Clars to Offer Important Property from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Rare Works by Wayne Thiebaud and Property from the Thomas J. Perkins Estate on February 18 and 19, 2017

07 Feb

Oakland, CA, 18 & 19 – February 2017 – On February 18 and 19, 2017, Clars Auction Gallery will present to the market select decorative art and furnishings deaccessed from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), two very rare early works by Wayne Thiebaud, a significant collection of fine art prints and major ethnographic and tribal collections including the personal collection of Thomas J. Perkins (San Francisco and Belvedere, CA Estates).


Wayne Thiebaud
Watermelon Slice

Clars Auction Gallery is pleased to announce the first ever public offering of two early Wayne Thiebaud (American, b. 1920) paintings. Thiebaud’s 1958, Watermelon Slice, a casein on board, is one of his earliest still-lifes to ever reach the auction stage by the artist. This beautiful initial work was created a year after he saw the groundbreaking exhibition, Contemporary Bay Area Figurative Painting, at the Oakland Art Museum where he was introduced to the works of such artists as Richard Diebenkorn and David Park. This work is a recognizable Thiebaud for its color and focus and will pique the interest of Thiebaud collectors as his greatest known still-life’s were created in the 1960’s. Carrying an estimate of $80,000-$120,000, this work will add significance to any Thiebaud or American Pop-Art Collection.

The second original Thiebaud to be offered is Skyline (New York City), 1956, a tempera on board painting. Created just two years prior to Watermelon Slice, this extremely rare work shows some hallmarks of what later becomes Thiebaud’s signature style, yet also shows influences of the Abstract Expressionist movement, which was gaining much allure in the 1950’s American art scene. Thiebaud’s Skyline (New York City), 1956, was created when the artist embarked to the East Coast, on the cusp of finding himself as an artist and his own unique perspective on his subject matter. Skyline (New York City), 1956, with its hints of American Abstraction, will be offered with an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

Wayne Thiebaud
Skyline (New York City)

Museum quality fine art prints from a privately held single-owner collection from Piedmont (CA) will also be offered on February 19th. Among these fine offerings is a work by one of the Bay Area’s most celebrated artists, Richard Diebenkorn (American, 1922-1993). Titled Blue with Red, 1987, this woodblock print was created in tandem with Crown Point and Shiundo Print Shop in Kyoto, Japan. Using the ancient methods of Japanese woodblock print making, Diebenkorn expanded and refined his printmaking skills on Blue with Red, creating a stunning abstract image with swaths of cascading blue, and a texture only realized from woodcut printing on Echixen Kozo Moshi paper. This exciting print will be offered with an estimate of $30,000-$50,000. (NOTE: Diebenkorn’s Touched Red, 1991, recently sold at Clars for $54,450 in their record breaking November 2016 sale).

Richard Diebenkorn
Blue with Red

Another print influenced by the Japanese style of woodblock printing is Leslie, 1986, by the artist Chuck Close. In order to produce Leslie, which is based on a watercolor created by Close, the artist worked with master printmakers in Japan to create fifty-one wooden blocks to construct the print. In the end, each print was created by pressing the paper onto the inked woodblocks more than 100 times. Leslie will be offered with an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.

Adding to the group of important fine art prints are Jasper Johns’ Untitled (Coca-Cola and Grid), 1971, a seven-color lithograph published by Gemini G.E.L.—a print that hasn’t come to the auction block in over a decade, and Robert Motherwell’s  Mask (for Ingmar Bergman), 1989, a lithograph in colors published by Tyler Graphics. Each of these prints will be offered at $8,000-$12,000. Several more important fine art prints and multiples will be offered by artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, Pat Steir, Willem de Kooning, Christopher Brown, Frank Stella, Jim Dine, Kenneth Noland, John Chamberlain.


Italian Lombardo-Venetian walnut chairs
(2 of 4 shown)

Clars Auction Gallery is proud to have been selected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (N.Y.C) to offer approximately 700 select pieces being deaccessed by this impressive and world-renowned institution. The first offering, coming to the February 19th sale, will include a set of four Italian Lombardo-Venetian walnut chairs, late 16th century, bequeathed to the institution in 1916 by a very prominent financier.  These chairs will be offered for $4,000-$6,000.  An 18th century Irish carved tilt top tea table with relief carved base will carry an estimate of $5,000-$7,000 and pair of French marble and ormolu mounted urns, 19th century, will be offered for $8,000-$12,000.  A large collection of 18th century English soft paste porcelains including Wedgwood, Worcester, Staffordshire, Spode, Sunderland and Crown Derby, will be offered in addition to over 30 British samplers.  Among the sterling to be offered will be two Georgian sterling candlewick trimmers with trays, cruet stand and salver. The remainder of this collection will be offerd at subsequent sales at Clars. Deric Torres, Vice President and Director of Decorative Art and Funishings noted,” It is our great pleasure to handle such world-class property from such a well respected institution.”

Charles Carmel armored carousel horse

Another highlight in this category will be two important and completely restored carousel horses. One example is a large Charles Carmel armored carousel horse, circa 1924, original to the Eldridge Park Carousel in Elmira (NY), which will be offered for $20,000-$30,000.

In fine lighting, the highlight will be a Duffner and Kimberly, New York, inverted leaded glass hanging fixture which will carries an estimate of $6,000-$9,000.  Duffner and Kimberly were among the finest New York leaded glass lamp producers in the early part of the 20th century, and this example is a prime example of their workmanship.

Modern and Contemporary ceramics will be highlighted by a single-owner collection of important James Lovera ceramic vessels. Consisting of more than 40 examples, these works span the artists career. Lovera is known for his traditionally thrown porcelain vessels with both rich color and lava glazes – coming out of an Asian tradition. His work has been privately collected and is held in museums worldwide.

Duffner and Kimberly,
New York,
inverted leaded glass hanging fixture

In sterling, fifty lots of fine Continental and American silver flatware and hollowware will be offered. Among these highlights will be a pair of spectacular Early Victorian wine coolers, London, 1838, that will be offered for $15,000-20,000. A collection of George II and George III sauceboats, open salts, tea caddie, chamber stick, pap boat, salvers, and a sugar basket, London, 1747, are estimated to achieve $7,000-$10,000.  The selection of Tiffany offerings includes a pair of three-light candelabras in the “St. Dunston” pattern, a mid-19th century platter, and an impressive fluted punch bowl, circa 1907-1908, which will be offered for $6,000-9,000. Other important articles to be offered are a Gorham Martelé silver tray; a Georg Jensen beaker in the “Blossom” pattern and an “Acanthus” pattern flatware service for twelve.

Saturday, February 18th
On Saturday, February 18th, a large collection of Tribal and Ethnographic art from several major estates will cross the block. Among the exceptional lots to be offered is a Lwalwa mask from the Thomas J. Perkins estate, (San Francisco and Belvedere, CA) and an elegant and dramatic bird mask with down-curving beak, Koulango, Cote d’Ivoire.

Early Victorian wine coolers,
London, 1838

Also to be offered is a large collection of Native American basketry, textiles, and decorative items.  Among the highlights will be a 19th Century Pacific Northwest Tlingit carved bentwood box, accented with opercula and an Apache olla having snake monochrome decorated detail which will be offered for $6,000-$9,000.

A number of the exceptional jewelry offerings come from the important collection of the former owners of the Highlands Inn in Carmel, CA. To be offered from this private collection will be a stunning ruby cabochon, diamond and gold ring; a ruby, sapphire, diamond and silver-topped large spider brooch; a 1.30 ct emerald-cut diamond and gold ring and a pair of exquisitely executed Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and gold earrings.

Lwalwa mask
from the estate of Thomas J. Perkins

The Asian offerings will be highlighted by an impressive collection of Japanese cloisonne vases including a pair from the Meiji period that will be offered for $7,000-$10,000.

In Japanese art, a painting attributed to Kawanabe Kyosai (Japanese, 1831-1889), Edo/Meiji period, features ink and color on silk, and depicts a lord painting over a fusuma panel while his retainers watch in surprise. (Estimate: $6,000-$9,000.)

An important ink on color paper by Zhang Zhaoqin (Chinese, 1873-1962), titled Crane and Pine, was dedicated to master calligrapher Yu Youren and will be offered for $3,000 – $5,000.

Also to be offered will be a fine assortment of scholar’s items including a unique scholar’s rock, carved bamboo brush pots, vessels and various ceramics.

A complete catalog is available online. For more information, please visit or email: [email protected]

Ruby, sapphire, diamond, and silver-topped 14k rose gold spider brooch

Clars’ Fine Art, Decorative Art, Furniture, Jewelry/Timepieces and Asian Art Auction will be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19, 2017. The sales will begin promptly at 9:30am on Saturday and Sunday. Previews for this sale will be held Friday, February 17th from 1pm to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9:00 am and by appointment the week prior.

Bidding for Clars’ auctions is available in person, by phone, absentee and live online at  and through, and  Clars Auction Gallery is located at 5644 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609.

Attributed to
Kawanabe Kyosai

Clars Auction Gallery is based in Oakland (CA) and is the largest full service auction gallery in the Western United States. Clars Auction Gallery has been the chosen auction gallery of a number of institutions and distinguished private collectors across the country including the Richard Mellon Scaife Estate, the Thomas J. Perkins Estate and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC).

Since 2001, Clars Auction Gallery has sold over $170,000,000 of Fine Art, Furnishings, Jewelry, Vehicles and Collectibles and has set multiple new world auction records. Follow Clars on Facebook and Twitter!

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