The masterpiece of the Flagler empire is undoubtedly the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, built in 1887 in an extravagant neo-Spanish style. The two towers were not used only for prestige but were the tanks that supplied the 540 rooms in running water. The handling of the wonderful electricity was entrusted to the hotel employees to avoid scaring the guests.
Art was not forgotten and the lavish murals of the rotunda contributed to the reputation of the Ponce de Leon. Workshops were accommodated in the property for the artists.
Martin Johnson Heade had always considered himself as an itinerant painter. Married at 64 in 1883, he sought an anchor in Florida. He was a specialist in flower painting often associated with birds, and of tropical scenery. He was also a landscapist in the American romantic tradition. He preferred marshes to mountains and his idealized views cannot be located.
Heade realized for Flagler two of the murals of the Ponce de Leon. One of them titled The Great Florida Sunset is huge, 138 x 244 cm. The glowing sky of twilight terminates the day above a scenery typical of the marshes and palm groves of Florida.
A. Alfred Taubman wisely bought this oil painting to decorate his own mansion in Palm Beach. It is estimated $ 7M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on November 18, lot 11.
SOLD for $ 5.8M including premium