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All eyes are on the baseline

05 March 2001

Sales in the USA 20th Century Lighting and Quality Antiques was the title of the $2.2m (£1,549,295) January 27 sale conducted by Fontaine Auction Gallery (12 per cent buyer’s premium) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but it was certainly the former that made this quarterly catalogue so noteworthy. Of 497 lots offered, almost 200 were occupied by table/boudoir lamps, light fittings shades and stained glass panels by the likes of Handel, Pairpoint, Suess and, of course, the Tiffany Studios.

In a climate of fear, the rich men’s staples sell

26 February 2001

US: FEARS of an economic downturn seem to have almost as much effect in the United States as any downturn itself, and there was much talk of recession in the run-up to this year’s Palm Beach International Art and Antiques Fair, the Florida phenomenon which organiser David Lester has taken to the premier league in just five years.

$280,000 Fragonard sketch

26 February 2001

US: OVERLOOKED in our recent report on the New York Old Master sales, this Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) oil sketch for a much-admired, but now lost painting of The Visitation is worth putting on the record after it fetched an upper estimate $280,000 (£197,185) at the New York rooms of Doyle’s (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium) on January 24.

US ban Italian antiquity imports

20 February 2001

NEW regulations intended to ban the import of looted archaeological items from Italy into the USA are likely to increase the burden of documentation on antiquities dealers.

Recession proof?

19 February 2001

US: RECENT jitters about the health of the US economy have had a noticeably negative effect on several sectors of the international auction market. The US wine market, however, seems to be relatively untouched as yet.

Izannah Walker’s Painted Ladies

19 February 2001

US: AN IZANNAH WALKER doll from Rhode Island was the star turn in a Toys & Collectables sale held on December 9 in the Bolton (Massachusetts) rooms of Skinners and brought a bid of $21,000 (£14,480). Made around 1870, the 18in (46cm) tall doll illustrated right, wearing a grey-green plaid dress of silk taffeta, and with a pair of period ice skates with red leather straps strung over her shoulder, has an oil painted cloth body – even the hands and face are made of painted cloth.

Double eagle has a happy landing at last

19 February 2001

US: A LONG-running legal dispute has been sorted out in the United States. Unusually for such a contest I understand that everybody is happy.

Lighting-up time...

19 February 2001

US: HIGHLIGHTS – in every sense – from the January 13 sale of Furniture & Decorations held by Sloans of Washington D.C. are pictured here.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass and the top people’s vet…

16 February 2001

UK: Dr Leonard Levine, who died last year, was known on New York’s Upper East Side as the “Veterinarian to the Rich and Famous”, but he was also an avid Walt Whitman collector.

Lester aims for US ‘destination event’

12 February 2001

USA: FLORIDA-based organiser David Lester plans to move into the North East of the United States this autumn with the launch from October 4 to 14 of The New York International Fine Art Fair in Westchester County, New York State.

De Villa Dei's Doctrinale and Audubon’s Birds of America...

12 February 2001

US: ALTHOUGH literary manuscripts and first editions of the 19th and 20th centuries rather dominated the Christie’s New York sale of December 14, other areas of the market were represented in the catalogue, and illustrated here is a specimen of Dutch prototypography which sold at $26,000 (£17,930).

Judge lenient on price-fixing fine

12 February 2001

US: THE THREE year investigation into the price-fixing conspiracy between Sotheby’s and Christie’s entered its closing stages at a federal court in Manhattan last week as a federal judge formally accepted the criminal guilt of both auctioneers and no legal objections were raised to the terms of the $512m settlement in the civil lawsuit.

Colnaghi’s take the wider view...

12 February 2001

US: THE January Old Master week in New York offered the opportunity to buy some exceptional drawings, but none was more exceptional than this panoramic view of Dordrecht, above, the work of Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691) offered by Christie’s (17.5/10 per cent buyer’s premium) at their January 24 Old Master Drawings sale.

Hype raises bidding on Tinseltown and Broadway’s movers, shakers and spoofers

05 February 2001

US: ILLUSTRATED right we have “three great old hardcover books about the early ‘movers and shakers’ of Hollywood’s Silent and Golden Years. Out of print since the years they were published...”

Judge dismisses landmark $100m claim against EBay

05 February 2001

A LAWSUIT that threatened to deal a fatal blow to the heart of EBay’s trading status has been dismissed by a Californian court

Pirate treasures from Wichita

29 January 2001

US: THOUGH he grew up on a Kansas farm, far from the sea, Charles E. Driscoll, who died in 1951, devoted much of his life to the study of piracy and as well as writing a great deal about his pet subject, assembled a marvellous library that was bequeathed to Wichita Public Library at his death. Last year the library decided to sell off the collection to raise funds for other acquisitions and on December 12, Christie’s East of New York sold the Driscoll Piracy library for $427,570 (£292,860).

Incomparable Catcher... ?

29 January 2001

US: DESCRIBED as “probably as good or better than any copy at auction in the last five years”, a 1951 first of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the cloth binding extremely clean and the dust jacket in “nearly superb” condition, made $7500 (£5170) in the December 18 sale held by the Baltimore Book Company.

Venice by Naya

29 January 2001

FRANCE: Venezia Fodaco dei Turghi, Carlo Naya’s moonlit view of the Grand Canal (c.1870), headed the Baron-Ribeyre photo sale on December 19. The albumen print, 161/2 x 21in (41 x 53cm), was dubbed in perfect condition and raced to a treble-estimate Fr55,000 (£5200).

Albertus Seba’s Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri...

22 January 2001

US: A SCIENTIFIC library formed by New York businessman Joseph A. Frielich was sold by Sotheby’s New York for $10.7m (£7.2m) on January 10-11, 2001, and among many lots that made much higher than predicted sums was a magnificent copy of Albertus Seba’s Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri...

Lester launches new quality Florida fair

22 January 2001

USA: FLORIDA-based organiser David Lester launches a new quality fair in the state when an international roster of dealers show at the first Palm Beach Town & Country Art and Antique Exposition from March 8 to 13.

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