Irving Penn Prints, Original Art by Winfred Rembert, and More at Brunk Auctions

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This May, Brunk Auctions will present its Premier Auction with nearly 400 lots of fine art, decorative art, furniture, Asian works of art, and more. This event especially features a dyed leather piece by Winfred Rembert and a platinum palladium print by Irving Penn. The sale will take place on May 19, 2023 with online bidding available through Bidsquare. 

Leading this auction is Winfred Rembert’s The Laughing Barrel, a dye on carved and tooled leather work that will be sold in a black metal frame (lot #685; estimate: USD 150,000 – $250,000). A Black American self-taught artist, Rembert captured the stories and reality of the Jim Crow South through his work. Rembert served time in prison and hard labor before surviving a near-lynching in Georgia in 1967. He barely escaped with his life and later spoke openly about his experiences. Many of his artworks, including the available piece, revive scenes from the artist’s memory and offer stark commentary on segregated American culture. In The Laughing Barrel, a Black family is shown gathered around a wood barrel. White townspeople and police officers surround them, and signs reading “White Only” and “Colored” are visible in the background. 

The offered print from Irving Penn is a black-and-white photo of American fashion model Jean Patchett for the April 1950 cover of Vogue (lot #800; estimate: $80,000 – $120,000). This print was executed in 1974. Penn’s photographs are notable for their clean lines, symmetry, and innovative use of black and white. The artist also had a firm grasp on advertising and editorial showmanship from his long tenure at Vogue. This 1950 cover was designed to be eye-catching with its striking composition and use of negative space. Another notable photographic work in the catalog is Alfred Stieglitz’s The Steerage from 1907 (lot #798; estimate: $20,000 – $30,000). This large-format photogravure on vellum shows immigrants gathered on two decks of a ship. 

Beyond fine art, this sale will feature a rare engraved glass presentation tumbler attributed to John Frederick Amelung (lot #702; estimate: $30,000 – $50,000). This late-18th-century glass was likely produced by the New Bremen Glass manufactory of Frederick County, Maryland. It bears the name “Washington” and is one of only a few known tumblers of this type. 

Other lots of interest in this sale include: 

  • A map of South Carolina from 1780, published in London by William Faden (lot #671; estimate: $15,000 – $25,000) 
  • A rare Charleston Federal inlaid mahogany and satinwood card table (lot #646; estimate: $10,000 – $15,000) 
  • A monumental Zia polychrome storage jar from the early 20th century (lot #773; estimate: $6,000 – $8,000) 
  • Assorted paintings of birds by Italian artist Athos Menaboni (estimate: $6,000 – $8,000 each) 
  • A collection of seven foreign gold coins (lot #875; estimate: $2,000 – $3,000) 

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Brunk Auctions has been conducting sales of fine and decorative arts for over 30 years. Auctions are held in the company’s North Carolina sale room and attract a global audience. Founded by Robert Brunk in 1983, the auction house now employs a full-time staff of nearly 30 specialists with over 100 years of combined experience. Bob brought to bear his experience as an anthropologist, writer, and professional woodworker, an unmistakable combination of skills that continue to illuminate catalog entries and elucidate auction-goers. He is now a valued consultant and continues as auctioneer. Andrew Brunk joined his father in 2005. His curatorial experience has brought additional focus on research and connoisseurship. Andrew Brunk’s experience as the head of the American furniture department at one of the world’s largest auction houses has allowed Brunk Auctions to continually align itself with the best in the business. The firm values connoisseurship, customer service, transparency, and stellar results for both buyers and sellers.

The upcoming Premier Auction at Brunk Auctions will begin on May 19, 2023 at 9:00 AM EDT. To view the complete catalog and to place a bid, visit Bidsquare.

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