Ahlers & Ogletree’s May 16th Auction Featured the Bridget and Jerome Dobson Fine Art Collection

A signed 1980 tempera on Masonite painting by Marc Chagall soared to $199,700, a 1929 gouache and watercolor on Arches paper signed by Raoul Dufy realized $78,700, and an oil on canvas laid to board signed by Ludwig Bemelmans finished at $57,500 at an auction of the Bridget and Jerome Dobson collection held May 16th by Ahlers & Ogletree, online and live in the Atlanta gallery.

All prices quoted in this report include a 21 percent buyer’s premium.

In addition to Chagall, Dufy and Bemelmans, the Dobson collection featured many other luminaries in the fine art world, names like David Hockney, Pablo Picasso, Carlos Nadal and Georges Braque. The auction attracted around 30 people to the event, as well as 29 phone bidders who placed 88 phone bids. Other items in addition to the artwork were offered, but the paintings were the undisputed headliners.

Since the 1970s, the duo of Bridget and Jerome Dobson had written award-winning episodes of several iconic daytime TV soap operas, including General Hospital, Guiding Light, As the World Turns and Santa Barbara. Between writing sessions, the couple collected rare, amazing art on their travels around the world. It all came up for bid in the May 16th auction. In all, the art and other items totaled 201 lots.

As expected, it was the French/Russian artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985) who sat atop the list of top achievers. His 1980 tempera on Masonite titled Peintre, Ange et Amoreaux (Painter, Angel and Lover) carried a lofty estimate and bidders responded in kind. The Dobsons purchased the work at a Sotheby’s auction in 1998. It came with a COA from Jean-Louis Prat, an agent of the Comité Marc Chagall.

One artist whose name was chanted more than once was Raoul Dufy (French, 1877-1953). His 1929 gouache and watercolor on Arches paper titled Chevaux de Courses (Racing Horses), signed and dated lower corner and framed, was the top earner, while another gouache and watercolor on Arches paper, this one titled La Plage d’Etretat (Etretat Beach), titled lower center and artist signed lower right, rose to $57,500. Both paintings easily surpassed their pre-sale estimates of $20,000-$30,000.

There were three paintings in the sale by Ludwig Bemelmans (Austian/American, 1898-1962). In 1953, Aristotle Onassis commissioned him to paint 15 mural panels for the playroom on his yacht The Christina, named for his daughter. These were after illustrations that appeared in several of the Madeline books, adaptations from originals in Madeline’s Rescue and Madeline and the Bad Hat.

The three Bemelmans in the auction included an oil on canvas laid to board titled Puppet Show, which was signed lower right and unframed ($57,500, against an estimate of $15,000-$25,000); an oil on canvas laid to board titled Oh, Genevieve, Where Can You Be?, unframed and unsigned ($36,300); and an oil on canvas laid to board titled Madeline and the Bad Hat, artist signed and unframed ($39,300).

Following are additional highlights from the auction, at which Internet bidding was facilitated by the A&O website (AandOAuctions.com), LiveAuctioneers.com, Bidsquare.com, and Invaluable.com.

There were several artworks in the sale by Carlos Nadal (1917-1998), the French-born Spanish painter of the Fauvist school. They included a 1992 oil on canvas work titled Salon Rojo, signed lower left and titled, and signed and dated to verso ($24,200); an untitled (Beach Scene) oil on canvas, signed front and verso ($8,470); and an untitled (Town Scene) oil on canvas, signed to bottom and framed ($9,075).

Stepping briefly away from fine art, a pair of 19th century Italian walnut and mixed wood veneer commodes in the Neoclassical taste, having marquetry and parquetry inlay with bird and floral roundels to the top, three drawers with urn roundels, and rising on tapering feet, reached $18,150.

A Hispano-Roman marble architectural element, likely Ancient era, modeled as a carved acanthus leaf capital, apparently unmarked. measuring 17 ½ inches tall by 20 ½ inches wide, earned $5,800.

A glass sculpture by Bernard X. Wolff for Steuben Glass titled Balloon Rally (#0361), designed in 1985, a colorless work with intaglio cuts depicting hot air balloons and a city skyline, showing a hand-etched signature to a lower corner and standing 10 inches in height, commanded $4,500.

Returning to fine art, several works by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) crossed the auction block. A Chope visage (A.R. 434) painted earthenware ceramic jug (or pitcher), #94 from an edition of 300 that was conceived in 1959, decorated with a blue face, stamped ‘Edition Picasso’ and ‘Madoura Plein Feu’, with painted marks ‘Edition Picasso’ and ’94/300′, 8 ¾ inches tall, hit $6,665.

There were seven original greeting card artworks by Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963) in the sale. One was a mixed media and gouache on paper, titled Carte de Voeux (1958), inscribed ‘Mes Bon Voeux’ and signed and dated. The 3 ¾ inch by 5 ¾ inch card (paper, minus frame) hit $9,700.

There was more than one Chagall artwork up for bid. A circa 1979 color lithograph on paper by the artist, titled Le Petit Acrobate Rouge (The Little Red Acrobat), pencil signed lower right and numbered (“6/50”), and with a Mourlot Paris stamp to the lower left, changed hands for $5,100.

Next up for Ahlers & Ogletree is a two-day Summer Auction on Wednesday and Thursday, June 5th and 6th; an online-only Books & Documents auction on Thursday, June 20th; a Modern and Design + Outsider Art auction on Wednesday, June 26th; an online-only Asian Arts & Antiques auction on Thursday, July 18th; and an auction featuring the estate of Greg Crawford on Thursday, Sept. 12th.

To learn more about Ahlers & Ogletree and their upcoming auctions, visit www.aandoauctions.com. You can also follow Ahlers & Ogletree via social media on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.