CLEVELAND, Ohio — American paintings did well once again at Cowan’s Spring Cleveland Auction on March 17. The top lot of this event was Valley of the Wyoming, Penn. by Edmund Darch Lewis (American, 1835-1910). This dated 1886 landscape was large in size, measuring 43 1/2 inches by 27 1/2 inches (sight), and sold for $6,600 (est. $3,000-$5,000). Prices include a buyer’s premium.
Other artwork offered included the 19th century oil on canvas of a bucolic landscape, the work of Jean Alexis Achard (French, 1807-1884), which realized $3,360 (est. $1,000-$2,000). Signed at lower right and measuring 16 inches by 23 inches (sight), this painting also sported the label “Cleveland Museum of Art TR 16085/248” verso. The label is from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s temporary exhibition, Art for Collectors, which ran Nov. 2-Dec. 22, 1974.
And a piece of artwork of an entirely different nature, an American early 20th century Art Deco-style – better yet, Asian-esque – cloisonné enamel panel featuring a seated woman with upswept hair wearing a golden gown with a pattern that was almost hieroglyphic in design surprised, selling for $3,998 against an estimate of $100 to $200. Having a backdrop done in varying shades of blue helped to make the woman’s gown pop from the panel. Housed in a gilt frame, this piece measured 23 1/2 inches by 23 1/2 inches (sight).
Furniture presented for bids was vast and varied. An American, 18th century Queen Anne bonnet-top highboy in curly maple went for $3,240 (est. $1,000-$1,500). The piece was a marriage of an upper case that had curly maple veneer, a molded broken-arch pediment decorated with three later turned finials, and three small and four long dovetailed drawers. The lower case featured one long and three small drawers, a valanced skirt, and cabriole legs with pad feet. Both the upper and bottom drawers were also decorated with carved sunbursts.
Adding interest to this lot was the fact that it sold with three auction catalogs in which the highboy was featured. One catalog was for The Van Sweringen Collection of American & English Furniture, comprising the contents of the home of the late O.P. and M.J. Van Sweringen in Hunting Valley, Ohio, under management of the Parke-Bernet Galleries Inc. of New York in 1938 (p. 184-185). A purchase receipt showing payment in the amount of $425 was also included.
From a completely different genre, a Renaissance Revival ebonized and satinwood inlaid credenza was purchased for $1,968 (est. $1,600-$2,400). The mid-to late 19th century American piece had an ebonized finish and burled walnut panels, a mirrored top with carved molding flanked by ebonized pillars, a crest decorated with an inlaid female face, and its single door featured marquetry in the design of an urn filled with flowers and surrounded by birds. Very fancy indeed! This credenza stood 95 inches high.
Yet another style was also represented at Cowan’s Cleveland event in March. This Victorian two-door bookcase made of walnut and attributed to Mitchell & Rammelsberg of Cincinnati sold for $1,107 (est. $700-$1,000). The circa 1880 piece boasted burl veneer, two glass doors, floral carved molding, dovetailed drawers, and was 91 1/2 inches tall.
Decorative items offered this day were first rate, and again from a myriad of time periods. Several lamps impressed, with two 20th century American examples selling well. An Arts and Crafts style pottery lamp in a matte green glaze by Hampshire Pottery was decorated with embossed lily pads and vines and sold for $2,760 (est. $2,000-$3,000). The lamp was topped with a leaded glass shade marked on the interior rim “BIGELOW ENNARD & CO./BOSTON and BIGELOW STUDIOS.” The lamp stood 24 inches, and the shade was 17 3/4 inches in diameter.
A Handel table lamp wearing an exterior-painted chipped ice shade with a green ground went to $2,280 (est. $1,200-$1,500). With a Persian design in purple, maroon and yellow around the edge of the shade, and signed Handel /6374F on the interior, this shade was held aloft by a bronzed metal base. The lamp was 22 inches high while the diameter of the shade was 18 inches.
Decorative Chinese items also made a showing at this event. A celadon, russet and black jade plaque or disc with a pierced center that was carved with a chilong dragon brought $1,845 against an estimate of $300 to $500. It measured 3 1/2 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide.
And a watercolor scroll, the work of Chen Yunzhang (Chinese, 1905-1955), sold for $1,200 (est. $3,000-$5,000). The central figure of the scroll was a child with a fishing rod and a flock of geese. It was presented on an open off-white ground with red and orange blooms. A single dragonfly also is found in the scene, as well as calligraphy and red seals. Including the scroll, this lot measured 79 inches high and 34 inches wide. These two pieces plus the framed enamel panel listed earlier came from the Bernice Shanker Asian Art Collection.
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