Neal Auction Company: Taking Katrina by Storm
A serious presentation
By Bruce McKinney
Five years after Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the city has substantially recovered. Life has returned to a semblance of normal, those parts of the city built on high ground flourishing even as lower lying areas continue to struggle. For Neal Auction Company on 4038 Magazine Street sitting well above the flood crest in the old city as disaster ensued, the worst problems were averted. Later, with the city under forced evacuation because essential services were cut-off, Neal temporarily moved its offices to Baton Rouge. They held their first post-Katrina sale at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, MS. that December. For them, returning to the Big Easy a few weeks later, recovery would be more straightforward than it was for many others. Their audience it turns out is national, their location important for consignors but incidental to bidders who pursue good material wherever they find it.
So it was that the business resumed and has since increased. The internet, that has been more destabilizing than Katrina for many in the works on paper field, turned out to be part of the solution for them. Location it turns out has been subsumed by information and Neal, understanding this, focused on carrying its messages to the far corners. As a result the company, once mostly local, today sells most of what it offers to national and international audiences. "We're a New Orleans company selling to a national, even international audience" is how the company explains it.
On September 11th and 12th the firm holds its first sale following the widely followed fifth anniversary of Katrina. The eleven hundred lot sale includes material from many consignors and is described this way:
American, French, English and Continental furniture, decorative arts and lighting, Southern paintings, historical material, natural history prints and maps especially consigned by discerning collectors, estates and institutions.
Tucked into this description of historical material, natural history prints, maps and decorative arts is an eighty lot consignment from Graham Arader of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania including "sixty-four Audubon prints, maps, images and folio books" according to Marc Fagan, Director of Consignments who is organizing the print and map portion of the sale for Neal. "New Orleans is the center of the Gulf Region and Mr. Arader's material sympathetic to southern tastes and preferences." Mr. Arader's consignment follows by a year his single owner sale at Sotheby's that, according to an Arader Galleries spokesman ultimately raised $1.8 million for charity. Among the listings:
For those looking out to sea there is lot 162. Bernard Dondorf's "View of New Orleans taken from the Lower Cotton Press," executed in 1852. Estimated $4,000 - $6,000
For those looking up rather than out there are John James Aububon's double folio hand-colored aquatint engravings.
Lot 163. Great American Cock Male, Wild Turkey. 38.5 x 25.75" estimated $120,000 - $150,000;
Lot 164. Yellow-billed Cuckoo. 26.5 x 38.5" estimated $5,000 - $7,000;
Lot 165. Wild Turkey, Female and Young. 26 x 39" estimated $80,000 - $120,000;
Lot 166. Brown Lark. 26 x 39" estimated $1,200 - $1,800;
Lot 167. The Mocking Bird. 37.75 x 26" estimated $25,000 - $30,000;
Lot 168. Roscoe's Yellow-throat. 38 x 25.25" estimated $1,500 - $2,500;
Lot 169. Black-billed Cuckoo. 26.5 x 38.25" estimated $8,000 - $12,000;
Lot 170. American Goldfinch. 38.5 x 26.25" estimated $8,000 - $12,000;
Neal Auction Company: Taking Katrina by Storm
Lot 171. Children's Warbler. 39 x 26" estimated $1,500 - $2,500;
Lot 172. Chuck Wills Widow. 26 x 38" estimated $5,000 - $7,000;
And more than fifty others.
And then there are maps.
Lot 199. Le Rouge, George Louis (French, 1707-1790), Carte de la Floride Occidentale et Louisiane, c. 1777, engraved copper plate map, after Jefferys, from Atlas Ameriquain Septentrionale, sheet 21 1/4 in. x 30 in. $2,000 - $3,000;
Lot 200. Joseph F. Wallet Des Barres (English, 1722-1824), Gulph of Mexico, c. 1780, hand-tinted copper engraved map, from The Atlantic Neptune, showing the coast from the Apelousa River eastward to Pensacola, sheet 33 1/4 in. x 46 in., attractively float mounted and framed. $35,000 - $45,000
Lot 201. Joseph F. Wallet Des Barres (English, 1722-1824), The North East Shore of the Gulph of Mexico, c. 1780, monumental hand-tinted copper engraved map, from The Atlantic Neptune, showing the area from Mobile Bay, AL eastward to Apalachicola, FL., sheet 30 in., x 84 in., attractively float mounted and framed. $30,000 - $50,000
And books ...
Lot 202. Sebastian Muenster (1489-1552), La Cosmographie Universelle, contenant la situation de toutes les parties du monde, avec leurs proprietez & appurtenances, 1565, Antwerp, Henrich Petri, folio, 12 in. x 8 in., first French edition, contemporary sheep, letterpress title-page with large woodcut vignette, woodcut portrait of the author, 14 double-page maps, 38 double-page views, three folding panoramas, illustrated throughout with fine woodcuts depicting peoples, places, historic events, customs and exotic animals, one or two full-page, including separate sections on Africa, Asia and "Des Nouvelles Isles, comment, quand & par qui elle en trouvees" and description of America including accounts of the voyages and explorations of Columbus, Vespucci, Magellan. $20,000 - $30,000 Reference: Sabin, 51397.
203. François Levaillant (1753-1824), Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des rolliers, suivie de celle des toucans et des barbus, Paris, Chez Denne & Perlet, -1806, first edition, 2 volumes, folio, full calf, gilt decoration, with 114 hand-colored engraved plates after Jacques Barraband by Bouquet, Gremilliet, and Peree, printed in colours by Langlois and Rousset. $50,000 - 70,000
204. Mark Catesby (1683-1749), The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands: Containing the Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects, and Plants..., 1771, published by Benjamin White, London, third edition, two volumes, folio, 21 1/2 in. x 15 in., full modern calf with gilt, modern red cloth cases, text in French and English, with 220 hand-colored engraved plates after Catesby. $200,000 - $300,000
205. Robert Furber / Publisher, “Twelve Months of Flowers”, 1730, Kensington, twelve hand-colored engravings after Pieter Casteels (Antwerp, 1684-1749), engraved by Henry Fletcher, sight 16 1/4 in. x 12 1/8 in., attractively matted and framed. $30,000 - $50,000
There is more, much more. Regional auction houses have been holding their own against the international majors. This sale will provide an interesting comparison.
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