Graham Arader: Defining the space between auction and retail

- by Bruce E. McKinney

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The Arader Galleries this month continue to explore the relationship between the retailing of important images in their shops and their selling of them at auction.  The entire category of collectibles is in transition and the firm, the leading dealer in the printed images field, testing the dividing line between these two very different markets.  Interest in their material, Audubon and other exceptional prints, is unabated but increasingly buyers are looking for market confirmation for the prices they pay.

 

To manage this shift Mr. Arader has been offering, in a series of auctions, material with high estimates of $10,000 and less on an unreserved basis.  This has made it possible for conservative bidders to acquire very nice lots at very affordable prices.  It has also acquainted them with the Arader Galleries and opened paths for the firm to become, for these buyers, a regular source for many of the more expensive prints that rarely pass through the rooms.  It is a remarkable effort.

 

Illustrating this story are 10 of the lots that will be sold without reserve.  On most AE pages the Arader Galleries have also posted images, brief descriptions and links to other lots, in many cases more expensive lots.  The education that Mr. Arader is getting is not tuition free and he has prepared himself for the possibility of occasionally losing money on lots in exchange for the clarification such sales provide.   

 

For bidders, with the holidays at hand, it looks like Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are arriving early.  If so, we now know that Santa lives in Pennsylvania.

 

The firm describes the sale this way:

 

‘A superb exhibition of nearly one third of the original hand-coloured aquatints from John James Audubon's magnificent double-elephant folio "The Birds of America", the single most important work on North American ornithology; about half of the original hand-colored lithographs from his Imperial folio "The Viviparous Quadrupeds", the first great all-American color-plate book; and some beautiful original watercolors on vellum from Pierre-Joseph Redoute's magnum opus "Les Liliacees."  All are currently on view at the Gallery at 1016 Madison Ave., NYC, NY 10021.’

 

The sale is on the 9th beginning at 1:00 pm at 1016 Madison Avenue in New York.  On the 8th, at 6:00 pm, Barney Lipscomb, the Leonhardt Chair of Texas Botany at the Botanical Research Institute Texas is giving an illustrated lecture “Art and Science:  A Botanist’s Eye:  Redoute and the Art of Floral Illustration.”  The public is invited.

 

To arrange to view lots in person or to learn about bidding options contact:

 

The Arader Gallery

1016 Madison Avenue [bet. 78th and 79th]

New York, New York 10021

 

View the entire sale on Live Auctioneers and on Proxibid

 

Arrange to Visit:  call 212-628-7625

 

Arrange to bid: Please contact Guernsey’s Auctioneers at 212-794-2280

 

Personally discuss your collecting interests with Graham Arader:  212- 628-3668

 

Descriptions for the numbered images accompanying this article.

 

Lot 12

John James Audubon
Red-tailed Hawk
Plate 51

Aquatint engraving with original hand color

37 5/8 x 25 ¼ inches

Retail price: $17,500

Estimate $4,000-5,000
No Reserve

 

Lot 13

John James Audubon

Chuck Will’s Widow

Plate 52

Aquatint engraving with original hand color

25 3/8 x 37 3/8 inches

Retail price: $25,000

Estimate: $6,000-8,000

No Reserve

 

Lot 90

John James Audubon

Ruddy Duck

Plate 343

Aquatint engraving with original hand color

38 1/8 x 26 5/8 inches

Retail price: $18,000

Estimate: $4,000-6,000

No Reserve

  

Lot 106

John James Audubon

Snow Goose

Plate 381

Aquatint engraving with original hand color

38 1/8 x 25 ¼ inches

Retail price: $18,000

Estimate: $5,000-7,000

No Reserve



Lot 113

John James Audubon

Red-breasted Merganser

Plate 401

Aquatint engraving with original hand color

38 ½ x 25 inches

Retail price: $45,000

Estimate: $7,000-10,000

No Reserve



Lot 140

John James Audubon

Canada Porcupine

Plate 36

Hand colored lithograph

21 ½ x 27 ¼ inches

Retail price: $14,000

Estimate: $3,000-5,000

No Reserve

 

Lot 169

John James Audubon

Common American Deer (Fawn)

Plate 81

Hand colored lithograph

21 x 27 1/8 inches

Retail price: $25,000

Estimate: $6,000-10,000

No Reserve

 

Lot 206

John James Audubon

American Black Bear

Plate 141

Hand-colored lithograph

20 ½ x 26 5/8 inches

Retail price: $22,500

Estimate: $7,000-8,000

No Reserve

 

Lot 221

Charles Lucien Bonaparte

American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of Birds Inhabiting the United States not Given by Wilson. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey; Carey & Lea, 1825-1833.

4 volumes

Folio (15 2/8 x 12 inches)

27 fine hand-colored engraved plates

Retail price: $13,750

Estimate: $8,000-10,000

No Reserve

 

Lot 256
George Brookshaw
Plate LXI-Grape Lady Bathurst Tokay, from Pomona Brittanica

Stipple engraving

Single sheet: 18 x 22 ½ inches

Image size: 13 ¼ x 17 inches

Retail price: $7,000

Estimate: $1,000-2,000

No Reserve