The auction was held at Levy’s showroom at the Flamingo Building in West Palm Beach, Fla.
PALM BEACH, Fla. – Stunning creations by Rene Jules Lalique (1860-1945), the French glass designer world-renowned for his vases, jewelry, chandeliers, clocks and car hood ornaments, all highly sought after by collectors today, took center stage at A. B. Levy’s Feb. 19 estates auction, held at the Flamingo Building in West Palm Beach. A. B. Levy’s main facility is in Palm Beach.
“This auction featured the largest selection of Rene Lalique glass the world has ever seen,” said Albert Levy of A. B. Levy’s. “We had both geometric and naturalist inspired works, with themes drawn from nature and antiquity. The more than 100 examples demonstrated Lalique’s ability to generate and utilize subtle variations in color and texture as he designed a superb iconic oeuvre.”
So strong was the Lalique category that the top dozen Lalique lots sold for a combined $668,800. A top lot was a Lalique frosted glass vase titled Nadica, made circa 1930, 10 ½ inches tall and formerly from the Royal collection of King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal (1906-1955). The lovely vase, personally ordered by the King directly from Lalique, topped out at $148,750.
While Lalique was the undisputed headliner of the sale, other items included desirable Chinese ceramics, European fine art (including exquisite oil paintings by French artists Jean Metzinger and Henry Moret, bronze figural works by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercie and Armand Toussaint), 19th century furniture, a collection of Majolica pieces and more. About 250 lots came up for bid.
A full house packed the Flamingo Building, located at 1921 South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. Bidders participated in person, online (via LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com), by phone and through absentee (or left) bids. Most items were sold to phone bidders and people in the room. By the time the final gavel came down, the auction had grossed around $2 million.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted (including the gross) include a buyer’s premium of 20 percent for the first $100,000 and 15 percent after that.
The top lot of the auction was an oil on canvas painting by Jean Metzinger (Fr., 1883-1956), titled Paysage aver un Bosquet, painted circa 1905 and signed lower right. The stunning work sold for $177,500. Also, a 1901 oil on canvas painting by Henry Moret (Fr., 1856), titled Les Falaises a Belle Ile (The Cliffs at Belle Isle, Brittney), signed lower right, fetched $148,750.
Along with paintings and bronzes, Lalique dominated the list of top lots. A brilliant blue glass pendulet, circa 1926, titled Le Jour et la Nuit (The Day and the Night), featuring a clock and considered one of Lalique’s masterworks, soared to $137,250. Also, a Lalique clear and frosted glass vase, produced circa 1928, 16 inches tall and signed “R. Lalique,” hammered for $51,600.
A monumental patinated and gilt figural bronze statue by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercie (Fr., 1845-1916), titled Gloria Victis, artist signed and six feet tall, climbed to $108,000. Also, a pair of parcel gilt and patinated bronze male and female figures of classical Egyptians holding aloft candle branches, by Armand Toussaint (Fr., 1806-1862), 4 feet 8 inches tall, fetched $48,000.
Returning to Lalique, a clear and frosted glass decorative object that could be illuminated at the base for dramatic effect, circa 1922, titled Oisea de Feu and formerly from the collection of singer Barbra Streisand, brought $50,400; and a Lalique amber glass vase from 1926, titled Tortues, standing 10 ½ inches tall and in overall good condition, changed hands for $46,800.
A rare example of a Lalique blue glass vase from around 1921 titled Archers, 10 ½ inches tall, with nice even blue color and retaining the original white patina, signed “R. Lalique,” realized $40,800; and a Lalique clear and frosted glass vase with black enamel titled Oranges (circa 1926), 11 ½ inches tall and a fine example of Lalique’s multiple firing techniques, hit $37,200.
Two lots posted identical selling prices of $32,400. The first was a Lalique cased green glass vase titled Perruches, circa 1919, 10 inches tall, factory engraved “R. Lalique France 876.” The second was a deep ruby red Lalique glass vase, made circa 1921 and titled Poissons, 9 ½ inches tall, with the recessed areas heightened with white patina, with R. Lalique’s molded signature.
Other Lalique lots that did well included a second red Perruches vase, circa 1919, also 10 inches tall ($33,600); an opalescent glass vase titled Bacchantes, circa 1927, 9 ¾ inches tall with great opalescence ($31,200); an amber glass vase titled Gros Scarabees, circa 1923, 11 ½ inches tall ($30,000); and a black glass vase titled Lezards et Bluets, circa 1913, 13 ½ inches tall ($30,000).
The star lot of the French furniture category was an impressive Louis XV-style ormolu mounted malachite bureau plat (circa 1900), 31 inches wide and 4 feet 11 inches wide, with the top of the serpentine outlined with an ormolu border and foliate corner clasps, above a frieze fitted with an arrangement of five drawers, plus five false drawers. In great shape, the piece went for $30,000.
A. B. Levy’s next big auction is scheduled for Thursday, April 2nd, also at the Flamingo Building in West Palm Beach. The sale will feature jewelry, fine art and antiques, pulled from prominent local estates and collections. Then, on Thursday, May 7th, the firm will conduct a Worth Avenue Jewelry, Art & Antiques Auction in their Palm Beach gallery, located at 211 Worth Avenue.
A. B. Levy’s is actively accepting quality consignments for the May 7th auction and all future sales. To consign a single piece, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them at (561) 835-9139, or you can e-mail them at [email protected]. To learn more about A.B. Levy’s and the April 2nd and May 7th auctions, please visit www.ablevys.com. Updates are posted frequently.