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Auction Life's Feb. 17 Whimsical Worldly Wonders Winter Auction

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By Author: Tarek Jabaly
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Auction Life’s upcoming Whimsical Worldly Wonders Winter Auction slated for Wednesday, February 17th, is loaded with 367 lots of fresh-to-the-market Florida finds, to include vintage and antique jewelry, art, porcelain, antiques, collectibles, art glass, artifacts, sculptures, perfumes, crystal and more. The sale will begin at 4 pm Eastern time.

The auction is mostly online, but with limited live seating available in the gallery (an RSVP is required). An exhibition period is to be announced, and gallery previews will be by appointment only, with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. Internet bidding will be via LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. Telephone and absentee (or left) bids will also be accepted.

An expected headliner lot is a rare suite of ten original mixed media impressions by Salvador Dali (1904-1989), titled Imaginations and Objects of the Future (est. $12,500-$22,500). The set is a limited edition (#60 of 250), printed on Arches paper in 1975-1976, and each work is hand-signed and numbered in pencil by Dali. The suite has been in a box, untouched, since the 1970s.

Included ...
... in the lot is a unique custom wooden Dali case with hard-to-find Dali stand. Everything is original and all sheets are loose as issued. The first one measures 30 ½ inches by 22 inches. A few titles are Liquid and Gaseous Television, Breathing Pneumatic Armchair, Cybernatic Lobster Telephone, Intra-Uterine Paradesiac Locomotion and Liquid Tornado Bathtub.

“How exciting it is to have a bona fide suite by one of the masters of surrealism, Salvador Dali,” said Tarek Eljabaly, owner of Auction Life. “It was also interesting to see new world technology and experts try to solve an old art mystery.” He was referring to another artwork in the auction, a figural landscape oil painting attributed to Joos de Momper the Younger (Flemish, 1564-1635).

The work was previously ascribed to the Dutch landscape painter Jan Van Goyen (1596-1656), but recent inspection and research by I.F.A.R. in New York City concluded the painting's style, materials and composition were consistent with a Dutch or Flemish landscape executed in the first quarter of the 17th century, and that it bore a greater affinity with the works of Joos de Momper. “Our consignor recalled that her late mother, Holocaust survivor Edith Alexander, was told the same thing some years before when she submitted the painting to Christie’s,” Tarek said.

After a month-long search, the consignor was able to find a letter from Ian Kennedy, Senior Vice President of Old Master Paintings at Christie’s, dated December 19th, 1985, in which he was seeking to include the painting in their April 1985 sale. “Concerned that someone was trying to cheat her out of her ‘Van Goyen’, Mrs. Alexander chose to decline the invitation,” Tarek said.

In 2010, Mrs. Alexander sought professional services to sell her artwork collection and was visited at her Queens, New York home by one of the Keno brothers and a friend from Sotheby’s. “Her daughter is unsure as to which Keno brother, but recalls that he had allergies and requested that no perfumes be worn the day of his visit, a tough feat for Mrs. Alexander,” Tarek remarked.

While the two were not interested in the majority of her artwork (which was later sold at Hudson Valley Auctioneers), they were very interested in featuring this piece (but not as a Van Goyen). Unfortunately, even their $30,000 estimate would not shake Mrs. Alexander of the feeling that someone might be trying to get her for her “Van Goyen” and she declined that invitation as well.

Finally, Mrs. Alexander contacted Auction Life, prior to her passing in 2016, wishing to feature her remaining collection (including the “Van Goyen”, as it was inscribed). With the recent research and discoveries, the family felt an obligation to feature it to the world once again. The painting, nicely contained in a 20 inch by 29 inch frame, has an estimate of $25,000-$35,000.

Tops in the jewelry category is a gold wide cuff bracelet by the French designers Jean Mahie, made in the team’s usual, heavy solid 22kt gold abstract figures design. The bracelet is signed and hallmarked, and comes in a Neiman Marcus button suede pouch. It was made in 1982 and is titled Dentelle de Milled (French slang for “a banknote of 1000 francs”). (est. $8,000-$16,000).

Watches sure to please include a Corum 18kt gold 10 gram .999 ingot faced wind-up watch, with a diamond on the crown and a black leather band, complete with a burlap leather case, box, book and original paperwork (est. $1,500-$3,000); and an extremely rare vintage men’s Hamilton “Piping Rock” watch with all-original black enamel bezel, dial, movement and hands, housed in the original 14kt solid gold case and having a 979 movement and 17 jewels (est. $1,000-$3,000).

A 149-piece Reed & Barton sterling silver flatware service for 12 in the classic “Spanish Baroque” pattern, with extras, is expected to fetch $3,000-$6,000. Also, a Bernhard Rohne for Mastercraft wooden dining table detailed in acid-etched brass, 84 inches long by 47 inches wide, with the original purchase receipt from 1978 (The Interior Shop, N.Y.) and originally paired with the Karges Chinoiserie lacquer chairs that are also in the auction, should finish at $1,000-$3,000.

An 18th or 19th century Russian oil on canvas religious painting of God in the sky amongst parted clouds, overlooking five religious figures below, each with an inscription in Cyrillic, 31 ½ inches by 38 inches (sight, less frame), has a pre-sale estimate of $1,200-$2,400; while a 19th century French Napoleon III tantalus or cave a liqueur (either way, a decanter set), in an ebonized wood oxbow cabinet containing four decanters and sixteen glasses, should top out at $1,000-$2,000.

To schedule an appointment, or to RSVP for limited seating at the live venue in the West Palm Beach area, please call Auction Life at (561) 757-1551; or, send an email to auctionlifeflorida@gmail.com. For more info, log on to www.AuctionLifeFlorida.com.

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