ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – An impressive collection of European paintings, bronze figures, Asian art and Oriental rugs, owned by the mastermind behind the multi-purpose Dixie Cup empire, will be showcased in Myers Fine Art & Antiques auction Feb. 10.
A millionaire inventor and philanthropist, the Italian-born Cesare Barbieri (1878-1956), held more than 100 patents, including one issued in 1926 for conical Dixie Cups and the machinery that manufactured them. He also possessed a finely tuned eye for classical art and design.
“He bought the best of everything for his multiple residences, but he was also very generous toward others,” said Myers co-owner Mary Dowd. “His will provided for the establishment of a Dixie employee pension fund, and his Dixie Cup royalties funded an endowment for Italian cultural studies at Trinity College that continues to this day.”
Myers has a policy of only conducting a European & Asian Art auction when a collection of exceptional quality is available to headline such a sale. The 480-lot Feb. 10 event is the first of its type to be scheduled in two years and consists of fresh goods acquired almost exclusively from estates.
Among the top pieces of the Barbieri collection is a graceful marble nude titled “The Flower of the Alps,” by Attilio Piccirilli (Italian, 1886-1945). A similar Piccirilli sold a few years ago at Sotheby’s for $19,000. Myers Fine Art has placed an estimate of $10,000-$15,000 on the signed Piccirilli in their sale. A signed Giuseppe Gambogi (Italian, 1891-1965) statue of Shakespeare’s “Ophelia” carries an estimate of $8,000-$10,000.
Other Continental artworks in the sale include an 18th/19th-century French portrait of a lady holding a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a Charles Cousin (French, 1904-1972) Venetian canal scene, and a J. Eisenhut oil painting of a Venetian doge. Additional enticements include an Italian pietra dura specimen table and micromosaic pieces; French cameo glass, majolica, silver, Louis XV bronze candelabra, and Austrian ivory and wood figures. There will also be fine European porcelain, an inlaid Italian marquetry chest and antique Italian walnut cupboard; and a pair of French Empire bronze table lamps. A Continental relief-carved ivory plaque depicts a frenzied battle scene of warriors on horseback. Dating to the mid-19th century and possibly from Dieppe, France, it is estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Another standout is a signed Tommaso Gentile (Italian, 1853-?) bronze mirror adorned by two nude women. It bears the Kunst-Erzgieserei Vienna foundry mark and is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.
Additional pieces showcased at auction include:
• Miniature tall-case clock with chinoiserie artwork, 17th/18th century movement in a Philadelphia Chippendale walnut case, carrying an estimate of $4,000 – $6,000
• 77-inch oxblood Buddha, an ivory Siddhartha bust, jade and hardstone objects
• Set of four Chinese Qing silk paintings
• Yoke-back armchairs
• 25 rolls of Zuber et Cie. Panoramic wallpaper “Views of North America” pattern – the same wallpaper chosen by Jacqueline Kennedy for the White House reception room
• Pair of 19th century marble Bacchanalian garden herms, standing 62-inches tall and weighing in at more than 1,000 pounds, with an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000
•18K yellow gold openwork bracelet adorned with women’s faces, carrying an estimate of $2,000 to $4,000
The Feb. 10 auction of European & Asian Antiques & Fine Art featuring the Cesare Barbieri collection will commence at noon. All forms of bidding will be available including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com and Artfact.com. For information on any lot in the sale, call 727-823-3249, or visit www.myersfineart.com.
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