Good results at Rago’s Early 20th Century Design auction, September 11, 2020

Rago Auctions, Lambertville, NJ, held an Early 20th Century Design auction on September 11, 2020 with mostly good results. Following are three of the more notable ones.

Tiffany Studios 14″ diameter Tulip table lamp, Rago lot #334

The top lot of the sale was #334, a Tiffany Studios 14″ diameter Tulip table lamp with superb color. It sold well above its high estimate of $30,000, realizing $56,250, including buyer’s premium. Unfortunately the seller took a major loss as she had bought it for considerably more in the shop of a NYC dealer. I tried to buy it for resale, but the price was too high for a dealer.

Tiffany Favrile Aquamarine vase, Rago lot #336

The second highest glass lot of the sale was #336, a rare Tiffany Favrile Aquamarine vase. Tiffany Aquamarine vases are solid glass with internal decoration of aquatic plants or fish. This example had a cup affixed to the top. What were they thinking when they produced this shape? It was so goofy that I wouldn’t have bid on it at any price. And the result showed. It sold below its estimate of $15,000–20,000, realizing only $12,500, including buyer’s premium. If the shape had been more traditional, it certainly would have sold for more.

Gallé Marquetry vase, Rago lot #361

The top lot of the French cameo glass went to #361, a small, 8″ Gallé Marquetry vase. Marquetry is the technique of inserting pieces of hot glass into molten glass and then marvering them (pressing them into the surface on a metal table), creating an inlaid effect. The technique is more commonly done with wood. The vase sold slightly below its estimate of $10,000–15,000, realizing $10,400, including buyer’s premium.

For the complete results of the sale, click <a href=”“>here</a>.

Excellent results for Tiffany Studios lamps at Fontaine’s Fine & Decorative Arts auction, September 12, 2020

Fontaine’s Auctions, Pittsfield, MA, held a Fine & Decorative Arts auction on September 12, 2020. Included in the sale was a nice collection of Tiffany lamps. Following are the results of the top three lots.

Tiffany Studios Oriental Poppy chandelier, Fontaine’s lot #100

John Fontaine likes to sell the star lot of each sale as #100. The amazing Tiffany Studios Oriental Poppy chandelier with six lily shades did not disappoint. It sold for $665,500, including buyer’s premium, against a pre-sale estimate of $400,000 – $600,000. Interestingly the lamp had been sitting in the consignor’s closet for years before John was called in to sell it. Very few people have both the space to hang and the means to buy such an impressive chandelier. Most of the seriously interested bidders were dealers who were going to convert the shade back into a floor lamp. That would have left them with 6 lily shades and lamp parts — a very good position for a dealer. The buyer, however, was not a dealer and would have none of it. He will hang it in his house as Tiffany created it. (My wife absolutely approves!)

She and I drove to Pittsfield to view the sale in person. We hoped to buy a few items but wound up buying nothing. Auctions in general have been quite strong since the pandemic began and John’s sale was no exception. Prices were too high for a dealer to earn a decent profit.

Tiffany Studios Elizabethan table lamp, Fontaine’s lot #150

I loved the second highest lot of the sale, #150, a rare Tiffany Studios Elizabethan table lamp on a twisted vine base. The colors were vivid and the condition superb. It sold within its estimated range of $60,000 – $80,000, realizing $90,750, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Studios Curtain Border floor lamp, Fontaine’s lot #173

The third best performing lot of the sale was lot #173, a blah example of a Tiffany Studios Curtain Border floor lamp. I would rate the color a 5-6 on a scale of 1-10. Regardless, it sold above its estimated range of $30,000 – $50,000, realizing $63,525, including buyer’s premium.

Fontaine’s next important sale will be held in January, 2021. However, he will be holding monthly sales in the meantime with less important items.

For the complete results of the sale, click <a href=”“>here</a>.

The 2020 Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show has been rescheduled to 2021

In a not unexpected move, the 2020 Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show has been rescheduled to 2021. It was the only thing the promoters could do to insure the safety of both the exhibitors and attendees. Even if they had held the show, it would have been a failure because many exhibitors would have dropped out and very few people would have attended.

Our booth last year at the Winnetka show

Following is the email with the news.

Dear Winnetka Exhibitor:

Many of you have contacted us in recent weeks asking about the status of this year’s Winnetka Antiques & Modernism Show.

It is with much disappointment that we must officially announce today that this year’s show, which was to have been held November 5-8 will not take place.

This decision was by no means an easy one to arrive at and it came about only this past week after several months of much deliberation and discussion by both the Winnetka Woman’s Board as well as the Show Committee.  The overriding considerations throughout that process: ensuring the wellbeing and safety of both our dealers as well as show attendees; along with the ability to mount a successful show.

It should also be noted that a couple of alternatives to having the live show were also discussed. The first of these being to present a “virtual” on-line show similar to others some of you may have already recently seen taking place or have perhaps even participated in.   However, after reviewing the widely mixed bag of results for these other virtual shows as well as contacting potential corporate sponsors for underwriting, the committee and Board felt that this would not be the way to go this year.

A second alternative was to possibly reschedule forward the actual date of the show to take place sometime in the spring of 2021. Once again however, it was felt that the uncertainty of where we will be in terms of adequately addressing the Covid situation even at that future time would make the planning and holding of this event simply too impractical.

So the bottom line is that the show will take a hiatus for one year.  However, we are happy to tell you that the present plan is to hold it next year in the fall at its usual date on the calendar.

For those of you who have already sent in your $500 deposits for this year’s show, that money will be refunded to all of you in full within the next 14 days.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly either by email or phone.

Please stay safe everyone.

Kaye Gregg & Marty Shapiro

Antiques Council Liaisons

Look for more cancellations and rescheduled shows. I predict the big events of the winter season in Florida will suffer the same fate. A vaccine is our only hope and that will be months and months away and possibly ineffective. An article in the New York Times on August 17, 2020, talked about a new, more contagious strain of the virus that the vaccine may not be able to stop. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

The best Burgun & Schverer vase in the world

Burgun, Schverer & Cie (B&S) started business in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, along the German border, in 1711. Germany annexed the area after defeating the French in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, but it was returned to France in 1919 after Germany’s defeat in WWI. So technically B&S glass made in the 1890s is German, but that’s only a technicality. Everyone regards it as some of the best French Art Nouveau cameo glass ever made.

Burgun & Schverer Caterpillar vase

There is no rarer or more beautiful example of B&S than the example pictured above with an internal caterpillar. Until I saw this example, I had no idea such a thing existed. It just takes my breath away. The subject, the workmanship, the color, the extensive detail is fabulous. It’s amazing!

The best examples were internally decorated, accomplished through a complicated, difficult process. The process started with hand-blowing the glass to form the vase. After cooling, the floral decoration was hand-painted on the outside surface with glass enamel paint. Swirls were sometimes added. The vase was then reheated and covered with a layer of clear glass. This important step left the decoration inside the layers, hence the term internally decorated. After cooling, the vase was acid-etched to form the icicle border rim and the outlines of the flowers. Then it was time for hand-engraving, a technique called wheel or intaglio-carving, which increased the realism of the flowers. Splashes of martelé texture were also wheel-carved into the background. Finally, the gilded details were hand-painted. These included the veining in the leaves and stems and the gilded rim. The final step was to fire the vase to convert the painted gilding into shiny gold.

The reverse of the vase

Many laborious steps were necessary to finish an internally decorated vase. My best guess is that it took two weeks to produce a single vase from start to finish.

The caterpillar is internal with wheel-carved details on the outer layer

B&S isn’t as well known as Gallé or Daum, except among the cognoscenti. I assume the scarcity of their work is largely responsible for that. Most good vases are priced in the $5,000 – $25,000 price range, when available, which isn’t often. The caterpillar vase sold well above that range, as you can imagine.