Clocks, Cellos, and Fine Art

Choice Clocks, Cellos, and Fine Art To Compete at Fontaine's Auction Gallery March 24

PITTSFIELD, MASS. — Surprises and choice items will abound in Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s antiques and fine art auction on Saturday, March 24, at 11 am. From not one but three hand crafted Italian cellos to a rare French industrial animated cyclist mantle clock, a wealth of fine offerings will tempt buyers.

The auction will offer 275 lots, including bronze and marble statuary, art glass and cameo glass, fine clocks and watches, Royal Vienna and KPM porcelains, gold and diamond jewelry, fine silver, rare Italian cellos, 19th and 20th Century lighting, American figural carved and Victorian furniture, Black Forest items, Asian and Russian items as well as oriental rugs. Absentee and Internet bidding is available on Live Auctioneers, Invaluable, Auction Zip, EBay Live and Fontaine’s Live.

“People know us for clocks and this sale does not disappoint with several fine examples, including a charming and rare French industrial animated cyclist mantle clock but this auction has so much more to offer,” said owner/auctioneer John Fontaine. “The two Italian cellos are absolutely beautiful — works of art in their own right — and leading fine art is a wonderful bronze sculpture by Ludovic Lucien Madrassi. Jewelry is also well represented with a pair of Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and turquoise pendant earrings.”

The expected headliner in the auction will be a hand crafted “Grand Pattern Amati” style cello by Leandro Bisiach (Italian, 1864-1946), having some “Testore” influence. This important and early example, circa 1890, was built when the cello maker was setting himself up in Milan. It retains its original varnish; there is no evidence that the cello’s top was ever removed and the finish is mostly untouched. The cello was stored in its accompanying case for nearly 60 years, was rarely used and is fresh to the market. It is estimated at $50,000 to $75,000.
Another attractive and handmade cello from 1926 is by the hand of Luigi Digiuni (Italian, 1878-1937), a product of the Cremonese school of violin making. The sound holes (f-holes) pay homage to Stradivarius’ early period design while the remaining features are much more exaggerated. The varnish formulated by Digiuni is original and untouched.

Fontaine’s enjoys a solid reputation for achieving strong, even record-setting, prices for fine clocks. This auction will feature the rare French industrial animated cyclist mantle clock in a rouge marble case. A bronze sculpture on top depicts a man standing with and walking his penny-farthing (high wheel bicycle); the wheels are animated and driven by an individual heavy spring driven brass movement contained in the base. Signed “S. Marti & Cie,” the clock measures 15 by 11 ½ by 6 ¾ inches.

Other fine clocks crossing the block include a rare Benjamin Ward triple fusee bracket clock with black incised Roman hour numerals, pierce filigree corner spandrels, signed “Ben’j Ward, London” and silvered dial labeling the four tunes: Minuet, Jigg, Cotillion and Cavot,  26 by14 ½ by 8 ½ inches, and a rare Atmos-Reuter perpetual crystal regulator clock having a 4 1/2-inch porcelain dial signed “Atmos, Pendule Perptuelle, Brevetes J.L. Reutter,” black Roman hour numerals and black open moon hands, 13 by 8 by 6 ¼ inches.

This sale has plenty of bling factor also, including a pair of 18K Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and turquoise pendant earrings, 3 ¼ inches long, and a Van Cleef & Arpels 18K white gold ring in with a floral bypass form with split shank.

Furniture offerings will be led by a walnut extra grade Wooton desk, a carved renaissance revival desk having a fancy carved gallery with ornate corner pieces, large burled panels with incising throughout, and oversized doors curved at the top, 76 by 43 by 29 inches. Also on offer is a R.J. Horner carved mahogany crystal cabinet with pierced carved crest with figural winged putti, mountain men, medallions, filigree and scroll work, 70 by 78 by 28 inches.
Leading a compact but choice selection of fine art is a bronze sculpture, “Fortunatina,” by Ludovic Lucien Madrassi (French, 1881-1956), depicting a large size nude figure of a woman standing on a conch shell with butterfly wings, medium dark brown patina, 52 by 15 by 17 inches.

Rounding out the sale is a 35-piece grouping of Yuchang Chinese Export sterling silver, including a tray with open handles, a tilter teapot with stand and burner, two other teapots, and candlesticks for a total weight of about 28.4 pounds.

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is the oldest operating auction gallery in Western Massachusetts. It has earned the trust of collectors, investors and gallery owners worldwide. All cataloged lots receive nationwide exposure to the firm’s database of more than 20,000 select buyers. Eight times Fontaine’s Auction Gallery has been voted “Best Antique Auction Gallery” by the public.

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality items, to include furniture, lighting, clocks and watches, paintings, porcelains, bronze and marble statuary, Asian items, art glass and cameo glass, Russian objects, silver, musical, coin-op, advertising, toys, banks, gaming and carousel items for future sales. Consignments are currently being accepted for all the upcoming auctions.

The firm will buy outright or accept on consignment fine antiques, collections or entire estates. Call (413) 448-8922 and ask to speak with John Fontaine, or you can send Mr. Fontaine an e-mail to [email protected]. For more information about the company and the upcoming auction schedule, visit Updates are posted frequently.