Collecting tastes of affluent Naples, Fla. residents revealed at Jan. 23 sale

NAPLES, Fla. – The wealthy Gulf Coast enclave of Naples, Fla., is replete with homes whose contents reflect the refined tastes of well-traveled individuals. When antiques or artworks from the region’s many collectors come to the marketplace, it is often with the assistance of a local firm that casts a wide net internationally – Auctions Neapolitan. The company’s Jan. 23, 2010 sale, which will reach a global community of buyers through Internet bidding facilitated by LiveAuctioneers, is a varied offering that includes Chinese antiques, a Black Forest carving of St. Bernard dogs, and a Charles Vital Cornu bronze.

“All of the consignments are from local sources – either private collectors or estates,” said Kathleen Pica, owner of Auctions Neapolitan. “We always get a nice turnout at auctions featuring Chinese antiques, and there are some very interesting examples in the upcoming sale, so we look forward to seeing how those items will be received.”

A set of four early to mid-20th-century hand-painted and glazed, wood-framed plaques consist of four depictions of robed Chinese men engaged in various activities. Among the subjects are travelers, a musician wearing the mask of a woman’s face, a tiger, a man with the image of a radiant Buddha on his belly, an elder plaiting his beard and a man holding a string of beads. Each signed plaque measures approximately 16 3/4 inches by 12 1/2 inches. The set is estimated to bring $1,200-$1,600. Another interesting Chinese ceramic depicts jockeys on racehorses in full gallop, under a pre-auction estimate of $300-$500.

An antique Chinese Qing Dynasty table screen of heavily carved celadon jade and camphor wood with mirror depicts within its carving the image of a fowl trapped in undergrowth. Pica believes the oval jade medallion may be even older than the frame. The lot is conservatively estimated at $400-$600.

Dating to about 1900, an important Black Forest wood carving of a St. Bernard dog with her three puppies is possibly the work of Swiss artisan Walter Mader. Each dog has naturalistic glass eyes and a carved collar and “fur,” with limbs that feature hand coloring. The appealing canine tableau, which weighs 33 pounds, is 13 inches high, 39 inches wide and 20 inches deep. It is expected to make $6,000-$8,000.

Another decorative-art highlight is the large (15 3/4-inch) Lalique Cote D’or charger with three graceful nude nymphs surrounded by grapevines as its central theme, and with a bas-relief grape-cluster motif adorning the edge. Titled Trois Figurines et Raisins, this early work is engraved with the Lalique signature on verso and is estimated to sell for $2,000-$3,000.

The top bronze in the sale is a 31-inch allegorical scene featuring Victoire, created by Charles Vital Cornu (French, circa 1851-1927). Made during the late-19th or early-20th century, the 57-pound sculpture is signed in the base, has a foundry stamp and rests on a later green marble base. The work is expected to bring $6,000-$8,000.
Considerable attention is being paid to listed artists from Florida such as Wayne E. Thorsen, of Naples, Fla. One of four Thorsen works to be offered in the auction, a contemporary, oil on canvas titled The Trapper’s Cabin, features a cabin against a sunset landscape and a man in a canoe in the foreground; measuring 24 inches by 34 1/2 inches, it is estimated at $1,400-$1,800.

Other categories in the sale include sterling silver, Royal Doulton, crystal, Limoges, more than 20 pieces of early Staffordshire, Baccarat and elegant Depression glass, and a large selection of compacts and costume jewelry. An Anglo-Indian carved table and a Syrian table will be auctioned, as will Maurice Rousseau’s circa-1890 oil-on-canvas painting titled Sheepfold. Retaining its original gilt frame, the artwork carries a presale estimate of $1,000-$2,000.

All forms of bidding will be available during the 400-lot sale, including absentee and live via the Internet through The 400-lot event will begin at 1 p.m. EST on Jan. 23, 2010.

For additional information about the sale call 239-262-7333, e-mail or visit A catalog is available at

Photos courtesy Auctions Neapolitan.


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