JULIA’S ANNOUNCES LARGEST SUMMER SALE TO DATE WITH OVER $5 MILLION IN ANTIQUES & FINE ART

. August 11, 2012

Fairfield, ME ~ August 21-24, 2012. For over two decades James D. Julia, Inc. has marked the end of summer with the biggest and best antique & fine art auction in the state of Maine. Numbering over 3,000 lots with an expected gross of approximately $5 million, this will be their largest and most diverse summer antiques auction to date. Over a four day period, bidders will be treated to a massive selection of American & European paintings, folk art, Asian antiques and art, silver, historical documents and letters, and fine antiques of every kind.

Day I starts things off with approximately 725 paintings highlighted in part by an outstanding and large oil on canvas scene by Daniel Ridgway Knight of a young provincial woman standing in a lush flower garden by a low stone wall. Julia’s has sold two similar works by this artist in auctions past. A favored motif for the artist and very popular among collectors, this work is expected to fetch $225,000-275,000. A large interior scene by Abbott Fuller Graves depicting two young women sitting at a table covered in flowers making arrangements is a lovely work and comes fresh to the market with a presale estimate of $25,000-50,000.

Also fresh to the market and a rare opportunity are three works by Maine artist Marsden Hartley. Precious few of his works tend to surface as the whereabouts of a good number of his works is unknown. In fact, this will be the first time in over ten years that a work by Hartley has come to market. The tragic artist who would frequently live a hand to mouth existence did not have an easy go and was not fully appreciated until after his death. From the renowned collection of Chris Huntington, the trio includes a colorful oil on board coastal scene of waves crashing against a rocky cliff in the hazy afternoon sun. It comes estimated for $30,000-40,000.

This joins several marvelous works by Rockport-Gloucester and other American artists, numerous bronzes, as well as a variety of European paintings. A stunning oil on canvas portrait of George Third Earl of Ashburnham by British artist John Hoppner is the mate to the portrait of Lady Charlotte Percy, Countess of Ashburnham, which Julia’s sold in February 2010. This painting pictures him in stately robes with a look of arrogance befitting his station, standing in front of an arched window that is draped with a rich red curtain. It comes estimated for $20,000-40,000.

The focus of much of Day II is on a vast array of folk art in a variety of genres including over 30 weathervanes. An important example from the second half of the 19th Century depicting the Goddess of Liberty should garner much attention. Attributed to Cushing and White and modeled after a design by A.L. Jewell, she stands wearing a bonnet with a laurel wreath and holds an American flag with pierced stars all with marvelous verdigris patina and a worn gilt finish. From a private Maine collection, it comes with an estimate of $25,000-35,000. A Cushing and White weathervane in the form of a full bodied standing stag carries a $10,000-20,000 estimate.

Other items of interest include a monumental, larger than life 32” presentation American stoneware advertising jug from the Ottman Brothers & Co. It was created to be presented to their top sales dealer, which at the time was Warren & Wood. This trophy would have been used as an advertising statement in their office or store window and showcased the company’s exceptional talent. Consigned directly from an Ottman family descendent, it comes estimated for $85,000-125,000. An important J.W. Fiske cast iron and zinc 9 foot garden fountain featuring a cast figure of King Neptune supported by three dolphins being ridden by cherubs comes from an inn in Cherry Valley, New York in the mid-20th century. It hits the block with a $10,000-15,000 estimate. An important pair of abalone mirrors by Bishara Zughbi & Sons are nearly identical in construction with minor differences in detail elements. The oval mirror plates are set within a conforming pierced surround embellished with flowers set on scrolling vinery and stepped borders in the Venetian taste. Having a look of simulated marble overlaid with various floral rosettes, the pair comes with a presale estimate of $15,000-25,000. And an unusual cast brass ankle shackle from Northern Sudan (now Liberia), purported to have been placed on a Kpelle chief’s first or favored wife carries with it an estimate of $7,500-10,000.

A 1754 hand colored edition of an exceedingly rare book by Louis Renard is a brilliant and vibrant folio of fantastic images presented as life drawings of deep sea fish ala James Audubon, but to the modern mind looks more like surrealistic drug-induced hallucinations. Believed to be one of only 34 known to exist (only five of which reside in North America) this spectacular object carries an estimate of $20,000-40,000. Another book, the first English translation of the Holy Bible commissioned by King James in 1611 and known as the “She Bible” for its correction of a typo found in Ruth 3:15 in an earlier version is expected to reach $15,000-25,000.

A mammoth consignment from the Harp House in coastal Camden, Maine is sure to impress with such offerings as over 200 pieces of Staffordshire and Historical Staffordshire, approximately 200 pieces of Majolica, 25 ship models and dioramas, paintings, and collection of approximately 100 Black Forest carvings. Seldom does one see so many examples in one place at one time, so this is indeed a rare opportunity. Collectors will be delighted by a selection of carvings both large and small that includes a rare carved bear combination plant stand and card holder. It comes estimated for $2,000-3,000. Also carrying expectations of $2,000-3,000 is a large Black Forest hall tree featuring a mother bear looking up at her cub that has gotten stuck in the tree branches above, within which a shield shaped mirror is mounted among the carved branches. In addition to the traditional bear carvings are also such pieces as a magnificent carved Black Forest shelf clock featuring a full bodied stag rendered with glass eyes, appearing alert for potential predators. It is expected to sell for $2,000-4,000. Other carved wood objects include tobacconist figures such as an outstanding carved and painted Native American maiden wearing a feather headdress with a bundle of cigars and a flower in her hands enticing patrons to enter the smoke shop. A captivating example, it comes estimated for $7,000-10,000.

The day continues with a selection of nautical paintings like Antonio Jacobsen’s portrait of the Laomene done during the artist’s finest period showing the three-mast schooner cutting through the choppy green waters. It weighs in with a $15,000-20,000 estimate. This segment also includes ivory, chronometers, accessories, and items with a maritime connection. The most significant and fascinating lot of this session is a treasure in the literal sense that was one of the most noteworthy losses of the 17th century and one of the most noteworthy finds of the 20th century. In 1622, the Spanish ship Nuestra Señora de Atocha, part of a fleet of ships laden with gold, silver, and personal treasures, along with armored war galleons hit a reef off the Florida Keys during a hurricane and sunk. The fleet was scattered over a fifty-mile area, losing eight ships in all and nearly half the men aboard. A salvage mission shortly thereafter recovered much of the sister ships’ cargo, but efforts to recover the Atocha were met with another hurricane. The cargo was scattered even further and efforts were abandoned. Fast-forward more than 300 years when a group of wealthy investors led by Mel Fisher banded to revive the search. They worked for nearly a decade and a half before finally finding the Atocha’s remains in 1985 and of course the tons of gold and other precious metal, much of which had become fused and encrusted with the re-growth of coral. Over the next several years, portions of the treasure were separated, cleaned and sold off or distributed in some fashion. This auction contains an as-found fused cluster of three gold bars and a long gold chain encrusted in coral consigned by one of the original investors. Weighing in at over 115 troy ounces, the intrinsic value alone is worth the price of admission. Add to that its historic value and a little “wow factor” for good measure, and this lot could very well surpass its presale expectations of $150,000-200,000. This lot is joined by several non-encrusted coins from the same collection as well as numerous desirable American gold coins not associated with the Atocha for the numismatist.

Other historical items include an original hand drawn map of Norfolk, Virginia. Referred to as the “Samuel Boush Plan of 1762” the pen and watercolor on sheepskin, it showed the proposed development of the borough of Norfolk. Descended directly through the Boush family, this map was on loan to the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk from 1945 to 2012. It now comes fresh to the market with a $15,000-25,000 estimate. An important six page letter signed by renowned composer Richard Wagner dated February 5, 1885. The letter, in German but accompanied by English translations, concerns a number of topics including the impending visit of his wife, various performances and successes, marking the completion of the Walkure, and giving an account of Schopenhauer’s life and his philosophy. Considered one of the finest of its type in existence, it comes estimated for $5,000-10,000. The auction continues with other letters and documents relating to such notables as Louis XIV, Louis XVI, President Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, and others.

A historical item of an entirely different nature is the actual taxidermy horse’s head used during the rehearsals and filming of the 1970s Oscar winner, “The Godfather”. The scene is considered by most to be the most notorious and grisly scene in the film in which studio boss Jack Woltz finds the severed head of his favorite thoroughbred in his bed. This scene follows one of the most remembered and oft repeated lines in movie history when Don Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, states “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” In discussions with Paramount, it has been determined that this head was ordered by the prop department and used during rehearsals, but Coppola didn’t feel it was realistic looking enough for the final filming. As a result, a real horse’s head was secured from a New Jersey dog food plant and used for the scene. Upon completion of the scene, this second head was immediately given to the SPCA for disposal as there was controversy regarding its use. Acquired from a former employee of Paramount Studios, it now comes with an estimate you can’t refuse of $10,000-20,000.

Much of Days III and IV will be devoted to Asian art. Julia’s new department head of Asian arts, Mr. James Callahan, a well known and respected expert on the subject, has assembled an outstanding array of objects including approximately 1,200 lots of Asian art and artifacts including portions of the collections of P.Y. Wang, which includes pieces ex-Eu Tong Sen and Jenny Eu collections. This auction also contains selections from other collections comprising a virtual cornucopia of both quality and quantity. Bidders will be treated to over 100 scrolls, over 400 pieces of jade, over 200 pieces of ivory including netsukes, paintings, Peking glass, cinnabar, needlework screens, 18th and 19th century Chinese & Japanese silver, and much more.

Julia’s has quite a history with handling items of extreme rarity and desirability. A few such instances relate to previous offerings of elegant and elaborate ceremonial libation cups made from rhinoceros horns. These horns are highly sought after in certain Asian circles for their professed medicinal qualities. This sale will feature not one, not two, but three of these rare horn cups, highlighted by a 17th/18th century example which has a deeply carved relief scene of a mountainous landscape. It is expected to sell for $150,000-225,000. Other rarities include a unique jade composition lamp attributed to Edward I. Farmer. The shade consists of four white jade immortals set within gilt carved scrolling floral framework. It rests on a figural jade base and topped with a jade finial of an adult and child. Once housed in the collection of the one and only Edsel Ford it comes estimated for $20,000-30,000.

China trade and export porcelain are highlighted in part by a marvelous double gourd shaped covered jar from the Tao Quang period (1821-1850). A brilliant lemon yellow background is decorated with stylized lotus flowers and further enhanced by traditional enamel scenes in vignette across the body with applied with two jeweled red curved scepter handles. It carries a presale estimate of $15,000-20,000. Trade items include an unsigned oil on canvas scene from the mid 1800s of Hong Kong. The island and busy port comprise the background with several British and American ships anchored in the harbor as well as Chinese ships and boats dotting the foreground. It is expected to bring $30,000-50,000.

From another corner of Asia’s vast continent are two unique and magnificent highly detailed embroidered silk work tapestries that were ten years in the making. Privately commissioned, they were originally on display at the Ivory Palace, a commercial outlet in Delhi, India. The first is a rendering of the Taj Mahal and surrounding gardens done in gold and polychrome thread enhanced by jeweled flowers and highlights set with 10 sapphires, 680 emeralds, and 1,070 rubies. The second is a relief tapestry done in the same fashion of a sacred white peacock perched on a tree branch above a water landscape. The long flowing tail is set with 72 large emerald cabochons of varying sizes, totaling approximately 3,000 carats. This is all within an elaborate arabesque floral border with each flower centered with alternating rubies and opals (nearly 80 in all). At the personal request of Indira Ghandi, these monumental pieces were later placed on exhibition at the pavilion of India during the 1967 International Exhibition in Montreal, Canada. They now come to Julia’s auction block estimated for $50,000-100,000 and $40,000-60,000, respectively.

While relating to a Brit, several pieces from a grouping of items in this auction once belonging to Colonel Sir Hugh Richard Deare Oldman, actually originated from his service in Asia. Oldman served as Secretary of Defense for the Sultanate of Oman, late British Army, and Commander of the Sultan’s Armed Forces. He was awarded many medals for his military service dating from the 1930s into the 1970s, which are being offered here, but none so significant as The Order of Oman, the highest honor bestowed by the Sultan. This series of 18K gold medals with enameled decoration, along with his other medals, important photographs of momentous occasions, certificates, an oil portrait of the Colonel, prints, etc. will be offered with a presale estimate of $50,000-70,000.

Back in the States, a couple most unusual items present still more singular buying opportunities. An outstanding near record polar bear rug harvested in Alaska in 1959 is the third largest ever shot and recorded in history at the time. Captured by Dr. Richard White while on a hunting expedition with Colonel Philip Neuweiler, it measures 95” from nose to tail and 95” from front paw to front paw. Harvested before the laws banning such activity, it is legal to sell and transport. It comes with a presale estimate of $4,000-6,000. Another trophy that not too many people will see in their lifetime is an extremely rare life-size mount of a 10-point albino buck deer. In nature, because of the disadvantage of their color and lack of camouflage, they rarely grow to maturity as this one did. Set within a three-sided display case decorated as a simulated natural environment, it carries a presale estimate of $2,000-4,000.

The auction is rounded out by over 75 lots of silver including 7 tea sets, 15 flatware sets, hollow ware, and even some early silver such as a coin silver spoon by renowned patriot and silversmith Paul Revere that is expected to sell for $3,000-5,000. An outstanding pair of coin silver sauce boats with under trays by Thomas Fletcher (ca. 1820) carries an estimate of $15,000-20,000.

A selection of jewelry includes an exquisite 18kt gold lady’s double diamond ring set with two Old Mine cut diamonds weighing 3.25ct and 3.40ct. It comes with an estimate of $30,000-50,000. A Tiffany & Co. gold, platinum and diamond brooch set with 23 diamonds totaling approximately 6.45ct in the form of a crescent is elegant beyond words. Having descended through the family of the original owner who received it as a gift in 1903, it is expected to bring $8,000-12,000.

More information on the Julia auction can be obtained by going to their website at www.jamesdjulia.com or calling 207-453-7125. Free full-color brochures are available, or their lavish, full-color, detailed and illustrated catalogs are available for $40 apiece for Sessions I and II (and the first part of Session III) and a separate catalog for the Asian artifacts in Sessions III & IV. Both volumes can be purchased for $75. Previews for the auctions will be Monday, August 20 from 9am-5pm, Tuesday through Friday from 8-10 am before the auction and 12-5pm during the auction sessions. The auction commences at 10am on the days of the sale at Julia’s auction facilities on Rt. 201 in Fairfield, Maine.

Category: Auction News

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