Published: May 9, 2023
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Myers Auction Gallery
ST PETERSBURG, FLA. — Myers Auction Gallery presented its 35th anniversary auction at the same location on April 30, offering fresh-to-market fine art, including paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs and artist books direct from artists’ and writers’ estates.
The 462-lot sale marked the gallery’s return to auctions after a hiatus of more than three years. In-house bidders were treated to cake and beverages in a festive return to business, and all bidders were treated to an estate-fresh selection of artworks dating from the early Nineteenth to the late Twentieth Century that not only had been curated by Myers’ owners Mike Myers and Mary Dowd, but that also in many cases came with provenance tying them to artists’ estates. In all, Dowd counted about 100 in-house participants, many of who, amazingly, she pointed out, remained through the duration of the 460-lot sale. The event totaled more than $800,000 and sold through about 80-85 percent.
A 70-inch-high sculpture-painting by Stanislav Kolibal (Czech, b 1925) captured top lot status, selling for $58,500, against its $10/15,000 estimate, possibly a record auction price for the artist, according to the auction house. Titled “At White Field,” 1986, the minimalist sculpture was rendered with oil on wood, a geometric relief composition painting with Plexiglas panel. Attached to the reverse was an O.K. Harris Gallery label, inscribed and titled. Kolibal’s work is counted among the fundamental examples of modern Czech art. His language is geometry, his predominant theme the relation of illusion and reality. The work is on its way to Prague, according to Dowd.
The auction house responded to the growing interest in kinetic sculptures by Harry Bertoia (Italian/American, 1915-1978) by offering a Sonambient sounding sculpture, a 22-inch-tall piece consisting of six rows of 120 beryllium copper rods silvered to a brass base. Dating to circa 1977, it is accompanied by a COA from the Harry Bertoia Foundation, signed by the artist’s daughter, Celia Bertoia. It also conveys with a copy of an archival file from Patricia Moore Gallery in Aspen, Colo., which sold the sculpture in 1978. Within the papers is an illustrated page with the artist’s detailed specifications for the sculpture. Estimated $15/20,000, the sculpture did much better, realizing $32,175. “That sold locally,” said Dowd. “We were pleased. We had a lot of activity on the phone, we had a lot of online bidding. We thought for sure it was going to sell to someone out of state, but it sold to somebody right here in St Petersburg.” The buyer had a nice story, Dowd added. “He remembers as a kid on Wall Street there was a large Bertoia in the park and he could hear it in the wind. He loved the sound of it. Now he lives on the water and he’s hoping to have that same sound.”
Modern art fans chased a Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997) “Crying Girl” litho $24,400, beating its high estimate by four times. The original 1963 offset lithograph of Lichtenstein’s vibrant “Crying Girl” was pencil-signed on the wove paper “R Lichtenstein.” The 19-by-25-inch lithographic depiction of a true Pop art classic came to auction from the Sag Harbor, N.Y., estate of American novelist and screenwriter Terry Southern (Dr Strangelove, Easy Rider).
Russian artist Konstantin A. Korovin (1861-1939) was represented by an oil painting that also brought $24,400, eight times its high estimate. It was titled “Verteuil-sur-Charente en Automne (Autumn)” and was a stage theater design oil on board painting, signed lower left “Constant Korovin, Paris” and an illegible inscription. Korovin was a leading Russian Impressionist painter, born in Moscow to a merchant family officially registered as peasants. In 1875, Korovin entered the Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture. Departing from the tradition of stage decor, which only indicated the place of action, Korovin produced a mood decor, which conveyed the general emotions of the performance. In the last years of his life, he produced stage designs for many of the major theaters of Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
Leon Polk Smith (Cherokee/American, 1906-1996), who was influenced by Piet Mondrian, was one of the pioneers of hard-edge painting. The auction featured 19 Smith artworks in various media, each coming from the estate of Smith’s life partner and assistant, Bob Jamieson (1926-2020). Two of these were among the sale’s top performers, with “Red Blue Painting,” 1960, garnering $21,350 and a signed oil on canvas painting laid down on plywood titled “Red Black Painting” going out at $18,300. Measuring 25¾ inches high, 16 inches wide, the painting was from the personal collection of Jamieson, accompanied by a signed letter of provenance from Jamieson, an exhibition catalog and photo of Smith in his New York studio.
A folky Paris street scene by Michel Delacroix (French, b 1933) titled “Le Cafe Royal,” featured a Montecristo Cigar sign on the tallest building as well as the horse-drawn wagon in the foreground with a Montecristo Cigar sign. The oil on canvas painting signed lower left and dated 1999 was a gift to Anthony Barone (1949-2015), a vice president of the Montecristo Cigar Company. Measuring 22 inches high, 28 inches wide, it earned $21,350.
American artist Judith Schaechter (b 1961), an art professor who blends Gothic tradition with the symbolism of classical stained glass window imagery, has exhibited her work at leading galleries worldwide. Myers offered her “My Valentine,” a stained glass window mounted to a stencil-paint-decorated wooden box frame with original interior lighting. It was artist-signed, titled and inscribed on the glass and surpassed its $15,000 high estimate to leave the gallery at $18,300.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Bidders will have to wait until early winter 2024 for the firm’s next auction, which will catalog antique posters, again drawing from local estates. For more information, www.myersfineart.com or 727-823-3249.
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
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