Hebert and Servant’s collaboration resulted in superb sculptures like this

Hebert and Servant This Neoclassical bronze figure of the Greek goddess Thetis with a clock, by the French sculptor Pierre-Eugène-Émile Hébert, will be auctioned January 14th. (photo courtesy Bruneau & Co.)

The French sculptor Pierre-Eugène-Émile Hébert (1823-1893) made his mark by creating the allegorical statues La Comédie and Le Drame for the vaudeville theatre in Paris, but he was also one of the few artists to work with the renowned bronze fondeur Georges Servant. Their artistic collaboration resulted in pieces of the Neo-Grecian and Egyptian Revival style, like the work shown here, a gorgeous Neoclassical bronze figure of the Greek goddess Thetis, depicted in traditional himation, resting on an anvil, her foot on a Corinthian-type helmet as she gets ready for war.

The sculpture stands on a large French Neoclassical black slate mantle clock, which accentuates Thetis with its patinated bronze classical ornamentation. It is Lot #191 in Bruneau & Company’s next big auction slated for Saturday, Jan. 14th, online and at the firm’s gallery in Cranston, R.I. Bruneau has assigned the lot a surprisingly modest $1,000-$2,000 estimate that it will no doubt surpass. The Winter Antiques & Fine Art Auction will feature decorative and fine arts, Asian arts, militaria, erotic art and more, pulled from multiple estates. Visit www.bruneauandco.com.




Arthur Carter uses geometrics to make breathtaking artworks

Arthur Carter This sculpture by Arthur Carter (b. 1931), titled Elliptical Loops, is a ribbon of stainless steel, crossing itself a half-dozen times. Asking price: $33,600. (photo courtesy Leila Heller Gallery)

Leila Heller Gallery’s auction ending December 21st in New York City features a selection of works by Arthur Carter (N.Y., b. 1931), an artist who has drawn on several varying disciplines for a lifelong inquiry into the use of geometry in his creations. He was trained as a classical pianist, studied French literature at Brown University and, as a journalist and publisher, founded the Litchfield County Times in 1981 and the New York Observer in 1987. He began to convert the grids and geometrics on the printed page from two dimensions to three, using stainless steel.

Carter’s career as a sculptor became the latest major statement of his polymath proclivities, with a number of sculptures on permanent public display in New York City. For the past 25 years, he has engaged in a fully intellectual, sophisticated style, merging his mathematical precision and musical interest with investigations of complex relationships between objects. Artworks in the auction, which began Dec. 7, include paintings, drawings and sculptures, from the ‘90s to the present. Online bidding is being provided by Bidsquare.com. Visit www.Bidsquare.com.




They don’t make clocks like these anymore, folks

They don't make clocks like these This enchanting white enameled French automaton clock is quite elaborate, with seven birds, all moving about a silk tree in a naturalistic setting. (photo courtesy Nadeau’s Auction Gallery)

An automaton clock (or automata clock) is a type of striking clock that features, well, automatons – figural moving parts. Like the enchanting white enameled clock pictured here. It was made in Paris during Victorian times by Bontems, and will be featured in Nadeau’s Auction Gallery’s big New Year’s Day auction on Saturday, Jan. 1, online and at the firm’s showroom in Windsor, Conn. It is quite elaborate, with seven birds, all moving about (two perched on tree branches, two on the ground) in a naturalistic setting. The tree is made of silk.

Nadeau’s has assigned the clock a pre-sale estimate of $8,000-$12,000. The first automaton clocks were created by the Roman engineer Vitruvius, who made early alarm clocks that mimicked  gongs and trumpets. More recently constructed ones are widespread in Japan, where they are known as karakuri-dokei. The one affixed to the Nippon Television headquarters in Tokyo is the largest animated clock in the world. In the UK, Kit Williams produced automaton clocks for British shopping centers, featuring frogs, ducks and fish. Visit www.nadeausauction.com.




This clock will probably chime on time for $1 million or more

This clock will probably chime The case form of this magnificent clock is based on the Porcelain Pagoda of Nanjing (or the Temple of Repaid Gratitude), built in the 15th century. (photo courtesy Fontaine’s Auction Gallery)

Any time an antique item comes up for bid at auction with a pre-sale estimate of $1 million, it’s news in my book. And you expect that when it comes to certain things like fine art and dazzling estate jewelry. But a clock? It does happen, but not often. And it will happen, on Saturday, January 21st, when the clock you see here – an 18th century English-made pagoda form automaton musical clock, made for the Chinese Qing Imperial Court – is expected to soar to $800,000-$1.2 million at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, online and in Pittsfield, Mass., at 11 am Eastern time.

The clock is magnificent: 50 inches tall and 100 pounds. It has an engraved chessboard pattern brass top, with 5-inch painted metal dials on the front and both sides and Roman hour numerals. The time movement triggers the automaton mechanism once every two hours, and the heavy bronze case has elegant color paste set jewels. And it’s equally enchanting musically. It plays two different tunes on a nest of eight bells, including the 17th century Chinese folk song Mo Li Hau. Smart money has it easily passing the $1 million mark. Visit www.FontainesAuction.com.




Bell whippets: an iconic, highly prized category of Shenandoah Valley pottery

Bell whippets This redware figure of a reclining whippet atop an oblong base with multi-glaze, 7 ¼ inches tall and made circa 1832, will be sold Jan. 14-16 in Atlanta. (photo courtesy Ahlers & Ogletree)

Solomon Bell (1817-1882) was born in Hagerstown, Md., the youngest of 10 children fathered by Peter Bell, who trained two of his sons – John and Solomon – in the ways of redware and stoneware pottery. It didn’t hurt that Hagerstown had a large and active community of immigrant potters. In 1828, the family moved to Waynesboro, Pa., and by 1833 Peter Bell had established a small but successful pottery business, which continued to grow as his progeny joined the shop. In 1843, Solomon Bell moved to Strasburg, Va. Later on, he was joined by his brother, Samuel.

On Jan. 14-16, Ahlers & Ogletree in Atlanta will hold a Signature Estates Auction that will feature the Solomon Bell creation shown here: a redware figure of a reclining whippet atop an oblong base with multi-glaze (likely lead, copper and manganese oxide glaze). Bell whippets remain an iconic and highly prized form of Shenandoah Valley pottery. This figure, 7 ¼ inches tall and hand-modeled circa 1832, has a pre-sale estimate of $15,000-$30,000. Bell was the only potter at the time known to have used cobalt in earthenware glazes. Visit www.aandoauctions.com.