Myers Feb. 17 auction of 20th C. decorative arts led by important Medek painting

Mikulas Medek (Czech Republic, 1926-1974), important surrealistic oil-on-canvas titled Action II – Wool, 1956, 51 x 63.3 inches. Estimate $100,000-$200,000

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – For more than 30 years, Myers Fine Art has welcomed its loyal clientele to white-glove specialty auctions of art and antiques in a landmark Art Deco building in St. Petersburg’s arts district. One of Myers’ most popular events is its annual 20th Century Decorative Arts Auction, which draws design aficionados and private collectors from all over the world. Co-owners Mike Myers and Mary Dowd have just announced details of the 2019 edition of their 20th Century sale, which will take place on Sunday, February 17, with all forms of remote bidding available, including live via the Internet.

Featured: Finest mid-century European & American furniture, silver, pottery, glass and artworks, including Leon Polk Smith estate pieces, Jean Prouve prototype table

Rare circa-1926 Lalique perfume bottle for Raquel Meller, French, includes original box in matching motif. Estimate $6,000-$9,000

The 600-lot auction showcases a number of important artworks, led by a premier 1956 oil painting by Mikulas Medek (Czech Republic, 1926-1974) titled Action II – Wool. Medek’s thought-provoking surrealistic works were banned by the Communist regime, which considered them too radical, but through non-public exhibitions, they served to inspire the generation of European modern artists that followed. “Today Medek paintings are regarded as being among the most influential and important artworks of their time and place, and are exhibited in museums and private collections all over the world,” said Mary Dowd.

The 51 by 63.3-inch Medek oil-on-canvas (shown at top) that headlines Myers’ sale is a quintessential expression of the artist’s imagination, sensibility and intellect. Signed Brezen (March) 1956 Medek at upper right, the painting is expected to attract global attention and a winning bid in the $100,000-$200,000 range.

Julia Thecla (American, 1896-1973), The Last Lover, casein, gouache, opaque watercolor painting on panel, 13 x 13 inches (sight). Signed Julia Thecla 1936. Estimate $15,000-$25,000

Another outstanding entry is Julia Thecla’s (American, 1896-1973) The Last Lover (above), a casein, gouache, opaque watercolor painting on panel created in 1936. The 13-inch-square artwork is an example of Thecla’s innovative Magical Realism style. Thecla has been described as a fascinating eccentric and an early performance artist, owing to her penchant for dressing in Victorian style and speaking in a childlike voice. She came to the attention of no less a visionary than Peggy Guggenheim, who included Thecla in a 1947 show titled “Women.” Her work “has yet to be fully discovered,” Dowd said. The Last Lover measures 13 by 13 inches (sight) and is signed Julia Thecla 1936. Its pre-sale estimate is $15,000-$25,000.

Dean Cornwell (American, 1892-1960), oil-on-canvas painting possibly used as a magazine illustration, 42 x 30 inches, signed DC 33. Estimate $10,000-$15,000

The auction boasts more than 100 fine art selections ranging from abstract and contemporary works to impressionist paintings by Guy Wiggins and Johann Berthelsen, and illustration art by Dean Cornwell (shown above), also including pin-ups by Earl Moran and Lucian Bernhard. Also to be auctioned is a signed 1961 oil-on-canvas, Phenomena Anemos, painted by Paul Jenkins (1923-2012) and estimated at $10,000-$15,000; and a most unusual abstract trapezium painting by Swiss-born Sonia Sekula (1918-1963).

Paul Jenkins (American, 1923-2012), Phenomena Anemos, oil-on-canvas painting, 69.5 x 51 inches, Martha Jackson Gallery (NYC) label on verso. Estimate $10,000-$15,000

A large collection of fresh-to-the-market Leon Polk Smith (1906-1996) paintings from the estate of Polk’s lifelong partner Robert Jamieson is complemented by a selection of the artist’s one-of-a-kind handcrafted furniture designs (as shown below). Each piece of furniture comes with unique provenance: original slides and photographs of Smith with his creations.

Leon Polk Smith (American, 1909-1996), handcrafted Constructivist blue wood chair. Smith is shown at left. Estate of Robert Jamieson. Estimate $1,000-$2,000

Also waiting to cross the auction block are photographs – one by Irving Penn – and fine prints by such artists as Joan Miro, Helen Frankenthaler and Larry Rivers. Among the sculptures offered are a large painted-wood assemblage by avant-garde artist and gallerist Betty Parsons, a large bronze by Francisco Zuniga (shown below), and works by Raymond Rivoire, Emory P. Seidel, Anthony Benjamin, and Norman Mercer. Also, a collection of nine exquisite mid-century pietra-dura inlaid-stone plaques by artist Richard Blow will be offered. Artist-signed books by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Ed Ruscha complete the art section.

Francisco Zuniga (Mexican, 1912-1988), Woman with Child, bronze, 1977, 18 x 13.8 x 12.5 inches, signed Zuniga, numbered II/VI. Estimate $8,000-$12,000

More than 200 pieces of mid-century modern Danish and American furniture have been cataloged. They include tables and chairs by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, a Laverne “Eternal Forest” table, Hans Wegner chairs including a Papa Bear chair and set of dining chairs; a Fornasetti “Uccelli” room-divider screen, and from a French collection, a rare pair of Finn Juhl NV 53 lounge chairs (shown below) with desirable original upholstery.

Pair of Finn Juhl NV 53 teak lounge chairs, original wool upholstery and horsehair stuffing, signed and branded with manufacturer’s mark to underside of each chair. Estimate $8,000-$12,000 the pair

Art pottery includes studio pieces by Picasso – a tall pitcher (shown below) is estimated at $8,000-$10,000 – Newcomb and Rookwood; while the art glass category features designs by Lalique Lalique, Steuben, Moser, Loetz and other fine glassmakers. Art Deco lighting by Galle, Handel, Muller Freres crowns the grouping of more than 50 period lamps.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1887-1973), Femme (Woman), Madoura pottery works (France), glazed earthenware pitcher, edition of 100, France, 1955. Estimate $8,000-$10,000

 

A superb selection of sterling silver and other jewelry from the 1920s to 1960s features pieces by Georg Jensen, Tiffany, Cartier and Ortega. Together with a stylish Arne Jacobsen stainless flatware set, they add shine and tasteful elegance to the sale.

Renowned for their art scholarship, Mike Myers and Mary Dowd are scrupulous when it comes to researching and confirming provenance. Each of their sales is a beautifully curated production, with catalogs that are rich sources of information. “We make every effort to provide as much background and previous-owner history as possible,” said Dowd. “Most of what we sell comes from estates in Florida, New York and New England, and often the pieces come with a story. We like to convey those stories to the next owners so the history is not lost. We look forward to discussing the very special art in this sale with our gallery guests on auction day.”

Jean Prouve (French, 1901-1984), Granito for Flavigny hand-built Vitra Workshop prototype table, composite stone and enameled steel. Estimate $3,000-$5,000

Myers Fine Art’s Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 auction of 20th century decorative arts will commence at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item in the sale, call 727-823-3249 or e-mail auctions@myersfineart.com.