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Salander-O’Reilly Bankruptcy Auction at Stair Galleries

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For nearly a year, the art world has been abuzz with news of the closing of the Salander - O’Reilly Gallery, and its subsequent bankruptcy filing.  On June 7th, Stair Galleries of Hudson conducts the first auction of goods from the collection.

“It was a struggle from start-to-finish with judges and lawyers,” says Colin Stair. “All of the legal proceedings are over now, and since Mr. Salander is obviously in a tough position, the property needs to be sold by June 15th.”

Originally, the Salander - O’Reilly Gallery was located in a grand East 79th Street townhouse, and represented American artists, including Robert DeNiro, Sr. and Stone Roberts.  “That was the focus of the gallery,” says Carey Maloney of the M (Group), a New York City-based interior design firm.  “When, in 2005, they moved to an even grander townhouse (trust me – it is a palace) on East 71st Street, the stock became vast.  Antiquities, Titians, Constables, Bernini benches, alongside DeNiros and Roberts?  Uber-expensive old masters, furniture, rugs, objets, with some American artists incongruously thrown into the mix?  It seemed overly ambitious and wildly unfocused.”
Obviously, it was.  But as a consequence, the variety at the bankruptcy auction is impressive, everything from chimneypieces to garden nymphs and putti, from garden gates and water troughs to a signed Austin & Seeley 8 1/2 ft. fountain with a merman blowing a conch shell, while seated in a shell basin atop entwined dolphins. Among the offerings is a large group (approximately 90 lots) of architectural ornaments, primarily from the collection of Michael Roberts, of Ashurst, Kent, a pioneer in that field.  Salander spent over $1M for the collection at a Christie’s (London) auction in September 2004.  The English Art Deco wrought-iron gate (top) that sold at Christies for $32,317.59 four years ago is estimated to fetch between $10,000 - $15,000 at Stair.

“An auction of garden ornaments and architectural artifacts of this quality is rare,” says M (Group)‘s Hermes Mallea.  “For a phalanx of lawyers to choose Stair Galleries for the liquidation is a testament to the auction house’s success.” 

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Of particular interest is a pair of terracotta urns with snake-form handles (left) attributed to Mark Henry Blanchard who, after apprenticing with Eleanor Coade, set up his own operation in 1839.  The buff shade of these urns suggest that they were made in his early years of production, as his later work was darker in color.  There is also an excellent sampling of Coade stone ranging from1791 to 1820, as well as pieces by other famous makers, such as J&M Craig and the Compton Pottery. 

Also on offer is a group of fine 17th - 19th-century furniture, including a mid-18th century rococo painted and giltwood console table and an excellent assortment of frames. The furniture from mid- to-late-17th-century is especially strong.

Lots stored at the Warren Street gallery can be viewed up to and including the day of the sale.  Other merchandise, including approximately two-thirds of the garden material, is at Stair’s storage facility in Claverack, where it may be previewed by appointment.

Asked what he intends to bid on, Mallea said, “I can’t give away our plans, but I will say that signed Coade stone urns are a rarity.  We cannot pass those up without a fight.”

Preview: Stair Galleries; Monday -  Friday 9 - 5; Saturday 11 - 5; Sunday 12 - 5
The Grainary, 83 Old Lane, Claverack; by appointment only
Sale at Stair Galleries, 549 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.751.1000
Saturday, June 7, beginning at 11

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 05/28/08 at 04:36 AM • Permalink