Fine & Decorative Arts Auction Realizes $2.5-Million at Fontaine’s
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Fontaine’s Auction Gallery‘s important Fine and Decorative Arts auction on January 28 surpassed its high estimate to total $2.5 million. The 550-lot sale saw strong performers in nearly every category with a sell-through rate of 91 percent.
“The auction was very busy and well received with over 7,000 approved bidders. I think in general the market is good for quality items in every category,” said auctioneer and owner John Fontaine.
By “quality items,” Fontaine is being modest about the auction’s top lot — a circa-1898 Tiffany Studios window, titled Jesus in a Field of Lilies, which went for $237,500, nearly doubling its high estimate. The window is not sized for the average home, so it makes sense that the winning bidder was a church in the western part of the United States. The buyers told John Fontaine they plan to restore and install the window in the church.
Another top lot in the sale was an 18K white and yellow gold ring centered on an intense yellow square radiant cut diamond of 10 carats surrounded by two carats of round brilliant white diamonds that attracted competitive bidding, particularly among retail buyers. In the end, the ring went out at $181,250 to a bidder in Chicago. It was one of several pieces of jewelry centered on yellow diamonds from a Los Angeles estate that all did well.
Tiffany lamps have a long tradition of being strong performers at Fontaine’s, and floor lamps, in particular, have been standouts in recent auctions. Leading a select grouping of about two dozen examples in the January 28 sale was a circa-1910 Tiffany Curtain Border floor lamp that earned $100,000, and a circa-1910 Peony floor lamp that made $93,750. A circa-1905 Tiffany Moorish and Turtle-Back chandelier also did well, going out at $81,250. Adding up all the Tiffany lots in this auction, from lighting to vases, desk sets and clocks, they accounted for just about a million dollars, not including the buyer’s premium.
Many items saw bidders drive prices above their estimates, among them a circa-1880 monumental Swiss Black Forest carved figural clock with matching stand. The clock was surmounted by an elaborately carved eagle above three mountain goats and realized $34,375.
Rounding out the auction were a circa-1911 Oriel Cabinet Co. Norman Suite dining room set that sold for $30,000; a signed William Lester Stevens oil on canvas, Village in the Winter, which was in a Florida collection before bringing $26,250; and an American carved oak tall case clock with a J.J. Elliott movement that settled at $22,500.
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality items for all upcoming auctions, to include furniture, lighting, art glass, 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. It will buy outright or accept on consignment. Call 413-448-8922 and ask to speak with John Fontaine, or email Fontaine via [email protected] For more information about the company and the upcoming auction schedule, visit www.fontainesauction.com.