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Exquisite decorative arts offered in online auction Aug. 12

Antique clocks, bronze figures, ceramics and silver are just a few of the treasures offered in a Jasper52 Exquisite Decorative Arts Auction on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Italian marble bust of Dionysius in marble, early 18th century, 73cm high, on marble base.
Estimate: $6,000-$7,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Clocks, silver, porcelain vie for top bids in online auction Aug. 5

Exquisite decorative arts will be offered in a Jasper52 online auction on Wednesday, Aug. 5. Clocks, sterling silver, sculptures and ceramics comprise much of the 300-lot lineup.

Herend Siang Jaune Masterpiece Silk Road elephant figurine #15846-0-00/SJ, 10in long x 9½in high. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Jasper52 auction March 4 devoted to decorative art, silver

Exquisite European ceramics, impressive sterling silver flatware and hollowware, and colorful Murano glass are among the unique treasures in a decorative art auction that will be conducted Wednesday, March 4, by Jasper52.

Barbedienne-style French gold-plated bronze Louis XVI mantel clock and two matching candelabra, early 1800s. Estimate: $39,000-$47,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Decorative art auction Feb. 25 reprises Art Nouveau, Deco

A Jasper52 online auction on Tuesday, Feb. 25, recalls the luxury and glamour of the most iconic eras in history with a specially curated collection of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. This sale offers decorative art, sculpture and lighting that capture the spirit and excitement of ages past.

Art Deco Gerdago-style girl pixie Harlequin mantel lamp by J.B. Hirsch, 15¼in long x 10½in high x 6in wide. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Fine jewelry, fashions, decorative arts go up for bid Feb. 11

From iconic Bulgari jewelry to Georg Jensen silver, rare Versace designs and more, a Jasper52 online auction of Jewelry & Decorative Arts Inspired by Miami Beach on Tuesday, Feb. 11, features the best in jewelry, decorative art and fashion.

Signed David Webb diamond and enamel bracelet, Animal Kingdom Collection, 1990s, 18K gold, platinum, enamel, diamonds, rubies. Estimate: $42,000-$50,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Jasper52 aims to enhance elegant home decor Jan. 29

A Jasper52 online auction of fine decorative arts on Wednesday, Jan. 29, provides an opportunity for bidders to express their individual tastes in decorating their homes. They can enhance their tabletops, mantels, shelves and more with this diverse array of antique to modern decorative objects.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, ‘Le Petit Forgeron,’ bronze sculpture, circa 1916, 12¾in high x 12in x 7½in. Estimate: $5,500-$7,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Sterling flatware sets featured in Jasper52 auction Jan. 8

More than 100 lots of exquisite decorative arts are offered in an online auction that will be conducted Wednesday, Jan. 8, by Jasper52. Sterling silver is an important segment of the sale that includes a 290-piece hallmarked set of French flatware worthy of a palace.

French sterling silver flatware set, 290 pieces, 20th century. Estimate: $30,000-$36,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Tapestry: portable woven wall art

Imagine myth, legend and art that lasts centuries with the simple positioning of wool, cotton, silk and threads of gold and silver. These woven murals are tapestry: colorful creations that were functional and decorative that last lifetimes.

The art of weaving fabrics to form clothing and other decorative items can be traced to linen examples in ancient Egypt in the 15th century B.C. and throughout the area of the Middle East, particularly Syria and Iraq. Fragments of Greek tapestry have been found in China as far back as the third century B.C., and tapestry was mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey about the eighth century B.C. Weaving has been found in cultures around the world throughout ancient times, but many examples of early tapestry were woven into clothing, rugs and upholstery. Today, tapestry is defined as an art form specific to wall hangings.

Flemish tapestry, 18th century, depicting Cupid and Psyche, within a floral foliate border, 103in x 98in. Sold for $32,000 + buyer’s premium. Image courtesy of New Orleans Auctions Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

The need for tapestry

Cold, dark and dank. Life inside castle battlements was anything but comfortable. Stone walls, while excellent for protection, did little to provide warmth or color. From the 11th to the 16th centuries a castle was first and foremost meant for defense, a classic ‘form following function’ in architectural engineering. It wasn’t much different in a large palace either.

From the 14th to the middle of the 18th century, weaving techniques allowed large “nomadic murals,” as 20th century painter and architect Le Corbusier once described them, to be created and hung along castle stone walls mostly as insulation against the cold. Being visible required ornamentation and so an elaborate Biblical story, commemorative event, personal coat-of-arms, or hunting scene (the most popular subjects) was ordered specifically for the great rooms throughout the castle or palace with each taking at least a year to weave. For this reason, only the wealthiest could afford them.

Detail of a 16th century Flemish wool tapestry depicting a royal procession featuring griffins, maidens and mythological vignettes that sold for $200,000 + buyer’s premium in 2009. Image courtesy: Skinner and LiveAuctioneers.com

Because tapestry was so expensive to own, each became a status symbol of sorts. When the royal or wealthy household traveled to another of their properties, the tapestries were taken down, rolled up and moved to the next location with them, thus the nomadic description. King Henry VIII is said to have at least 2,000 woven tapestries at any one time.

Weaving one line at a time

The reason tapestry was only for the wealthy was that each tapestry, no matter the size, was done by hand, one thread at a time.

First a detailed, life-size drawing or painting of the subject was created, called a cartoon. If the tapestry was a series of panels or just one large tapestry, a complete cartoon was required. Once completed, a cartoon is placed behind the weaver with a mirror in front of the loom so that each strand corresponds exactly to the pattern of the cartoon. The weaver sits at a loom (there is a high-warp and low-warp loom depending on size) with warp threads (vertical ones that form a grid for the pattern) stretched tight at the top and bottom on rollers. This keeps the grid tight with the rollers adding additional warp threads as needed.

Closeup of the weft lines of a 17th century Flemish tapestry that sold for $4,000 + buyer’s premium in 2017. The dyed colors are uneven and have faded over time, indicative of its age. Image courtesy: Material Culture and LiveAuctioneers

Weft threads (horizontal ones that the weaver moves from “weft to wight” as weavers like to say) are dyed wool that placed strategically form the design of the cartoon, one weft thread at a time, one segment at a time using a smooth wooden bobbin. Weavers pass the bobbin through one or several warp threads and build up the pattern over time, perhaps a square meter a month.

As soon as one weft line is completed, it is tamped down with a comb, awl, or even long fingernails to compact the threads and disguise the warp threads. With several weavers working on one tapestry, depending on the complexity of the pattern, it can be completed in about a year or longer.

A smaller version of the high-warp loom used for smaller tapestries. The rollers at top and bottom provide new warp as the weft is added rolling up as each weft line is completed. Gregors Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Industrial Revolution and technology have revolutionized tapestry allowing it to be first mechanized and now computerized. The cost is still high, about $35,000 a yard, and depending on the complexity of the design, still more than a year to produce, but the colors are more vivid “… with more life to them …,” said Noami Robertson, a weaver at Dovecot, a British tapestry studio.

In fact, there is a new resurgence in tapestry as an art form. Abstracts from artists such as Henri-Georges Adam, Jean Arp and Salvador Dali as well as artwork by Henri Matisse and Picasso have been woven into tapestry. Still, there are companies such as Gobelins Manufactory in Paris, France, that still handcrafts tapestry the same way it has been done since at least 1602.

A Salvador Dali design titled ‘Burning Giraffe’ is an example of a highly woven, vividly colorful modern type of tapestry that sold for $400,000 + buyer’s premium in 2017. Image courtesy GWS Auctions Inc. and LiveAuctioneers

What Collectors Need to Know

Identifying an early medieval or Renaissance-era tapestry is usually by the type of thread used throughout. Wool was most common, but cotton and linen were used as well. Any other type of thread suggests it is more modern. The use of silver or gold thread interwoven with other thread suggests a royal commission.

Each weft thread should not be completely even throughout. Since the tapestry was hand sewn a certain unevenness along each weft line should be expected. The colors of the weft threads were usually dyed, and some fading is expected over time, especially on the front since that side was exposed (the reverse should be more vibrant). If the design is shown only on the front, then it is definitely more modern. Always check with an expert for a complete examination.

Design is important, too. Biblical stories, hunting scenes, important events, personal coats-of-arms were the themes most reproduced in detailed, colorful tapestry during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Late 15th/early 16th century Franco-Flemish Gothic Biblical tapestry fragment, possibly depicting the life of David. Sold for $24,000 + buyer’s premium. Image courtesy of Gray’s Auctioneers and LiveAuctioneers

And finding tapestry of this period should be easier because the cost of acquiring Renaissance-era tapestries has fallen in recent years, according to a New York Times article in 2018. “[N]ow these historic hangings sell for much less than they originally cost, and sometimes for less than they were selling even 40 years ago,” wrote Scott Reyburn.

With new techniques, colors, designs and collectibility, tapestry is no longer intended as only insulation for a drafty castle or a status symbol that is rolled up and moved from place to place, although the originals are still appreciated for their history.

Instead, tapestry has evolved as an expression of individual artistic personality finally freed from the confines of the earthly necessity of existing solely for warmth and status. Tapestry, whether old or new, still makes your home a castle.

Miami Beach style packaged in online auction Nov. 19

Two hundred lots of “Jewelry and Decorative Arts Inspired by Miami Beach” are available in a Jasper52 online auction to be held Tuesday, Nov. 19. Victorian-era estate jewelry, sterling silver serving pieces and flatware sets, and rare wristwatches are featured. Dozens of lots of sterling silver are presented in the sale. An important lot in this category is a pair of large George III covered entrée dishes made by renowned London silversmith Paul Storr in 1805.

Estate platinum GIA Ceylon sapphire and diamond ring, mid-20th century. Estimate: $4,500-$5,500. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Jasper52 switches to vintage French lighting fixtures Oct. 30

From French Modernist chandeliers to mid-century industrial lamps, a Jasper52 online auction to be held Wednesday, Oct. 30, has everything needed to light up a room or desktop.

French Art Deco modernist chandelier, 1940s or early 1950s, 39in. high x 20in. wide x 30in. long. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.