Tiffany Studios, Benton, Johnson Sell Big at Treadway

by Kate Nixon


Tiffany Studios continues to sell for tens of thousands, a Rookwood polar bear surprises, and a ceramic teapot with a history is highlighted last weekend at Treadway’s Decorative Arts Auction. Held on June 30th, this 400-lot auction marked a first for the auctioneer company – it was the first auction of Treadway’s to offer an online catalog only with no print catalog. “People say, ‘Don’t send a catalog. Save a tree,'” said Don Treadway. “We think the switch away from a printed catalog makes sense and is the right thing to do.”

A Tiffany Studios Dragonfly table lamp, listed in excellent original condition, sold for $75,000 — $5,000 more than the high estimate.

Treadway Gallery reported the interest and participation of Sunday’s auction went well this weekend. “We’ve always taken pride in that effort we put in and think we produce a really well laid-out and thoughtfully done catalog, but for as many compliments we get on the catalog we also get clients who tell us to stop sending them one, ” says Drew Treadway, gallery director of client services. Treadway reports that many clients look to their online catalog to look for condition reports, extra photos, and last-minute added lots – several benefits for the online shopper. “We still had the same amount of interest, the same amount of buyers online at Live Auctioneers, etc, so overall we were very pleased with that. However, we’ll certainly consider producing print catalogs again in the future.”

Amidst the highlights were several Tiffany Studios pieces, including the highest selling item a Tiffany Studios Dragonfly Lamp sold for $75,000, an oil painting on masonite from Thomas Hart Benton that sold for $40,625, and a Sargeant Johnson teapot that sold for $50,000, $20,000 past the high estimate. According to Drew, there were quite a few Arts and Crafts pieces that sold past their estimates. “An old Mission Kopper Kraft bowl we had estimated at $200-300 that brought $1,250. A Frank Lloyd Wright chair (see our picks below) from the Avery Cooney Playhouse brought $5,000. In terms of Arts & Crafts ceramics, we had some pieces of Weller Coppertone that had lots of interest, one brought $1,750.” Surprisingly, a Rookwood Pottery polar bear rocketed past the estimate range of $150 – $250 to sell at $7,150 – a $6,900 difference from its high estimate!

This signed and dated ceramic teapot from Sargent Johnson (1888-1967) sold for $50,000 – $20,000 past its high estimate.

The Sargent Johnson piece – a signed and dated teapot – was listed in excellent condition and has been featured in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum, and the Melvin Holmes Collection of African American Art in St. Louis, Missouri. According to Treadway’s listing, Sargent Johnson was known for his modern sculptures, influenced by the cultures of Mexico, Latin America, and West Africa. Inspired by his African American heritage, Johnson aimed to show fellow African Americans how beautiful they were through his art.

Aside from an expansive collection of Tiffany Studios pieces, Galle glass pieces, and various Georg Jensen silver pins, among the items sold at the auction included items from Pewabic Pottery, Saturday Evening Girls, Newcomb College, Marblehead, Van Briggle, Grueby, Loetz, Gustav Stickley, Rookwood and more. A Grace Young-designed Rookwood vase sold for $7,500, while a Rene Lalique vase sold for $6,875.

Unsold lots from the Treadway auction remain up for grabs, including pieces from Tiffany Studios, Newcomb College, and a unique Art Glass California Poppy table lamp. To see the list of Treadway’s unsold lots, click below:


As always, here are our picks for the Treadway Decorative Arts Auction:


Lot 41: Tiffany Studios Dragonfly Table Lamp

New York, NY
leaded glass, bronze
shade and base signed
25″h x 20″diameter

Provenance: a Southern Gentleman

Estimate: $60,000 – $70,000

Realized Price: $75,000





Lot 145: Leona Nicholson for Newcomb Pottery Cat’s Claw vase

New Orleans, LA
carved and high-glaze ceramic
artist signed, numbered, impressed mark
7″h x 6.5″dia

Estimate: $7,000 – $9,000

Realized Price: $6,250




Lot 294: Gustav Stickley Morris chair

Syracuse, NY
40″h x 35″d x 27.5″w

Estimate: $2,500 – $3,500

Realized Price: $2,080



Lot 297: Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) Chair from the Avery Coonley Playhouse

Chair from the Avery Coonley Playhouse, Riverside, Illinois, c. 1912
walnut and leather
16w x 17-1/2d x 34h inches

Literature:  Frank Lloyd Wright: Interiors and Furniture, Heinz, p. 150.
Frank Lloyd Wright: Preserving an Architectural Heritage, Decorative Designs From the Domino’s Pizza Collection, Hanks, pp. 80-81, 136.

Provenance: Treadway Toomey Auction, June 1, 2014, Lot 295

Estimate: $5,000 – $7,000

Realized Price: $5,000


Lot 316: Elizabeth McDermott for Rookwood Pottery

Landscape vase
Cincinnati, OH, 1916
Vellum glazed ceramic
artist signed, dated, numbered
8″h x 4″dia

Provenance: an Austin collection

Estimate: $900 – $1,200

Realized Price: $975