Tales of Provenance Add Flair to Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ May 18th Catalog

Auctioneer Rico Baca stands with paintings and sculptures by Armando Barrios, Milton Avery, Lynn Chadwick, and Manolo Valdes, some of the highlights of Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ May 18th auction.

From “I walked up to the artist’s door” to “My designer bought it decades ago,” auctioneer Rico Baca relates colorful stories of auction consignments.

LAKE WORTH BEACH, FLORIDA, USA, May 13, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ — The first question most visitors to Palm Beach Modern Auctions ask is, “Where did you get all this stuff?” There is a short answer and a long answer.

PBMA collects an array of intriguing tales of provenance from their consignors. The 500 lots in their May 18th auction came from 88 different sources: collectors, estates, galleries, and museums, some local, some from around the world. Each painting, sculpture, chair, lamp, ring, and handbag has a story.

After two and a half decades as a gallerist and auctioneer, Rico Baca knows that every client loves to talk about their collection. “Their eyes light up,” says Baca. “This is something they’ve spent time, energy, and money on, a huge part of their lives.” More than a conversational tool, the seller’s story can be a way to engage buyers too, because everyone loves a story.

Baca’s favorite example is that of Milton Avery’s “Red Rug.” The seller, paring down her collection in preparation for a move, vividly recalls visiting the artist’s home in the early 1960s to buy a painting. She had wanted to meet him. This was during the later part of Avery’s life, and he was unwell, so his wife Sally Michel selected the artwork instead. Mrs. Schlang loved Sally Michel’s choice, and Red Rug had a place on her wall since.

Kelly and Mike Mahigel, owners of PDA Gallery in Naples, Florida, have 26 pieces in the sale. For them, a modest beginning in thrift stores turned into flipping mid-century modern furniture, which evolved into a gallery specializing in avant-garde and Postmodern design.

The Mahigels are highly intentional. In their words: “We collect what we love, but we have a few rules. Every piece must be out of production, unique, or extremely early. Most importantly, they must invoke emotion on sight.” Their 26 lots in the sale include several large Gaetano Pesce sculpted resin centerpiece vases, designed to bend and wobble in unexpected ways.

Contemporary art glass inspires similar passion. Collections from two couples, both lifelong art enthusiasts who fell in love with glass in their later years, feature in Saturday’s auction: Debbie and Bud Menin and Jules and Sally Kay.

Ivan Mares’ “Nautilus” and Vladimira Klumpar and Michael Pavlik’s “Splash,” monumental, ocean-themed sculptures from the Menin collection, highlight advanced techniques in cast glass. The Menin’s daughter shared, “They were deeply interested in each artist’s style. It was important to them to understand how the artist’s vision came through in their work. They formed personal relationships with the artists and took pride in understanding the essence of the contemporary glass art movement.”

The Kays fell in love with art glass 20 years ago in a 67-year marriage. Visiting galleries and studios together in search of new and exciting sculptures was a source of joy for them. Highlights from their collection include a 65” Dale Chihuly Ikebana flower vase, works by Harvey Littleton, Vivian Wang, William Morris, and a pair of David Bennett acrobats, one suspended dramatically from the ceiling.

Sometimes the collector is an artist who acquires pieces out of professional admiration. Such is the case with the two mammoth Sydney K. Hamburger vessels from the collection of a New Jersey sculptor. Though an obscure artist, her biomorphic forms inspired him to acquire her work.

Other times, a client’s home is brimming with treasures, but the surprise is in the details. “They knew enough to hire a good designer,” says Baca, “but keeping up with the market was not a focus. I walked into one home where they were downsizing. They were thrilled to learn that their Paul Dupre-Lafon desk could sell in the six figures.” Another consignor inherited five Edo Murtic landscapes. They were sentimental to her, though she smartly kept all the documentation. Pleased by the estimates, she was delighted when Rico called to update her that they are among the most active lots in the sale.

With these examples, it becomes clear that provenance is about more than vetting…it’s about shared passion, conversation, and those “You found it where?” moments.

Palm Beach Modern Auctions May 18th auction is open to the public, with previews all week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information, visit www.modernauctions.com.

Rico Baca
Palm Beach Modern Auctions
+1 561-586-5500
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Doors are open for preview at PBMA from 10:00 am-5:00 pm all week leading up to the auction.

Originally published at https://www.einpresswire.com/article/711152139/tales-of-provenance-add-flair-to-palm-beach-modern-auctions-may-18th-catalog

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