Fine jewelry in a broad range of styles and price points is a top draw at every Michaan's monthly Estate Auction, and buyers in search of rare and beautiful pieces will find many choices at the Saturday, May 13 sale. A rare treasure sure to attract collectors is the pocket snuff box made of 18k gold decorated with diamonds, sapphires, and a romantic scene in delicate enamel ($4,000-6,000). An emerald-cut diamond of over four and a half carats, set in platinum, is the ultimate expression of luxury and good taste ($12,000-16,000). Additional diamond lots include numerous rings, a stunning spray brooch ($500-700) and an unusual geometric diamond and 18k yellow gold jewelry suite ($1,300-1,600). Interesting stones in contemporary settings can be found in the moonstone, diamond, and 18k brushed yellow gold ring ($500-700) and the large aquamarine, diamond, and ruby pendant ($1,500-2,500). Vintage timepieces with lovely feminine details include the pearl-encrusted Lucien Piccard wristwatch ($300-500) and the gold pocket watch and chain ($700-900) featuring a diamond heart pierced by Cupid's arrow. Gent's jewelry is also offered in May, such as the wonderful vintage sailing motif cufflinks of painted mother-of-pearl and 14k gold ($300-500). Carved jade earrings and pendants, a superb Victorian jewelry suite of carved coral, amber beads, and Native American silver pieces with large turquoise stones will also be sold, as will a stunning multi-stone, sterling silver pendant necklace by Morales, the Mexican silversmith.
An uncommon and delightful sight in the auction gallery this month is the restored c. 1885 horse carriage which comes to Michaan's from the Mourning Cloak Ranch and Botanical Gardens in Tehachapi, CA. This ladies' George IV-style wicker model is known as a phaeton, a sporty model with open seating, light and fast. It comes with singletree and two pairs of shafts for hitching to a pony, as well as a ladies' driving costume. The utterly charming parasol-topped carriage with accessories is estimated at $4,000 to $9,000.
Many visitors are drawn to the monthly Estate Auction by its ever-changing assortment of antique, collectible, and one-of-a-kind home furnishings which often range from Louis XVI gilt bronze to Mid Century Modern chrome and leather. May furniture highlights include the round oak and brass table formed from a ship's wheel, 20" high and 42.5" in diameter ($800-1,200). The lot of six Italian lacquered dining chairs by Costantini Pietro is also estimated at $800-1,200. Milo Baughman's sectional sofa of ultra suede with chrome legs for Thayer Coggin is offered with an estimate of $1,500 to $2,000. A feature of every monthly Estate Auction is the array of beautiful handmade rugs from around the world. Two to note in May are the palatial Indian floral ground carpet estimated at $2,500 to $3,000 and the Savonnerie-style carpet from 20th century Spain, tagged on its reverse as production of the "Fundacion Generalismo Franco" ($1,000-1,500). Bidders are invited to inspect these items at preview events prior to the auction (dates and hours at www.michaans.com) by visiting the gallery at 2751 Todd Street, in the historic decommissioned Alameda Naval Air Station, minutes from downtown Oakland.
Several books of distinction are offered in the May Estate Auction. A wonderful opportunity for collectors is Jean de Montlyard's "Mythologie, c'est à dire explication des fables." A 1597 translation (from the original Latin) of Natale Conti's seminal 1567 compendium of classical myths, Montlyard's "Mythologie" proved to be an important and influential work, given the lack of an English translation at the time (Montlyard was a contemporary of Shakespeare). Michaan's offers a 1611 edition of this 1,140-page tome with an estimate of $800 to $1,200. From another place and time entirely comes "The Pageant of Peking," a book of sixty-six photogravures made in early twentieth-century China by British photographer Donald Mennie, first published in 1920 (Michaan's edition printed in 1921, estimated at $1,500-2,000). The text is by Putnam Weale, pseudonym of Bertram L. Simpson, also British and a lifelong resident of China. There are many palaces and pagodas in this handsome book, covered in blue silk with gilt letters, but of particular interest are the street scenes of ordinary Chinese people in town and countryside.
Also featured in May are American artworks such as Jo Cantine's oil "Portrait of a Seated Girl," (estimated at $4,000-6,000) and "Bluebonnets" ($1,200-1,600) by Arthur Bishop Jeffreys (1892-1970). The bonded sand sculpture "Reclining Nude" ($1,000-1,500) by Bill Mack (b. 1949) is compelling for its large size (70" x 30") and its stirring pose, exuding energy that belies the title of the piece. A trio of monotypes by prominent early California artist Xavier Martinez (1869-1943) is offered in May with an estimate of $2,000-2,500 for the lot of three. These works, titled "Woodland Pool," "Redwood Glen" and "Summer Landscape," will attract many collectors with their lovely images of local scenery rendered with delicate brushwork and a sun-warmed color palette. Martinez, an early Bohemian Club member, was deeply embedded in turn-of-the-century artistic life in the San Francisco Bay area. A native of Mexico, he was educated there and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, but primarily in California where he made his home and artistic reputation. Michaan's is proud to feature the work of this important Mexican-American who played a key role in California art education from San Francisco and Oakland to Monterey, and who represented California in the 1940 World's Fair alongside Father Junipero Serra and painter William Keith.
Ikebana is widely known in the West as the Japanese art of flower arranging, but how many know the meaning of usabata? Here's a hint: the former is greatly enhanced by use of the latter. At Michaan's in May, Asian art collectors --- along with practitioners of Ikebana who want to take it up a notch --- will have the chance to acquire a fine bronze usabata (estimated at $1,000-1,500) made long ago in Japan. The three-tiered piece is composed of a small square table topped by a plump figure in traditional costume who hoists above his head a roomy decorated basin. The whole assemblage is made of bronze, aged to a rich patina, and is in lovely condition despite indications that it was used for its intended purpose. Chinese collectibles offered in May include the lot of five Yixing teapots ($600-800) and several fine small glazed porcelain vases, one yellow and one "clair-de-lune" blue, estimated at $800 to $1,200 each. For collectors of ancient artifacts there is a serene 14-inch pottery horse ($600-800) and two large Neolithic decorated pottery jars. Beautiful lacquered pieces include a large gilt painted gift box with stand and an intricately decorated Chinese export folding fan, each estimated at $400-600.
Additional details and multiple full-color views of each May Estate Auction lot will be posted in late April at www.michaans.com, where the full 2017 auction calendar can also be found, with details on the upcoming Fine Art, Furniture and Decorative Arts Auction (June 9) and a special event, The Private Collection of Rita Neuman (June 8). This sale will present over 150 lots of fine Continental furniture, art, and decorative objects collected over a period of nearly 70 years by Ms. Neuman, the renowned Los Angeles antiquarian.
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Featuring fine art, decorative arts, Asian art and jewelry
May 13, 2017
May 6, 7, 12 and day of sale
2751 Todd Street
Alameda, CA 94501