Auctions & showsJewellery

Rare Baroque masterpiece soars past estimate

A rare and important Italian relief pietra dura and gilt bronze mounted ebony jewel casket with panels designed by the Grand Ducal Ateliers of Florence in the early 18th century soared past its $80,000-120,000 estimate to bring $617,000 in the Bonhams Fine European Furniture and Decorative Arts auction, October 28 in San Francisco, achieving a record price for a Ducal Workshop casket at auction.

The well-attended, $2.17 million auction also celebrated the sale of the Triumph of Ariadne: a Berlin (KPM) porcelain plaque by J. Wagner, Wien, after Hans Makartlate. The late 19th/early 20th century work depicting Ariadne accompanied by Bacchus and his revelers sold for $85,000, far surpassing a $10,000-15,000 estimate.

Along with these Continental Furniture and Decorative Arts highlights, French works also performed quite well in the sale. A late 19th century, Louis XVI style, gilt bronze mounted marquetry commode à vantaux, after a model by Guillaume Beneman, brought $25,000, past an estimate of $8,000-12,000, while a late 18th/early 19th century, Continental Neoclassical carved marble covered urn brought $22,500, ahead of an estimate of $2,500-3,500.

Additional successful lots from the category included a Louis XIV style gilt bronze mounted boullework and ebonized table de milieu by Henry Dasson from the fourth quarter of the 19th century that sold for $21,250, past an estimate of $10,000-15,000, and a 20th century, Louis XV style blanc de chine porcelain mounted clock garniture, centering a seated porcelain figure of Buddha, that brought $21,250, past an estimate of $12,000-18,000.

Jeffrey Smith, the vice president and director of the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department at Bonhams, said: “This auction presented several prominent collections that not only brought to light a previously unknown Baroque masterpiece, but achieved worldwide participation with successful bidders hailing from Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and Latin America.”

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Alasdair Whyte

Alasdair Whyte

Alasdair is a financial journalist writing about art. He has focused on high value asset finance since 1998. As well as Private Art Investor, he also edits Corporate Jet Investor (despite knowing very little about aircraft) and Helicopter Investor (ditto).