Bonhams has sold William Morris’ 1995 “Sable Antelope Canopic Jar” for $290,500, an outstanding price which more than tripled its pre-auction estimate and set a world record price for a work of art by the artist at auction. A highlight of Dr Anthony Terrana’s heralded collection of Contemporary Studio Glass, Bonhams offered the masterwork on June 14 in the 20th Century Decorative Arts auction. Awash in glowing orange/red hues and made of hand-blown glass, the extraordinary four-foot high jar features a superbly rendered antelope head and horns atop an elongated vase form decorated with frolicking antelopes. A private American buyer acquired the piece after a fierce bidding war.
“Dr Terrana acquired the Canopic Jar directly from William Morris after an intensive search,” explained Frank Maraschiello, Bonhams Vice President and Director of 20th Century Decorative Arts. “We’re so pleased to have set a world record for the artist with this incredibly important work.”
All of the William Morris works from the Terrana collection performed extremely well. The artist’s 2001 “Zhejiang Man” sold for $206,500 and his “Lechwe Situla” from 2000 realized $60,000. The results are sure to cement Bonhams reputation as the premier international auction house for the ever popular field of Contemporary Studio Glass. Since 2007, Bonhams has held the world record for highest auction price achieved for a single work of Contemporary Studio Glass at $480,000, for Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova’s monumental “Green Eye of the Pyramid.”
The June 14 auction was dominated by US bidders, although the UK, Europe, Russia and East Asia were all represented. Bidding was near equally split between attendees, telephone bidders and those participating online. The top ten lots were primarily acquired by clients on the phone, with key pieces going to those in the room.
A private New York collection of Art Nouveau lithographs by the master illustrator Alphonse Mucha also proved popular. Selling for $62,500, Mucha’s 1896 “Four Seasons” was the collection’s top lot. Depicted with characteristic flair, “Four Seasons” was Mucha’s first series of decorative panels and one of his most sought after works.
“Mucha created some of the late 19th century’s most enduring graphics,” noted Beth Vilinsky, Bonhams 20th Century Decorative Arts Senior Specialist. “Bidding from around the globe was spirited, and we’re so pleased that the vast majority of pieces from this distinguished private collection have found new homes.”
Additional notable highlights included a 1947 suite of eight Pierre Bobot lacquered and gold leaf panels from New York’s Roseland Ballroom that more than tripled its pre-auction estimate to sell for $68,500 and a Gallé fruitwood-marquetry inlaid mahogany Dragonfly Étagère, circa 1900, that soared past its estimate to realize $48,750.
Bonhams next New York auction of 20th Century Decorative Arts will take place in December.