With two highly successful auctions already to their credit since launching operations in December, New Jersey estate specialists Sterling Associates will go for a trifecta on June 9 with a Major Fine Art & Estate Auction featuring quality consignments from the tri-state area. Like the previous sales, the June event will be a “hybrid” auction, which combines a gallery and online preview with absentee, phone and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.
The 500-lot auction will feature paintings, furniture, porcelain, sculptures, rugs, sports art and an extensive array of lighting, candelabra and accessories. There are numerous highlights in all categories, but the lot that company owner Stephen D’Atri predicts might be “the star of the sale” is the pair of circa-1750 Qianlong famille rose Chinese covered vases in the Mandarin pattern.
“These vases are truly stunning. The decoration is so heavily applied, they almost look like Meissen,” D’Atri said. The 17-inch vases were held in a private collection for more than 30 years following their purchase from a dealer on New York’s Park Avenue. The duo is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
From the same source comes a superb 19th-century French dore and patinated bronze centerpiece. The design incorporates a pair of putti supporting a gilt faux-wicker basket from a base adorned with a ribbon-entwined garland. A piece of outstanding quality, it is expected to make $6,000-$8,000.
Another premier lot is the magnificent palace-size silk Iranian Tabriz rug from the third quarter of the 20th century. It measures 26 by 16 ft and features a palette of pinky-peach and light greens with some reds for strength. Sterling Associates has placed an estimate of $30,000-$50,000 on the textile masterpiece.
Nothing adds a finishing touch to a room quite like an elegant light fixture, and “elegant” is the right word to describe an Art Deco-style chandelier created in the manner of Edgar Brandt or Oscar Bach. With its fine filigree work and delicately suspended bell-shape forms and crystals, it embodies the flawless balance and style of fine lighting from the Gatsby era. Previously in an eastern Pennsylvania residence, it will now pass to a new owner after crossing the auction block with a $4,000-$6,000 estimate.
There is always a demand for scientific antiques to outfit a traditional study or library, so D’Atri believes there will be strong interest in a circa-1800 Continental globe on stand. The globe offered by Sterling Associates measures an impressive 22 inches in diameter and is expected to make $400-$600.
An enormous modern oil-on-canvas painting of Marilyn Monroe is illegibly signed and dated. The framed 64½- by 50¼-inch portrait is probably too adventurous for a conventional décor, D’Atri said. “It’s ultra sophisticated, very large and very cool. It’s meant to be viewed from a distance.” The portrait is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.
Eight serigraphs by the Russian-born French artist Romain de Tirtoff Erte (1892-1990) will be auctioned. A gold-framed pair of serigraphs from Erte’s “Zeus & Hera Suite” is numbered 153/300 and estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Several sports-related artworks have been consigned, with multiple artists represented. Included in the mix are lithographs autographed by Olympic decathlon gold medal winner Bruce Jenner.
Many wonderful pieces of garden statuary will be offered, all coming from area estates. Most are life-size classical forms – some of marble, some of bronze – with a few additional works having an Asian theme.
A standout amongst the garden antiques is a circa-1800 monumental cast-iron planter embossed with Chinese characters and bas-relief floral and foliage decoration. The consignor acquired the planter in the 1970s, a move that may turn out to have been a wise investment, according to D’Atri. “Today’s buyers are paying much more for Chinese iron vessels than they did back then,” he said. The handsome tripodal vessel is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
Between 130 and 140 figurally carved or molded Meerschaum pipes and 40-50 walking sticks are included in the sale. Each item will be auctioned individually to offer collectors their particular choice from an especially diverse selection.
The auction is rounded out by antique Asian furniture, a large grouping of antique French and German dolls; and an item that defies classification: a 19th-century vampire killing set. Contained in an attractive wood case, the set consists of a collection of weapons, including a gun, knives and stakes – presumably to drive through a vampire’s heart.
D’Atri explained that, at one time, cases containing vampire-killing paraphernalia were kept onboard some eastern European stagecoaches to provide an extra level of security for night travelers who believed in the fictitious blood-sucking bats. “The manufacturer of these sets preyed upon people’s fears, not unlike the makers of 19th-century patent medicines,” D’Atri said. He noted that a similar set sold recently at Sotheby’s for around $25,000. The example in Sterling Associates’ sale is modestly estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Sterling Associates’ Major Fine Art & Estate Auction will be held on Saturday, June 9, starting at 12 noon Eastern Time. It is structured as a hybrid auction in which previewing is available at the physical gallery, but all bidding is exclusively absentee, by phone or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.
“The way our auctions work, all bidding is conducted remotely, but we’re very much a permanent brick-and-mortar company where anyone can come in to inspect the goods,” said D’Atri. “It will be run exactly like a live auction, but without a live audience.”
The live gallery preview is from 10 am. to 6 pm., June 5-8 inclusive. The gallery is located at 70 Herbert Ave., Closter, NJ 07624. For additional information on any item in the auction, call or email. Visit Sterling Associates online.View the fully illustrated catalog online