Winter Sale of Fine Furniture Brings More than $1.4-million at Bonhams & Butterfields

By the close of the December 3, 2007 Furniture and Decorative Arts auction at Bonhams & Butterfields in Los Angeles, collectors and connoisseurs had been offered a global array of antiques and works of art for all tastes and collecting levels — from ancient Roman times through the 20th century.

The December sale was added to the calendar to accommodate the volume of quality property finding its way to Bonhams & Butterfields. It was a smaller sale than the norm, featuring 490-lots of English, French and Italian furnishings, Russian silver and enamel, decorative garden ornaments, and property from private collections, estates and institutions worldwide.

“The winter sale was perfectly timed for holiday buyers,” said Andrew Jones, Director of the European Furniture and Decorative Arts Department, “appealing to every taste and collecting level. Dynamic bidding from Southern California residents was augmented by participation from other parts of the United States and Europe.”

He continued: “The sale was well received by our clients both old and new. We continue to garner robust prices for French, English, Italian and other European works, with competitive bidding for high-caliber, rare and unusual examples.”

The top lot of the December Fine European Furniture auction at Bonhams & Butterfields was a stately pair of 19th century variegated marble busts of Roman emperors on marble columnar pedestals. Each figure was sculpted with a curly beard, with one emperor’s head turned slightly left, the other looking to the right. Estimated to bring $20,000 to $30,000, the carvings sold above estimate for $42,000.

The market for 19th century French Furniture, according to auction house specialists, is strong in Los Angeles and across the country. An example of this can be seen in a Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted amboyna inlaid mahogany bonheur du jour by Henri Dasson which sold for $36,000. Dated 1872, the piece boasts a mottled marble top with pierced gallery above a cupboard inset with a chinoiserie panel depicting a rooster and chick within grille panels and fluted columns. The lower case is fitted with a single writing drawer and is signed and dated Henri Dasson 1872. “The more popular pieces, such as the mahogany bonheur du jour, are typically ornate and highly decorative and infused with a touch of gold. We have continued to see a demand for rare pieces like this work by Henri Dasson,” said Jones.

Additional French works of note included: a pair of French gilt and patinated bronze figures depicting winged victory (sold for: $39,000); a vibrantly colorful pair of Napoleon III Aubusson tapestry panels woven in the third quarter of the 19th century featuring lush foliage on a pale blue ground (sold for: $22,800) and a Louis XV walnut commode with serpentine top (sold for: $20,400).

Featured in the Italian section was a highly decorative Milanese Renaissance Revival ivory and polished stone inlaid ebonized cabinet (sold for: $24,000). Constructed in the second half of the 19th century, the upper case is surmounted by turned finials and enclosed by three paneled doors with three short drawers below. The lower case is fitted with three frieze drawers and enclosed by three cupboards. As a whole, the entire piece is profusely decorated with figures, urns, masks and mythical beasts, and stands 6-feet 9-inches.

Additional highlights from the December 3rd sale included: a pair of continental Baroque carved giltwood console tables (sold for: $27,000); a 19th century Italian Neoclassical walnut cupboard (sold for: $19,200); a set of thirteen George III style mahogany dining chairs (sold for: $16,800), and a stunning English Regency brass mounted rosewood breakfast table which brought $18,000, well above its $4,000 to $6,000 estimate.