By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Abell Auction Co. will host an important fine art, antiques, 20th century design and fine jewelry auction at 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 21.

Featuring property from prominent California estates, the online-only sale will offer a 23.73 carat Colombian emerald ring by Graff (estimated at $200,000 to $250,000), a cube by Larry Bell ($20,000 to $30,000), an important pair of Chinese imperial palace panels ($80,000 to $120,000) and a still life painting by Francoise Gilot ($12,000 to $18,000).

As recounted in her memoir, Gilot was Pablo Picasso’s student, decade-long partner and mother of his two children.

“This is our first quarterly sale for 2021, where we have gleaned off the more important items that come in through estate sales in Southern California,” said Abell Vice President Joe Baratta.

The Pasadena native said he’s thrilled with this selection of items.

He said it’s highlighted by collections from Audrey Steele Burnand, Valerie Franklin, and Eva and Loran Whitelock. The Whitelock sale will benefit the Loran and Eva Whitelock Fund for Cycad Cultivation, Conservation and Research at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens.

Loran Whitelock, a world-renowned cycad expert, spent a half century studying, collecting and writing about the primordial plants. In 2015, The Huntington acquired his cycad collection, known as one of the best private collections of its type in the world.

Fine art in the upcoming auction includes paintings, drawings and sculptures signed Charles Arnoldi (two); Larry Bell (seven); Maurice Braun; Arthur Dove; Francoise Gilot; Duncan Gleason; Yoshio Ikezaki; Jean Mannheim; Gustavo Montoya; Ed Moses; Leon Nikolaievitch Bakst; Eric Orr (two); Edgar Payne (two); Ronald Peterson; Hanson Duvall Puthuff (three); Giulio Rosati; Richard Schmid; Millard Sheets; Elmer Wachtel; William Wendt and Hans Zatka.

Modern and contemporary prints and multiples include works signed Richard Diebenkorn (two); Jim Dine; Sam Francis (two); Pedro Friedeberg; Robert Graham; David Hockney; Jasper Johns; Willem de Kooning; Roy Lichtenstein (two); Henri Matisse; Joan Miro; Robert Motherwell; Pablo Picasso and Edward Ruscha.

Fine jewelry features a 23.73 carat Colombian emerald ring by Graff; a pair of Cartier Panthere diamond and sapphire earrings; rings by Marina B. (two); Chanel fine earrings; pair of Bulgari rock crystal and diamond ear pendants; a group of 10 loose 3.0+ carat diamonds; a 5.72 round brilliant diamond ring; a 7.60 pear brilliant diamond ring; and Mayan jade necklace (two).

Antique and modern furniture includes an impressive lapis lazuli, hardstone inset, and gilt bronze French Empire table; Lalique cactus table; Mario Papperzini for Salterini patio set; Mexican Colonial carved wood library table; pair of Chinese hardwood and marble-inset moon-viewing chairs; Chinese hardwood desk; 12-piece George III inlaid dining set; Louis XV-style consoles and commodes; and New York Gothic revival tall case clock.

Decorative arts include a collection of Pablo Picasso Madoura pottery; Michael and Magdalena Frimkess pottery urn; Louis Vuitton steamer trunk; vases by Dale Chihuly (two); Vienna porcelain urn; Steinway & Sons grand pianos (three); French marble and bronze figural mantel clock depicting night and day; gilt bronze rhinoceros after Salvador Dali; Emile Galle enameled glass drink set; sterling flatware services by Alan Adler, Georg Jensen, and Mappin & Webb; a collection of 16th, 17th and 18th century Latin American and Spanish Santo figures; Persian room-size carpets, and Spanish embroideries and tapestries.

The auction preview runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Feb. 20 by appointment only at the Abell Gallery, 2613 Yates Avenue, Los Angeles.

A complete catalog is available at Buyers may place absentee bids with Abell directly, bid via telephone or bid online at and For more information, call 1-800-404-2235.

Tech-savvy business

Baratta has worked for Abell for 20 years and during that time, he has seen the business evolve — primarily due to technology.

“It definitely has changed with technology — for the good and bad,” he said.

“There’s not so much of a surprise factor. A potential client has the same information we have as professionals. They don’t know how to differentiate having something similar to what they saw on ‘Antiques Roadshow’ or something that truly is worth a lot of money.

“On the flipside, it’s exposed our regional market to be international.”

Baratta has witness folks from around the world bid on items, instead of only local California/Southern California residents.

Auction houses wouldn’t have survived without technology during the pandemic, he added.

“It’s the only way we can let people know we’re selling things and allow people to bid,” he explained.

Abell offers weekly, quarterly and luxury auctions.

“Feb. 21 is the highlight of all these great collections,” Baratta said.