News-Antique.com - Nov 21,2011 - CLOSTER, N.J. – When Sterling Associates conducts its inaugural Fall Estates Sale on Dec. 3, bidders from around the world will have the chance to experience what may very well be the future of the auction business – a format that company owner Stephen D’Atri calls the “hybrid auction.”
“All of the bidding will be done absentee, over the phone or via the Internet, but we’re very much a permanent brick-and-mortar company where anyone can come in to inspect the goods,” said D’Atri. “It will be run exactly like a live auction, but without a live audience.”
D’Atri said the idea behind Sterling Associates developed organically, after many years of working with his family’s antique lighting business, followed by the establishment of a very successful business of his own. Over a 22-year period, D’Atri’s Sterling Restoration and Antique D’zynes grew from a one-man operation in a 1,000-sq.-ft. venue to a company with 15 employees headquartered in a 17,000-square-foot building.
As a major restorer of antiques and metalwork known to just about everyone in Bergen County’s antiques trade and well beyond, D’Atri had his finger on the pulse of what was happening in the marketplace. He felt something was missing in the region where he had lived all his life.
“I felt there was a void in my area for auction houses specializing in estates,” D’Atri said. “With the boomer generation coming into retirement age and needing to downsize, many retirees were discovering that auction houses available to them wanted only the highest-end merchandise. But it’s not all about van Goghs and Picassos; it’s also about everything else in a house. The same house where we found some wonderful Old Master paintings also had Danish Modern furniture. That’s how people live. Our goal is to be the friendly, diversified auction house that handles a variety of fresh to the market antiques.”
D’Atri’s hybrid-auction concept will become reality on Dec. 3 with a high-quality 450-lot sale of fine and decorative art, including Modern and Asian; furniture, French and Russian bronzes, and other antiques from estates throughout the Northeast.
A nicely varied selection of artworks includes approximately 40 oil paintings and another 40 to 50 watercolors and lithographs. A beautiful Pietro Fragiacomo (Italian, 1856-1922) oil on canvas depicting two women at the shore is estimated at $6,000-$8,000; while a lively Nicholas Wassilievitch Orloff (Russian, 1863-?) winter landscape with troika is entered with a $2,000-$3,000 estimate. The sale also features a modern art section. A 1977 Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008) offset lithograph poster on wove paper is titled Ace, November, Venice USA. Its estimate is $2,000-$3,000.
Sculptures are led by a large Auguste Moreau (1834-1917) patinated bronze of a woman, est. $6,000-$8,000; and a 19th century bronze troika by Vasily Yakovlevich Grachev (Russian, 1831-1905). Described by Stephen D’Atri as “small but very fine,” the 10˝-inch-long Grachev bronze is expected to make $4,000-$6,000. A Luca Madrassi (French, 1848-1919) dore and silvered bronze nymph on a conch shell stands 30 inches tall and carries a presale