Partner Auction

Top Lots from The Prindle Collection

See some of the highlights from Litchfield's recent sale.

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Published on
October 04, 2022

On September 20th and 21st, Litchfield Auctions held their highly-anticipated auction of works by renowned collector John "Parker" Prindle. Eternally curious and passionate about art, Prindle's vast collection is refreshingly varied. Packed with beautiful design items from big names like Paul Evans and Ettore Sottsass as well as fine art of all mediums, it's no surprise that the sale produced outstanding results. 

Lot 150, Paul Evans Cityscape Credenza, $14,950
Lot 150 Paul Evans Cityscape Credenza

Although his early collecting days were focused on Italian glass art and mid-century ceramics, Prindle's eventual tastes encompassed art deco metalware, contemporary prints, and beyond. His discerning eye earned him a reputation as a prominent collector in his native Boston and the art world at large.

Items from the Prindle Collection On Site at Litchfield Auctions
Items from the Prindle Collection on site at Litchfield Auctions

Prindle's collection included two works by the prolific Romare Bearden, both of which generated considerable interest during the auction. Slave Ship (1972) and Cattle of the Sun God (1979), which sold for $5,980 and $2,990 respectively, are each gorgeous examples of the collage-style pieces that dominated the artist's mature style. Bearden's work, which is often interested in exploring the Black experience in America, has consistently done well at auction in recent years. In February of this year, his paper collage The Street (1975) sold for a record $1,109,000 at Sotheby's.

From left: Lot 54, Romare Bearden, Cattle of the Sun God (1979), $2,990; Lot 8, Romare Bearden, Slave Ship (1972), $5,980
From left: Lot 54 Romare Bearden Cattle of the Sun God (1979)

Lot 8 Romare Bearden Slave Ship (1972)

Another standout was Howard Hodgkin's vibrant print In Tangier (1991), which hammered for $5,720, a price 61% higher than auction results from mere weeks ago. The figurative work is a notable departure from the abstraction that the artist is known for, however it manages to remain paradigmatic of his style. Deeply interested in gesture and color, the composition evokes the ephemeral and dynamic energy that permeates his oeuvre.

Lot 106, Howard Hodgkin, In Tangier (1991), $5,720
Lot 106 Howard Hodgkin In Tangier (1991)

Also of great interest was Prindle's massive collection of works by the 1980s Memphis design group. Last month, The Dispatch chronicled their controversial aesthetic and enduring influence on contemporary design. 

Memphis design items on display at Litchfield Auctions
Memphis design items on display at Litchfield Auctions

Bidders were especially keen on the striking ceramic totems created by the group's founder, Ettore Sottsass. Together, the five totems brought in nearly $20,000. Created right around the time of Memphis' conception, these bulbous and colorful pieces exemplify Sottsass' desire to subvert the conventions of fine design.

From left: Lot 423, Ettore Sottsass, Memphis Ceramic Totem, $3,250; Lot 424, Ettore Sottsass, Memphis Ceramic Totem, $5,200
From left: Lot 423 Ettore Sottsass Memphis Ceramic Totem

Lot 424 Ettore Sottsass Memphis Ceramic Totem

Roy Lichtenstein's Entablature XA, one of the collection's most unique pieces, also generated considerable buzz, eventually selling for $7,150. The screenprint is part of the famed artist's 1970s series. Like Hodgkin's In Tangier, this work is far from typical of the artist, swapping bright comic-inspired elements for the stately style of neoclassical architecture. The text on the piece, "JVSTITIA" is a nod to the Roman goddess of justice.

Lot 70, Roy Lichtenstein, Entablature XA, $7,150
Lot 70 Roy Lichtenstein Entablature XA

Items by influential Italian ceramicist Guido Gambone marked highlights, with one particularly extraordinary vase selling for an impressive $11,050. With equal interest in art of the past and the present, Gambone's artistic style is nearly as eclectic as John Prindle's collecting style. In total, works by Gambone garnered nearly $50,000 during the second day of the sale.

From left: Lot 507, Guido Gambone, Vase, $11,050; Lot 571, Guido Gambone, Ceramic Lamp (Mid 20th C.), $5,330
From left: Lot 507 Guido Gambone Vase

Lot 571 Guido Gambone Ceramic Lamp (Mid 20th C.)


Litchfield and Capsule Auctions extend sincere thanks to the Prindle family for entrusting us with such a profound collection. John Prindle's approach to collecting as a journey of discovery and an opportunity to learn continues to serve as an inspiration to art lovers of all kinds. Thanks to the countless donations he made to prominent museums and his deep relationships with gallerists and dealers, his impact on the art world won't be soon forgotten. 

Items from the Prindle Collection On Site at Litchfield Auctions
Items from the Prindle Collection on site at Litchfield Auctions

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