|MONROVIA, Calif. — Clocks did much more than tell time during a July auction conducted by John Moran Auctioneers.
Throughout the auction were several stunning clocks consigned from lifelong collector Harry J. O’Connor. Jerry (as his friends and family called him) amassed a veritable treasure trove of interesting and beautiful art and objects throughout his lifetime, and was always improving and adding to his collections. John Moran Auctioneers was honored to have been chosen to handle the pieces Jerry cherished most.
A favorite going into the auction was a Georgian musical automaton bracket clock from John Taylor, which still played its tune every hour. Determined phone and floor bidders pushed the clock past its $4000-6000 estimate to sell for $15,000. One of the top clocks of the day was a complex English tall case clock from maker Moses Meigh set with calendar dials and moon phase aperture, the clock quickly sold within its $10,000-20,000 estimate at $17,500. A stunningly intricate wine-themed clock and garniture set from famed maker Lenzkirch featured a clock face set into a bronze wine barrel. An enthusiastic bidder took home the set for $2,000. A stunning French gilt and patinated bronze “Rape of Europa” mantel clock featured the titular heroine riding atop a clockface supported on a bull’s back; it was soon spirited away for $9,375 at the block.
Fine Chinese antiques did well with a pair of 18th century carved Chinese hardwood chairs each featuring a relief carving of Zhulong among clouds. Estimated at $20,000-$30,000, the chairs took more than three minutes to sell when a bidding war broke out between a packed crowd of floor bidders and a full phone bank. A determined phone bidder won out and brought the chairs home for $375,000. A pair of carved Chinese giltwood figures inspired stiff competition between the floor bidders, selling for $23,750 at the block, well above its $1,500-2,500 estimate. A beautiful carved Chinese altar table with lotus-motif apron also soared past its estimate to bring $8,125.
Classic examples of fine European paintings continue to delight auction-goers at Moran’s Traditional Collector auctions. A stunning impressionistic painting from Edouard Leon Cortes (1882-1969 French), Rue a des Capucine – La Madaleine, shows the iconic Parisian street at twilight with the first flickers of lamplight illuminating the street. After a prolonged bidding war, a determined phone bidder went home with the painting for $37,500. A colorful scene by painter Wojciech Adalbert Kossak (1856-1942 Polish) depicting a Polish cavalryman on a smoke break sold within its $8000-12,000 estimate at $9,375. A Game of Chess by French artist Charles Schreiber (1845-1903) showing two cardinals focused on the game went quickly above the estimate of $700-900 to top out at $4.062.
European paintings were not the only popular lots at the auction, fine European objets d’art brought strong prices overall. A sweet “Perruches” opalescent art glass bowl by famed maker Rene Lalique flew into the auction with strong pre-sale interest, ultimately selling at $2,812. A late 19th century Russian silver and enamel kovsh was a striking example of the form and inspired fevered bidding from the floor, internet, and phones ultimately selling online for $5,937. Two enamel on copper works featuring Matthew and Mark the Evangelists by noted artist Alfred-Paul-Louis Serre (1837-1906 French) featured some of the most stunning enamelwork Moran’s has handled in recent months, selling far above their modest $600-900 estimate for $5,625.
Art and objects from Persia realized some of the strongest prices of the night. An incredible silk Persian rug in beautiful condition was a favorite of Moran’s staff and bidders before the auction. After a small bidding war the prime example earned $6,875. A group of five Persian glazed pottery bowls/platters consigned from a local collection garnered some of the most attention before the auction. A determined phone bidder lead the charge to see the pottery soar to $12,500. Moran’s has been fortunate to bring several examples from noted watercolorist Yervand Nahapetian (1916-2006 Armenian/Persian) to the block in recent months. The artist’s detailed work depicting an interior of a rug dealer’s shop swiftly outstripped its $1,500-2,000 estimate to bring $5,312.
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