Published: March 1, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers. Photos Courtesy Burchard Galleries
ST PETERSBURG, FLA. – Burchard Galleries’ February 19 international auction extravaganza featured estate antiques, fine art and jewelry from south Florida homes. The showstopper among the 550 lots offered was a ten-piece R.J. Horner quartersawn oak dining suite from a Tarpon Springs estate, which the auction house described as “carved to death oak in original finish.” Featuring carved full-bodied winged putti and floral festooned backsplashes, bare breasted caryatids and Mountain Man side supports, the suite brought $31,050 from a South Carolina online bidder. The sale registered about 700 bidders on LiveAuctioneers, with 142 successful buyers, and also hosted Invaluable, phone, absentee and in-house participation with about 50 people in the gallery, along with bidders from 20 different countries, according to Jeff Burchard. “It was a great one, went very well,” he said. “A tremendous online response.”
An atmospheric painting, ”Eucalyptus Hill in Fog,” an oil on board by John Marshall Gamble (American, 1863-1957), performed much better than its original price tag affixed verso of $2,500. The 21-by-26-inch work, signed lower right, brought $9,488. Gamble focused on California landscapes and wildflowers. He relocated to Santa Barbara after his San Francisco studio was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. He was an influential in the Santa Barbara art scene, being a teacher and school board president of the Santa Barbara School of the Arts.
Shifting to Florida landscapes, an oil on board by contemporary American artist Christopher Still, (b 1961), a dramatic Florida beach sunset, was bid to $6,329. Sight size 11¼ by 23 inches, the work was dated 1996. A native Floridian, Still graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and continued his studies with courses in human anatomy at Jefferson Medical School and an apprenticeship in traditional techniques in Florence, Italy. He has earned awards for outstanding accomplishment in painting, a European travel fellowship and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for outstanding accomplishment in fine art. His paintings can be found in museums and private collections, including the Governor’s Mansion of Florida and the Smithsonian Institution. In the Tampa Bay area his work can be seen at the St Petersburg City Hall, Tampa International Airport, Sandpearl Resort, Opal Sands Resort and Ruth Eckerd Hall.
And it would not be a Burchard auction without an appearance by a Florida Highwaymen painting. Beginning in the late 1950s, these entrepreneurial African American painters, mostly self-taught and known as the “Highwaymen,” captured Florida’s natural landscapes. In this case, it was a Robert Butler (1943-2014) oil on canvas titled “Three Turkeys in a Florida Landscape,” that caught the bidding action, finishing at $3,738 to the same online buyer that won the Horner suite. It was signed lower right and dated ’79.
A decorative arts highlight in the sale was a Tiffany Aladdin floor lamp and shade that realized $7,479 against a $2/4,000 estimate. The bronze adjustable lamp base was surmounted by a Genie lamp with a cherub and eagle and impressed on the underside “Tiffany Studios, New York.” Surmounted with a Tiffany gold damascene art glass shade, signed, ”L.C.T., Favrile,” the lamp stood overall approximately 61¾ by 20 by 13 inches.
It was a buyer’s market in the jewelry category. First there was an 18K 5.56-carat emerald and diamond ring bringing $4,313. The ring’s octagonal step-cut emerald was mounted with two faceted diamonds approximating .64 carat weight, all set in 18K yellow gold and size 5½. The price was apparently a bargain considering the lot was accompanied by a GIA report and current Florida Diamond Appraisers GIA graduate’s appraisal for $17,850.
Fetching $4,025, a two-tone 18K pink sapphire and diamond ring, 3.35 carats, featuring a modified brilliant cut pink sapphire GIA certified as unheated, was signed Oscar Friedman. Its 18K yellow gold prongs and bezels provided subtle accents in an elegant 18K white gold setting, and it, too, was a bargain against its current appraisal for $20,250. “I call it the ‘Baby Ka-Boom,” observed Burchard. “There’s such a markup in the labor, what it takes to create it, the polishers, the cutters, the setters, the casters. Plus, you get it from estates and the kids are going, ‘We don’t want it, just give us the money.’ And the people who still love it aren’t forced to pay a lot of money for it because it’s everywhere.”
Finally, a substantial 14K flexible mesh necklace by Unoaerre was a statement piece in 14K yellow gold. Designed and made by the Italian jeweler Unoaerre, it measured 16 inches in length, had a push button box clasp and a supplementing side latch safety clasp. It went out at $4,025.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. Burchard Galleries’ next sale is March 19. For information, www.burchardgalleries.com or 727-821-1167.
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