Silverware and Goldware
Chronology : 1-1000 1610-1619 1680-1699 1700-1719 1770-1779 1820-1829
Art Deco with the Tang
2019 SOLD for $ 3.5M including premium
A Tang bowl 24.5 cm in diameter and weighing 1.05 Kg was sold by Sotheby's on May 14, 2008 for £ 1.14M worth at that time $ 2.2M, these figures including the premium. It is estimated $ 2M for sale by Christie's in New York on September 12, lot 551.
The technique is foreign but the refinement is Chinese. The bowl has the shape of an opened lotus flower, decorated on its outer wall with three overlapping rows of lotus petals. Each frieze is composed of eight elements. A narrow garland separates the upper frieze from the rim of the bowl. The interior is centered with a gilt medallion showing a round dance of eight birds in blooming branches.
Each petal is a cartouche that was made in repoussé before being gilded and very finely chiseled with motifs of peonies and pairs of birds. This illustration is perhaps more decorative than symbolic although the repetition of the eight is certainly not a coincidence. The shape of the petals takes into account the curvature of the wall, more flared at the bottom.
This piece was made with a thick silver sheet rounded on a mould. It is a feat with regard to the regularity of its repoussé. The experts observed two tiny reworks made by the artist to correct the hammering.
In the same 2008 sale and coming from the same collection, a lobed bowl of similar diameter and technology was sold for £ 1.6M including premium. This piece has retained its original cover. Its foliated iconography is less dense.
These extremely rare bowls are also known in pure gold and pure silver. This type did not survive the Tang, probably because of the development of the porcelain.
On September 12 in #NewYork our Masterpieces of Early Chinese Gold and Silver sale will take place. Comprised of over 100 exquisite objects the collection, formed by Dr. Johan Carl Kempe, includes gold and silver works from the Tang period #AsianArtWeek https://t.co/Qt2FX4BOnJ pic.twitter.com/oZwbgmOVLB— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) September 5, 2019
1619 Republican Silver in Utrecht
2018 SOLD for $ 5.4M including premium
Sons of a silversmith in Utrecht, Adam and Paul van Vianen are artists. Paul travels and transfers the Dutch taste to Rudolf II in Prague. Adam remains in Utrecht. They create complex shapes by chasing a silver plaque of very high purity, shaping the surface into lobes that have identified their style as "auricular". The figures are modeled on wax.
The covered baluster ewer 23 cm high for sale by Christie's on April 20 in New York as lot 21 is dated 1619. It is clearly signed A. DE VIANA rather than stamped with a logo, confirming that Adam claimed the status of an artist.
Beyond a Mannerist accumulation including masks, dolphins, monsters and a beetle apparently without an overall coherence, the main theme of this ewer is the story of Marcus Curtius divided into three large roundels. The van Vianen brothers also used the themes of Mucius Scevola and Horatius Cocles for other pieces in an obvious desire to make a praise of the Republican sacrifice.
One of the greatest admirers and collectors of auricular silverware will be Rembrandt, attesting to the important influence of that style on the decorative art of the Dutch Golden Age.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's.
1693 A Little Clock for Queen Mary
2019 SOLD for £ 1.93M including premium
Aware of the quality of his production, Tompion numbered his instruments, an exceptional practice in his time for a manufactured product. He mixes in a single serialization list the table clocks and the long case clocks. His clocks have a long autonomy. His grande sonnerie pieces offer a repetition of quarters over a long duration.
From 1692 or 1693 Tompion improves the elegance of his design with his Phase Two which includes the cushion dome, the thistle bud handle, the bellflower keyhole and the operation of the mechanism from the front face.
The master seems more interested in standardization than in miniaturization. Nevertheless Number 215 appears as the first of a small series of Phase Two table clocks with a total height of 28 cm including the raised handle. It was sold for £ 170K including premium by Bonhams on December 13, 2011.
Number 222, made especially for Queen Mary II in 1693 and known as the Q Clock, is the smallest clock ever made by Tompion with an ebony case. It is 20 cm high overall with the handle raised. It offers the quarter repetition and an autonomy of eight days.
Re-assembled in 1949 by a collector with its original movement, the Q Clock was sold for £ 440K including premium by Christie's on June 30, 1993. It will be sold by Bonhams in London on June 19, lot 103. The May 20 press release is announcing for this silver mounted royal clock an estimate in excess of £ 2M. A modern replica is joined to the lot.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
We are delighted to announce that one of the most valuable clocks ever to appear at auction, The King William & Queen Mary Royal Tompion, will star in The Clive Collection of Exceptional Clocks in London on 19 June.https://t.co/6ufWtyi4Ax pic.twitter.com/ROoThd69zu— Bonhams (@bonhams1793) May 20, 2019
1697-1699 Hercules and Atlas in Augsburg
2010 SOLD 1.75 M€ including premium
On April 13 the same auction house is selling in one lot estimated 600 K € two silver globes made in Augsburg between 1697 and 1699, signed by Abraham II Drentwett.
The terrestrial globe is raised by Hercules and the celestial globe by Atlas. The characters and the spheres are in silver and the circles of the globes in silver gilt, for a total height of 24 cm and a weight of 2200 grams for the set. Globes are finely carved, and their maps are consistent with the geographical and celestial knowledge of their time.
The catalog does not advertise this set as a pair, as it was originally a series of three figures, described by a publication in 1912. The statue of Saturn holding the armillary sphere has not kept pace.
POST SALE COMMENT
Augsburg silver art is unclassifiable, between the major art of sculpture and that of the highest decoration. Buyers have recognized the exceptional qualities of this pair of globes: 1.75 M € including premium.
1700-1710 Silver punch bowl by Cornelius Kierstede
2010 SOLD for $ 5.9M including premium by Sotheby's
1705-1706 The Thirst of the Ambassador
2010 SOLD 2.5 M£ including premium
Unreleased until its arrival at auction in London on July 6, this silverware had been created on an initiative by Queen Anne. Seeking to ensure the standing of her ambassadors, she allocated to them a weight of silver with which they could have made an object enabling them to dazzle in society.
The ambassador in Berlin, from the Wentworth family, exceeded his quota and had to share the expenses! In any other country than England, this enormous bucket would risk a thousand times to be melted during the three centuries of its existence. But it remained cool (!) In the family of its first owner, and is now estimated 1.5 million pounds.
Despite the outstanding and royal features of this piece, the estimate is ambitious.
POST SALE COMMENT
The market has confirmed the exceptional nature of this piece of silverware: £ 2.5 million including premium.
It is viewed towering in the middle of the showroom at Sotheby's on this page shared before the sale by Art Market Monitor.
1745-1756 The Leinster Dinner Service
2012 SOLD 1.72 M£ including premium
What is less usual is that the service remained almost intact. Marked by George Wickes in London, dated between 1745 and 1756, it currently consists of 184 pieces of silverware for a total weight of 164.7 kg
Designed in the style of à la française dinner, it is also one of the finest examples of silverware from that time, far surpassing, it seems, the service of the Prince of Wales.
The young Irishman was the 20th Earl of Kildare, who was promoted in 1766 to become the first Duke of Leinster. Remained in his family until 1918, his silver is known as the Leinster service. It is estimated £ 1.5 million, for sale as a single lot by Christie's in London on July 5.
To assess the importance of the Leinster service, compare it with a more recent set in a different style: on November 6, 2008, Sotheby's sold $ 1.9 million including premium the table service delivered by Odiot to the Grand Duchess of Baden in the 1820s, consisting of 77 pieces for a total weight of 90 Kg.
POST SALE COMMENT
Maintaining such a set still undispersed is exceptional. The lot was sold £ 1.72 million including premium.
1770 Catherine of Russia promotes the French Taste
2013 SOLD 1.78 M€ including premium
Catherine was so happy with the result that she offered the service to her favorite, Count Orloff, and then took the whole back for her shortly after his death. Known afterwards as the Orloff service, this is a great example of the neoclassical style that took over the rococo with more power in the shape and better simplicity in the decoration.
Many pieces have disappeared, probably melted, and what remained was dispersed by the Soviet government. The arrival on the market of heavy pieces from the Orloff service is always an event.
On 19 April 2002, Christie's sold for $ 930K including premium a pair of high vase-shaped coolers. The total weight of this lot was 9468 g.
Two lots of pieces from the Orloff service are sold by Christie's in Paris on November 8.
The tureen with cover and stand made in 1770 by the younger Roettiers is estimated € 1.5 million, for a total weight of 11960 g. Here is the link to the catalog.
A suite of four candlesticks made in 1771 also by the son is estimated € 500K, for a total weight of 7460 g. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result is consistent with the expectation for these two prestigious lots: € 1.78 million including premium for the tureen and € 600K including premium for the suite of candlesticks.
1899-1903 Luxury Furniture with Fabergé
2007 SOLD for $ 2.3M including premium by Sotheby's
Fabergé knew how to respond to the desire for extreme refinement at the Russian court. His first Easter surprise egg was made in 1885 for a presentation by Emperor Alexander III to his wife Maria Feodorovna. The Empress is so enthusiastic that she asks for such a gift to become a tradition.
Fabergé is organizing for this prestigious market. In the following year he appoints Michael Perchin as head workmaster. Until his death in 1903, Perchin made all imperial eggs. He also worked for other wealthy clients including Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the sister-in-law of the Empress.
A master of enamels, Fabergé had developed 145 new hues. His miniature furniture is in enameled gold skillfully inlaid with precious materials for an exquisite imitation of the textures and decorations of the original furniture.
The three examples below were made by Perchin for Fabergé in St Petersburg between 1899 and 1903. They are inspired by French styles. Each of them is a highly rare model without being a unique piece.
A 9 cm high Louis XVI-style sedan chair was sold for £ 790K including premium by Christie's on November 27, 2017. The doors are opening. The windows are in rock crystal and the interior decoration is lined with mother of pearl.
The other two examples will be sold by Sotheby's in London on June 4. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The Empire-style fauteuil en gondole 5.7 cm high is equipped with a hidden drawer under the seat for use as a bonbonnière. The back is an openwork in the shape of a row of lyres. A translucent red guilloché enamel imitates the grain of the mahogany, and the enamel of the seat mimics the silk. This piece which had belonged to the Grand Duchess was sold for $ 2.3M including premium by Sotheby's on April 16, 2007 over a lower estimate of $ 1M. It is now estimated at £ 800K, lot 256.
The 8.9 cm high Louis XVI-style spacer table offers a similar imitation of mahogany. Its top in polished nephrite imitating leather opens for use as a candy box. It is estimated £ 800K, lot 257.
1821-1824 The Table Service of the Grand Duchess of Baden
2008 SOLD 1.9 M$ including premium
In parallel, the silversmith Odiot, who had provided regularly some silverware to the Imperials, continued to work after 1815 for this family scattered throughout Europe.
77 pieces of the table service provided by Odiot to the Grand Duchess through several orders between 1821 and 1824 have remained together, and constitute the lot 106 of the sale of Sotheby's in New York on November 6. The total weight of silver is 90 Kg
These pieces of silverware (a soup tureen weighing 9 kg, cups, salts, dishes and plates) are decorated with sirens, putti, grapes and laurels, according to models available in the catalog of Odiot since 1806. All parts are marked with the arms of the Grand Duchy of Baden.
The estimated price of this exceptional lot is $ 2 million.
POST SALE COMMENT
I consider this result as very good: $ 1.9 million including expenses. The lower estimate has not been reached, but it was not easy to predict the price of such a package.
1967 Picasso and the Silversmith
2014 SOLD 3.5 M$ including premium
In 1956, Picasso shows his ceramic plates to the art historian Douglas Cooper. Both regret the fragility of the ceramics and raise the idea to copy them into silver. Silver and terracotta have in common that they can be worked by the artist in repoussé.
Cooper introduces François Hugo to Picasso. Hugo had worked for many artists including Max Ernst and Cocteau. He used their designs for creating jewelry, silverware and gold pieces. Picasso selected 19 plates in unglazed biscuit, suitable for the technique to be used by Hugo. In a purely artistic approach, Picasso enjoyed his silver pieces made by Hugo without foreseeing a commercial exploitation.
In 1967, Picasso finally allows Hugo to make other copies of that set in silver. Twenty sets are edited, plus four artist's proofs. An artist's proof that has remained complete of its 19 plates is estimated $ 1M for sale by Christie's in New York on May 6, lot 20 in the catalog.
Diameters are ranging from 39 to 42 cm, excepted three smaller. The themes are the same as in the ceramics, especially including faces, with the stylized power of Picasso's art at that time.
The silver work has excited Picasso. After this first experience, he will prepare new drawings specifically tailored for their capabilities to push silver in repoussé.
POST SALE COMMENT
This remarkably complete set is a very good example of the diversity of the materials used by Picasso after war. It was sold for $ 3.5 million including premium.
1967 The Repoussé Silver of Pablo Picasso
2016 SOLD for HK$ 20M including premium
The interest of Pablo for his silver remains private. He shows his silverware sparingly to very few friends. It was not until 1967 that Hugo, by permission of the artist, performs an edition of the whole set. For each model this issue is for 20 copies numbered 1 to 20 plus 2 "exemplaires d'artiste" (artist's proof) and 2 "exemplaires d'auteur" (author's proof).
Curiously this achievement remains unknown to the public until an exhibition of 19 pieces in London and Paris in 1977.
The 20 commercial sets were probably dispersed from their first sales. 19 pieces of the exemplaire d'artiste 2/2 remained in one lot sold for $ 3.5 million including premium by Christie's on May 6, 2014 from a lower estimate of $ 1M.
A collector has managed to gather a copy of each of the 24 listed plates. In this reconstructed set, the Visage de faune comes from an additional issue of 6 non commercial copies and the Visage géométrique aux traits, unnumbered, is a pattern copy identified on the reverse as "avant la lettre".
This interesting collection is estimated HK $ 12M for sale bySotheby's in Hong Kong on June 23, lot 539. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.