Object Lessons: from a picture of Georgia O’Keeffe to a reindeer weathervane

Primitive sheet iron stag weathervane (late 19th century). Design, Phillips, New York, 17 December. Estimate: $5,000-$7,000

Reindeer on rooftops may be common come Christmas, but this stag weathervane is no sleigh-bound Comet, Cupid or Blitzen. This late 19th-century weathervane once sat atop the roof of the Florida home of Florence Knoll Bassett, a pioneer of the streamlined design aesthetic that defines the post-war American office interior. Weathervanes may not be a common sight in the Modern focused design sales at Phillips, but, says the auction houses design specialist Kimberly Sørensen, American folk art “served as a major source of inspiration among modernists”. Weathervanes are enduring favourites of the folk art market, and sculptural form and original surface are all important—in 2006 at Sothebys New York, a copper Indian Chief weathervane, from around 1900, sold for a record $5.8m with fees.

John James Audubon, early subscriber edition of The Birds of America (around 1838). Single-lot sale following Fine Books and Manuscripts, Sothebys, New York, 18 December. Estimate: $6m-$8m

Audubons Birds of America is still revered as a major milestone in both natural history and book publishing more than a century-and-a-half after its creation. Just 119 complete sets of Birds of America, which has 435 hand-coloured plates depicting more than 1,000 species of winged beasts at life size, are known to be in existence today—104 are held in private institutions and the remaining 15 are in private hands. Originally sold via subscription, this “exceptional” early edition has spent 25 years in a private collection, making its sale a “rare” market event, according to Richard Austin, the head of Sothebys books and manuscripts department in New York. The auction house established the current record for Birds of America in London in 2010, when an edition sold for £7.3m ($11.5m), which also set the auction record for any book.

Jean Cocteau, Grand Chêvre-cou (1958). Prints and Multiples, Bonhams, London, 11-12 December. Estimate: £15,000-£20,000

The mythological figure of the faun is an enduring motif in Jean Cocteaus work, and this earthenware vase is arguably his most accomplished ceramic—the French Surrealist called it his Vendôme Column, according to Lucia Tro Santafe, the director of Bonhamss prints and multiples department in the UK. “It was not easy to turn a long tube to produce the neck of the figure, and even less to balance on top of it a vase like an upturned half-rugby ball,” she says. The artists potters, Marie Madeline-Jolly and Philippe Madeline, were skilful—and careful—enough to produce an edition of 20 of which this is the last.

Ansel Adams, Georgia OKeeffe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona (1937) Photography, Christies, New York, 10 December Estimate: $12,000-$18,000

Ansel Adams, a master of American landscape photography, captured this image of the artist Georgia OKeeffe and Orville Cox, the head wrangler of New Mexicos Ghost Ranch, during a month-long camping trip with a group of friends in the south-west. The print is one of 150 photographs being sold to benefit the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson, of which Adams was a founder. All were given to the centre by Adams; this is the first time they have come to market.

John Dickinson, bar console for the Firehouse, San Francisco (around 1974) Important Design, Wright, Chicago, 10 December Estimate $30,000-$50,000

The late US designer John Dickinson knew how to imbibe in stylRead More – Source