By no coincidence, many of the names found on 20th century art collectors’ “most wanted” lists also happen to appear on Palm Beach Modern’s auction roster for Saturday, May 25, 2019. Most of the artworks to be auctioned are from prestigious private, institutional, or gallery collections and reflect a high level of connoisseurship. Additionally, the 532-lot offering of modern art and design features private collections of designer furniture, a world traveler’s collection of fine and decorative arts; and monumental Larry Mohr outdoor sculptures from a South Florida corporate collection.
The timeless chic of mid-century modern furniture sets the tone for the sale. Ten lots of desirable Knoll furniture come directly from a collector who purchased most of the pieces directly from the manufacturer’s Manhattan showroom. The furnishings were chosen expressly for the consignor’s homes in Palm Beach, FL, and Easthampton, NY. Highlights include two designs by Florence Knoll: a loveseat/sofa, $500-800; and a pair of Model 51 “Parallel Bar” lounge chairs in a cool vanilla hue, $1,000-2,000.
Creating an authentic mid-century living room is not difficult when furniture choices include classic chairs and “Tulip” tables by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, or a stellar pair of Fabricius & Kastholm (German/Danish) “Grasshopper” chaise lounges, estimated at $10,000-20,000. A beautiful selection of coffee tables includes a “Barcelona” table by Mies van der Rohe for Knoll, a rare and striking 1972 Paul Evans design for Directional, $5,000-8,000; and a handsome Sol Lewitt “grid” table, as shown in the reference Sol Lewitt: A Retrospective, $8,000-12,000. From a private Florida collection, A Gio Ponti for Singer & Sons walnut, brass and glass table is referenced in Laura Falconi’s book about the revered Italian designer and is expected to make $10,000-15,000.
Leading the fine art category is an important Franz Kline (American, 1910-1962) Abstract Expressionist oil-on-paper, artist-signed and measuring 26.5 by 23.5 inches (framed). It is accompanied by an extensive archive of documents pertaining to its prior ownership, including papers relating to accession and deaccession of the work by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The presale estimate is $50,000-80,000.
Ten early and noteworthy Alex Katz (American, b. 1927-) prints from smaller editions have been consigned by renowned gallerist and print publisher Brooke Alexander. Large Head of Vincent, a signed color sugarlift aquatint on paper, ed. 49/50, is estimated at $3,000-5,000. Also from the Brooke Alexander Gallery, two significant 1970 Peter Alexander (American, b. 1939-) abstract encaustic paintings, titled Yellowand Blue, respectively, carry individual estimates of $10,000-15,000.
One of the most admired of all British contemporary artists, David Hockney (b. 1937), is represented in the sale with Pool Made with Paper and Blue Ink, from his “Paper Pools” series. The 1980 signed work, number 66 from an edition of 1,000, is entered with an $8,000-12,000 estimate.
Color, size and fantasy combine forces in Frank Stella’s (American, b. 1936-) The Candles (Stapling Down and Cutting Up VII). The 1992 collage, lithograph and screenprint on paper has an Irving Galleries, Palm Beach label on verso and is accompanied by the original receipt and appraisal. Measuring 59 by 49.75 inches (framed), it comes to auction with an $8,000-12,000 estimate.
A sensitive oil-on-canvas portrayal of a mother and child in a verdant setting is the unmistakable work of Le Pho (Vietnamese/French, 1907-2001). Measuring 27.25 by 32 inches (framed), the painting was held in a private collection since 2005 and is estimated at $20,000-40,000.
Larry Mohr (American, 1921-2013) was an accomplished sculptor known for his large-scale bronze and aluminum artworks composed of welded and bolted I-beams. Three of his finest outdoor sculptures were gifted by the artist to MorseLife Health System of West Palm Beach. Proceeds from the sale of these works, whose estimates range from $3,000 to $8,000, will benefit MorseLife, whose residential facilities and programs enhance the lives of seniors in the community.
Other special highlights in the auction include art dealer Donna Schneier’s enviable collection of contemporary glass, ceramics and studio furniture; and a Port St. Lucie, Florida, collector’s diverse holdings of Latin American art and sculptures, well-documented Pre-Columbian artifacts, and walking sticks acquired from a lifetime of world travel.
Also showcased in the May 25 auction are artworks deaccessioned by the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens of West Palm Beach to help fund their educational programs. The consignment includes collections of paintings by two European Impressionists: Dietz Edzard (German, 1893-1963) and Suzanne Eisendieck (Polish, 1908-1998). Although married, the artists built their own successful, independent careers. COAs for the auction artworks were provided by their daughter, Christine Edzard Goodwin.
The Saturday, May 25 auction will begin at 12 PM ET. PBMA is located at 417 Bunker Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33405. Preview: 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday, May 20-24, as well as on auction day from 9 AM till 12 PM. Complimentary valet parking as well as a catered lunch, snacks and drinks will be available to guests throughout the day.