South Florida’s winter antiques and auction season is known as a time of year when all eyes in the trade focus on Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches (AGOPB) and its first auction event of the year. To welcome 2015, AGOPB will host a Monday, January 12 evening sale comprising 350 lots of exquisite antiques, decorative art and paintings from some of the region’s most elegant estates.
The auction’s centerpiece is the Estate of Robert Gottfried, Hi Mount Road, Palm Beach. Robert Gottfried is the son of Martha Gottfried, who, for decades, owned the most prominent real estate firm on the island. The Gottfied mansion was magnificently appointed with antiques in the French and Italian taste, many of large scale.
Also featured in the auction are a superb collection of 18th/19th-century Italian and French furniture and antiques acquired over many years by J. Abbott of Ibis Isle, Palm Beach; and a small collection of very fine Faberge items from a Russian-born lady who lives in Delray Beach, Florida. Some of the Faberge in the latter collection was held privately for 50 years and therefore would be entirely new to the current marketplace. European bronzes and clocks from the Estate of Irving Karlbach, Boynton Beach, Florida, and a fine collection of Chinese and Tibetan jades and objets d’art combine to add a crowning note of excellence to the auction’s 350-lot selection.
Lot 265, a rare, 19th-century Tibetan jeweled votive plaque, is the largest and most accomplished work of Asian art in the January 12 auction. Consigned locally by a gentleman whose family has retained the plaque for more than half a century, the precious religious object displays exquisite filigree work and a design set with hundreds of semiprecious stones (coral, turquoise, lapis) enhancing images of Vishnu and Immortals with demons and dragons. The plaque is mounted in a heavy, chased copper support frame.
“The workmanship on this piece is simply amazing,” said Brian Kogan, president of AGOPB. “This kind of Tibetan artwork is exceedingly rare, and similar examples are difficult to locate, either in museums or collections.” It is estimated at $40,000-$60,000. Another Asian artwork of particularly fine quality is Lot 263, a carved white jade boulder depicting the goddess Guanyin seated inside a shrine. Estimate: $30,000-$40,000.
The aforementioned collection of rare and important Faberge jewelry and other objets de vertu was brought to the United States in the 1970s, when the consignor emigrated from her native Russia. The Faberge pieces include two pieces by workmaster Henrik Wigstrom (1908-1917): Lot 210, a gold and guilloche enamel lozenge brooch centered with a round diamond point estimated at $15,000-$20,000; and Lot 126, a unique tie pin commemorating 300 years of Russian Imperialism. The pin bears the double-eagle crest and the dates 1619-1919 and is estimated at $10,000-$15,000. Lot 211, a Faberge silver and enamel Icon of the Mother and Child, St. Petersburg, dated 1895, by workmaster Anders Michelsson, is entered with an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.
Lot 209 consists of a pair of extremely attractive gold, diamond and guilloche blue enamel cufflinks, 1908-1917, by workmaster Anton Kuzmichev. “While not a Faberge design, the quality and execution are simply exceptional. These cufflinks are going to catch the eyes of jewelry connoisseurs,” Kogan predicted.
The Estate of Robert Gottfried includes a broad selection of antiques and furnishings from the family’s Hi Mount Road mansion, including English, Italian, French, and large-scale custom furniture, bronzes, marble statuary, pedestals, carpets, lamps and paintings. “Those who have had the great privilege of visiting the Gottfried mansion may recall being greeted by (Lot 45) a pair of 20th-century blackamoors on rockery bases, each holding a seven-light candelabrum. Each figure stands 78 inches high, and together they are estimated at $1,500-$2,000,” said Kogan.
The sale includes several particularly fascinating clocks, notably Lot 206, a circa-1885 French industrial lighthouse clock. Designed by Guilmet, a well-known maker of mystery clocks, the circa-1885 timekeeper stands 25½ inches high has has a movement stamped “GLT, Paris” and “Vincenti.” It has a rare oscillating vertical torsion pendulum and a case of silver and gilt metal “brickwork.” It is expected to reach $10,000-$15,000 at auction.
Lot 169 is a very large Tiffany & Co. white Carrera marble and ormolu lyre clock, standing 26½ inches high, with a crystal paste stone chapter ring. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000. Lot 83 is a copy of a Willard lighthouse clock, probably from the early 20th century, that was made as a presentation piece for the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey. The clock has been owned by the consignor’s father since the 1930s and is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
The auction will include a great variety of paintings and prints well-recognized and widely collected artists such as Emile Vernon, Le Pho, Salvador Dali, Andre Gisson, Marcel Dyf, Edmund Adler, Avinash Chandra, Filippo Indoni, Gustave Courtois, Francisco Zuniga, Paul Pascal and Louis Fabien. The list continues with Cherry J. Huldah, Norman Rockwell, Pascal Leroy, Eduardo Morales, Sadegh Tabrizi, Alfred Munnings, Henry Stull, Emil Adam, William Paskell, George Howell Gay, Robert Phillip, Bernard Karfiol and Johann Ridinger.
Top paintings include Lot 222, Emile Vernon’s (French, 1872-1919) signed oil-on-canvas titled “Lady Tennis Players,” est. $12,000-$18,000; and Le Pho’s (Vietnamese, 1907-2001) signed oil-on-canvas with calligraphy titled “Girl with Vase of Flowers,” est. $20,000-$30,000.
Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches’ Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 Major Winter Estates Auction (agopb.com) will be held at the company’s 7,000-sq-ft Mediterranean-style gallery located in the historic Gatsby Building, 1609 S. Dixie Hwy., #5, West Palm Beach, FL 33401, one-half block from the Norton Museum of Art. Start time: 6 pm. Eastern, with a live audio/video stream available to view online. Preview 10 am. to 5 pm. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Jan. 8, 9 and 10; as well as 10 to 6 pm. on auction day. The gallery is closed on Sundays.
All remote forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone and live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers or Invaluable.