German artist and Chinese figure tie for top auction price

A painting by German artist Oscar Merte (1873-1938) entitled Riders in the Park (lot 250) and an 18th century Chinese carved wood and polychromed figure of Guan Yin (lot 276) shared first prize spoils at Leski Auctions June Decorative Arts & Collectables Melbourne sale – each selling for $7500 hammer price.

Standing on a rocky outcrop, the Chinese figure was converted to a table lamp early in the 20th century.

An Anglo-Indian Vizagapatam ivory workbox in sarcophagus form (lot 342) brought $6000, while a pair of 19th/20th century Chinese carved ivory figures on wooden stands (lot 294) was knocked down for $5000.

A coloured movie poster advertising Casablanca 1947 (lot 427), which in 1944 won eight Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Original Music Score, Best Film Editing – and Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart) and Best Supporting Actor (Claude Rains) – sold for $4600. The poster was produced for the Australian re-release of the film in 1947.

An English art deco three-piece cloud lounge suite designed by Harry and Lou Epstein (lot 193) also brought the same figure, while British artist Thomas Luny’s (1759-1837) work entitled H.M.S. Asia, 84 guns, Lying in Torbay sold for $4400 (lot 235) – the same price as a Chinese earthenware teapot from the Song Dynasty (lot 282).

Born in Cornwall, Luny painted mostly seascapes and other marine-based works. He exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy with 29 exhibitions between 1780 and 1802 and specimens of his works can be found at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter and The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

Lots 1 and 2 ($4200 and $4000) round out the top 10 items at the Leski auction, the latter being a full size mounted Australian flag signed by World War I Supreme Allied Commander, French Marshel Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch, for Australian Army Captain George Hamilton in London after the war.


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