DANIA BEACH, Fla. – The subtropical world of the Philippines came to subtropical south Florida at Kodner Galleries’ May 18 auction as a painting by Fernando Cueto Amorsolo sold for $187,550, inclusive of the buyer’s premium.
Absentee and Internet live bidding were available through LiveAuctioneers.com.
Lot 126a, the oil on board dated 1926 and signed “F. Amorsolo” but lacking provenance when first consigned, was possibly the work of Philippine master Fernando Cueto Amorsolo (1892-1972). The painting was purchased several years ago in Paris by a South Florida resident with an eclectic collection of art from every corner of the world.
Amorsolo, one of the most important artists in the history of painting in the Philippines is known as a portraitist and painter of rural Philippine landscapes. The work consigned to Kodner depicted a grass hut on the edge of a waterway bordered by bamboo in rosy glowing light. The work demonstrateed the artist’s superb craftsmanship and mastery of the use of light.
It had been suggested by an expert on a group of Filipino artists, some of whom are followers of Amorsolo, the work is likely a plein air work rendered in a single sitting characteristic of the proliﬁc Amorsolo.
Works from Southeast Asia are not common on the south Florida auction marketplace. In the interest of caution and without documentation or authentication, the work was offered as “possibly” the artist with an estimate of $6,000-$8,000. Soon after posting the auction to kodner.com and partner Internet bidding sites, the Amorsolo work garnered considerable interest from far corners of the globe, including a personal visit to Kodner from an expert with strong ties to the Filipino artist scene. An informal authentication of the work was made.
Days before the auction it seemed clear to Russ Kodner, president of Kodner and Kevin Patrick Taylor, general manager and head of cataloging at Kodner, the work was very likely an authentic early work by the artist. Numerous inquiries from Southeast Asia added further support to the attribution.
By auction time six phone bidders representing U.S. and international bidders and numerous internet bidders were registered to bid on the Amorsolo work. Bidding on Lot 126a opened at $3,000 and quickly advanced to $30,000, thereafter two phone bidders remained, one utilizing LiveAuctioneers’ Internet bidding platform. Bidding continued for approximately 20 minutes. In the dramatic conclusion, the Amorsolo was hammered down at $160,000 while the gallery audience showed its approval with a round of applause. Kodner Galleries has been advised the successful bidder is a member of the late artist’s family.
Kodner Galleries’ next auction, June 8, will feature the collection of Robert Eigelberger and his home Casa Phippsberger, a prominent Palm Beach, Florida, estate.