Skinner, Inc. realized strong prices for rare and important works at its recent auction of American & European Works of Art

Skinner, Inc. realized strong prices for rare and important works at its recent auction of American & European Works of Art. The sale, which took place on Friday, September 7th in two sessions at the Skinner Boston gallery, totaled $2,773,169, including buyer’s premium. “We are extremely pleased with the sale,” said director Robin Starr. “These results are evidence that great art – on both canvas and paper – continues to inspire competitive bidding and bring excellent prices.”

Fine Paintings
The auction room erupted in applause when the first lot in the afternoon Paintings & Sculpture auction sold for $666,000 after twenty minutes of spirited bidding. The top lot in the sale, this work by Willem Claesz Heda, Still Life with Tazza, Peeled Lemon, and Roemer, brought more than tenfold its presale estimate high of $50,000. Hidden away for years in a private collection, the Heda generated worldwide interest, particularly from the United States and Europe.

Still Life with Tazza, Peeled Lemon, and Roemer is characterized by Heda’s quiet, staid mood, created through the use of a nearly monochromatic palette. The subject matter and tone create the sense of a meal finished quickly and abandoned in haste. The over-turned tazza was a relatively novel element for Heda at this point in his career, and seems to be in direct opposition to the order and stillness more typical of his works from the 1620s, and even 30s. This distinctive thematic element likely contributed to the excitement surrounding the painting on the auction floor.

Another star of the sale, coming from the same collection, was Portrait of a Man in a Ruff of the 17th century Continental School. The hidden gem, estimated at $3,000 to $5,000, sold for $79,625. “We see this result as a testament that fresh-to-the-market material continues to drive bidding,” said Starr. Additional pieces from this collection will be featured in the Skinner auction of American & European Works of Art in February 2013.

Contemporary Art
The excitement generated by the recent Fine Paintings auction extended from rare 17th century paintings through to important contemporary works. Walasse Ting’s Milky Way brought $93,615, more than doubling its estimated high of $40,000.

Largely a self-taught artist, Walasse Ting was raised in Shanghai. In 1952 he moved to Paris, took up “la vie boheme,” and met Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, and Pierre Alechinsky. Ting moved to New York in 1958, at the height of the American Abstract Expressionist movement and met Sam Francis. The American art markets embraced Ting’s brand of abstraction, derived from the surrealism that defined so many of the COBRA artists. Ting’s abstractions exhibit an abundance of energy and enthusiasm while portraying simple pleasures and natural wonders – a summer rainstorm, a field of flowers, or constellations in the night sky.

Fine Prints & Photography
Prints and photography from old masters through contemporary artists also made a vibrant showing, highlighted by the sale of Rembrandt van Rijn’s Nude Man Seated on the Ground with One Leg Extended, which brought $23,700. Andy Warhol’s Edward Kennedy performed well in the late senator’s home state, selling for double its estimate high at $10,072. Three Images from DIE OBERFLÄCHE: Concord, Silent, and Opalescent by Josef Albers also doubled its estimate, bringing $5,332.
Photography highlights of note included Duane Michals’ The Young Girl’s Dream (in Five Parts), which sold for $5,925. Erwin Blumenfeld’s Aubade went for $8,295 and a number of works by Jerry Uelsmann and Cole Weston realized strong prices, with Weston’s Charis, Sana Monica/Nude matching Blumenfeld at $8,295.

About Skinner
Skinner, Inc. is one of the world’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art. With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world and its auctions regularly achieve world record prices. Skinner provides a broad range of auction and appraisal services, and it is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business. Skinner’s appraisal experts regularly appear on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, and its specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Works of Art, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Silver, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, Discovery and Science, Technology & Clocks. Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Marlborough, Mass. For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit Skinner’s web site