Fanciful Designs Draw Fantastic Prices at Treadway-Toomey Galleries’ 20th Century Art Auction A Teco vase in ingenious, flowing design by Fritz Albert was the event's pièce de résistance that commanded the top price of $78,000, surpassing pre-sale estimates of $45,000-65,000.
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - Oak Park, Ill. -- Like the flawlessly executed moves of a world-class athlete, exceptional design is distinctive in the way that it flows with such power, grace and seemingly effortless motion. An overwhelming number of imaginative pieces were in this league at Treadway-Toomey Galleries’ 20th Century Art & Design Auction this past fall on Sept. 11 in Oak Park, Ill. An ingenious, flowing Teco vase design by Fritz Albert was the pièce de résistance that commanded the top price of $78,000, surpassing estimates of $45,000-65,000.
A marvel of engineering in clay, the 18.5-inch high Teco was an organic form featuring numerous long leaves swirling around its lower half. While these fronds were shaped like those of tulips, the silvery-green matte glaze evoked the wooly look of lamb’s ear leaves.
“This Teco vase is a stunner,” Elaine Levin, author of THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN CERAMICS, said. “It reminds me of pictures of women during the 1920s in the dresses they wore when they went night club dancing. The suggestion of movement at the base is similar to the way those dresses moved to music and is delightful. I wish I had a photo of that one when I wrote my book. It would have added lots more pizzazz.”
All ten Teco pieces in the sale sold well within or above estimates, including an uncommon candelabrum by William Day Gates with his signature green matte glaze that brought $7,200 (est. $2500-3500).
Fanciful designs with dragons, sea serpents, sea horses and shells flourished. Oscar Bach’s dragon-headed, scrolled ironwork table base with black marble top fetched $5,400, five times its estimated $800-1000. An exquisite Oscar Bach mirror brought $2,400, twice estimates of $900-1200. Encased in a bronze, reticulated design, it was accentuated with a splendid, swirled sea horse replete with curled paws and a prehensile tail. George Ohr’s teapot in a mottled green, brown and black glaze with a serpent on the top sold for $2,280 (est. $1000-2000).
A striking black and green Norse vase in a footed form bedecked with two serpentine beings attained $1,080 (est. $1000-2000). These creatures were a mysterious hybrid with a regal, lioness-like head, a scaled, plated lizard torso, elfin arms with padded feline paws, and a curvy reptilian tail. A rare G. H. Lantman lizard sculpted of copper and dated 1927 brought $1,800, six times its estimated $200-300. A bronze Wurth seashell tray with a 5-inch tall sea horse hovering on its edge reached $510 (est. $250-350). Edward Wormley’s shell console made in the 1940s by Dunbar brought $3,600, more than double its estimated $1000-1500. Its pine base was carved in the ribbed, fan-shape of a giant scallop shell. “Sea Horse,” a circa 1940 acquarelle on paper by Germany’s Baron Ernst von Maydell (b. 1884), achieved $2,520, twice its estimated $800-1200.
In the arts and crafts furniture realm, several rare Gustav Stickley designs fared well, especially his magnificent Harvey Ellis-influenced pieces in maple with inlaid woods and pewter design details. The chest on chest brought $28,800 (est. $20,000-25,000)