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Blackwell Auctions sale features works by Koons, Mapplethorpe, Rauschenberg and more
Albert Bierstadt (American, 1830-1902), Yosemite landscape, oil on canvas, circa 1890. Est. $50,000-$100,000.

CLEARWATER, FLA.- Blackwell Auctions of Clearwater, Fla., will offer a carefully curated sale of fine paintings, important prints and sculptures on Saturday, October 13. Highlights include Jeff Koons’ iconic Balloon Venus, multiple signed works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg and many others; and original paintings by Albert Bierstadt, Lilla Cabot Perry, Diego Rivera, Raphael Soyer and Man Ray.

“With only about 150 lots, this is a tight sale,” said Edwin Bailey, Blackwell’s owner. “There’s a little something for everyone, but there’s really no chaff, no filler. We found ourselves inundated with dozens of great pieces, so we decided that instead of dropping a few of them here and there into our estate auctions, we’d hold an art-only event of consistently high quality across the board.”

Jeff Koon’s Balloon Venus, a sculpture commissioned by Dom Perignon comes complete, perfect and untouched in its own custom protective case. Its auction estimate is $45,000-$60,000.

A Yosemite oil painting attributed to Albert Bierstadt headlines the sale’s non-contemporary offerings, estimate $50,000-$100,000, along with works by Lilla Cabot Perry, Raphael Soyer, Diego Rivera, and a trove of paintings by French Social Realist painter Pierre Villain, whose entire body of work from the 1930s has remained within his family until only the last decade.

A group of highly desirable photogravures and lithographs – until recently on long-term loan to St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Art (from the collection of Iris and E. Stan Salzer) – includes three large, signed works by Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as pieces by Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Robert Rauschenberg, Vik Muniz, Philip Pearlstein, Roxy Paine and many other important contemporary artists. Most of the Salzer collection came from the University of South Florida’s famed Graphicstudio, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Four original James Bodrero concept drawings from Disney’s classic Fantasia, circa 1940, depict scenes proposed for the epic animated feature’s “Pastoral Symphony” segment.

French religious ivory relief carvings, including a 14th-century diptych panel depicting the Crucifixion; and several 17th-century panels, were held in a family collection for more than 10 generations. (Note: Bidding on these items is confined to the gallery, via Invaluable, or through the Blackwell mobile app. Shipping is available only to where the law permits.) Blackwell unconditionally and perpetually warrants their authenticity and age.

“The sale of ivory is, at present, a contentious issue,” Bailey said, “and I hold firmly to the belief that the poaching of elephants is unconscionable and utterly immoral. But I am also of the opinion that art that was created centuries ago from elephant ivory has no correlation to today’s illegal trafficking. The current, precious elephant population must be protected, and we will never sell any piece of ivory whose age and legality are suspect.”

Works by Man Ray, Peter Max, Alexander Calder, Ed Ruscha, John Zang, Sam Newton, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Joseph DeCamp, Paul Strisik, Linda Le Kinff, Carlo Canevari, Erte, Richard Tuttle, Ringo Starr and many others round out the October 13 art sale.

Summertime in Florida – which stretches far beyond the traditional three months – is typically regarded by auction-goers as the “off-season.” Many auction houses close down during those months of scorching heat and instead spend the time accumulating inventory in anticipation of the snowbirds’ return from the north and east.

“We decided that even though the ‘season’ hasn’t officially started, it wouldn’t really matter to our customers who flee the Florida heat. With phone, web and mobile options available, location is taken right out of the equation.”

All forms of bidding will be available for the Saturday, October 13, 2018 sale, including absentee, phone and live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable and the Blackwell app (Apple or Android). Start time: 12 noon Eastern Time. Gallery preview: Friday, October 12 from 2-6 p.m., and 10 a.m. until 12 noon on auction day. Blackwell Auctions has its own professional in-house shipping department and can dispatch merchandise worldwide.

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