Large, long-held Miro artwork to lead Stephenson’s Oct. 30 Fine & Decorative Arts
SOUTHAMPTON, PA.- Philadelphia’s booming real estate market has had a welcome peripheral effect on Stephenson’s auction business over the summer, with daily house calls being the norm. “It’s a seller’s market, and many houses are selling right away. As a result, we’ve been called to many very nice homes to appraise and remove high-quality art and furnishings,” said Stephenson’s Auctioneers’ owner, Cindy Stephenson. The fruits of those visits to elegant homes throughout the Mid-Atlantic region will be featured in a 500-lot live gallery auction on Friday, October 30. Bidders may also participate by phone, absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. Social distancing and masks will be required both at the auction and preview.
A beautiful selection of fine art awaits bidders, starting with a large and outstanding Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983) artwork titled “Sculpture et Ceramics.” Miro created the work as the signature art for a June 1973 exhibition of his sculptures and ceramics at Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. It is an artist’s proof on Arches paper, hand-signed by Miro in pencil with the artist’s additional pencil notation “H.C.” (meaning Hors Commerce, or Not for Sale). Custom-framed, its size is 41½ by 31½ inches (33¾ by 23¾ inches sight). Note: Artists’ proofs are typically chosen by the artist to represent their personal pick from a series and often are kept in the artist’s personal collection, selected for display-only at an exhibition, or gifted to the publisher who printed a particular edition. The artwork in Stephenson’s auction has been owned by the consignor for 32 years and was purchased directly from Galerie Maeght (Paris) at their 1988 Joan Miro exhibition in Sydney, Australia. Its auction estimate is $6,000-$12,000.
The sale includes several family-held works from the estate of Davis Meltzer (Pennsylvania, 1929-2017), a noted National Geographics aerospace illustrator whose parents, Paulette van Roekens (French/American, 1895-1988) and Arthur Meltzer (American, 1893-1989), were acclaimed artists in their own right. Van Roekens excelled with pastels and oils, favoring still lifes and, later, landscapes; while her husband distinguished himself as an excellent painter of landscapes, especially scenes of Bucks and Berks Counties in Pennsylvania, and Mystic, Connecticut. A lovely oil-on-canvas by van Roekens, titled “Street View in Newport, Rhode Island,” is entered in the auction with a $6,000-$10,000 estimate, while Arthur Meltzer’s oil-on-canvas landscape titled “Along the Mystic River,” is estimated at $2,000-$3,500. Several Davis Meltzer illustrations carry estimates ranging from $300-$800.
A circa-1859 James Abbott McNeill Whistler (American, 1834-1903) etching and drypoint on cream-colored paper, titled “Soupe a Trois, Sous W27” is a self-depiction of an alert Whistler in a French restaurant surrounded by several gentlemen catching a nap after lunch. Pencil-signed/titled by the artist, it is estimated at $800-$1,200. Other notable fine art includes a Charles Gruppe (Canadian/American, 1860-1940) oil-on-canvas titled “At Voorburg,” depicting a Dutch winter village scene, $2,000-$4,000; a Bonnie MacLean (American, 1939-2020) oil-on-linen painting of a seated nude, titled “Butterfly,” estimate $1,000-$2,000; and a Red Grooms (American, b. 1937-), die-cut lithograph collage titled “Subway Riders,” from the “8 Contemporary Artists Celebrate Their City” series, estimate $1,000-$2,000.
Seventy lots of silver, including English (George III), American, Irish and Russian pieces, were sourced primarily from a Center City Philadelphia estate and a Montgomery County (metro Philadelphia) estate. As many as 10 sets of sterling silver flatware are included. A Georg Jensen sterling silver flatware service for 12 in the classic “Acorn” pattern is estimated at $2,000-$3,000. Additional Jensen silver serving pieces, cobalt-enameled salt cellars and individual pepper pots will be offered as separate lots. Other highlights include Alan Adler midcentury sterling flatware and a Cristofle silverplate service for 12 in the “Triad” pattern, $1,000-$1,500.
More than 120 fine jewelry lots, mostly gold, will be auctioned. A stunning suite consisting of an 18K gold, amethyst and diamond 19-inch-long necklace with earrings has a $1,200-$2,500 target, while a pair of 14K gold lion-motif cufflinks could reach $500-$800.
An abundance of mid-century modern furniture features high-quality designs by the most coveted names of the period. A super-stylish Tommi Parzinger for Parzinger Originals Chinese red lacquer sideboard should have no trouble achieving $5,000-$10,000. Another sideboard, created in the 1960s by Adrian Pearson, is offered with a $1,000-$2,000 estimate, as is the matching, wall-mounted “disc” bar, which will be sold separately.
A pair of gray Charles Eames and Saarinen mid-century ‘vitra’ organic high-back chairs are cloth-upholstered, stand on black ashwood legs, and retain their original labels. Estimate for the pair: $1,000-$2,000. Other mid-century seating of collector interest is the set of six Mies van der Rohe for Knoll “MR” lounge chairs. Each has a chrome tubular frame with lace-strapped leather backs and seats. More frequently seen in black leather, the set to be auctioned was manufactured from brownish-tan natural leather. Estimate for the set of six: $1,200-$2,500. Also, an Ethan Allen 8 by 12ft woven black leather rug is suggested by Stephenson’s as a very nice “go-with” for mid-century furniture.
Other auction highlights include seven old musical instruments, led by a restored 1880-1890 C.F. Martin six-string acoustic guitar, $5,000-$7,000, and vintage Holton French horn, $1,000-$1,500; Chinese export porcelain, Lalique glass, and numerous antique smalls, including an unusual 14K gold and scrimshaw horn-shape snuff mull, ex Perry Pfeffer estate, $500-$1,000. Two painted gesso-over-wood cigar store figures – a 6ft 2in Indian chief and 6ft Indian princess – are of circa 1920s/’30s vintage. Each is estimated at $1,500-$3,000.
Stephenson’s Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 Fall Fine & Decorative Arts Auction will be held live at the company’s gallery, starting at 1 p.m. ET. Alternatively, bid absentee, by phone, or live online through LiveAuctioneers. Goods may be inspected at the gallery on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 3-6 p.m., or on auction day from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Stephenson’s Auctioneers’ gallery is located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton (Bucks County, metro Philadelphia) PA 18966. For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail [email protected]