An important and visually arresting dining table custom designed by Wendell Castle (American, 1932-2018), an untitled ink on paper artwork by Franz Josef Kline (American, 1910-1962), and a lovely oil on canvas still life floral painting by the Vietnamese painter Lê Phổ (1907-2001) are just a few expected highlights in a May Modernism auction planned for Saturday, May 15th by Neue Auctions, based in Beachwood, outside of Cleveland.
The online-only auction, starting at 10am Eastern time, has 424 lots gathered from regional estates and longtime collectors, including selections from the late Cleveland concert promoter Mike Belkin and his wife Annie. Items cover a wide range of mediums and categories, to include paintings, sculpture, works on paper, furniture, art glass, ceramics, enamel work and jewelry.
There are many undiscovered finds in many categories, plus works on paper by noted artists such as Alexander Calder, Fernand Leger, Robert Indiana and Julian Stanczak. Also sold will be offerings from the Print Club of Cleveland, furnishings by Charles and Ray Eames and Knoll Furnishings, bronzes by William McVey, three woodblock prints by Milton Avery and more.
The Wendell Castle dining table has a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$50,000 and features an oval top in holly veneer, inlaid with purpleheart triangles and inlaid dots spelling "The Check's in the Mail” (the table’s title). It has a leather covered edge with a purpleheart substructure supporting six gold plated brass rings, all raised on 15 leather covered cones.
Mr. Castle created a similar table for his own residence titled Never Complain, Never Explain, in 1981. It’s pictured on the cover of the book Furniture by Wendell Castle (Hudson Hills Press, NY, 1989). The Check’s in the Mail (1988) is 120 inches long and 59 inches wide and is signed and dated. It’s from the Mike and Annie Belkin collection.
The untitled Franz Kline ink on paper, circa 1949-1950, is framed, with a sheet size of 21 inches by 18 inches. It’s signed and inscribed “April 15, Kline” lower right and has an estimate of $30,000-$50,000. It also bears a Kline Foundation number on verso (ZD 325). Franz Kline was a major force in the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s and ‘50s.
The oil on canvas still life by Lê Phổ, titled Fleurs (Flowers), is artist signed lower right with a chop mark and is 13 inches by 9 inches (sight, less frame). It should change hands for $6,000-$9,000. Lê Phổ was born in Hanoi, but he studied at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (where he later taught) and called Paris his home from 1937 until his death.
Modern furniture pieces will be led by a mid-century (circa 1950-1960) wingback chair by Arturo Pani (Mexican, 1915-1981), upholstered in horsehair fabric with a split crest rail and extreme scroll wings, raised on cabriole legs; and a circa 1960s Odyssey coffee table by the American design team of Philip Laverne (1908-1988) and Kelvin Laverne (b. 1936). It’s etched, patinated and polychromed bronze and pewter. Both pieces carry estimates of $3,000-$5,000.
There are three color woodblocks printed on Japan paper by Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965), titled Rooster, Hen and Lamb. Hen, an artist’s proof, is signed lower right and dated 1954 (est. $1,500-$3,000). Also, a photolitho diptych by Valerie Hammond (American, b. 1952), titled Southern Cross (A Constellation in the Southern Hemisphere), 2008, each piece 57 ½ inches by 44 inches as framed, should hammer for $6,000-$9,000.
An oil on canvas Still Life with Sculpture on Table by Claude Venard (French, 1913-1999), boldly executed with heavy impasto, signed lower center and nicely housed in a 28 inch by 28 inch frame, is expected to knock down for $3,000-$5,000; while an oil on canvas River Landscape by Jean Franck Baudoin (French 1870-1961), artist signed lower left, with a sheet size of 23 ½ inches by 31 inches (less frame), should hit $2,000-$4,000.
A diminutive cloisonné enamel on copper over painted wood box form by Kenneth Bates (American, 1904-1994), titled Homage to Art Deco (1984), featuring a multi-colored geometric design, signed and dated to the base, is expected to rise to $500-$1,000. Also, a tall, rounded cylindrical form stoneware vessel by noted Cleveland School artist Claude Conover (1907-1994), 22 inches tall, signed and titled, should gavel for $3,000-$5,000.
Internet bidding will be facilitated by Liveauctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Bidsquare.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Neue Auctions is open for gallery previews, Monday thru Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm, at 23533 Mercantile Rd. (Ste. 119) in Beachwood. All COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place (social distancing etc.). Masks are required of all.
Neue Auctions invites everyone to be added to its email list to receive notifications and information regarding all current and future sales. For info, visit www.neueauctions.com. To learn more about Neue Auctions and the May Modernism auction planned for Saturday, May 15th at 10 am Eastern time, please visit www.neueauctions.com. Updates are posted frequently.