Carefully curated offerings and many once-in-a-lifetime rarities are now up for bidding in James D. Julia’s Winter Fine Art, Asian & Antiques Auction, taking place February 8-9 on Bidsquare. The Maine auction house hits the ground running this Winter with several stunning collections from across New England including a prize-winning selection of paintings; Asian works of art; antique archival materials; historical ephemera and the finest grouping of antique powder horns to come to auction in memory.
Paul Manship’s Sagittarius, from a model of the Celestial Sphere, is a star amongst these top-tier selections. This signed and foundry marked bronze comes with a letter dated July 3, 1956 from Manship describing the piece as, “from a model of the celestial sphere I made some years ago and represent constellations for the sky – Sagittarius = the zodiacal sign = Nov 22 to Dec 21-22 with the Corona Australis = the little band of stars is the outline of the Milky Way.” This rarity, which has descended directly within the artist’s family, is estimated at $500,000-700,000.
The February auction features outstanding works on paper and canvas, leading with Fernando Botero’s A Lawyer estimated at $125,000-175,000. This piece features a portly, pensive looking man carrying a book and is featured in Marc Fumaroli’s Botero Drawings, 1999.
It’s hard to pick a favorite artist from the selection of paintings on offer, including works by Haley Lever, Ogden Minton Pleissner, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait and more.
The first day of the auction also features over 50 fine Asian items. One highlight among these jewels is a fine natural jadeite, diamond and gold Guanyin pendant, estimated at $10,000-15,000. The pendant is accompanied by a Hong Kong Gems Laboratory certificate indicating it is a 101.49ct “Natural Colour Fei Cui” (Type A).
Historical ephemera, archival materials, and first-person journals from the early 1800s onward also tell their tales during this auction. A Wright Brothers biography archive; United States sailing vessel records; and Civil War hard images are among the many pieces of history to come across the auction block.
A significant number of lots focus on property belonging to Morton L. Deyo, a World War II hero who commanded naval gunfire support at Utah Beach in the Normandy invasion, amongst other notable accomplishments; and Stephen Decatur, who led successful naval battles in both Barbary Wars, North Africa, the French Quasi War, and the War of 1812.
A Gold Freedom Box presented to Decatur from the city of New York in 1812, is estimated at $125,000- 175,000. Gold Freedom boxes were used to confer honorary privileges on distinguished individuals from the mid-18th century; other notable recipients include General George Washington.
Militaria meets art with a group of 13 Revolutionary War era powder horns carved by the Folky Artist, estimated at $25,000-30,000. This group of horns represents 13 of about 30 known powder horns carved by this artist whose name has been lost to history. He is thought possibly to be from the south, as southern icons, such as palmetto trees, long leaf pine sprouts, and a Spanish mission are among the subjects engraved on his horns.
According to James D. Julia Department Head Bill Gage, “Our selections of fine and decorative art, as well as historical rarities on offer through this auction are truly world-class. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly over the past six months to bring our customers the finest, rarest, and most interesting merchandise and I am certain they will not be disappointed. The Commodore Stephen Decatur Gold Freedom Box is even more impressive in real life; its history, provenance, and presentation truly put it in a class all unto itself. The same can be said of the newly discovered Sagittarius Bronze by Paul Manship, which is one of the most unique and exciting lots we have ever brought to auction.”