Hunt Slonem’s ‘Butterfly’s’ sold at Bruneau auction in May

The 351-lot auction was conducted online and at the Bruneau & Co. gallery in Cranston, R.I.  A morning pre-sale auction -- with no Internet bidding -- preceded the main catalog auction.

CRANSTON, R.I. – A bright and colorful neo-expressionist painting by American artist Hunt Slonem (b. 1951), titled Butterfly’s (2003), sailed past its pre-sale estimate of $8,000-$12,000 to finish at $15,000 in a Spring Fine Art & Antiques Auction conducted May 4th by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, online and in the Cranston gallery at 63 Fourth Avenue. It was the sale’s top lot.

The 30 inch by 40 inch oil on canvas composition of blue, red green and yellow butterflies amongst foliage over a white background was executed using Slonem’s unmistakable sgraffito technique. His work is included in over fifty permanent museum collections (including the Met in New York City) and is a featured component of several very important corporate collections.

“It was a thrill to hammer down the Hunt Slonem to an inhouse bidder against fierce competition from online and the phone,” said Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer Travis Landry. “It was a notable record for the artist on the secondary market in comparison to past auction records.”

Just over 350 quality lots pulled from estates and collections across New England came up for bid in the main catalog auction at noon. This was preceded by a pre-sale of more than 150 lots offered to an in-house crowd in the morning. The main catalog featured a variety of Asian arts, decorative arts, paintings, furniture, jewelry, collectibles, primitives, fine silver and porcelain.

“It was a well-rounded sale with strong results throughout,” said Kevin Bruneau, president and auctioneer of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. “From jewelry to artwork and furniture, everything for the most part performed well for the market.” Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium, which was applied on a sliding scale.

A post-modern figurative female sculpture by Alabama artist Dan Corbin (b. 1947), went to a determined bidder for $2,375. The reclining nude with a polychrome painted design was molded and sculpted of Bauxite. The torso was inset with three bullets and wrapped with sheet steel. The upper thigh was inset with a figure and wrapped in metal. The work was signed ‘Dan Corbin 97’.

A pair of 14kt yellow gold, ruby and diamond earrings, made in America by Orianne Collins Jewellery, breezed to $2,250. Each earring boasted three oval cut natural rubies surrounded by round cut diamond set oval bezels with screw back studs, totaling 11.27 tcw of rubies and 1.09 tcw of diamonds. Each was marked, “Orianne 14K RU 11.27 ct D 1.09 ct” on back of the stud.

A beautiful and complete Italian bronze chess set by Giuseppe Vasari (Italian, 1934-2005), on an 18-inch-square, white and blue marble game board featuring an ornate foliate silvered apron supported by figural mermaid feet with gilt and silvered medieval figural game pieces, the tallest being 5 ¾ inches in height, realized $1,875. Overall the chess set was in very good condition.

An American folk-art hook rug tapestry, executed in the early 20th century by Lib Callaway and titled Meeting Day, knocked down for $1,750. The 38 ¼ inch by 49 inch pictorial carpet depicted a bustling village center with a church and schoolhouse. The pattern was from the New Earth Designs & Lib Callaway Collection. The textile was signed “Lib Callaway” on the back edge.

A 19-piece, German-made children’s sheep doll group consisting of 16 small sheep toys with papier-mâché faces, a miniature donkey toy, a miniature goat toy and a large sheep pull-toy with wheels, glass eyes and wool coat, gaveled for $1,625. The largest figure of the group was 10 ¾ inches tall, the smallest 2 ¼ inches tall. The set was from the collection of a Rhode Island man.

A well-crafted, early 20th century solid wood set of eight faux bamboo caned Chippendale style chairs, with wonderful bamboo turnings throughout and supported on four tapered turn solid legs, earned $1,625. Three of the chairs were upholstered, while one had a replaced cane seat.

An 18th century American oxbow front slant-top desk featuring a solid mahogany case with dovetail construction throughout, a compartmented interior with a shell carved cabinet on four graduated drawers, seated on ball-and-claw feet, 44 inches tall by 42 inches wide, made $1,500.