Animal art is getting all the love in Palm Beach on Feb 17th

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Animal art is getting all the love in Palm Beach on Feb 17th
French and Spanish art and design dominate this preview vignette at Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ Lake Worth Beach location. Photo: Palm Beach Modern Auctions staff.

LAKE WORTH BEACH, FLA.- Many of the top lots (so far) in Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ upcoming 477-lot sale have something in common, and it’s not the typical “abstracts are strong this season” or “iconic midcentury lounge chair.” Week-out stats are showing that this time, the people’s choice appears to be artistic representations of the animal kingdom.

Leading the catalog’s view and favorite counts are a Donald Roller Wilson painting titled “Cookie,” one of several chimpanzees in his universe of sassy simians and other hyperrealistic, anthropomorphic mammals, and a Hunt Slonem bunny painting, a beloved icon in his oeuvre of bunnies, butterflies and birds.

Other animal-themed pieces catching the eyes of in-house and online previewers include a Jeff Koons porcelain balloon dog plate, a Michael Shilkin panther sculpture, and a Gustavo Novoa painting, also panther-themed, which was featured in his “Jungle Fables” book. For those with funkier (and less fuzzy) tastes, the sale also offers a large snail and a colorful collection of frog sculptures by Italian artist collective Cracking Art Group, an Anthony Redmile ostrich sculpture/vessel, and a set of rare Jacques Dufresne “Mermaid” chairs, each with a unique fish design in the seat back.

Beyond the unexpectedly niche interests of bidders this time around, several pieces and collections stand out for their rarity and beauty. Palm Beach Modern’s auctioneer, Rico Baca, notes several of these: a single-owner collection of French design assembled over a decade of business travel to Paris in the 1970s, a massive and glittering Andy Warhol “Diamond Dust Shoes” screenprint, a Paavo Tynell “Snowflake” chandelier, a 40” Jesus Rafael Soto construction with Venezuelan museum label, or a set of six Paul Evans sculpted bronze chairs that fit right in with this year’s Brutalism trend.

“There is always a place here for fashion,” says Baca, “and this sale has so much to offer. Beyond Irving Penn’s ‘Woman in Chicken Hat’ photograph from ‘Vogue’ and several Karl Lagerfeld drawings, bidders will have the opportunity to bid on an Hermes ‘Mini Kelly’ bag in Porosus crocodile with a diamond encrusted lock, a Rolex ‘Yacht-Master II’ watch and a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, as well as watches by Cartier, Bulgari, Corum, Longines, Piaget and Girard Perregaux.”

The Modern + Contemporary Art, Design & Luxury auction begins at 12:00 noon ET on Saturday, February 17th. Doors are currently open for preview Monday through Friday from 10:00am-5:00pm. The thematically appropriate dog’s-eye-view video preview features on their website homepage.

Bidders attending the auction in person are treated to complementary refreshments and valet parking. Online, absentee and phone bids are also accepted via High-resolution photos, video and Facetime preview appointments are available on request.

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February 16, 2024

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