Joining three long-established auction houses in conducting early May catalog sales — Freeman's, Briggs, and Rago, in order of seniority — is an auction newcomer. Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at the 4700 Wissahickon Ave. business complex, where it has been a retailer for a dozen years, Material Culture will present an inaugural exhibition and auction titled "New World Orders."
The 550-lot sale will feature Asian and other ethnic, folk, and "outsider" art. Presale price estimates range from about $50 to $75 for a William H. Prestele etching to $40,000 to $60,000 for a Samuel Robb cigar store Indian that was a Pine Street "Antiques Row" fixture for decades.
Material Culture is joining Kamelot Auctions, a fellow Wissahickon complex occupant that also has long been in the bidding business. Material Culture proprietor George Jevremozic says the two houses will complement each other, not compete. While Kamelot has specialized in architectural and garden decor, Material Culture specializes in "other cultural areas," such as the Middle and Far East.
Preview: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. For further information, call 215-849-8030.
Estate items at Briggs. Briggs Auction, in business since 1932, will also offer ethnic items at its regular Friday sale, beginning at 4 p.m. at the gallery at 1347 Naamans Creek Rd., Boothwyn.
In addition to fine art, furniture, and silver, the 400 lots listed in the auction's online catalog at www.briggsauction.com (with an additional 500 uncataloged lots) include Asian ivory and bronzes, Navajo and other American Indian rugs, and a single lot of 25 cabinet cards from the collection of the late West Chester dealer Robert Swayne that depict Indians in full dress regalia. Created by the U.S. Department of the Interior for its "Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories" and listing their subjects' names and tribes, the cards should bring around $2,000.
Artwork includes four Western mountain scenes by photographer Ansel Adams that Briggs president John Turner expects to sell for at least $2,000 each and an oil-on-board whaling scene by Charles Sidney Raleigh (1831-1925) that is expected to bring $7,000 to $10,000.
Preview is 9 a.m. to sale time. For further information, call 610-485-0412.
Modern and contemporary art at Freeman's. Beginning at 2 p.m. May 12, Freeman's, the country's oldest continuing auction house, will offer more than 170 lots of modern and contemporary art at the gallery at 1808 Chestnut St. They include 19 works by Red Grooms from a single collector and 18 paintings from the estate of New York fashion expert (and Philadelphia native) Janet Brown, as well as works by other major artists.
The works by the 75-year-old Grooms, all in his characteristically playful style, have presale estimates ranging from $600 to $1,000, for a lithograph of a man on a porch, up to $4,000 to $6,000 for a lithograph cutout of a London double-decker bus, according to presale estimates in the auction catalog (also accessible at www.freemansauction.com).
Among works from the Brown estate are a Balthus nude watercolor ($15,000 to $20,000), an untitled Donald Judd woodcut in cadmium red ($20,000 to $30,000), and a complete set of Brice Marden's four-piece drypoint "Suzhou" series of interpretations of Chinese rock gardens ($60,000 to $80,000).
Works with the top presale estimates include: a pair of Picasso linoleum-cut portraits of the same woman (one $60,000 to $80,000, the other $80,000 to $120,000); an untitled forest scene oil on canvas by Lyonel Feininger ($50,000 to $80,000); two Alexander Calder gouache-on-paper paintings, Loops on Orange ($20,000 to $30,000) and Voie Lactee ($40,000 to $60,000); and a sheet-metal Calder stabile, The Red Bull ($250,000 to $400,000).
Also represented in the sale: Edna Andrade, Bo Bartlett, Elizabeth Catlett, Marc Chagall, Le Corbusier, Elizabeth Osborne, and Andy Warhol.
Previews: Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday . For further information, call 215-563-9275.
19th-?and 20th-century art at Rago's. Also on May 12, in Lambertville, the Rago Arts & Auction Center will be offering 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, including a session devoted to bronzes and another to contemporary and post-World War II art.
The first session, beginning at 10 a.m. in the gallery established by David Rago in 1994 at 333 N. Main St., will offer 125 lots of works ranging from Rembrandt etchings to Pennsylvania impressionists and mid-20th-century artists, as well as a small Jacob Epstein bronze expected to bring $12,000 to $18,000.
Other highlights, according to the online catalog at www.ragoarts.com: a circa 1900 Frederick Judd Waugh seascape ($34,000 to $45,000); Breakers at Atlantic City, by William Trost Richards ($15,000 to $25,000); the 1929 oil-on-canvas Byways of Yesterday, by Arthur Meltzer ($30,000 to $40,000); two Fern I. Coppedge landscapes ($15,000 to $20,000 and $20,000 to $30,000); and a 1945 Marcel Duchamp lithograph ($10,000 to $15,000).
The 225 bronzes and related statuary to be offered next come from the collection of Eileen and Dr. Marvin Reingold, including works by Daniel Chester French and Agnes Yarnall. Most have four-figure estimates, although two by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth could each bring $10,000 to $15,000.
The more than 250 lots in the final session that follows include works by Warhol, Raymond Pettibon, Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg, with presale estimates ranging from 200 to $300 for a softcover book celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Leo Castelli Gallery to $40,000 to $60,000 for Fenced, 1966, an acrylic-on-canvas by Richard Joseph Anuszkiewicz.
Previews: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday to Thursday, noon to 7 p.m. next Friday, and 9 a.m. to sale time May 12. For further information, call 609-397-9374.