Ahlers & Ogletree’s Modern & Contemporary Art + Design Auction, June 26 in Atlanta, Grosses $547,903

A rare circa 1976 Philip & Kelvin LaVerne bronze and pewter chinoiserie ‘Chan Li’ cabinet sold for $81,250; a 2002 Neiman Marcus Edition Ford Thunderbird convertible roadster roared off for $18,150; and an oil on canvas equestrian painting by James McLaughlin Way finished at $15,730 at Ahlers & Ogletree’s Modern & Contemporary Art + Design auction held on June 26th.

The auction, online and in Ahlers & Ogletree’s Atlanta gallery located at 1788 Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard, contained 337 lots of Modernism and Outsider art, including original paintings, important furniture and decorative arts. By the time it was all over, the sale had grossed a total of $547,903.

Highlights included a large collection of works by Philip & Kelvin Laverne, a pottery jug by Pablo Picasso, a color lithograph by Salvador Dali, original artworks by Steve Penley and Todd Murphy, a Hollywood Regency dining table, a pair of chairs by George Nakashima, tapestries by Jon Eric Riis, a Paradise Persian by acclaimed glass blower Dale Chihuly, and a ‘Trellis’ sofa by John Saladino.

The Philip LaVerne (American, 1907-1987) and Kelvin LaVerne (American, b. 1937) bronze and pewter chinoiserie ‘Chan Li’ cabinet from around 1976, boasted figural decoration and four doors, rising on meandering legs. The piece – depicted in Philip & Kelvin LaVerne: Sculpture III, a copy of which accompanied the lot, along with a 1976 bill of sale – sailed past the $50,000 high estimate.

The black 2002 Neiman Marcus Edition Ford Thunderbird limited-edition luxury convertible roadster commemorated the iconic Ford Thunderbird, which was revived after a hiatus and released as part of Neiman Marcus’s prestigious “Christmas Book” as an exclusive model of 200. The car showed just 39,125 miles on the odometer. It was expected to do well and sold within estimate.

The oil on canvas painting by James McLaughlin Way (Ga., 1968-2014), titled Black Horse #2, was signed upper left and showed the artist’s stamp to verso. The equestrian work was impressive at 60 ¼ inches by 72 ¼ inches, overall, in the frame. It easily bested its $4,000-$6,000 pre-sale estimate.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was facilitated by A&O’s own bidding platform (Bid.AandOAuctions.com), LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. About 50 people attended the auction in person at the gallery; 91 phone bidders and 32 absentee bidders also submitted bids. All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of a 21-25 percent buyer’s premium.

In addition to the auction’s top lot, there were other pieces by Philip LaVerne (American, 1907-1987) and Kelvin LaVerne (American, b. 1937) that made the list of top achievers. They included:

– A set of three figural bronze and pewter plaques, circa 1976, titled Girls in Ecstacy (sic), Realizations and Women in Dispare (sic). These were signed in mold, with three having Philip LaVerne Collection labels and to with Tennessee Fine Arts Center labels ($8,470).

– A bronze and pewter chinoiserie ‘Spring Festival’ low console table from the second half of the 20th century, an impressive 56 inches wide, having figural decoration and rising on square legs, signed in mold and retaining a Philip LaVerne Galleries Ltd. label to the underside ($13,310).

– A bronze and pewter chinoiserie ‘Chan Boucher’ cocktail table, circa 1965, having a shaped top, figural decoration, and rising on French ribbon legs, signed in mold to the top and retaining a Philip Laverne Galleries, Ltd. label to the underside. The high estimate was $6,000 ($10,890).

A Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) for Madoura ‘Hibou’ (or owl) faience pitcher from 1954 (A.R. 253), 9 ¾ inches tall and decorated in medium blue on a white ground, the underside marked and inscribed ‘Edition Picasso’, and showing a Madoura stamp, changed hands within estimate for $7,865.

A circa 1976 color lithograph on Japon paper by Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989), titled Manhattan Skyline (Tarot Series), signed lower right and numbered (“22/100”) to the lower left, nicely housed in a frame measuring 39 inches by 30 inches, more than doubled its high estimate by reaching $6,655.

A pair of circa 1960s black walnut ‘Grass-Seated Chairs’ by George Nakashima (American, 1905-1990), having a round back over spindle supports, resting on a woven grass seat and raised on turned legs, apparently unmarked, measuring 26 ¾ inches tall by 23 ¼ inches wide, gaveled for $7,260.

One of the true sleepers of the sale was a black acrylic on paper stylized depiction of a Coca-Cola Bottle by Steve Lyall Penley (American, b. 1964), signed lower left and measuring 45 ¾ inches by 28 ¾ inches (paper, less the frame). It soared past the $1,200 estimate to finish at $7,260. Another work by Penley, an untitled Floral Bouquet Still Life acrylic on canvas, signed and unframed, made $1,936.

The furniture category featured a circa 1975 Hollywood Regency dining table having a beveled circular glass top on a triparte brass swan base, 30 ½ inches tall and 60 inches in diameter ($2,722); and a John Saladino (American, 1969) ‘Trellis’ sofa having Brentano ‘Embrace’ upholstery, lattice on the back and sides, and a loose back, side and accent pillows, apparently unmarked ($1,694).

Returning to artwork, an acrylic and mixed media on stacked wood boards by Chris Hobe (Ga., 20th century), titled Last One (2019), cipher, titled and dated to verso and unframed, commanded $3,328.

Next up for Ahlers & Ogletree is an online-only Historical Documents, Books & Americana auction slated for Wednesday, July 17th, starting at 10 am; followed by an online-only Asian Works of Art auction planned for the next day, Thursday, July 18th, starting at 9 am. Both start times are Eastern.

To learn more about Ahlers & Ogletree and the firm’s calendar of upcoming auction events, please visit www.aandoauctions.com. You can also follow Ahlers & Ogletree via social media on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

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