ALAMEDA, CA – Two particularly desirable original paintings by Sam Francis (Californian, 1923-1994) headline Michaan’s next semiannual Fine Art, Furniture, Decorative Arts and Jewelry Auction, slated for Friday, December 9.
Francis, who spent his formative years in Berkeley but lived and worked all over the world, is best known for a style that incorporates vivid, corpuscular drips of pigment applied with gestural freedom and large “empty-center” canvases that reflect the influence of Japanese art. Untitled (SF70-723), estimated at $60,000-$80,000, is a fine example of his signature style. Point Reyes Self Portrait, created in 1990, is an explosion of color in Francis’ free-gesture style and is estimated at $150,000-$200,000. The consignor acquired the paintings directly from Sam Francis, and both works have been approved for inclusion in the next printing of the artist’s catalogue raisonné.
Fernando Amorsolo (1892-1972) is the leading painter of the late colonial period in the Philippines and is a favorite with collectors of Filipino art. Michaan’s will offer Amorsolo’s Marikina, a masterful landscape influenced by European art from the turn of the 20th century and infused with the golden light and relaxed mood of the tropics, an effect for which Amorsolo is well known. The subject is farmhands at work in a scene reminiscent of Monet’s haystack paintings. In 2009, the artist’s daughter Sylvia Amorsolo Lazo confirmed the painting’s authenticity, noting, “It is one of the rare subjects that Papa painted depicting a typical Filipino custom.” Marikina is estimated at $50,000-$70,000.
In 1958, a New York Times review dubbed French Expressionist Bernard Buffet (1928-1999) one of “France’s Fabulous Five,” alongside Brigitte Bardot and Yves St. Laurent. Michaan’s will auction his sensational landscape Coastal Town With Lighthouse, South of France, a signed and dated work executed in ink and watercolor on paper. Its estimate is $30,000-$35,000. Another art highlight is a work by pioneering Italian abstract painter Achille Perilli (b. 1927-). His oil-on-canvas titled La Luce della Cabala (The Light of the Kabbalah) is signed and dated, and estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
Colorful Cakes, a 1990 lithograph by Wayne Thiebaud (Californian, b. 1920-), depicts archetypal rows upon rows of cakes with equally vibrant reflections. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Also to be offered are original Yosemite Valley scenes by Thomas Kinkade, and LeRoy Neiman serigraphs, including some of his popular bar scenes, e.g., San Francisco’s legendary Buena Vista Café.
The December 9 sale presents a rare and exciting opportunity for connoisseurs of museum-quality couture and textiles. There are three pieces by legendary couturier and fabric designer Mariano Fortuny, including a richly embroidered velvet cape, $1,000-$1,500; and two versions of the Delphos gown, each $1,500-$2,000. The shimmering trademark pleats of these classically inspired gowns are softly weighted by tiny beads of hand-blown Venetian glass. The result is a body-skimming silhouette that broke new ground when it was introduced in the early 20th century.
An outstanding selection of period jewelry is led by an Art Deco platinum bracelet with fine diamonds totaling well over 14 carats. Estimate: $25,000-$35,000. An Etruscan Revival suite of drop earrings and a brooch, made of lustrous malachite spheres and cabochons set in gold, comes in an original Tiffany & Co., fitted leather box. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500. Diamond rings range from 1.70 to 3.85 carats, while a spectacular diamond necklace with central emerald weighs over 38 carats. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000. A gentleman’s Edwardian pocket watch with tricolored pinstripes of platinum and gold, and a ladies’ Art Nouveau pocket watch decorated with tiny insects made of diamonds and enamel are each estimated at $1,000-$1,500. Additional lots include estate jewelry pieces from Cartier and Tiffany & Co., and several fine ladies’ wristwatches, including a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust, $3,000-$5,000.
A large array of early 20th-century Tiffany Studios glass will cross the auction block. Vases include many iridescent Favrile pieces, with estimates ranging from $400 to $3,500. Desirable glass and bronze Tiffany desk sets include examples in the Zodiac motif, $3,000-$5,000; and Pine Needle pattern, $2,000-$3,000. Dirk Van Erp designs include an oblong copper bowl, $2,000-$3,000; hammered honeycomb copper vase, $1,500-$2,000; and a large Arts & Crafts tile depicting cypress trees, by Chauncey R. Thomas for California Faience Pottery in a Dirk Van Erp copper frame, $2,000-$3,000. An imposing tiger oak ceremonial chair from the San Francisco Masonic Lodge, $3,000-$5,000, was crafted at the Mathews Furniture Shop, whose works are found in the Oakland Museum of California but rarely appear at auction.
A very special section of the sale is devoted to a collection of exquisite dollhouse miniatures, showcased in opulent, fastidiously detailed 1:12 scale-model interiors created by Elizabeth Larke Blodget, known as “Mother Larke.” Mother Larke assembled the rooms from more than 25,000 fine miniatures collected from around the world. They were first displayed at the California Pacific International Exposition of 1935 and later delighted thousands who visited San Francisco’s Cliff House, where they were exhibited until the 1970s. Additional miniatures were added over the years. There are silver filigree pieces, fine porcelain including Dresden china, a Royal Vienna parlor suite, mother-of-pearl inlaid musical instruments, and an English pram signed by Colin and Yvonne Roberson. The miniature rooms will be sold as three lots. The lot including both the mustard-colored Chinese Room and Lady’s Boudoir is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
Money-minded collectors will find many enticements in the numismatic section of the sale, including an uncirculated $1,000 bill, U.S. Federal Reserve Bank series 1934A, Bank of Chicago, $5,000 to $6,000. A People’s Republic of China 1994 100-yuan gold coin is estimated at $5,000-$7,000 and is one of many sought-after coins to be auctioned from the United States and around the world. A selection of U.S. Morgan dollars includes three collections of uncirculated coins in presentation boxes. An ancient Greek silver coin, circa 3rd to 4th century BCE, is expected to make $1,000-$2,000.
Michaan’s Dec. 9, 2016 Fine Art, Furniture, Decorative Arts and Jewelry Auction will begin at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com. The gallery is located at 2751 Todd St., Alameda, CA 94501. Preview Dec. 3 and 4, from 9-10 a.m. on auction day, or by appointment. Tel. 510-740-0220.