A wealth of modern design, from Sam Francis original art to Paul Evans furniture and icy diamonds in platinum, will dominate the day at Palm Beach Modern (PBMA) Friday, November 25 auction. Over 500 lots of art, designer furnishings, and luxury goods represent the categories PBMA’s co-owners, Rico Baca and Wade Terwilliger, have identified as upward trending.
“This is a sale that modern design collectors will want to take their time browsing through,” said Baca, who is also PBMA’s auctioneer. “There’s something wonderful at every turn. Even our regular buyers who’ve come in for a sneak preview say the same thing – ‘I have just the perfect place for that in my house.’ Then they move on and say the same thing about another artwork or piece of furniture. Very occasionally a sale will fall into place like this one, where there’s strength in every category and scores of exciting artworks that haven’t appeared in the auction marketplace before.”
That description would certainly apply to the featured Sergio & Yoli Gnesin Murano glass collection. Raised in Milan among glassblowers and designers, Sergio Gnesin is not only a knowledgeable collector, but also a noted author who published the 2003 Murano reference book Vetri di Ermanno Nason. Together with his wife Yoli, whom he met after moving to Miami, Sergio has made many trips back to Italy to source connoisseur-level Murano glass.
The auction contains several rare and exceptional pieces from the Gnesin collection. Lot 311, a signed Ermanno Nason (Italian, 1928-2013) sculpture/vase, was created in 1959 and is titled Omaggio A Guttuso (Homage to a Water Carrier). Standing 16-3/4 inches high, this book example was purchased from the artist. It is expected to make $18,000-$24,000. Another unusual entry by Nason is lot 310, a signed 10-1/2-inch high sculptural goat. Also seen in Gnesin’s book, this 1980s production could reach $10,000-$15,000.
A collection of Chaim Gross (Austrian/American, 1904-1992) bronzes from the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens will be auctioned to benefit the South Florida nonprofit, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Six lithe sculptures will be offered, including lot 64, a 29-1/2-inch high work from 1968 titled Happy Children. Signed and bearing the artist’s cipher and foundry stamp, it incorporates four active figures within an oval. Its presale estimate is $8,000-$12,000 estimate.
Three extremely desirable Sam Francis original works on paper are backed by scholarship from the Sam Francis Foundation. Each is signed and bears a Sam Francis Estate stamp. The highest-valued painting, lot 79, measures 38 x 29-3/4-inch (framed) and comes with a 1998 LOA and copy of the book Sam Francis: Elements and Archetypes, in which the work is depicted. The line of provenance includes the artist’s estate and several prestigious galleries and collections. Estimate: $70,000-$90,000.
Lot 74, a signed, 78-inch square Stanley Casselman (American, b. 1963) original painting from 2015, carries a $30,000-$50,000 estimate; while lot 121, a compelling Enrico Baj (Italian, 1924-2003) mixed-media work titled Danseuse Au Miroir, 47-1/2 by 39-1/4 inches, could reach the $35,000-$45,000 range. In addition, the art section features three sculptures by Harry Bertoia (American, 1915-1978), one of which (lot 179) is a melted-brass and mesh-metal Stalactite Panel, $15,000-$20,000.
The auction includes eight pieces of prized Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) pottery crafted and hand-painted at the Madoura studio in France. All are in beautiful condition and have strong provenance. Lot 209, a Chouette owl-form vessel, 103/500, could realize $12,000-$18,000.
A highly select offering of fine jewelry was inspected in its entirety by a certified appraiser and graded per the system used by the Gemological Society of America (GIA). A sensational sparkler, lot 292 is an 18K white gold ring with a 3.70 emerald-cut center diamond, color I, clarity VS2, surrounded by 39 round-cut diamonds having a total weight of 1.10 carats. From the Estate of Florida physician Dr. Samuel L. Scher, it takes the auction spotlight with a $40,000-$60,000 estimate. There are many other sumptuous gems, including rubies and emeralds in platinum settings; and a superb platinum bracelet set with diamonds weighing an estimated 15.78 carats. Entered as lot 297, it is expected to make $18,000-$22,000.
Two fine Rolex ladies’ watches are precisely counting down the minutes till auction time. Lot 124 is an 18K yellow gold Presidential model estimated at $6,000-$8,000; while lot 301, an 18K white gold Presidential with 10 diamonds on the dial and 24 brilliant-cut diamonds in the lugs, carries a $15,000-$20,000 estimate. Both are boxed with papers.
Some of today’s most sought-after mid-century furniture will be available on November 25. Ten lots of George Nakashima furniture include bedroom pieces, a large mirror, and a turned-leg walnut table (with two leaves) and matching set of six grass-seated chairs, which will be offered in two consecutive lots, each estimated at $7,000-$9,000. The table and four of the chairs were purchased by the consignor’s parents directly from the Nakashima studio in 1952. The two additional chairs were purchased later and are identical matches.
Other furniture highlights include lot 48, a Tommi Parzinger cabinet, $6,000-$8,000; lot 138, a Jean-Michel Frank parchment screen/divider, $20,000-$30,000; and several pieces of Paul Evans furniture, including lot 189, a rare monumental cabinet; lot 190, a set of eight dining chairs; and lot 192, a 78-inch long Stalagmite dining table.
PBMA’s Saturday, November 25, 2017 auction will start at 12 PM ET. Preview Monday through Friday, November 20-24, inclusive, from 10 AM until 5 PM. The exhibition center/auction venue is located at 417 Bunker Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. A complimentary catered luncheon and free valet parking will be available to all auction guests. For additional information on any item in the sale, call (561) 586-5500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All forms of bidding will be available: in-house, absentee, phone and online. View the fully illustrated catalog and bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.