Contemporary Art and American Art Lead Roland Auction's June 4 Estates Auction

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Art from two Manhattan single owner collections goes on the block June 4 at Roland Auctions, the new auction house in Greenwich Village. Bidding is live and on

With works of art by Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Li and action painters Kazuo Shiraga and Norman Bluhm waiting to be auctioned on June 4, Roland Auctions in Greenwich Village is starting to take on the ambience of a fine art gallery. Mix in a fine American painting by Henry A. Ferguson, an Ignaz Joseph Raab Old Master painting and it is instantly clear that buyers can anticipate exceptional values with good provenance.

But the story only begins there. Almost poetically, even as smoking is becoming a thing of the past, the collectibles associated with it have become very desirable. The whimsical but very fine collection of cigar memorabilia at Roland's is no exception. In addition to fine humidors there are charming mechanical memorabilia in the form of dogs, bears, birds and globes, With estimates running from $50 upwards, the items will find broad appeal.

Highlights of the auction, however, focus on the art. Zhang Li's portrait of a "Girl in Red," 1991, leads the fold. With an exhibition history that spans China to Taos, NM, Zhang Li's work is currently among the most desirable on the Chinese contemporary scene. "Girl in Red," was sold at Christies in 1994. It is Lot 170 and is conservatively valued at upwards of $40,000.

Japanese action painter, Kazuo Shiraga, who sometimes painted with his feet or hanging upside down, is represented by a powerful abstract of heavy red impasto on a field of greens and yellows. "Untitled" is Lot 169, It is expected to bring $12,000 or more. Interestingly, Shiraga is credited with influencing early works by Yoko Ono.

Lot 177 is a new-to-the market work by mid-century action painter Norman Bluhm. The mixed-media on paper entitled "Abstract" was originally purchased from the Martha Jackson Gallery. (She is the gallerist who did so much to develop the interest for modern art in America). Bluhm's "Abstract" is Lot177. It carries a catalog low estimate of $7,000.

Meanwhile, from the hand of another Twentieth Century painter, Lot 166 is Jean Jansem's oil painting of a Family of Four with Fruit Basket. This work was sold by Galerie Hervé in New York City and later Wally Findlay Gallery, Kansas City, MO. The historic Jansem carries a catalog estimate of $12,000 to $18,000.

Also of note is an oil-on-canvas by Philip Howard Evergood entitled "The Dream," 1958. As a canopy of red poppies bursts from a vase with harlequinade overtones that is set against a ground of yellow and black diamonds, an animated female nude looks on. Evergood's works of this period are rarely seen on the open market due to purchases by museums such as The Metropolitan, the Boston Museum, Art Institute of Chicago and Los Angeles County Museum. Bidding on "The Dream" (Lot 167) begins at $6,000.

Stepping back to late Nineteenth Century, the sale features an excellent Arabian market scene by American artist Henry A. Ferguson. Widely considered a member of the Hudson River School, Ferguson traveled extensively. "In the Market" is the result of one of those journey's and portrays a slice of life among the bazaars of Egypt or North Africa. It is Lot 173 and bidding begins at $12,000.

Works by other Twentieth Century masters include a still life by Maurice Freedman, an ink on parchment by Sadegh Tabrizi and lithographs by Fernand Léger, Wassily Kandinsky, Sam Francis and other highly collectible artists. Catalog estimates start at $800 for a Gerrit Hondius watercolor (Lot 160).

Following this strong lead is an Eighteenth Century Continental painting by Ignaz Joseph Raab 1715 - 1787). In the oil on canvas, a woman dressed in and wearing a white head scarf holds an infant who looks out at a bowl of fruit. The two sit in the muted background of a doorway that gives way to brick wall and a cascading vine. Bidding on Lot 172 opens at $10,000.

There are other antique Continental works in the sale including ones by Rembrandt van Rijn and W. Hunt. For details please visit

Continental furniture and decorations include a French Louis XVI Commode attributed to Jensen, an American partner desk by Horner Brothers, a Louis XV kingwood and bronze mounted parquetry marble top commode and a magnificent Seventeenth Century carved Italian cassone and intricately carved chairs.

According to Bill Roland, co-founder of the new auction gallery, the collections have been removed from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island estates. The catalog for the summer sale is available online at or in the gallery.

Previews for the upcoming Roland Auctions sale begin on Thursday, June 2 and continue through Friday, June 3. The June 4 auction begins at 11:00 a.m. in the gallery at 80 East 11th Street. Bidders can follow on the Internet at For more information, please call 212-260-6000.

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Regina Kolbe

Bill Roland, Bob Roland or Fabrizio
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