Famous auction house Christie's presented the inaugural sale of The Opulent Eye collection in New York on April 18. This collection filled 350 lots and was comprised of 19th century furniture, sculpture, and porcelain art pieces, raking in a sales total (including buyer's premium) of $4,050,062. Over 60 of the lots were from the estates of Dr. Milton and Marilyn Myers, featuring works by François Linke, Henry Dasson and Alfred Beurdeley, with the top selling item being a large Roman micromosaic tabletop with a mahogany base ($231,750).
According to Christie's, the Roman table showcases the time period's obsession with the Antique, depicting "Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf from Romolo e Remo allattati dalla Lupa, circa 1616, by Peter Paul Rubens, now in the Musei Capitolini, Rome." The image of St. Peter's Square is especially lovely with groups of people excitedly greeting a Papal carriage procession, with Christie's pointing out the detailed dress of the Pontiff himself (who is thought to be Pope Pius IX), who is just barely visible through the carriage windows. "Other details include a group of peasant dancers perched high above the Bay of Naples as Vesuvius smolders in the distance - a scene which recalls the Arcadian landscapes of Claude Lorraine so often reproduced by mosaicists to demonstrate their mastery of proportion, scale and perspective."
The second most expensive item to sell at $171,750 was a life-size French white marble figural group entitled "Tres in Una" by Paul Richer, Paris, circa 1913. Signed by the artist, the piece was acquired in 1970 from the family-held inventory of William Randolph Hearst in California. According to the auction house, while the sculpture seems to depict the three graces, it was meant to represent "idealized women from the art of three different epochs: […] the Renaissance, Antiquity and the modern age." Though the three women stand for separate traditions, each featuring specific details to support their era (the Renaissance figure wears a jeweled necklace, the antique figure stands with a crumbling column, and the modern figure leans against the Antique maiden with roses in her hand and at her feet), they are "locked in a seductive embrace and harmoniously united; a realization of their Latin title: three in one."
Some great Berlin porcelain was present, including a large flower-encrusted vase and stand, circa 1880, that sold for $56,250. According to Art Daily, this impressive piece features a "life-sized female mask suspending pale-blue drapery swags, the sides applied in high-relief with rich bouquets." The presence of flowers and portraits reflect the classic Neo-Rococo style.
Other sold items included a pair of ormolu-mounted Sevres porcelain cobalt-blue claret-ground vases, dated 1822 and sold for $75,000. A French mahogany console table sold for $81,250 and a French chinoiserie carved hardwood and red lacquered fire-surround realized a price of $117,750.
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