Problem solved: the Palm Beach solution for "the one who has everything" this holiday season

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Sunday, May 26, 2024

Problem solved: the Palm Beach solution for "the one who has everything" this holiday season

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.- South Florida locals know there's more to holiday shopping than "add to cart" and crushing crowds at big box stores. Everything from Hermès scarves to vintage perfume bottles, iconic pop art to French landscapes, lounge chairs to relax in and an array of perfect vases for mom's flowers are up for bidding at Palm Beach Modern Auctions this weekend and there is nothing stopping you from bidding your heart out.

"This is an extraordinary sale for its variety alone," says Rico Baca, Palm Beach Modern's auctioneer and one of the two co-owners. "We had originally slated the auction for mid-October when a few great collections came in later than planned. My partner Wade and I talked it over, and we decided it was the perfect opportunity to build this sale with the holidays in mind."

Their November 6th and 7th season opener auction event offers 920 lots of fine art and limited edition prints, furniture, decorative objects and luxury goods.

A few stars of the art catalog include a 71" Gene Davis in the Palm Beach-iest pastel bright stripes, a drawing done by Keith Haring for a 1983 talk he did in Hartford, CT and a Paul Jenkins "Phenomena" painting in red, blue and pink. The equestrian set will find a match in Louise Nevelson's bronze horse sculpture and landscape lovers will fall in love with Benjamin Palencia-Perez's rolling pastoral landscapes. Editions and multiples are available at all price points, with some of the top lots being an Andy Warhol "Mao" screenprint and a Robert Indiana "Seasons of Hope" portfolio.

Lovers of the finer things (and a good story) will enjoy Pablo Picasso pottery, Louis Vuitton luggage, Murano glass and Claude Lalanne sterling silver "Iolas" flatware, to name a few...and then delve into the glittering spread of perfume bottles in Palm Beach Modern's front galleries. Collected by Henry Torres, hairdresser to San Antonio's rich and fabulous, the bottles fill two rooms at the auction house, ranging from delicate imported pieces to giant display factices to luxury names such as Bond No. 9, Lanvin, Boucheron, Chanel, Pierre Cardin, Elsa Schiaparelli and Balmain. Rico spends a lot of time getting to know his clients and learning the stories associated with their collections, and finds that these can be instrumental in the sale.

"One question I'm asked by nearly all my clients who come in to preview is 'Where did that come from,' so of course my favorite pieces to show are the ones with a story. The Hilla Rebay paintings in this sale, for example, will definitely be conversation pieces for the winning bidders. The Guggenheim Museum had archived them years ago in the wake of its founder's death and the impassioned relationship between Rebay, Solomon Guggenheim and Rudolf Bauer. Everyone loves a love triangle."

For the uninitiated, buying at auction has a learning curve. For many though, the benefits exceed the extra step of familiarizing themselves with a few new terms and procedures. Competing with bidders in Los Angeles, London and Melbourne, Australia for a pair of Elton John-style windshield wiper sunglasses may be a singular experience. Shopping the secondary market is eco-friendly, and live previews mean bidders can stop by the auction house and examine items in person. You can sit on a chair, make sure the color is what you expect, and see how it looks in a room before you commit. The auction house encourages it. "Plus," says Baca, "winning bidders in the live audience can pay and take their purchases with them, avoiding some of shipping delays we've noticed in retail lately,"

Palm Beach Modern Auctions is located at 417 Bunker Road, West Palm Beach, Florida, off Dixie Highway between Southern and Forest Hill. Their doors are open to previewers this week from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Visit or call 561-586-5500 for details on the November 6th and 7th auction series.

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October 31, 2021

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