Treadway-Toomey Galleries’ 20th Century Art & Design Auction Sets Record for Karl Schmidt Painting In a surprising twist, a Karl Schmidt triptych estimated at $6,000 to $8,000 stole the show when bidding escalated to achieve $120,000, a record price for this American painter’s work.
Camille Fauré created for Limoges are beyond compare. A bulbous Art Deco vase, which he had enameled in an involuted geometric design in red, yellow and white, reached $16,800, more than double estimates of $6,000 to $8,000. A superb example of his distinct style of entwining and overlapping shapes, the design’s cephalopod-like whorls were suggestive of colorful tentacles of an octopus tightly enveloping the vase.
Deer designs were noteworthy, especially a huge Keramis vase by Charles Catteau (1880-1966) that sold for $2,640 (est. $2,500-$3,500). His delightful design featured several majestic, cobalt blue deer with cerulean blue-spotted coats, and black antlers for the bucks. An NDSM (North Dakota School of Mines) bowl painted with stylized deer in a black and brown glaze reached $900 (est. $400-$600). A deer-adorned, circa 1920s Atelier Primavera vase with a thick green and white glaze fetched $720 ($600-$800). A circa 1920 Kashan rug with floral and deer designs achieved $2,400 (est. $300-$500).
Tiffany believed beauty could be found in utilitarian objects. Whether he would have deemed the Dirk van Erp wastebasket ‘beautiful’ is unknown. Even so, this sale did prove that one man’s trashcan is another’s $4,500 collectible. The Dirk van Erp wastebasket of woven willow, which featured hammered and riveted copper trim, was signed by the artist and estimated at $2,500 to $3,500. While the price tops the $2,200 an infamous executive reportedly paid for a gilt metal wastebasket, it’s still below the $7,050 that Treadway-Toomey Galleries achieved for another Dirk van Erp wastebasket in 1999.
Notable pieces in the modern realm included a 1940s Charles and Ray Eames LCW by Herman Miller that sold for $8,400, more than twice estimates of $3,000 to $3,500. Crafted of molded birch plywood, the chair was in its original red aniline-dyed finish. A pair of 1950s Eero Saarinen armchairs by Knoll with original oxblood leatherette upholstery fetched $850 (est. $500-$700). A duo of Harry Bertoia Diamond chairs constructed of chrome wire with original white vinyl seat pads, also by Knoll, sold for $2,640, well above estimates of $500 to $700.
Another of the most inventive chairs was a Shiro Kuramata design made by Vitra in 1999 and titled ‘How High the Moon,’ which sold for $5,400 (est. $3,500-$4,500). It was fashioned of nickel-plated metal with a clear epoxy finish.
Unconventional pieces by George Nakashima were also in demand, including a one-armed settee and a two-legged cabinet that was designed to be supported by another means on one side. The Nakashima Studio settee, which was made of cherry with one armrest, slats to the back and tapered legs, fetched $4,200 (est. $2,500-3,000). The George Nakashima open frame cabinet was walnut and sold for $1,560 (est. $600-$800). The rectangular form was 72 inches wide by 12 inches deep and stood 34-1/4 inches tall on the side that had legs.
The auction sold 95-percent of the more than 1,000 lots assembled from periods ranging from Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco to 1950s and Modern.