Published: February 19, 2008
A chess set designed by Salvador Dali reproducing his own fingers achieved $23,400 at Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches January 7.
A closeup look at the details of the digits of Dali could be found in the figures of a chess set he designed at the request of his friend Marcel Duchamp in 1964 for the American Chess Federation. All of the pieces of the set were modeled after Dali’s fingers except the two queens, which used one of Dali’s wife’s fingers crowned with a tooth, and the rooks that were modeled after the saltcellars of the Hotel Saint Regis in New York. Of the 32 pieces, 16 are sterling silver and 16 are silver gilt. The set was cast by F.J. Cooper of Philadelphia and was signed and numbered “AE 45.”
The set was consigned from an estate on Palm Beach Island. The lot, appearing just past halfway in the 328-lot sale, was hotly contested among two bidders in the room and one on the phone. One of the bidders in the room had flown in from New York for the sale and this was the only lot he bid on. He outlasted the other bidders, claiming the set of finger figures for $23,400, making it the top lot of the sale.
Auction owner Brian Kogan said that bidders were serious about quality items, often bidding above estimate.
Art highlights were an oil on canvas by Nicola Simbari titled “Market” that sold in the room for $11,115, a watercolor on paper by Henry Martin Gasser, “Backyards in Winter,” at $3,510 and an oil on canvas by Johann Berthelsen, “Central Park at Dusk,” at $3,660.
Furniture offerings included a George III inlaid mahogany bookcase cabinet, English circa 1810, with two glazed doors above the projecting lower section with two long and two short drawers surrounding a cupboard door at $7,137, and a William IV figural mahogany diminutive sideboard, English, circa 1830, with shell carved backsplash and two pedestal cupboards, at $2,925.
The gallery is at 1609 South Dixie Highway, Suite 5. For information, 561-805-7115 or www.agopb.com .
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