Choice artworks headline Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches’ Dec. 4 sale

Dec. 21, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The three previous sales at Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, FL produced some eye-opening surprises, primarily centered around Oriental art and porcelain. The Dec. 4 sale produced some surprises, as well, this time pertaining to Western art and a Palm Beach art gallery consignor.

Just prior to the sale, more than 160 lots were withdrawn after questions arose about the consignor’s right to sell the items. Preferring to stay on the conservative side, Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches withdrew the lots in question until resolution could be achieved. The sale still featured a healthy inventory with over 300 lots on the bill of fare from a variety of estates in the South Florida area and several items from the Albert Peter Thomas Rochelle estate.

Unusual furniture sold surprisingly well in a sale focused on art. A 19-leg bronzed resin over steel dining table base, 103in by 60in, with an oval glass top, the “Stalagmite” table by American Paul Evans, circa 1974, sold over estimate at $5,175. An Evans glass-top bronzed coffee table reached $4,025; and a four-piece collection of coffee tables and end tables, tiled in polished chrome and brass, sold for $2,750, soaring over its $500/700 estimate.

The real excitement of the sale was reserved for three works by Indian-born artist Avanash Chandra (1931-1991). He left India for England at age 25 in 1956, and within 10n years the BBC had produced a documentary about him, the V & A had bought his work and he had became the first Indian painter to have work displayed at the Tate Gallery, London. He moved his studio to New York in 1967, and by the time of his death in 1991, had held 32 individual shows. When the Chandra works crossed the blocks five phone operators in the Gallery had their hands full with bidders. The first lot was an abstract composition with figures, watercolor on paper, 21 by 28in, signed “Avanash ’60.” It sold to a New York bidder for $7,475. The second lot was a Jamaica landscape, oil on unframed canvas, 22¼ by 50in. Inscribed “Avanash Chandra, London, 1986,” it sold over estimate to a different New York bidder for $19,550. The third lot was the charm. It was an abstract composition, oil on canvas, signed and dated “83” on the lower left. The 35¾ by 47½in unframed work went to the New York buyer of the earlier abstract for a sale high of $43,700, well above the $20,000/$25,000 estimate.

Two Salvador Dali works sold solidly within estimate. The “Grasshopper Child” etching, signed in pencil numbered 65/100, circa 1935, sold on an absentee bid of $9,200 and four color lithographs entitled “Visions Surrealiste” in a purple silk folio case. Each litho was signed in pencil and numbered 125/150. The set sold via LiveAuctioneers for $4,500.

A screen print on Perspex, “Untitled-Fragment 2” by Bridget Riley English, b. 1931, signed in pencil, 27 by 26½in, sold to a bidder in England for $7,475; and an oil on canvas landscape by American Samuel. S. Carr (1837-1908) titled “Genre Scene with Children and Goat Cart,” 12 by 18in in the original gesso cast frame, in need of cleaning and repair, sold for $8,050, more than double the $4,000 high estimate. After many years of storage in a garage in Palm Beach, a bronze sculpture by Marius Jean Antonin Mercie. French (1845-1916) saw the light of day. Titled “Gloria Victis” (Glory to the Defeated), 37in high in good condition, it sold within estimate for $14, 950.

A pair of intricately carved white jade plaques with dragon and scroll forms on rosewood stands, 2¾ by 2¼in and 2¼ by 4½in, sold through LiveAuctioneers to a bidder in Taiwan for $2,160. The duo had been estimated at $500/$700.

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