Archive for January, 2013

Fine Art Collection of Dixie Cup Mastermind is Centerpiece of Myers’ Feb. 10 Auction

January 31st, 2013 by

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – It was an elegantly simple but universally embraced paper container – the cone-shape Dixie Cup – that enabled millionaire inventor and philanthropist Cesare Barbieri to amass the spectacular collection of European paintings, bronzes, Asian art and Oriental rugs featured in Myers Fine Art’s Feb. 10 auction.

The Italian-born Barbieri (1878-1956) held more than 100 patents, including one issued in 1926 for conical Dixie Cups and the machinery that manufactured them. He also possessed a finely tuned eye for classical art and design.

“He bought the best of everything for his multiple residences, but he was also very generous toward others,” said Myers co-owner Mary Dowd. “His will provided for the establishment of a Dixie employee pension fund, and his Dixie Cup royalties funded an endowment for Italian cultural studies at Trinity College that continues to this day. He also helped to finance the post-World War II reconstruction effort in his hometown of Bologna, Italy.”

Barbieri’s largesse extended to those who cared for him in his declining years, in particular his nurse and companion Anita De Paulis. Barbieri bequeathed to De Paulis the entire contents of both his lavish Manhattan apartment and Villa Barbieri, his estate in Tuxedo Park, N.Y. De Paulis retired to a town near Sarasota, Fla., and after her death in 2011, Myers acquired the Barbieri collection directly from the De Paulis Estate.

Myers has a policy of only conducting a European & Asian Art auction when a collection of exceptional quality is available to headline such a sale. The 480-lot Feb. 10 event is the first of its type to be scheduled in two years and consists of fresh goods acquired almost exclusively from estates.

The featured Barbieri collection includes magnificent paintings, bronzes, antique clocks, Oriental rugs, furniture and carved ivories. Among the top pieces is a graceful marble nude titled “The Flower of the Alps,” by Attilio Piccirilli (Italian, 1886-1945). A similar Piccirilli sold a few years ago at Sotheby’s for $19,000. Myers Fine Art has placed an estimate of $10,000-$15,000 on the signed Piccirilli in their sale. A signed Giuseppe Gambogi (Italian, 1891-1965) statue of Shakespeare’s “Ophelia” carries an estimate of $8,000-$10,000.

An extraordinary artwork from Villa Barbieri, “Portrait of Gabrielle de Bourbon,” depicts the 26-year-old daughter of Louis I, Count of Montpensier, a direct descendant of Saint Louis (1214-1270). The richly detailed portrait, created possibly as early as the 15th century, exhibits an extremely high standard of artistry, evident by the level of detail in the sitter’s ornately embroidered silk dress and ermine-trimmed robe. A gold figural pendant adorns her pearl-trimmed bodice, and pearls embellish her Renaissance cap. The 17 by 12½-inch painting is presented in an elaborate gilt tabernacle frame from the late-18th or early 19th century. It is expected to make $4,000-$6,000.

Other Continental artworks in the sale include an 18th/19th-century French portrait of a lady holding a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a Charles Cousin (French, 1904-1972) Venetian canal scene, and a J. Eisenhut oil painting of a Venetian doge. Additional enticements include an Italian pietra dura specimen table and micromosaic pieces; French cameo glass, majolica, silver, Louis XV bronze candelabra, and Austrian ivory and wood figures. There will also be fine European porcelain, an inlaid Italian marquetry chest and antique Italian walnut cupboard; and a pair of French Empire bronze table lamps. A Continental relief-carved ivory plaque depicts a frenzied battle scene of warriors on horseback. Dating to the mid-19th century and possibly from Dieppe, France, it is estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Another standout is a signed Tommaso Gentile (Italian, 1853-?) bronze mirror adorned by two nude women. It bears the Kunst-Erzgieserei Vienna foundry mark and is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

Timepieces include European mantel clocks, a miniature tall-case clock with chinoiserie artwork, and a highly desirable tall-case clock with Joshua Wilson (London) 17th/18th-century movement in a Philadelphia Chippendale walnut case. The musical moon phase clock stands 95 inches tall and, although missing some of its mechanical parts, is likely to achieve $4,000-$6,000.

An interesting estate collection contains antique Japanese samurai swords of various lengths. The edged weapons are in good company with the auction’s grouping of early Persian armor and trio of 18th-century Japanese Edo Period matchlock rifles.

The sale’s extensive Asian section covers all imaginable forms and media. Ceramics include Japanese Imari, antique Chinese hand-painted plates and a pleasing selection of Chinese export porcelain. Among the carved figural pieces are a 77-inch oxblood Buddha, an ivory Siddhartha bust, jade and hardstone objects, and numerous Chinese and Japanese ivories. Other highlights include a Japanese inlaid and carved screen, a set of four Chinese Qing silk paintings, 19th-century Chinese reverse paintings, a pair of yoke-back armchairs, an early 19th-century Kano school 4-panel screen painting, and an array of Asian bronze and mixed-metal vessels and other items.


Not to be missed if one is considering the renovation of a special room is the lot containing more than 25 rolls of Zuber et Cie. (French) panoramic wallpaper in the “Views of North America” pattern. The rolls were printed from Zuber’s original 19th-century woodblocks.

“In the 1970s, Jacqueline Kennedy chose the very same wallpaper for the White House [Diplomatic] Reception Room,” said Mary Dowd. “It depicts American scenes such as Boston Harbor, Niagara Falls, and Natural Bridge in Virginia. The rolls we are auctioning are in perfect condition. They were ordered from Zuber in the 1970s but were never installed.”

The garden and architectural category is led by a 19th-century marble bench side support depicting a winged mythological creature, and an impressive pair of 19th-century marble Bacchanalian garden herms topped by carved busts of a satyr and nude maiden. Each herm stands 62 inches tall, and together they tip the scales at 1,000+ lbs. Formerly ensconced at a Southampton, N.Y., estate, the pair is estimated at $6,000-$9,000.

Other items of note include a John Wallace (1841-1905) landscape of a hilltop castle, a carved R.J. Horner partner’s desk with carved griffin legs ($3,000-$5,000), 18th-century ecclesiastical vestments, and a chic F.V. Manti (Italian) 18K yellow gold openwork bracelet adorned with women’s faces ($2,000-$4,000). Last but certainly not least, the sale includes a sporty red 2007 Ferrari F430 with less than 3,000 miles on its odometer – a stylish vehicle in which to transport one’s purchases home on auction day.

Myers Fine Art’s Sunday, Feb. 10 auction of European & Asian Antiques & Fine Art featuring the Cesare Barbieri collection will commence at 12 noon Eastern Time. A preview will be held from 10-6 on Saturday, Feb. 9, and from 10 a.m. till noon on auction day. The gallery is located at 1600 4th St. North in St. Petersburg, FL 33704. All forms of bidding will be available including live via the Internet through For additional information, call 727-823-3249 or e-mail Online:

Baby Doe Tabor Bedroom Set

January 25th, 2013 by

Baby Doe TaborKnown as the “Baby Doe Tabor suite”, this set was purchased by U. S. Senator Horace “Silver Dollar” Tabor. Owning incredible silver mines in Colorado, he was also one of the wealthiest men in the world.  Known as the “Silver King”, he created quite the scandal when, while still married, he fell in love with Elizabeth McCourt, also known as Baby Doe, a beautiful woman many years his junior.  As the story goes, the Senator bought the suite during their Honeymoon in Philadelphia for his bride. It was brought back to Colorado (where Tabor lived) and installed in their house where family history had it that President Ulysses S. Grant slept in it.

Tabor was heavily leveraged and in 1890 when the Sherman Silver purchase act was passed, silver prices dropped and Tabor unfortunately lost all of his money. There are actually stories of him becoming a miner in his own mine in order to survive. Despite being broke, Horace and Baby Doe stayed together and were still very much in love in 1899 when Horace died. Numerous books, an Opera, as well as a MGM movie were done on her life as she was one of the most fascinating personages of her day.

The suite’s exceptional history did not stop with the Tabors. After Horace’s death, Baby Doe sold the set to the famed William Randolph Hearst. He kept it until approximately 1930 when he gave it to his publisher Dr. Barham for his Santa Ynez, New Mexico ranch, which he shared with Hearst.

The suite is primarily made of finally carved and burled walnut and was almost certainly crafted by the great Philadelphia cabinetmaker Daniel Pabst. It is one of two great sets he made, the other exhibited at the 1876 Philadelphia “World’s Fair” and now at Saganore Hill Museum, President Theodore Roosevelt’s Oyster Bay home. The bed, which will perfectly hold a modern queen size mattress, has upon its cornice nocturnal animals such as owls and bats. Its footboard holds hidden compartments and overall it is a stunning example of aesthetic art. It stands 104” high. The dresser, which is equally as impressive, displays hummingbirds and other daytime animals in its cornice. It also has drawers for jewelry as well as a unique pull out shelf to lay out the day’s accessories. It stands an impressive 115” high.

In all of our experience, we have never seen another suite equal to this one. It is not only extraordinary; but it also has one of the most interesting provenances of any object we have ever offered. I would love for you consider this masterpiece. Our toll free number is 1-800-544-9440. Can we tempt you?

Dresser: 62 3/4″ wide x 27″ deep x 107″ high
Bed: 65 3/8″ wide x 92 1/2″ deep x 104″ high



Pennsylvania ‘dwarf’ clock whistles while it works the crowd at Stephenson’s New Year’s auction

January 23rd, 2013 by

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – Good things came in small packages at Stephenson’s Jan. 1 auction in suburban Philadelphia. An early 19th-century Henry Bower “dwarf” clock standing only 50 inches tall rang in the New Year in fine style, leading prices realized with a buoyant selling price of $31,625. All prices quoted include 15% buyer’s premium.

The diminutive walnut clock sourced from an estate in Pennsylvania’s Poconos region gave indications early on that it might be a sizzler on auction day.

“You can tell a lot by what goes on during the preview,” said Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auctioneers. “All of the top clock people were here looking at it. One expert spent half an hour inspecting it. Another customer pulled out an old clock book that explained the meaning of ‘Feste Swome,’ which was written on the clock. Feste Swome is Pennsylvania German for ‘Falkner Swamp’ and refers to the location in Douglass Township, Pennsylvania, where Henry Bower manufactured his clocks.”

The winning bidder, an antique dealer and clock collector, called Cindy Stephenson a few days after the auction and told her he was having a gear made for the clock to ensure it would be in perfect running order going forward.

“He was very happy with the clock. He told me he had sold a few other dwarf clocks over the years, but never one by that particular maker,” Stephenson said.


The clock had passed by descent to the estate from which it came, but no other information was known about its ownership history. Its desirability was validated on auction day, however, when 11 phone lines were required to accommodate all phone bidders. “Every phone line in the house was occupied, including all of our personal cell phones,” said Stephenson.

The other big story of the day was an old and well-provenanced collection of ivory and jade that had come to Stephenson’s from a Montgomery County residence. Its contents attracted many bidders in the gallery, online and on the phones.

A pair of circa-1890-1920 Chinese carved ivory figural urns decorated with relief village scenes and foo dogs had formerly been in the collection of Oliver Smalley of Epsom, England. Estimated at $2,000-$4,000, the matched duo sold online for $6,490.

 A beautiful 19th-century Japanese ivory and shibayama table screen encrusted with mother of pearl and decorated with tinted-ivory relief figures of people running in the rain and huddling in a shelter was bid to an above-estimate price of $7,475. Other Asian highlights included a carved white jade Buddha, $5,605 to an online bidder; and a celadon jade figure of an official with a scepter, $5,750.

“Our buyers were very pleased with the Asian selection we offered. The pieces were just fabulous. And the consignor was so pleased with the results, he’s also going to consign his furniture. We’re certainly looking forward to that,” said Stephenson.

Of the antique silver offered in the sale, a circa-1814 George III inkstand with winged paw feet, hallmarked for Rebecca Emes and Edward Barnard, London, more than doubled expectations at $1,725. It sold to a buyer in the gallery.

The top jewelry lot was a man’s hand-made 18K gold ring with a bezel-set center diamond weighing approximately 2.0 carats, surrounded by 58 round champagne and white diamonds. It surpassed presale expectations, selling via the Internet for $5,015.

An Alexander John Drysdale (American/New Orleans, 1875-1934) Louisiana bayou landscape artwork has returned to familiar surroundings after selling to a Louisiana phone bidder for a within-estimate price of $2,300. “The buyer was very pleased, and so were we. It’s always nice to see regional art returning to its place of origin,” said Stephenson.

Stephenson’s has a full slate of auctions planned for the first quarter of 2013. For additional information, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail Online:


Lot 410 – Pennsylvania walnut miniature tall case clock, Hy (Henry) Bower, F. (Feste) Swome, early 19th century. Top lot of the sale: $31,625. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Lot 105 – Pair of Chinese carved ivory figural covered urns decorated with figural village scenes, foo dogs, circa 1890-1920, ex collection of Oliver Smalley, Epsom, England; $6,490. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Lot 109 – Ivory and shibayama table screen encrusted with mother of pearl and tinted ivory, figurines in rain and shelter, signed on one panel, Japan, 19th century, $7,475. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Lot 160 – George III glass and silver inkstand, winged paw feet, engraved on back ‘Dame SJ Paston-Cooper,’ circa 1814, hallmarked for Rebecca Emes and Edward Barnard, London, $1,725. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Lot 235 – Man’s handmade 18K gold and diamond ring; center bezel-set stone approx. 2.0 carats; additional 58 round champagne and white diamonds, weight 40.4 grams/26.0 dwt, $5,015. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Cultural Treasures Take the Spotlight in Antiquities Saleroom’s Feb. 1 Auction

January 17th, 2013 by

BOULDER COUNTY, CO – Provenance and pedigree combine to form a compelling reason to bid in Antiquities Saleroom’s Feb. 1 sale of premier Pre-Columbian art. The 110-piece selection offered in the absentee, phone and Internet auction comes from the carefully curated collections of two Hollywood notables – an Emmy Award-winning executive producer/writer, and a producer/director who specializes in movie trailers.

Together, the collections provide an unbroken timeline that traces the fascinating and mysterious ancient civilizations of Central and South America. The auction showcases all of the better-known cultures, such as Aztec, Incan and Mayan; as well as the Pre-Columbian Moche, Salinar, Chancay and Chinesco cultures. Together, the collections are valued at no less than $900,000.

“We are accustomed to handling very fine pieces, but the examples in these two collections are genuinely investment grade and would be welcomed with open arms at any major museum in the world,” said Bob Dodge, co-owner of Antiquities Saleroom. “The first collector – the TV producer – specialized in Mayan and Southeast Mexican artifacts, including pieces from Veracruz and Olmec. The second collection is very wide ranging and includes articles from far south Peru and Chile to Northern Mexico and the West Coast cultures. The owner immersed himself in the antiquities trade so he could become a well-educated buyer. He attended all of the major shows and bought from every prominent dealer.”

Most pieces in the auction boast provenance from distinguished sources, including Sotheby’s, Christie’s, the Denver Art Museum and even Andy Warhol, who reportedly had a discerning eye for antiquities. In addition, several artworks are of monumental height, exceeding 30 inches. “That is almost unheard of in this business and is always exciting to collectors,” Dodge noted.

Some of the finest Moche art to reach the auction market in a decade will be featured in the Feb. 1 sale. According to Dodge, Moche artisans (Peru, circa 400-500 CE) were among the earliest to incorporate portraiture and humor into their pottery production. A prime example is the erotic drinking vessel of a male with well-defined facial features and a disproportionately large, erect phallus that serves as a spout. It is expected to make $12,000-$15,000. Other Moche highlights include a terracotta stirrup vessel shaped as a stern-faced warrior with a diminutive prisoner of war hoisted onto his shoulder, est. $8,000-$12,000; and a beautifully patterned pottery jar modeled as a mythological creature, part serpent and part jaguar with deer antlers. Formerly in the Platt Friedenberg and University of Virginia Art Museum collections, it is estimated at $6,000-$10,000.

Very rare and desirable, a Colima (West Mexico, circa 200 BCE – 200 CE) terracotta redware vessel is formed as a row of three finely detailed ducks with a spout emerging from one side. It measures 11 inches wide and could reach $5,000-$7,000 at auction.

From the Central Mexico Mixtec culture comes a carved redstone stele carved with the image of a fierce running warrior in full battle dress, holding a feather shield and war club. “This object would have been used as a boundary marker to warn intruders to stay away or their warriors would come after them,” said Dodge. Formerly in a Zurich museum, the lot is expected to sell for $20,000-$30,000.

A two-tone janiform Jalisco (Mexico, circa 0-200 CE) pottery jar depicts a pair of dogs conjoined on four feet. Acquired many years ago from the Ron Messick Gallery, the Pre-Columbian rarity is entered in the sale with a $5,000-$7,000 estimate.

From the Mayan Territories, a circa 500-900 CE carved volcanic stone skull exhibits deep eye sockets and applied shells to replicate teeth. A large-beaked bird is carved into the top of the skull and points its beak into the center of the skull’s forehead. Macabre and alluring at the same time, it is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

Formerly in the personal collection of pop art genius Andy Warhol, a three-tiered Pre-Columbian Mayan polychrome jar from Honduras, circa 500-900 CE, features dancing stick figures, glyphoids and lotus blossoms on its bands. It commands an auction estimate of $3,000-$4,000.

Many high-carat gold antiquities are included in the sale. A Pre-Columbian Moche (Peru, circa 100-400 CE) royal ceremonial scepter or “atl atl” is decorated with a standing lord carved from bone on a turquoise mosaic platform. Highly important, it carries a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$40,000. There are several bas-relief gold masks in the auction, as well as a Sican (Chimu Culture, Peru, circa 800-1,000 CE) beaker with the face of the god Naylamp crafted in relief on its surface. The deity wears gold earrings with turquoise beads and has repousse “hair.” The piece formerly belonged to Ian Arundel, proprietor of The Curiosity Shop on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. In the 1950s and ’60s, Arundel’s shop was a magnet for collectors of the day, including Vincent Price and John Wayne. The beaker is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

Bob Dodge stressed that all items offered for sale in the Feb. 1 auction have been legally acquired, are legal to resell and are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic and as described in the catalog. “We do not sell replicas or anything ‘in the style of’ any ancient culture. Also, no sale is ever final. We want only satisfied customers,” Dodge said.

Antiquities Saleroom’s Exceptional Pre-Columbian Art from Hollywood Auction will commence at 12 noon Eastern Time on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. Bids may be placed through a variety of methods: absentee (including absentee online), by phone or live via the Internet on auction day through All items may be viewed online at For additional information call 720-890-7700. E-mail Web:

Beach Modern To Auction Steve Rubell’s Studio 54 Archive January 19th

January 14th, 2013 by

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Back in the late 1970s and early ’80s, the only place hip New Yorkers wanted to be seen after dark was Studio 54. But slipping past the uber-chic disco’s velvet rope, which separated jet setters and film stars from ordinary folk hoping to gain admission to the glitzy inner sanctum, was a near-impossible feat – unless you knew, or caught the eye of, Studio 54’s charismatic co-owner Steve Rubell.

The ultimate insider, Rubell partied with the arts and entertainment world’s biggest stars, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra, among hundreds of other celebrities. His West 54th street nightclub was known for its outrageous soirees and offbeat moments, like the time Bianca Jagger entered the club on her birthday in 1977, astride a white horse. When Steve Rubell died in 1989, he left behind a virtual time capsule of unique memorabilia associated with Studio 54’s extraordinary four-year run. That portion of his estate, which has remained in situ for the past 28 years at the apartment Rubell shared with fashion designer Bill Hamilton, will be auctioned Jan. 19 by Palm Beach Modern Auctions in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The archive consigned by Bill Hamilton includes hundreds of remarkable paparazzi photos of stars frolicking at Studio 54, original invitations to special events at the club, rare VIP drink tickets, and many letters and notes to Rubell handwritten by famous personalities of the day. An especially revealing “diary” of the club’s history is the Studio 54 guestbook in which Rubell would record the names of VIP guests expected on any given night. Beside each name, Rubell would indicate whether or not the person was to receive complimentary admission and drinks. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000.

The collection also includes original works of fine art, such as a monumental graffiti-style painting of Rubell by Michael Vollbracht, est. $10,000-$20,000; and a bronze dollar-sign sculpture by Andy Warhol. The 20in-diameter Warhol sculpture is artist-signed and dated in felt pen along the bottom edge of one of the metal panels. Possibly unique, the piece was a gift from the artist to Rubell. It is estimated at $30,000-$50,000.

“Warhol and Rubell were very close friends,” said Palm Beach Modern’s auctioneer, Rico Baca. “They were both part of the Studio 54 inner circle.”

Warhol chose to feature Rubell on the cover of his magazine, Interview, in February 1979. That milestone in Rubell’s life is documented in Lot 1 of the Jan. 19 auction with a grouping of items that includes a Warhol-signed copy of the magazine, a Polaroid of Rubell taken by Warhol for use on the cover, and two prints – possibly proofs – of the final cover art. The lot is expected to make $4,000-$6,000 at auction.

The Studio 54 archive is being auctioned in two parts, divided by a selection of artworks and designer furnishings from the Studio 54 era. Additionally, the sale includes important mid-century modern, European, American and Brazilian furniture and decorative objects.

“We chose designer pieces from several premier collections to create an auction atmosphere reflective of Steve Rubell’s lifestyle and environment. He rose to fame during a golden era when homes were decorated with ultra-chic furniture and compelling modern artworks,” said Baca.

Leading the Brazilian section is a pair of circa-1950 Sergio Rodrigues prototype lounge chairs made of rosewood, leather and chrome. Originally purchased directly from the designer, the chairs are entered in the sale with a $16,000-$18,000 estimate.

“The level of quality in this particular consignor’s collection is very high. They also consigned two outstanding Italian pieces by Ico Parisi – a faceted mahogany spherical bar (est. $22,000-$25,000) and a rare circa-1950 ‘duck foot’ rosewood desk (est. $25,000-$35,000),” Baca said.

A private collector in Paris consigned two items by French designer Maria Pergay – a circa-1960 silver-plated tea table, est. $10,000-$20,000; and a circa-1970 silver-plated brass and wood box with belt-buckle motif, est. $1,500-$2,000.

Top American designs include a circa-1960 four-poster bed with starburst finials (est. $6,000-$8,000) and pair of sophisticated brass and glass sconces (est. $4,500-$6,500), both by Tommi Parzinger.

Many other high-end designers are represented in the 400+ lot sale, including Paul Evans, Gio Ponti, Armand Jonker, Guglielmo Ulrich and Milo Baughman, to name but a few. Of special interest are five glass artworks by Anzolo Fuga. The pieces include a charger and four vases, each either accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from A.V.E.M. Murano, or a confirmed reference-book example.

“We’re very proud of the selection to be auctioned on January 19th,” said Baca. “We hold only five single-day auctions per year, and they’re always very nice events, but for this particular sale we reserved only the most important modern designs. The Studio 54 archive is iconic and unique. We knew it would attract widespread attention and wanted to present it alongside the finest modern design available in the marketplace today.”

The Studio 54 Steve Rubell & Important Modern Design auction will commence at 12 noon ET on Sat., Jan. 19, 2013. The exhibition center and auction venue is located at 417 Bunker Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through For additional information, call 561-586-5500, e-mail Web: View the fully illustrated auction catalog online at