Christian church goods, spiritual objects offered in Jasper52 sale July 3

More than 100 lots of church supplies – both vintage and new – are offered in a finely curated online auction that will be conducted through LiveAuctioneers on Wednesday, July 3. Items include fine crosses, 24K gold and sterling silver chalices, altar sets and tabernacle – many of the objects central to the global Catholic tradition.

Seven-piece altar set consisting of ornate candlesticks and a matching altar cross, solid brass, polished and lacquered. Estimate: $5,500-$7,000. Jasper52 image

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Luxury fashions auction packed with designer handbags July 2

Dozens of designer handbags are offered in a Jasper52 auction of luxury fashion accessories that will be conducted Tuesday, July 2. Chanel, Gucci, Spartina, Michael Kors, Judith Leiber, Louis Vuitton and Valentino are all represented in this 100-lot online auction.

Louis Vuitton Lockme leather shoulder bag in excellent condition. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image

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Pop-up books: collectible page-turners in 3-D

NEW YORK – Movable books feature dramatic, three-dimensional or moving parts that readers can manipulate. Through the 16th and 17th centuries, adults commonly used volvelles, parchment or paper wheel charts fitted with information-filled revolving discs, to decipher secret codes, plot the planets, explore mystical theories, and calculate dates of movable feasts. As the science of medicine advanced, anatomical flap books, featured superimposed illustrations covering, then revealing, concealed marvels of the human body.

Children had long enjoyed listening to tales and fables. Books illustrating morality tales and extoling maidenly virtues expressly for them, however, did not appear until the mid-1700s. To add to their appeal, publishers incorporated interactive movable paper mechanisms. Their pull tabs nodded heads and waved hands, while split flap-pages altered illustrations in pace with text, and lift flaps or slats changed illustrations entirely. In time, simple page turns, through secreted paper scaffolding, raised characters magically to their feet.

Two pop-up volumes (‘Peter and Sally on the Farm’ and ‘Ricky the Rabbit’) with text illustrations and color pop-up illustrations by noted paper engineer Vojtech Kubasta. (4to), cloth-backed pictorial boards; each volume an eight-page story book with large two-page fold-out pop-up, London: Bancroft & Co., 1961. Price realized $160 + buyer’s premium in 2019. Image courtesy of PBA Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

Toward the turn of the century, Imagerie d’Epinal, a French printing company, introduced movable, hand-colored woodcuts based on popular folk, storybook and military themes. Soon after, people began exchanging similar German and British copper-engraved holiday and greeting cards. Some of their mechanisms were complex, featuring levers that simultaneously activated many movable parts.

Pocket-size peepshow books, evoking larger peephole boxes once popular at fairs and festivals across Europe, followed. Their progressive, overlapping, hand-painted page sets, bound by silken, concertina-like hinges, not only produced three-dimensional illusions in lifelike perspective. They whisked their viewers far and wide, from Queen Victoria’s Coronation and Paris by Night to Down the Rabbit Hole. On marking the 1843 inauguration of the Thames Tunnel, all tunnel-like movables were dubbed tunnel books. In time, these charmers, some offering multiple peepholes, variable lighting and changeable views, graced many a Victorian mantelpiece.

‘The Model Menagerie,’ With Natural History Stories, L. L. Weedon, Evelyn Fletcher and others. London: Ernest Nister; New York: E. P. Dutton, 1895, oblong 4to, 10¾ in. x 14in. Illustrated in sepia by William Foster with six three-dimensional chromolithographed ‘stand-up’ plates. Chromolithographed cloth-backed glazed boards drawn by E.B. Stanley Montefiore. Rebacked with front free endpaper restored and reinserted but lacking back free endpaper; cover rubbed and soiled. Price realized $550 + buyer’s premium in 2007. Image courtesy of Bloomsbury Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

At this time too, London-based Dean and Son mass-produced novelty Movable Toy Books, lavishly colored through innovative, oil-based chromolithography. Some reinforced moral and social norms through tabbed or venetian blind-like character transformations. Others featured cutout sections connected by ribbons folded flat which, dramatically with a flip of a flap raised sculptural paper “peepshows.”

From the 1880s, Raphael Tuck, in addition to lavishly lithographed die-cut paper dolls and movable paper toys, published almost 100 moveable books under the title Father Tuck. Many, in addition to pull tabs and peep-shows mechanisms, featured multilayered, three-dimensional illustrations.

‘The Frogs’ Picnic,’ a rare moveable pictorial disc with a window and two tabs, held by a wooden handle. Patent pending notice dated July 9, 1929 and copyright date of 1931 on the top disc of the transformation. A most amusing moveable, for the elaborateness of the reveals and the charm of the illustrations. The story text begins on the top disc and runs parallel to the left edge. For the continuation of the story, the reader pulls each of the three tabs from right to left so the sequence of captioned pictures on the concealed discs appear in the cutout window. The story concludes on the top disc, running parallel to the right edge. An extremely rare moveable in excellent condition, 12in. x 9in. With publisher’s original box with pictorial lid. Price realized $550 + buyer’s premium in 2018. Image courtesy PBA Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

A decade later, Ernest Nister, based in Nuremburg, published sentimental creations in both German and English. Many feature multiple animating levers, circular pinwheel mechanics, or slatted, “dissolving,” peekaboo views.

Lothar Meggendorfer’s whimsical works, however, may contain the most innovative, ingenious paper mechanisms ever created. In many, intricate interlocking parts open eyes, drop jaws, extend arms, chop wood, catch fish, rock babies, and more, to the accompaniment of amusing verse. In others, single, wired, riveted pull tabs activate multiple (hidden) levers that animate as many as five illustrations simultaneously. International Circus, however, is Meggendorfer’s masterpiece. Though initially lying flat like any movable book, it unfolds, accordion-like, into a continuous, semicircular, six-act panorama. Lift-flaps on each of its panels reveal three-dimensional images of colorful, near-lifelike performers, spectators, circus acts, as well as an orchestra.

Lothar Meggendorfer’s ‘Internationaler Circus’ is considered by many to be his most important work. Chromolithographed panorama of six three-dimensional fold-down circus scenes. The book unfolds to form an elaborate circus scene including clowns, acrobats, horses, orchestra and spectators. First edition, Esslingen: J.F. Schreiber, 1887. Price realized $800 + buyer’s premium in 2008. Image courtesy PBA Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

Because these and all fragile movable books were enjoyed by eager little hands, surviving copies have often sustained smudges, nicks, dents, discoloring, missing tabs or tears. Those in prime condition are both rare and costly.

During World War I, publication of German movable books ceased. British creations reappeared in 1929, with S. Louis Giraud’s Express Children’s Annuals and Bookana Stories. These handcrafted “living models,” in addition to tabs, folds and flaps, feature page turns that spring up into imaginative, stand-alone, three-dimensional double-page spreads viewable from all angles. Other surprises abound. “The Circus Clown,” for instance, features a 3-D acrobat who, at page turn, not only loops a 3-D pole, but (stuck in a loop) continues looping long afterwards. These brightly colored, popular creations, though lacking delicacy and detail of earlier European ones, remain highly collectible.

During the Great Depression, New York’s Blue Ribbon Publishing Co. marketed movables as catchier “pop-ups,” heralding a new genre. These low-cost imprints, inspired by favorite fairy tale and Walt Disney characters, feature basic designs on coarse paper. Yet complete, rare, unused ones are quite desirable.

The ‘Pop-up’ Minnie Mouse, illustrated with three full-color, double-page pop-ups (two of which are on the endpapers) plus other illustrations by the staff of the Walt Disney Studios. 9½in. x 7¼in., original color pictorial boards. Plus two similar pop-ups books. Walt Disney, Ribbon Books, New York, 1933. Price realized: $200 + buyer’s premium in 2014. Image courtesy PBA Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

Through the 1950s and ’60s, Vojtech Kubasta, Czech artist, architect and paper engineer, created an astounding number of three-dimensional books featuring highly stylized, boldly colored, witty, imaginative themes. Some begin in conventional flat format, concluding with single, dramatic pop-up punches. Others illustrate story lines with profusions of novel, geometry-inspired paper cuts, folds, pull tabs and scaffolding. These create massive, complex visuals that not only leap off the page, but also extend beyond their borders.

From then on, pop-ups have flooded British and American markets. Unlike those of old, imagined, planned and produced single-handedly, up to 60 artisans design, engineer, print, pound, cut free, fold, then hand-assemble hundreds of components into a single creation.

‘The Dwindling Party,’ New York: Random House, 1982. First edition, large pictorial hardcover. Signed by author Edward Gorey beneath the title page flap. Rhyming verse accompanied by pop-ups illustrated by Edward Gorey, and engineered into 3-D by paper artist Ib Penick. All pop-ups and pull tabs complete and functional with no creases or tears. Note: Signed copies of this title are rare. Price realized $175 + buyer’s premium in 2013. Image courtesy of Houston Auction Co. and LiveAuctioneers

Scores depict simple peekaboo Disney, Harry Potter or Sesame Street themes. Others, far more intricate, explore adult topics like phobias, superstitions, nightmares or the Naughty Nineties. Those interested in trying their hand at paper mechanics may also enjoy pop-ups illustrating how to make pop-ups.

Museum-quality Asian art to be offered in online auction June 30

Jasper52 is collaborating with Provenance-SA, a European company specializing in Asian art, to produce an auction of museum-quality objects on Sunday, June 30. The 97 lots in the auction are characterized by their artistic quality, their history with the art market and provenance potentially confirmed by tests performed by certified labs.

Chinese terra-cotta horse, Tang period (A.D. 618-907), 17.2in. high x 24in. long. Estimate: $10,000-$12,000. Jasper52 image

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Jasper52 auction presents premium antique rugs June 26

Jasper52 will conduct an online auction of 180 premium antique and vintage rugs Wednesday, June 26, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern time. Sizes of these fine hand-knotted textiles range from prayer rugs to palace size. Estimates range from $1,000 to more than $10,000.

Unusual Caucasian Kazak rug, 55in. x 84in., all wool, 1920 or earlier. Estimate: $11,000-$13,000. Jasper52 image

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Buddhist thangkas inspire devotion through art

NEW YORK – In the Buddhist tradition, thangkas have been important objects for centuries, meant to be a central teaching tool in guiding a person’s meditation and in the journey toward enlightenment. Today, these scroll paintings continue to be used as such but are also appreciated for their aesthetic value as artworks.

Highly intricate, beautifully detailed and rich in symbolism, thangkas incorporate significant Buddhist motifs. They can be in the form of a mandala (a spiritual symbol in Buddhism and other Eastern religions to signify the universe) but typically depict one deity or a grouping of Buddhist deities and holy figures, often accompanied by representations of religious lore and myths and even imperial symbols, astrological diagrams and landscape scenes.

This Indo-Tibetan thangka of Red Vaishravana, 18th century or earlier, went for $48,000 at New Orleans Auction Galleries in May 2014. Photo courtesy of New Orleans Auction Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, which has a shrine room containing several important thangkas, notes on its website that artists often made paints from crushed minerals and glue to bring these paintings to life. “Most materials used for creating paintings and sculptures come directly from the earth, deepening the connection between Himalayan art and the environment,” according to the museum.

Thangkas are usually painted on cotton or silk and often surrounded by silk or brocade. They would be hung on walls or put on altars to aid in meditation. They range in size from diminutive to massive.

A Tibetan thangka of Tsongkhapa, 18th century or earlier, brought $11,000 in May 2014. Photo courtesy of New Orleans Auction Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

“Thangkas are created as teaching tools, designed as visual representations to help focus the mind and ultimately the progress of the student farther down the path to enlightenment,” said Rebecca Moss, Asian arts specialist at New Orleans Auction Galleries. “Consequently, the deity depicted, the region the work was produced in, the size and age of the piece, the quality of the design and its execution, and, of course, condition, are all important factors that collectors consider. Mandalas are arguably the most recognizable representation; their intricate, mesmerizing designs immediately provoking concentration as the viewer studies the depth of detail they contain.”

A Tibetan thangka of Padmasambhava, probably mid-19th century, made $1,800 in March 2019 at New Orleans Auction Galleries. Photo courtesy of New Orleans Auction Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

Thangkas are highly collectible and sublime examples often bring big money. During the important Asia Week New York sales in March 2019, Sotheby’s sale of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art boasted a Tibetan thangka, depicting a Hevajra mandala, second half 14th century, which went way over estimate to attain $2.4 million. On LiveAuctioneers’ price database, the highest price was a set of five Qing period thangkas, which earned just over $1 million in December 2014 at Wichita Auctioneers in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“This has, historically, been a niche market. However, the growth and spending power of Chinese buyers has created a surge in popularity and prices for quality pieces,” Moss said.

A shift in Western understanding of Eastern religions and culture over the last few decades, coupled with increased scholarship has led to a greater appreciation of the art form.

A Tibetan thangka depicting two abbots, possibly 13th century, sold for $525,000 in September 2017 at Heritage Auctions. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Centuries after a thangka’s creation, it can be challenging for scholars and conservators to ferret out its iconography as well as the political and social contexts they were made in. There are certain rules governing content, proportion and the symbolism of color in thangkas but these rules can vary by religious or geographical stylistic differences.

According to the Asia Society New York, common decoration motifs include the lotus flower, symbolizing spiritual purity; the conch shell whose reverberation reaches far and alludes to one’s spiritual awakening from ignorance to understanding; a treasure vase with flaming jewels representing the wealth of Buddhist teaching that retains its value even as knowledge is freely shared, and the eight-spoked dharma wheel, also referred to as dharmachakra. “These spokes represent the principle of the Eightfold Path: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration,” according to commentary on the society’s website.

A large Qing dynasty and seed-embroidered mandala thangka earned $280,000 in December 2016 at HK BGTJ International Art Auctions Co. Photo courtesy of HK BGTJ International Art Auctions Co. and LiveAuctioneers

“My advice to collectors new to the genre is to buy something that engages you, and helps bring you peace and clarity when you look at it,” Moss said. “Whether you are a practitioner of Buddhism, or just appreciative of the skill required to create these complex and layered compositions, it is important to find a work that speaks to you.”

As thangkas can be delicate and subject to the vagaries of light and humidity, proper storage and display is key. It was once popular for a while to remove the thangkas from their original fabric mounts and put them in “Western” style frames or remount them on to wax-resin or paper backing. “While this was not necessarily detrimental to the works themselves, many serious collectors will hunt for works with the original mounts intact,” Moss said. “If you are lucky enough to acquire an older example in its original state, then seek professional advice as to how best to display it without jeopardizing its condition.”

Decorative arts auction June 19 has emphasis on silver

Beautiful decorative art – with an emphasis on sterling silver – worthy of a well-appointed home are offered in a Jasper52 online auction that will be conducted Wednesday, June 19. Going up for bid early in the 129-lot auction is an eight-piece Art Deco sterling silver tea set by Christofle/Cardeilhac of France.

Christofle/Cardeilhac eight-piece Art Deco sterling silver tea set. Estimate: $14,000-$17,000. Jasper52 image

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Cuban artist channels Toulouse-Lautrec in Jasper52 sale June 18

Cuban artist Luis Miguel Valdés is featured in a Jasper52 online auction that will take place on Tuesday, June 18. Born in 1949, Valdés resides and works between Havana, Mexico and Miami. Several prints by José Luis Cuevas (Mexico, 1934-2017) comprise the balance of the 69-lot auction.

Luis Miguel Valdés, ‘Painter Painting to Painter Painting,’ 2017, acrylic on canvas, 59in. x 84in.,
Estimate: $10,400-$13,000. Jasper52 image

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Finn Juhl: distinctive Danish Modern furniture

NEW YORK – Blending canny craftsmanship with discriminating details, Finn Juhl (1912-1989) introduced the Danish Modern aesthetic to America. Not only an architect, he was also an interior and industrial designer, whose innovative furniture designs, starting in the 1940s, are at the heart of his legacy.

After getting his architecture degree, Juhl began working for the renowned Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen in 1934 but avidly pursued his passion for furniture design, which was self-taught.

A pair of Finn Juhl rare lounge chairs model NV-45 from 1945 made $60,000 in November 2014 at Wright. Photo courtesy of Wright and LiveAuctioneers.

“Like other modernist pioneers, Juhl started from scratch without role models or inherited restrictions. He designed by measuring his own body and analyzing how the individual components of the chair should carry the human body,” according to commentary on the website of the House of Finn Juhl, which in 2001 was given exclusive rights from Juhl’s wife to manufacture and relaunch his sculptural furniture. The firm has reissued several of his most iconic designs. “But contrary to his modernist contemporaries, with their streamlined, scaffolding-like structures, Juhl aimed at a more organic, natural form.”

Juhl’s iconic armchair, model 45, takes the easy chair to new heights, breaking away from conventional furniture construction by treating the upholstered back and seat as separate entities from the load-bearing wood frame. Pushing the material’s strength to the maximum and using the expertise of his staff of joiners, Juhl designed a chair whose curves are gracefully simple and sensuous. This chair was one of several pieces that was the highlight of the 1945 Cabinetmakers’ Guild exhibition, where Juhl and master cabinetmaker Niels Vodder exhibited elegant and sculptural furniture that was comfortable yet sensible.

As designers know, the chair is not an easy thing. It needs to be both light yet sturdy and above all comfortable. Famous designer Mies van der Rohe famously said it was almost easier to build a skyscraper than a chair.

This Finn Juhl Chieftain lounge chair from 1949, its first year of production, attained $75,000 in December 2018 at Wright. Photo courtesy of Wright and LiveAuctioneers.

“Rather than thinking in terms of practical construction, Finn Juhl had the mind-set of a sculptor, when he shaped a piece of furniture. In the 1940s and 1950s, this way of working had never been seen before,” according to the website of the House of Finn Juhl. Creating pieces that evoked movement and life, Juhl’s goal was to create pieces having what he called a “visual lightness.”

While teaching himself the ins and outs of furniture construction, Juhl first began working with fully upholstered pieces, focusing on the organic shape of the furniture, which became his signature look, but within a few years, he was confident enough to focus on wood as the central material instead of hiding it under a layer of upholstery.

A group of eight Finn Juhl for Niels Vodder Egyptian rosewood chairs in blue upholstery earned $60,000 in May 2018 at Clars Auction Gallery. Photo courtesy of Clars Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.

Juhl’s Grasshopper Chair, designed in 1938, was a daring innovation at the time when furniture was bulky and traditional. This design was showcased with Vodder’s stand at the Guild shows. The chair is aptly named as the back legs and armrests meet the floor on a diagonal, resembling a grasshopper’s back legs bent and poised to jump. At the time, buyers were not overly impressed and the only two examples Juhl brought to the fair, did not sell. Today, however, the design has been reissued and made its debut at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2019.

While Juhl is best known for his chair forms, he designed a variety of seating furniture, including his Poet sofa, launched in 1941, and the Baker sofa, designed in 1951, the same year that Juhl’s works transfixed American audiences when showcased in the Museum of Modern Art’s “Good Design” exhibition. He also designed credenzas and sideboards and over time drew inspiration from American designers, especially Charles Eames. While wood has been his central material up until now, he increasingly began incorporating steel and a new fondness for straight lines and simplicity in his tables, benches and sideboards. Modern sculpture, such as Alexander Calder’s mobiles, also influenced his work.

A Finn Juhl wall-mounted sofa from Villa K. Kokfeldt in Denmark, 1953, realized $60,000 in
November 2015 at Wright. Photo courtesy of Wright and LiveAuctioneers.

“Being connected to the landscape was something that Juhl both lived and practiced, and the influence is notable in the organic forms of his furniture,” according to Design Within Reach in Stamford, Conn., which also offers modern furniture and pieces in the tradition of Juhl and others, reissuing vintage designs.

Finn Juhl’s furniture, like any example of good design, has stood the test of time. Made to be comfortable above all else, they exhibit craftsmanship at its best and an appreciation for organic forms and the materials.

Leading photographers keep on rockin’ in June 11 online auction

Jasper 52 will conduct an online auction on Tuesday, June 11, of vintage photolithographs shot by some of the great rock ’n’ roll and music photographers of all time. From important photographers such as Annie Leibovitz and Jim Marshall, to their iconic models such as John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and Janis Joplin, this auction shows that in the words of Neil Young, rock ’n’ roll can never die.

Annie Leibovitz, ‘John and Yoko Ono,’ 11.6in. x14in., heat wax mounted on 14in. x 18in. conservation board. Estimate: $200-$300. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.