Rare Works by Ansel Adams Realize Over $64K at Clars Important Photography Auction Plus Impressive Prices on Sterling Vineyard Winery Art Collection, Jewelry by Cartier and Painting by Gaetano Bellei

25 Jan

January Auction Top Lots

Oakland, CA – 20 & 21 – January 2018 – Clars Auction Gallery hosted their annual sale of Fine Photography on January 21st in conjunction with their monthly Fine Art, Decorative Art, Furniture, Jewelry/Timepieces and Asian Art Auction. The market responded strongly to the important photography offerings and impressive prices and surprises were seen across the board.

The Photography Collection


Ansel Adams, “Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian San Francisco: Sierra Club”

Clars presented over 50 fine works by some of the most important masters in photography from several private collections. These works earned over $107,000 with the highlight being a 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, this work sold impressively for $51,425. Another spectacular gelatin silver print by Adams that was offered was Vertical Aspens (1958) which also performed well realizing $11,495.


Rounding out the top sellers in this collection was Magnolia Blossom (Tower of Jewels), 1925 by Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976), which earned $7,320.

Fine Art

Painting, Gaetano Bellei

Gaetano Bellei, (The Card Game)

While the photography collection was the highlight of this category, the market took note of the several fine paintings that were offered. Achieving a most impressive price and doubling its high estimate was an oil on canvas by Italian master Gaetano Bellei (1857-1922). Untitled (The Card Game) experienced very robust bidding driving the final sale price to $27,830.

The oil on canvas titled Los Parvines by Fernando Fader (Argentina, 1882-1935), sold well for $10,285 and an oil on panel titled Portrait of Anna Bre (at Age 76), 1637-40, attributed to Dutch painter Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy (1588-1655) earned $7,865.

Highlights in Asian Art and Antiques

Asian Wood Buddha

Asian Wood Buddha

The Asian offerings had a number of surprises with several lots soaring past expectations. During the Saturday session, an Asian wood Buddha was offered with an estimate of $200-400. The bidding opened at $100 and intense bidding quickly drove this lot higher and higher to a final sale price of $14,520.

Following suit during the Sunday session, the Himalayan painted Thangka, Amitayus, carried the estimate of $1,500 – 2,500 but, once again, demand drove the final sale price to $13,310.

Highlights in Decorative Arts & Furnishings

Emile Gallé Marine wheel cut and fire polished vase

Emile Gallé Marine wheel cut and fire polished vase

This category was led by the first offerings of select items from the Sterling Vineyard Winery Art Collection, Calistoga CA. An early 18th-century Ottoman tortoise and mother of pearl coffer was offered with an estimate of $1,000-1,500. Collectors took notice and drove the final sale price to ten times its estimate selling for $12,100. The next lot from this collection, a Continental iron lock box, circa 1780, experienced similar demand selling for $8,470, over four times its estimate. (NOTE: A large collection of items from Sterling Vineyard Winery will be offered at Clars February 24-25 2018 auction.)

An exceptional selection of art glass was offered. Topping these offerings was an Emile Gallé Marine wheel cut and fire polished vase, circa 1900, that sold for $8,470.

Fashionistas drove the final sale price on a Hermes red togo leather Birkin 35 handbag over the high estimate for the final sale price of $6,655.

A collection of guitars also performed very well realizing $14,641 with a Gibson ES-150 “Sunburst” Electric Archtop guitar 1956, leading these offerings.

 Highlights in Jewelry and Timepieces

Cartier Bird Brooch

Cartier Bird Brooch

Exceptional works by Cartier reigned supreme in this category with both lots offered far exceeding expectations. The first was an amethyst, turquoise and diamond 18K yellow gold bird brooch that was offered with an estimate of $1,000-2,000 but collectors vied heatedly driving the final sale price to an astonishing $19,360. Experiencing similar demand was a lapis lazuli, diamond and 18k yellow gold Cartier ladybug pin that was estimated at $1,500-2,500. Once again, intense bidding drove this beautiful piece to a final sale price of $9,075.

Luxury timepieces also performed well with a Manfredi 18K yellow gold wristwatch commanding over high estimate selling for $7,260 and an Ebel Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 18k yellow gold wristwatch selling for $6,655.

Clars’ next Fine Art, Decorative Art, Furniture, Jewelry/Timepieces and Asian Art Auction will be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 24th-25th, 2018.

The sales will begin promptly at 9:30 am on Saturday and Sunday.
Previews for this sale will be held Friday, February 23rd from 1 pm-6 pm,
Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9:00 am & by appointment the week prior.
A complete catalog will be available online the week prior to the sale.
For more information, please visit www.clars.com or email: [email protected]

NEW: Online-only auctions at Clars
Beginning December 13th, Clars commenced its first timed auction of a few hundred lots of quality property in the $50-$1000 range. Bidding is available online for 14 days with automatic extensions for any lots receiving bids in the last minute. Clars will continue timed auctions in February with items available to preview February 23rd.

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).

Bidding is available in person, by phoneabsentee and live online through Liveauctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Clars Auction Gallery is located at 5644 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609.

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