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20th-Century Decorative Arts at Bonhams

Lita Solis-Cohen | December 16th, 2013


William Morris (b. 1957), Artifact: Shard with Bone Pins, 1995, cast glass, 17" x 24" x 2", together with iron mount, sold on the phone for $62,500 (est. $20,000/30,000). William Morris produced several series of glass sculptures that have come to be regarded as iconic examples of his work, including Artifact: Shard with Bone Pins. All of them feature the figural painting of Jon Ormbrek, a longtime member of Morris’s team.


Mark Peiser (b. 1938), untitled, 1976, blown and internally decorated paperweight glass, inscribed “Mark Peiser PWVOOS 1976,” 9" high, sold in the salesroom for $15,000 (est. $6000/9000).


Camille Fauré (1840-1898), enameled metal vase manufactured by Limoges, circa 1925, signed in enamel “C. Fauré Limoges,” 11" high x 7½" diameter, sold for $6250 (est. $1500/2000).


Michael Glancy (b. 1950), Pascalian Ambit, 1984, in two parts, blown, cut, and plate glass with electro-formed copper exterior vase, inscribed “MICHAEL M. GLANCY 1984 PASCALIAN AMBIT,” underside cut “MMG,” base inscribed “MMG 1984 PASCALIAN AMBIT,” 8" x 8" x 8", sold on the phone for $16,875 (est. $7000/9000).


This Tiffany Studios leaded Favrile glass geometric shade, 1899-1918, globe form, 12" x 12", sold on the phone for $25,000 (est. $10,000/15,000).

New York City

Photos courtesy Bonhams

Artist William Morris’s 1995 masterwork Artifact: Shard with Bone Pins far exceeded its $20,000/30,000 estimate at Bonhams’ 20th-century decorative arts sale on December 16, 2013. It sold on the phone for $62,500 (includes buyer’s premium) to a collector after a lengthy bidding battle. It is made entirely of cast glass in the colors of southwestern sandstone and incorporates painting by Jon Ormbrek, a longtime member of Morris’s team, of a herd of horned animals that resembles a cave painting. It is a classic example from Morris’s “Artifact” series.

Another Morris work, Rarotowgan Man,from his “Man Adorned” series, sold on the phone for $42,500 (est. $40,000/60,000). In his “Man Adorned” series Morris explored distant ancestors. Bonhams holds the record for a William Morris work at auction. In June 2013, Bonhams sold Sable Antelope for $290,500. Morris (b. 1957) has retired. According to Frank Maraschiello, Bonhams’ director of 20th-century decorative arts, Morris lives in Hawaii on the beach and no longer works regularly in glass, though recently he has reconfigured some earlier pieces.

Bonhams’ 20th-century decorative arts sale ended on a positive note after some rough sledding. “The market is clearly embracing the masters of studio glass: William Morris, Michael Glancy, Richard Marquis, Mark Peiser, and the late Harvey Littleton,” said Maraschiello, noting the successes in the last section of his sale. “Michael Glancy discovered his creativity at RISD under the tutelage of Dale Chihuly, and now he teaches at RISD,” said Maraschiello. Two of his works with electroplated planes of glass, in two parts, sold over estimates for $16,875 and $13,750. Collectors of studio ceramics, wood, and glass come to Bonhams in search of good value and pay well under their retail prices.

Innovative ceramics from artist Jun Kaneko also sold. Born in Japan, Jun Kaneko, who has taught at Cranbrook and RISD and has a studio in Omaha, works in a large format and is best known for his “Dango” series of huge ceramic sculptures. His monumental earthenware abstracted human heads, glazed in striking black-and-white patterns and around 6' tall, found buyers. A single head brought $25,000, and a pair of the heads fetched $43,750, at the low end of their estimates.

 George Nakashima’s maple burl and walnut print stand from 1980 sold toward the end of the sale for $35,000 (est. $15,000/20,000), more than doubling its low presale estimate. Similar to a music stand, it was created for viewing Japanese prints.

Although studio glass and ceramics performed well, traditional markets in 20th-century design were not embraced enthusiastically, and the sale of 384 lots was only 56% sold by lot and 65% by value for a total of only $1,349,225, well below the presale estimates. After-sale deals pushed the final tally to $1,474,288 (61% sold by lot). Two Tiffany lamps that had passed sold later for $45,000 and $37,500, and a Sam Maloof rocker sold for $25,000, which accounts for much post-sale business.

 The sale was filled with material consigned by longtime collectors, but there is a shortage of studious young collectors ready to buy. Astute buyers, however, do not miss a Bonhams sale and compete with European buyers on line and on the phone in their hunt for a bargain.

For example, Marcel Andre Bouraine’s patinated and cold-painted bronze, carved ivory, glass, and Portor marble Arlequine Lamp brought $62,500 (est. $60,000/90,000). Fritz Preiss’s cold-painted bronze, carved and painted ivory, and onyx sculpture Archer (Diana) was the sale’s top lot. It sold on line for $81,250 (est. $80,000/120,000). On the other hand, Rembrandt Bugatti’s patinated bronze figure Portrait d’un General sold well over its presale estimate for $40,000 (est. $8000/12,000). It is not a typical work by Bugatti, who is known for his animal sculptures.

 Arts and Crafts, Tiffany, art glass, and Art Deco furniture showed weakness with only a few exceptions. The pictures and captions track the broad range of material in many mediums.

The next Bonhams 20th-century design sale will be in May and will feature studio glass, ceramics, and wood. Complete results for Bonhams 20th-century decorative arts auction are available at (www.bonhams.com/auctions).

Rembrandt Bugatti (Italian, 1884-1916), patinated bronze, inscribed “R. Bugatti,” impressed “CIRE PERDUE A.A. HEBRARD,” 20½" high, sold on the phone for $40,000 (est. $8000/12,000).

George Nakashima (1905-1990), print stand, 1980, maple burl and walnut, unsigned, 47" to 70½" high x 37" x 18", five pieces, together with original signed and dated drawing, invoice, and two delivery date postcards, sold on line for $35,000 (est. $15,000/20,000).

Gudrun Baudisch for Wiener Werkstätte, glazed earthenware head, circa 1927, impressed “MADE IN AUSTRIA 407 8 WW,” and with the artist’s monogram, 10" x 4" x 4½", sold on the phone for $10,625 (est. $4000/6000).


Originally published in the March 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest

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