Spring starts strong at Bonhams - Fine European furniture & decorative arts auction achieves $1.68 million

Fine European Furniture & Decorative Arts
19 Mar 2012
San Francisco

San Francisco—Bonhams is pleased to announce its Fine European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction, March 19, achieved a successful $1.68 million sales total. The auction's success was evidenced by a packed auction room, strong phone bidder participation and competitive internet bidding all around.

The star lot of the auction - a late 19th century Louis XV style mahogany gilt bronze mounted bureau plat by French furniture maker Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener (1849-?) – took in $92,500, soaring well past its pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$50,000. It was a tour de force of 19th century cabinetmaking with superlative bronzes and sensuous form.

Additional top highlights included a mid-19th century Italian Rococo Revival giltwood 68-light chandelier that brought $68,500 (est. $50,000-$80,000), with former provenance, by repute, of the Palazzo de Larderel of Livorno, Italy. Also highly successful was the sale of a mid-18th century Louis XV gilt bronze and Chinese lacquer mounted ebonized commode by Jacques Dubois (1693-1763) that took in $52,500 (est. $20,000-$25,000). Dubois was one of the most important ébénistes in Paris during the Louis XV period, and his lacquer mounted furniture is the most desirable.

Jeffrey Smith, Vice President and Director of the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department at Bonhams, says of the auction, "2012 has begun on a high note reflecting renewed interest by collectors, designers and trade in acquiring fine antique furniture and decorative objects. The dormant period following the recent economic downturn seems to be reversing itself and bidding from 13 countries and throughout North America point to an international recovery in the antiques market."

Another leading lot of the auction was a rare pair of Meissen Limoges-style enamel decorated porcelain urns, of campana form, whose $43,750 total far exceeded its $10,000-$15,000 pre-sale estimate. The urns, painted in the manner of Ernst August Leuteritz, designer/director of the Meissen modelling department from 1836-1886, depict Proserpina abducted by Pluto, Medea fleeing in a chariot drawn by winged dragons, Apollo driving the sun chariot across the sky and Una and the lion, underglaze blue crossed swords.

Also of note was the sale of an Austrian 800 standard silver gilt, rock crystal and enamel dish by Hermann Ratzersdorfer, a master silversmith who was active in Vienna from 1843-1881, that brought $28,750 (est. $15,000-20,000).

Successes continued with the sales of a first-quarter 19th century pair of Regency inlaid figured mahogany sofa tables, with provenance from David Pettifer Antiques of London, that achieved $23,750 (est. $10,000-$15,000) and a fourth-quarter 19th century, Louis XVI style gilt bronze and glass 44-light chandelier that brought $21,250 (est. $3,000-$4,000).


Press Contacts:
Joalien Johnson: (415) 503-3348, joalien.johnson@bonhams.com


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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