Purchase Story

Jewelry and a Cache of Feininger Works

Grogan & Company, Boston, Massachusetts

When Lucy Grogan took the podium at the start of the jewelry portion of the sale at Grogan & Company’s spring auction held on June 3 in the Boston gallery, vacant seats filled quickly. She began with a gold pendant necklace by Greek goldsmith Ilias Lalaounis (1920-2013), estimated at $1000/1500, that brought $3965 (includes buyer’s premium). But it was a platinum, Kashmir sapphire, and diamond ring that everyone awaited. Bidding opened at $40,000 and jumped immediately to $100,000. Bidding ended when the ring brought $317,200 (est. $20,000/30,000) from one of the 11 phones mustered for the sale. The successful bidder was a dealer who also prevailed with other jewelry lots. The cushion-cut 4.95-carat Kashmir sapphire was flanked by eight graduated baguette-cut diamonds. From a du Pont family connection, the ring was accompanied by an AGL report from January 2018 stating that the ring is from Kashmir with no gemological evidence of heat treatment.

Platinum, Kashmir sapphire, and diamond ring, sold for $317,200 (est. $20,000/30,000) to one of the 11 phones mustered for the sale. The successful bidder was a dealer who also prevailed with other jewelry lots. The cushion-cut 4.95-carat Kashmir sapphire is flanked by eight graduated baguette-cut diamonds. From a du Pont family connection, the ring was accompanied by an AGL report from January 2018 stating that the ring is from Kashmir with no gemological evidence of heat treatment.

This gold and silver bracelet with diamonds and natural pearls, circa 1895, sold for $36,600 (est. $20,000/40,000). The bracelet was accompanied by a GIA report revealing that all ten pearls tested are natural, saltwater pinctada species. The bracelet, which had descended in the Scott family, was made for Anna Riddle Scott, second wife of the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. As Miss Riddle, the young woman was courted by Andrew Carnegie, who introduced her to his boss and mentor at the railroad, the charming and rich widower Thomas Alexander Scott, and the rest was history.

This platinum, gold, diamond, and natural pearl floriform brooch made by J.E. Caldwell of Philadelphia for Anna Riddle Scott, who was partial to natural pearls, was estimated at $5000/7000. It realized $12,200 from the same phone bidder who bought the Kashmir sapphire ring and a sapphire bracelet.

The auction included watercolors, drawings, and sketches by Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) from the collection of his youngest son, Theodore Lux Feininger (1910-2011), himself an artist, avant-garde photographer, and author. The group was an unprecedented dispersion of Feininger work made over his lifetime. The 77-lot collection also included works given to Feininger by friends, and those lots provoked interest too. Two buyers in the gallery snapped up most of the Feininger works. One was a German art dealer, who packed up his winnings himself, and the other was the author of the catalogue raisonné, who sent someone to collect the winnings. A few other buyers in the gallery also participated.

Portrait of Julia Feininger, a 1922 watercolor and pencil work, 19½" x 14¼", by German artist Otto Dix (1891-1969) depicts Lyonel Feininger’s wife and Theodore Lux Feininger’s mother in a sailor blouse. It sold for $67,100 (est. $8000/12,000).

Late in life Lyonel Feininger began making “ghosties,” playful ink and watercolor figures he gave to friends and family. This untitled image depicting five ghosties in ink and watercolor, 3⅛" x 6⅛", sold for $48,800 (est. $8000/12,000).

Heading Out, Martha’s Vineyard by Ray Ellis (1921-2013), a 1985 watercolor, 34½" x 24", depicts the vessel Veritas passing the Edgartown Yacht Club on Martha’s Vineyard. The watercolor was estimated at $3000/5000 and sold for $8540. It was accompanied by a copy of North by Northeast, a collaboration between Ellis and Walter Cronkite, in which it is pictured. The two began their series of art books in the early 1980s. Ellis trained as an artist and worked in advertising until 1969, when he began painting full time. He first visited the Vineyard in 1972 and took up full-time residence there in the early 1990s.

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George Albert Hunnewell as a Child Seated and Holding a Toy, a gouache portrait by Sarah Goodridge (1788-1853) of Boston, sold on the phone for $6100 (est. $800/1200). An inscription on the back of the frame reads “Painted December 1844 by Sarah Goodridge.” The inscription also said “George Albert Hunnewell / son of Sarah Kuhn Fuller / John Leonard Hunnewell. / Born in Boston April 17th 1842 / Died in Santa Barbara California Feb 7th 1876.”

A separate catalog, “The Feininger Collection,” a discussion of Lyonel Feininger, his life, and the development of his art, was written by Georgina C. Winthrop, fine art director at Grogan & Company. Some 30 more lots of Feininger works will be sold in the autumn sale at Grogan, scheduled for November.

For information, check the website (www.groganco.com) or call (617) 720-2020.

This gleaming Lalique crystal Cactus table with a 59" diameter glass top and eight legs in the form of cactus leaves is signed, dated, and numbered “Lalique, France, 15-9-1981, No. 19.” The table was pleasing to behold. From an Oregon collection and estimated at $20,000/30,000, it realized $32,940 from a Massachusetts buyer.

Lower Falls and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone from Hayden Point, oil on canvas, 21" x 14", by Pennsylvania-born Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918), estimated at $3000/5000, sold on the phone for $13,420. The artist was born into a family of freedmen, began working for a Philadelphia printer at 14, and in his 20s headed to San Francisco, where he worked for a lithographer. He later formed his own successful lithography and cartography firm and became an established artist. He is said to have been the first African American artist to paint the West.

This French game park tapestry from around 1700 measures 8' x 7'8½" and has been heavily restored. For that reason it was estimated at $2000/3000, but it was valued by several bidders, and it realized $7930. Mascolo photo.

Lucy P. Grogan, vice president, jewelry director, and auctioneer at Grogan & Company wears a lot of hats. She delivered a simply glittering jewelry sale. Mascolo photo.

Nancy H. Grogan is vice president at Grogan & Company. She is also the wife and mother of two other principals. Mascolo photo.

Early Spring in Northern New Jersey by Wolf Kahn (b. 1927), 1969, oil on canvas, 50" x 50", came from a Boston collection and sold for $61,000 (est. $30,000/50,000).

Laura Coombs Hills (1859-1952) painted the miniature watercolor portrait, 4 7/8" x 3 1/8", of William Bristow Gannett (1923-2017) in 1930 and signed it Laura Hills. It realized $10,370 (est. $3000/5000). Gannett was a grandson of Massachusetts Governor Eben Sumner Draper and spent his career at the family business, the Draper Company.


Originally published in the September 2018 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2018 Maine Antique Digest

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