200-400,000, selling for $506,000 (including BP). Purchased by a young New York couple, it is the fifth highest price at auction for any work by Saint-Gaudens. Recently discovered by Keno, the sculpture was on display at the Glascow Arms Restaurant in Delaware since its purchase by restaurant owner and collector, Constantine Sclavos in 1959. Saint-Gaudens produced the original 18-foot tall Diana of the Tower as a weathervane for Madison Square Garden. The figure was so popular that the artist wisely secured a copyright of the design in 1895 and immediately began making smaller versions. Leigh Keno, President of Keno Auctions, noted: “I am thrilled but not surprised by the strong result. This discovery is only the seventh example of these larger versions of Diana known. Saint-Gaudens’ brilliant hand is revealed in its meticulously chiseled details.” The auction was comprised of just five special lots, including the rare and important “Kinsman Portrait of George Washington” painted by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1829), which rose above its $150-300,000 estimate to sell for $356,000 (including BP) to a Southern private collector. The historic portrait had never before been offered at auction. Painted between 1803 and 1805, when Stuart had moved his studio to Washington, D.C., it had been almost exclusively in private hands, including a century in the Kinsman family since its purchase in 1817 by Philadelphia merchant Israel Kinsman. It is in a remarkable state of preservation, retaining its original stretcher and frame. Keno noted “Like the Diana Bronze, on a scale of one to ten, this masterwork by one of Federal America’s greatest artists rates a ten in terms of quality, rarity, condition and provenance. We are ecstatic but not surprised that it brought such a strong price.” The sale also included “Frankenstein” by…
- Press Release
New York – Leigh Keno’s October sale confirmed the strength of the modern and contemporary art market with sales totaling $1,200,000, exceeding the high end of the presale estimate of $650,000- $1,140,000. “With only 48 lots offered, the sell-rate was a healthy 80 per cent,” reported Leigh Keno. Telephone bidders and two determined bidders in the room battled it out for the top lot of the sale. One of the highest priced lot of the day was a Cindy Sherman photograph, Untitled Film Still #39 that sold for $191,000 (est. $80-120,000). This work had been given to Herkimer College in upstate New York in 1979 and was being sold to benefit the school’s scholarship fund. Keno noted: “We are grateful to Cindy Sherman for recently kindly signing and dating the work for us, assigning an edition number of “1/10”. A Marc Chagall glazed ceramic dish created in 1953 achieved $97,500, against a presale estimate of $25-50,000. “I was not surprised at the interest because it was a unique work by Chagall and not from a series,” remarked Keno. Ceramic works from the Madoura pottery by Pablo Picasso also did well, the best being a glazed terracotta plaque, “Visage de Femme Pomone”, 1968, that brought $20,000 (est. $7-10,000). Not surprising for Keno Auctions sale, there were a number of mid-20th century furniture in the auction, including a rare Gio Ponti lounge chair with original upholstery that came in over estimate at $43,750 (est. $15-30,000) and two Ponti sideboards that sold for $16,250 and $13,750, against estimates of $3-6,000. Rounding out the sale was a number of modern and contemporary paintings including: a Sam Francis monotype, which achieved $27,500 (est. $12-18,000); a James Brooks abstract from 1951 sold for $28,750 (est. $7-10,000); and a Gerhard Richter oil on canvas Vermalung, estimated at $10-20,000, was finally hammered down at $48,750.