Springing Forward: Strong Sales at John Moran Auctioneers’ March 12, 2013 Antiques & Fine Arts Aucti • Nearly 500 lots offered up at the block
• Sell-through rate of 86% signals strong market for Continental fine and decorative arts
• Carefully edited selection of European paintings attracts eager
bulk of the sale. These also achieved very strong results, as buyers recognized the consistently high quality of the offerings. The afternoon’s first lot, a pair of small gilt-bronze-mounted grey granite urns, set the pace, promptly selling for double the high estimate (price realized: $2040). A short time after, a massive 19th century silvered-bronze figural centerpiece, measuring forty inches wide and weighing untold pounds, the boat-shaped body adorned in baronial style with ship’s prow-form ends and four different fully modeled allegorical figures, created quite a stir. At the end of a protracted tug-of-war between telephone and internet bidders, the spoils went to a very determined floor bidder for $54,000 (estimate: 20,000 - $30,000), the highest price of the sale.
An unusually large number of bronze sculptures, urns and centerpieces contributed to the bidders’ thirst for battle. Of these, to name just a few, a pair of patinated and gilt bronze vases by Parisian master sculptor and artist August Moreau, initially estimated to find a buyer between $1500 and $2500, brought $3300, and a large French bronze figure of a maiden by Mathurin Moreau earned $8400 at the block, well over the estimated $2500 - $3500. A pair of gilt and patinated bronze ewers, each relief-decorated with a frieze of cherubs in playful pursuits, danced to a sale price of $5,100 (estimate: $2500 – 3500).
Continental furniture offerings included an elaborately carved 18th century North Italian walnut cassone attracted intense attention. Deaccessioned from the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens and sold to benefit its collections and programs, the marriage chest achieved a healthy price of $10,200 (estimate: $2000 – 3000). Also hailing from the Huntington was a set of English carved pine room paneling with a magnificent mantle featuring a canopy, designed by late 17th century French architect and engraver Daniel Marot. The breathtaking craftsmanship fomented competitive bidding between telephone bidders, realizing an excellent price of $42,000 (estimate: $10,000 - $15,000).
Fine glass and crystal from the 19th up to the late 20th century made a glittering counterpoint to the heavy furniture and bronzes, highlighted by several pieces of antique Baccarat. One such item, a silvered and gilt-bronze-mounted cut crystal center bowl with fully modeled dancing cherubs gracing each end was estimated at $3000 - $5000, but inspired a frenzy of bidding to achieve a price of $10,200. More putti perched atop a 19th century Bohemian etched yellow glass and gilt-bronze centerpiece, their flute-playing charming bidders along to a selling price of $6000 (estimate: $2000 - $3000). A Russian silver-mounted cut-glass center bowl, made in the late 19th century by Erik August Kollin (1836 – 1901 St. Petersburg), also seduced buyers, selling for $3,981.25 (estimate: $1500 – 2000).
Another Russian piece led the array of silver offerings from around the world. An Imperial era Russian tea set, finely detailed in cloisonné enamel with delicate shading to each flower petal and leaf, was made in Moscow by Maria Semenova (active 1899 – 1908), who worked for only a short time