Thursday, March 29, 2007


March 29, 2007
Melbourne, FL
Sale March 17-18

Two important local collections crossed the block at Matheson’s AA Auction in Melbourne, FL on March 17 – 18. But while the collections had a Florida provenance the bidders came from all over the country and some from Europe even bid by phone.

MELBOURNE, FL - The sale opened at 11:00AM on Saturday March 17 with over 400 lots of art that included works by Picasso, Leroy, Chagall, Greuze and Faulkner. The house was full with all 200 seats taken and five extra phone lines were at the ready plus five staff members with cell phones to field call in bids. The sale was not offered online.

The sale also included a good collection of African and Oceanic art and artifacts and that got the sale off to good start early on. The third lot of the sale was a large Costa Rican stone carving of a female figure from the Atlantic watershed region, 48in tall by 21in wide that quickly soared to $6,325 including the fifteen percent buyer’s premium. That loosened up the audience and by the 10th lot the sale was rolling. Lot 10 was a pencil signed color lithograph, 27½ by 20in, entitled "The Bluebird" by Marc Chagall (Russian/French 1887-1985). This was the first of five Chagall lots in the sale and it made the top Chagall money, selling on the phone for $9,200. It was followed several lots later by Chagall’s lithograph, 16 by 11 ¾in, entitled "Eve Incurs God’s Displeasure" that went for $4,888.

Spaced between the Chagall lots was an etching by Pablo Picasso (Spanish 1881 - 1973) entitled "Man Uncovering A Woman" from "Vollard Suite". It was signed lower right and numbered lower left "XX-VI-MCMXXXI", size 15½in by 12½in. It sold on the phone to a New York dealer for what will probably establish a new record for a Picasso etching. Including premium the Picasso closed at $14,950.

Eight oil on board works by the eccentric American artist Henry Faulkner (1924-1981) came from the Ft. Lauderdale estate of a friend of Faulkner’s who had received the works directly from Faulkner. Foremost among the works was a crowded village architectural scene, 13¼ by 16½ in, secured in a rough hand carved frame. Legend has it that Faulkner often scoured trash bins for frames for his work and this appeared to be one of them. That didn’t bother a collector on the phone who bid the work up to $9,200. A collector from Lexington, KY snapped up three of the Faulkners paying $8,913 for figure with a hand across the chest, $6,038 for a flower cart and $4,600 for a work entitled "Two Winged Friends" with the original receipt dated 1965.

An important oil on board portrait by Jean Baptiste Greuze, French (1725 –1805) that had been passed down in the Chase Banking family, brought $10,350 and the top lot of the sale, an elaborately framed oil on canvas portrait of a woman and infant, 29 by 31in, by Paul Alexander Leroy, French (1860-1942) sold on the phone to a New York collector for $18,400.

The Sunday March 18 session of the sale featured over 200 items from an important Melbourne Napoleonic collection. The top lot of that session was a saber that had belonged to an officer of the Carabiniers, Napoleon’s two elite regiments of cavalry. The saber with wire handled grip, bronze guard and 36in curved blade sold in the room to a Pennsylvania collector who had flown in the night before the sale. He paid $10,637. A 37¼in long regimental saber, Model XI, sold on the phone to a California collector for $5,290 and an elaborate infantry sword engraved "NK" under the langet went to the same buyer for $4,888. A French naval blunderbuss captured by an English officer went for $3,163. Other period firearms included several flintlock pistols that sold in the $1,100 - $1,300 range and one police model that brought $2,875.

Non weapons included a polychrome wood carved Napoleonic coat of arms that sold on the phone for $6,325, a hand painted standard with wire tassels, 20 by 22in, emblazoned with "Pro Gloria Et Patria" brought $4,888, an infantry officer’s Shako hat, Model 1812, made $3,738 on the phone and a brass cavalry bugle engraved and dated 1812 led a new charge for $1,380.
Matheson’s AA Auction is located at 600 E. New Haven Avenue in Melbourne, FL. For more information on this sale or future sales call auction owners Lloyd and Jan Matheson or Auction Manager Carrie Lucas at (321) 768-6668, visit the website at or send email to
written by:
Fred & Gail Taylor

Sale of March 17-18, 2007

This touching scene by Paul Alexander Leroy sold on the phone to a New York collector for $18,400, the top lot of the sale.

This jumbled architectural view by Faulkner went for $9,200.

An etching by Picasso may have established a new record at $14,950.

A portrait by Jean Baptiste Greuze with an impeccable provenance closed at $10,350.

A Carabinier officer’s sword was the top Napoleonic lot at $10,637.


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