Important Photography Auction on January 21, 2018

11 Jan
Ansel Adams Portfolio

Ansel Adams
(American, 1902-1984),
“Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell
Varian San Francisco: Sierra Club,”

Rare Portfolio by Ansel Adams Plus Important Works from Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston to Be Offered at Clars

Oakland, CA – 16 & 17 – December 2017 – Clars Auction Gallery will present their monthly auction of Fine Art, Decorative Art, Furniture, Jewelry/Timepieces and Asian Art Auction on Sunday, January 21st at their Oakland (CA) gallery and saleroom. Each January, Clars kicks off the New Year by presenting a special Important Photography Auction and this year the offerings are exceptional, featuring numerous works by the most sought after and collectible artists of this medium. The highlight of this sale will be a rare and important photographic portfolio by Ansel Adams, plus works by Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston from a major San Francisco estate.

Important Photography Collection
The spotlight of this auction will be on the rare portfolio of fifteen (15) gelatin silver prints by Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984), titled Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian. Published by the Sierra Club of San Francisco in 1963, this lot will be offered with an estimate of $50,000-70,000. Russell Varian (1898-1959) and his brother were founders of one of the earliest high-tech companies in Silicon ValleyVarian Associates. Russell was a lifelong supporter of the Sierra Club and loved the outdoors. This portfolio, which Adams and Varian had begun just before Varian’s sudden death in 1959, became a memorial project and was successfully completed four years later as an “expression of Russell Varian’s appreciation of mountains and wilderness as interpreted by photographs by Ansel Adams.” Each dramatic photograph depicts scenes from Northern California, in particular Adam’s favorite locale, Yosemite, as well as Alaska. As Rick Unruh, Director of Fine Art at Clars states, “This is truly a must have for any Ansel Adams collector.”

Imogen Cunningham Magnolia Blossom

Imogen Cunningham
(American, 1883-1976),
“Magnolia Blossom
(Tower of Jewels),”

Another spectacular gelatin silver print by Adams that will be featured is Vertical Aspens (1958) which will be offered with an estimate of $20,000-40,000. Taken in 1958, Adams was driving through the mountains when he came across this wooded area of bright Aspens in contrast to their darker surroundings. This work is indeed an exceptional example of this artist’s most talented eye.

Brilliant works from two other California photographers to be featured include Imogen Cunningham’s (American, 1883-1976), Magnolia Blossom (Tower of Jewels), 1925. This work is estimated at $12,000-18,000. Edward Weston’s (American, 1886-1958), Juniper, Sierra Nevada, 1937, will be offered for $8,000-12,000.

Highlights in Decorative Arts & Furnishings
The offerings in this category will be lead by an exceptional selection of art glass. Topping this selection will be an Emile Gallé Marine wheel cut and fire polished vase, circa 1900, which is expected to bring $7,000 -$10,000. A monumental signed and catalogued Venini No.1474 Soffiati Filigrana vase will also be offered as will a Daum Nancy blue cameo glass Swan vase. From Tiffany Studios New York will be a bronze-clad pottery vase estimated at $4,000 – $6,000.

emile galle marine vase

Emile Gallé Marine
wheel cut and fire
polished vase,
circa 1900

Guitar collectors will be interested in a collection of guitars to be offered during both the Saturday and Sunday sessions. Highlighting this collection is a Gibson ES-150 “Sunburst” electric archtop guitar. Fashionistas will want to take note of a Hermes red togo leather Birkin 35 bag that will be offered.

Other important highlights include a collection of Russian icons including a 19th-century silver oklad icon. Of interest to wine enthusiasts will be a selection of items from the Sterling Vineyard Winery Art Collection, Calistoga CA, including an early 18th-century Ottoman tortoise and mother of pearl coffer. (NOTE: A large collection of items from Sterling Vineyard Winery will be offered at Clars February 2018 auction.)

Highlights in Jewelry and Timepieces
Luxury timepieces will highlight this category’s offerings with an Ebel Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 18k yellow gold wristwatch to be offered with an estimate of $6,000 – $9,000. From Touchon & Co. will be a 14k yellow gold Hunting Case Repeater Pocket Watch. (video here)

Ebel Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

Ebel Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
18K Yellow Gold Wristwatch

In fine jewelry, two Cartier pieces will be the highlight. The first is a lapis lazuli, diamond and 18k yellow gold ladybug pin followed by an amethyst, turquoise and diamond 18K yellow gold bird brooch.

Highlights in Asian Art and Antiques
The Asian offerings will be highlighted by a selection of thangkas including a Himalayan painted thangka featuring Amitayus and hands in dhyana mudra holding an elixir vessel. Also to be featured will be a Chinese overlay spinach jade table screen featuring a bird above a flowering tree that is executed in various colored stone overlays on a spinach jade plaque.

Clars’ January 2018 Fine Art, Decorative Art, Furniture, Jewelry/Timepieces and Asian Art Auction will be held on Saturday and Sunday, January 20th and 21st, 2018. The sales will begin promptly at 9:30 am on Saturday and Sunday. Previews for this sale will be held Friday, January 19th from 1 pm to 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9:00 am and by appointment the week prior. Complete catalogs are available online prior to the sale.

Bidding 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.

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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).

In the last 5 years, Clars Auction Gallery has sold over $105,000,000 of Fine Art, Furnishings, Jewelry, Vehicles, and Collectibles and has set multiple new world auction records.

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