Meeting between General Clive and the Nawab Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey illustrates the dominance of the British East India Company in South Asia for a century. It relates to a series of four decorative canvases painted in 1762 by Francis Hayman for the Rotunda of Vauxhall Gardens. It is inscribed indistinctly "F.M. Wor...R.A." on the stretcher. It sold for $18,750 (est. $2000/4000) to a phone bidder, underbid by dealer Piers Davies of New York City, who said he thought it would clean up just fine and was an important painting.
This Tiffany Studios bronze, Favrile glass, and mosaic Arrow Head lamp base, 6 7/8" high, sold in the salesroom to New Jersey dealer Jack Ophir for $98,500 (est. $3000/5000). It was the top lot in the sale.
A Sèvres porcelain cabinet cup and saucer painted by Jean-Claude Rumeau in the Gothic taste with the tomb of El Cid after a print from Alexandre de Laborde's Voyage pittoresque et historique en Espagne (four volumes published 1807-18), on a red ground with cream foliate scrolls, centering on a rosette on a green ground, blue factory marks, the saucer inscribed "9A Gn 24.7bre," 5¾" high, sold for $34,375 (est. $12,000/15,000).
Although several of Anderson's attributions were questionable, Gloucester Harbor by Max Kuehne (1880-1968), oil on board, 7½" x 9¼", is signed by the artist and passed muster. Estimated at $1500/2500, it sold for $7500 on the phone.
A Sèvres porcelain cabinet cup and saucer painted by Rumeau with a scene from The Sleeping Beauty, on a burgundy ground and decorated with a gilt trellis pattern centering on a gold fleur-de-lis on a blue ground, with blue factory marks, the saucer inscribed "1 er juin BT," 5¾" high, sold for $34,375. Like the other Sèvres Rumeau cup and saucer in the sale, it is published in The Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory: Alexandre Brongniart and the Triumph of Art and Industry, 1800-1847 (1997).
Doyle New York, New York City
by Lita Solis-Cohen
Photos courtesy Doyle New York
The Gothic Revival in America was popular for a short time, roughly from 1830 through the Civil War. The Gothic houses and grand villas championed by New York architects Andrew Jackson Downing and Alexander Jackson Davis required furnishings of the same style. Gothic clustered columns and tracery popular in England and France blossomed in America among the landed aristocracy and trickled down to the middle class. Along with furniture in the Gothic style, there were pickle jars pressed with Gothic arches; cookie jars in the form of Gothic baptisteries; and birdhouses designed as miniature Gothic cottages.
First mentioned in some mid-20th-century surveys of American decorative arts, the Gothic Revival was brought to wider public attention when curator Berry Tracy included a dozen objects in the Gothic style in his 1970 landmark exhibition 19th Century America: Furniture and Other Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
In 2006 Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York City, mounted an exhibition, In Pointed Style: The Gothic Revival in America, 1800-1860, accompanied by an illustrated catalog written by David Warren, director emeritus of Bayou Bend in Texas. Not since the 1976 exhibition and catalog The Gothic Revival Style in America, 1830-1870, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, curated and written by David Warren and Katherine Howe, had there been an addition to the short American Gothic Revival bibliography.
The May 1976 The Magazine Antiques published several articles about the Gothic Revival, and in one of them, "Living with antiques," Sarah Sherrill wrote about Lee B. Anderson and the Gothic Revival style.
Anderson's visit to Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill while stationed in London during World War II sparked a passion for all things Gothic. Starting in the 1950's, Anderson collected furniture and objects in the Gothic Revival style, filling every inch of his small six-story 1855 Renaissance Revival town house at 35 Stuyvesant Street in the section of New York City's East Village known as the Renwick Triangle. He also covered his walls with his vast collection of 19th-century paintings.
Anderson died in 2010 at age 92. He would not allow an obituary but left instructions for his collection to be sold, with the proceeds going to the Lee B. Anderson Memorial Foundation to support programs that advance the understanding of and appreciation for the decorative arts.
With an art teacher's salary, Anderson was an early collector of Hudson River school landscapes. He was one of a group of early collectors that included art historian William Gerdts and Texas collector Graham Williford. In the 1970's Anderson sold 12 Hudson River school paintings for more than a million dollars, and he continued to collect with gusto, buying furniture, porcelain, metalwork, and more paintings and marble sculpture.
He became the cheerleader for the Gothic style, inspiring others to buy furniture made by the Meeks brothers, Alexander Roux, and less well-known makers and urging them to follow his example and record the family histories. He often pasted the histories and his attributions on the underside of furniture and the backs of paintings.
For the dispersal of the Anderson collection, his executors first called Sotheby's, and Leslie Keno and Erik Gronning picked out 20 spectacular pieces of furniture for the January 2013 Americana sale. Then Neal Auction Company of New Orleans came to New York City and consigned nearly 500 lots for its two-day sale held September 15 and 16. (A full report of the Neal sale will appear in an upcoming issue.)
Doyle New York ended up with 600 lots of mostly paintings, accessories, and some furniture that was offered in a single-owner sale on September 19. The sale brought a total of $870,545, topping the $486,475/758,375 presale estimate. About 40 collectors and dealers came to the sale and competed with bidders on phones and on the Internet. Dealer David Petrovsky of Claverack, New York, said that ten or 15 years ago the collection might have brought a lot more. There are not many collectors of Gothic Revival or Victorian furniture, but there are always buyers for masterpieces.
Furnishings from Anderson's "Tiffany Room" brought the highest prices. New Jersey dealer Jack Ophir, sitting on the windowsill at the back of the salesroom, outbid three phone bidders and bought the top lot of the sale, a Tiffany Studios bronze, Favrile glass, and mosaic Arrow Head lamp base, 6 7/8" high, for $98,500 (includes buyer's premium). It was estimated at $3000/5000.
There was competitive bidding for other Tiffany lamps, shades, and vases. A geometric Favrile glass and turtleback tile shade, 16" diameter, sold for $18,750 (est. $8000/ 12,000). A Tiffany nautilus shell lamp sold for $13,750, topping its $10,000 high estimate, and a similar lamp sold for $11,875 to the same phone bidder who also bought a Tiffany four-light blow-out candelabrum at mid-estimate for $8750. A Tiffany bronze and turtleback glass desk lamp with a $5000 high estimate went at $9375. A calyx-form vase with a $4000 high estimate sold for $8125 in a strong market for Tiffany.
Two bidders in the salesroom battled for two early 19th-century Sèvres porcelain cabinet cups and saucers painted by Jean-Claude Rumeau in the Gothic style (est. $12,000/15,000). One was painted with the tomb of El Cid after a print from Alexandre de Laborde's Voyage pittoresque et historique en Espagne (four volumes published 1807-18); the other has a scene from The Sleeping Beauty. Both were published in The Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory: Alexandre Brongniart and the Triumph of Art and Industry, 1800-1847 (1997). There were several phone bidders, but after $20,000 the competition was between two collectors in the salesroom until the hammer fell at $27,500. The victorious bidder, Richard Baron Cohen, paid $34,375 for each cup and saucer.
Cohen's porcelain collection is well known. He said he has the largest collection of early 19th-century European porcelain in private hands: 2500 pieces. In 2008 Cohen sent 400 pieces of royal porcelain from his so-called Twinight collection to three museums in Europe, and after a year of traveling, 95 pieces were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (September 2008-August 2009), accompanied by a catalog written by Samuel Wittwer and others.
The underbidder in the salesroom was Comte Alexandre de Bothuri Bathory, who said he has the largest private collection of Sèvres in Europe and that only the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia has more. The count did not go home empty-handed; he paid $594 for a Sèvres shallow dish (est. $300/500), but he said he had come for the cups and saucers.
Most of the furniture and paintings seemed like good buys. A circa 1850 Gothic Revival mahogany pier table with an original Meeks label, similar to one illustrated in Howe and Warren's The Gothic Revival Style in America, sold for $13,750 (est. $7000/9000) on the phone.
A Chinese dealer paid $8125 for a Gothic Revival rosewood recamier possibly by the Meeks firm in New York. It had been shown in the Houston exhibition in 1976 and pictured in the article in The Magazine Antiques. He also bought a Gothic Revival side chair for $688 and a hanging étagère for $1625 (est. $2500/3500).
A Gothic Revival rosewood curio cabinet of lancet form with a spire finial and glazed door, 8' high x 34" wide, sold for $7500 (est. $1000/1500) on the phone. A rosewood side chair with a Gothic back and Rococo Revival seat and legs brought $1875 (est. $500/700). An assembled pair of oak hall chairs with pointed Gothic backs and Rococo Revival cabriole legs and carved seat rail sold for $3750 (est. $2000/3000). An impressive stained oak library chair, probably by Alexander Roux from an Alexander Jackson Davis design, sold to a New York collector in the salesroom for $1625 (est. $800/1200).
John and Mary McGuigan, young art historians from Milford, Pennsylvania, who collect paintings of Rome by American artists, said they were thrilled to buy Casimir Clayton Griswold's Italianate Landscape with Classical Ruins, Rome, signed and dated 1879. Two phone bidders took it to $10,000, and the McGuigans won it at $13,730 (est. $1200/1800).
The McGuigans were curators of exhibitions at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York (America's Rome: Artists in the Eternal City, 1800-1900 ), and the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York (James E. Freeman 1808-1884: An American Painter in Italy ).
Anne Cohen DePietro, Doyle's American art specialist, said she saved the best of Anderson's paintings for the November 19 sale. Stay tuned.
For more information, contact Doyle New York at (212) 427-2730; Web site (www.doylenewyork.com).
A double-sided 4 5/8" x 7 7/8" oil on canvas by Louis Comfort Tiffany sold for $4375 (est. $600/900) to New York City dealer Paul Worman in the salesroom.
The circa 1850 Gothic Revival carved rosewood mirror-backed étagère, 6'8" tall, sold for $10,625 (est. $3000/5000) to dealer David Petrovsky of Claverack, New York, who said an identical one is in the Brooklyn Museum collection. The underbidder was a Chinese dealer in the salesroom.
A Gothic Revival patinated metal storage jar in the form of a baptistery, with a glass jar with a screw top inside, Day's Patent, 19th century, 14" high, sold to a collector in the salesroom for $1625 (est. $200/400).
Italianate Landscape with Classical Ruins, Rome by Casimir Clayton Griswold (1834-1918), signed and dated 1879. It was estimated at $1200/1800; two phone bidders competed up to $10,000, and then collectors John and Mary McGuigan of Milford, Pennsylvania, won it at $13,730. The McGuigans are independent curators and collect paintings by Americans who painted in Rome in the 19th century.
This circa 1850 Gothic Revival mahogany pier table has an original Meeks label and is similar to one illustrated in Howe and Warren's The Gothic Revival Style in America, 1830-1870 (1976). Estimated at $7000/9000, it sold for $13,750.