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Feb. 23-24 sale teams Palm Beach Modern with Urban Culture Auctions, blending modern design & edgy collectibles

Roberto Matta (Chilean, 1911-2001), monumental oil-on-burlap painting, signed, 1961, 81 x 71in. (framed). Auction Estimate: $200,000-$300,000

Herve Di Rosa (b. 1959-) sculpture of crocodile driving car, signed, French, 1983, metal, enameled metal and other media; car is 72in. wide. Auction estimate: $15,000-$20,000

Holiday card sent from prison by Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger Jr. (1929-2018) featuring his 1959 Alcatraz mugshot. Comes with handwritten letter from Bulger. Auction estimate: $400-$700

Featured: Huge Roberto Matta painting, Rauschenberg & Gilliam art; astronaut-signed items, pop furniture, mid-century electronics, Whitey Bulger prison letters

A collection of items pertaining to Boston gangster Whitey Bulger includes prison letters and a photo holiday card with his 1959 Alcatraz mugshot on it, wishing peace and cheer in the New Year.”
— Rico Baca, Co-Owner & Auctioneer, Palm Beach Modern Auctions
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, February 20, 2019 / -- Every auction hosted by Palm Beach Modern is an event to remember, from its complimentary catered buffets and valet parking to the comfortable, friendly environment in which outstanding modern art and design are showcased. Over the weekend of February 23-24, Palm Beach Modern Auctions will share the spotlight with its spinoff company, Urban Culture Auctions, bringing bidders premier contemporary and modern art along with fascinating entertainment memorabilia, cool designer goods, and many other tangible artifacts reflecting today’s ever-changing global culture.

The Saturday, February 23 session is a Palm Beach Modern Auctions production and begins at 12 noon Eastern time, with all forms of remote bidding available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. The 492-lot offering includes the best of several important collections from art aficionados, noted gallerists, former art dealers, and estates.

The anticipated top lot is a monumental Roberto Matta (Chilean, 1911-2001) oil-on-burlap painting that measures 81in. by 71in., framed. Signed, and with labels dating it to 1961, this superb expression of Matta’s mid-century genius comes with extensive provenance from private owners and galleries, as well as a copy of the 1970 sales receipt issued by Hokin Gallery, Chicago. A magnificent work, it comes to auction from a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, private collection and is estimated at $200,000-$300,000.

The inimitable color and imagery of Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983) will be presented in six lots described by PBMA co-owner and auctioneer Rico Baca as “the finest grouping of Miro editions we have ever offered.” Among them is La Femme Arborescent, signed and #23 from an edition of 50. It has been in the same Palm Beach, Florida, private collection for the past 35 years. Measuring 55.5in. high x 42in. wide (framed), it is expected to make $15,000-$25,000. A Miro aquatint titled Souris Rouge a la Mantille, signed and ed. 29/50, is estimated at $12,000-$18,000.

A large and quite exceptional Sam Gilliam (African-American, b. 1933-) diptych on paper is signed and measures 42.5in. by 80.5in. (framed). Gilliam is a highly regarded painter associated with the Washington Color School, a collective of Washington, D.C., artists that developed a form of abstract art from color field painting in the 1950s/’60s. The work to be auctioned is expected to make $40,000-$60,000.

Signed and blindstamped, a 1978 mixed-media fabric collage on paper by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) measures 50in. by 38in. (framed) and is executed in quintessential Rauschenberg style. A number of labels from prestigious galleries are affixed on verso. The pre-sale estimate is $75,000-$95,000

Modern furnishings are led by a 68in. by 104in. screen/gate attributed to Jean Royere (French), est. $8,000-$12,000; and a Paul Evans Studio for Directional “Patchwork” cabinet with bi-fold doors. Designed from fiberglass, wood, patinated copper, steel and brass, the 60in. wide by 34in. high cabinet could reach $10,000-$15,000 at auction.
Urban Culture Auctions (UCA) is headquartered at Palm Beach Modern’s gallery but operates as an independent entity, with a focus on the fun stuff: from iconic pop furniture and graffiti art to street fashion, celebrity memorabilia and Space Age electronics. There’s already a strong buzz about the new hub for mid-century-retro and edgy modern design, and it will only grow after collectors have seen what’s in store for them at UCA’s debut auction on Sunday, February 24.

The session opens with an extraordinary 7-lot collection of original Apollo Moon mission photographs and ephemera from the Beauregard family. “Brian Beauregard’s passion for space exploration began in childhood, when he asked his father, Calvin Beauregard, if he could get any astronauts to sign a moon map he displayed on his bedroom wall,” said Rico Baca. “Calvin worked in a management position for Ford Motor Company in New York and dealt with many dignitaries, including astronauts who rode in Ford vehicles in ticker tape parades. Brian grew up collecting correspondence, news clippings and magazines to accompany the signed pieces his father obtained.” The crew-signed 1969 Apollo Moon map that started it all will be auctioned with a $1,200-$1,800 estimate.

UCA is especially honored to present at auction 10 lots of original art and celebrity ephemera from the estate of Michaele Vollbracht (1947-2018). “Michaele was an award-winning artist and fashion designer who worked both under his own name and for other designers, notably Bill Blass Limited, Geoffrey Beene and Donald Brooks. His artwork has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Smithsonian Institution and was held in many private collections, including those of Elizabeth Taylor, Diane von Furstenberg, and President Gerald Ford,” said Rico Baca. The Vollbract archive includes fashion drawings and other artworks, books, and photos with Hollywood stars. His mixed-media collage titled Fairy Tale features images from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz and is estimated at $400-$800.

Among the many other highlights are a pair of Charles & Ray Eames chairs, skateboard decks with designs by various artists, including Banksy; a mid-century espresso machine, Weltron stereo system, Sharp vintage turntable, rare Kodak Moviedeck 475, Karl Lagerfeld men’s mid-calf fashion boots, sneakers, fabulous fashion jewelry and Swatches; record albums and posters. A special collection of ephemera pertaining to the late Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger Jr., includes prison letters, mugshots, and photos, plus more than 60 “Wanted By FBI” notices for various criminals.

The Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 PBMA auction will begin at 12 noon Eastern time, while UCA’s Sunday Feb. 24 session will commence at 11 a.m., with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers. The gallery is located at 417 Bunker Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405. Preview: 10-5 Monday, Feb. 18 through Friday, Feb. 22, or on auction days from 9 a.m. till commencement of sale. For additional information call 561-586-5500 or email

Rico Baca
Palm Beach Modern Auctions
email us here
+1 561-586-5500

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