VICTORIAN COLLECTORS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY VIE FOR RARE POTTIER AND STYMUS DINING SUITE AT CLARS J Oakland, CA — While July can routinely a quiet month for auctions, this was not the case at Clars Sunday, July 15th, 2012 sale which saw spirited bidding from major Victorian collectors worldwide on a
News-Antique.com - Jul 23,2012 - Oakland, CA — While July can routinely a quiet month for auctions, this was not the case at Clars Sunday, July 15th, 2012 sale which saw spirited bidding from major Victorian collectors worldwide on a rare Pottier & Stymus, NY dining suite. The sale, which earned over $600,000, also saw strong results in the modern and contemporary fine art that was offered and jewelry did exceptionally well. The July 2012 sale was the second highest earning July sale in the firms history.
Turning first to the Pottier & Stymus dining suite which was executed in 1874 for the A.A. Cohen Estate, Fernside Mansion, in Alameda (CA), this suite was comprised of the table with all its leaves, twelve chairs that retained their original leather embossed backs and the marble-top sideboard which was designed to hold all the table leaves. Held privately for over 125 years, this American Renaissance Revival work of art was saved from the mansion’s devastating fire in 1897 by the Cohen family. It was then passed on to the Rena A. Paul family where it remained until it came to auction at Clars on July 15th. Originally created for the staggering sum of $300,000 in 1874, the presale estimate on this suite was $10,000 to $20,000. “It was very exciting,” reported Deric Torres, Director of Furnishings and Decorative Arts for Clars, “to see the biggest buyers in the country vie for this rare offering.” In the end, it came down to a battle between a Michigan collector and a Missouri Collector. Battling to the end, the “Show Me’ state lost to the Michigan collector who bought this piece of American history and design for $23,700.
Another exceptional offering of American history in furniture design, coming form the Gold Rush era, was an impressive American Neo Grec bedroom suite attributed to Herter Bros. N.Y., 1875. This bedroom suite was part of the Harrah’s Pony Express Museum Collection until 1976. Once again, collectors country-wide participated in the bidding but it was finally sold to a young San Francisco collector for $11,850.
Over the past few auctions, Clars has had the honor of representing unaccessioned lots from the Honolulu Museum of Art. In July, a 17th century style reproduction suit of armor from this collection sold for an impressive $8,888. Provenance of this lot, combined with the quality of craftsmanship, drove this lot well over its high estimate of $2,000.
Rounding out the top sellers in Decorative Arts was a late 18th century pair of Continental giltwood carved and polychrome decorated figural sculptures. Selling for nicely within estimate, this lot went for $7,110.
The fine art category also performed very well. “Prices realized on the modern and contemporary works offered indicate this market remains strong,” commented Shannon Bonifas, Fine Art Specialist at Clars.
Man Sitting on Quilted Bed, 1949 by contemporary artist Claude Howell (American, 1915-1997) was the top seller in the art offerings selling nicely for $15, 405. Howell is regarded as the most important painter of native North