Collection of Cuban Art Rescued from Apartment to Cross the Auction Block

One of the two Rene Portocarreros paintings up for auction is an oil on canvas of the façade of the Cathedral de Madrid at night in his characteristic colorful palette and heavy impasoto.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The market for Cuban art is very strong, competitive, and definitely mysterious in South Florida. On Monday, May 23 and Tuesday May 24, Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches will offer to collectors both locally and internationally a group of Cuban artworks that according to Gallery president Brian Kogan, “is as far as I know is totally new and unseen to the auction market.”

The problems in establishing authenticity are well known in the Cuban art market. With the political issues surrounding Cuban art and the some of the scandals that have ensued in Cuba and in Miami over the past 25 years, getting a Cuban work of art authenticated in writing is next to impossible. Aware of these difficulties, the consignor decided to offer the works without any guarantee of authenticity and let the buyers establish how desirable and valuable the works are.

The collection is an array of Cuban artists, including paintings and watercolors by Rene Portocarrero, Mario Carreno, Segundo Cabrera Moreno and Leopold Romanach, and two bronze sculptures by Manuel Carbonell.

Of the two paintings Portocarreros, one is an oil on canvas of the façade of the Cathedral de Madrid at night in his characteristic colorful palette and heavy impasoto, and a watercolor of a harlequin musician, dated 1960. The paintings by Cabrera Moreno are visually exciting, with the imagery of farm workers wrangling horses. Both are signed and dated for 1964. The two Leopold Romanch y Guillen paintings are of beach scenes.

The May 23 auction will also feature an oil on canvas still life by French artist Suzanne Valadon, dated 1926 from a Boca Raton private collection with provenance. Valadon is the mother of Maurice Utrillo (French 1883-1955) and there is a large and very beautiful Le Pho oil on silk painting from a Fort Lauderdale collection, along with many other paintings and prints coming from a Boca Raton estate, plus additional fine art by James Coignard, Franklin De Haven, Erte, Salvador Dali, Eugene Lami, Fritz Bultman, Robert Motherwell and many others.

The auction will also have a wonderful array of Orientalia. As the market for Chinese and Oriental items is still ascending, the consignments from South Florida and the Palm Beaches continues to unearth some fabulous objects. Including an important collection of jades to include a set of 10 19th-century green nephrite book tablets with Imperial marks and a celadon nephrite archaistic Fang Ding censor with Elephant Handles. Also featured is a Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze boddhistva with a Yung Lo (15th century) mark and an exotic 50 lot snuff bottle collection with some excellent examples in jade, enamel, and ivory.

From the Boca Raton estate there is a Lalique “Cactus” table, a pair of 5-foot-long uncarved ivory tusks, a 19th-century Chinese four-panel screen, Paul Storr silver, a 10-piece Meissen monkey band, R. Lalique, and a Russian five-piece silver and enamel tea service along with English, Italian and French furniture, carpets, lighting and much more.

For more information about this auction, call 561.805.7115 or visit the Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches web site.

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