NEW YORK, NY. - Christie’s announced that Americana Week 2015, a series of auctions, viewings and events, will be held from January 16-26. The week of sales is comprised of Important American Silver on January 22, Important American Furniture, Outsider and Folk Art on January 23, and Mandarin & Menagerie: The Sowell Collection and Chinese Export Art from Various Owners on January 26. These sales are driven by important private collections, and include Property from the Estates of Jane Supino, Eric Martin Wunsch, and Victor Gail and Thomas H. Oxford as well as the Sowell Collection of Chinese Export Art. In all, Americana Week 2015 will offer over 520 lots and is expected to realize upwards of $6 million. In conjunction with the sales, Christie’s will also host the third annual Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts on January 21, honoring Arnold Lehman and The Chipstone Foundation.
IMPORTANT AMERICAN FURNITURE, OUTSDIER AND FOLK ART - JANUARY 23RD
Christie’s sale of Important American Furniture, Outsider and Folk Art will present more than 200 lots from the 17th through 20th centuries and is expected to realize in excess of $3 million.
Leading the sale is American painter John Singleton Copley’s 1764 Portrait of Samuel Phillips Savage (estimate: $500,000 - 700,000). This portrait remained in the Savage family for 200 years over five generations. Patriarch Samuel Savage played an integral part of the events that led up to the American Revolution, as an active supporter in the American cause. He was the moderator of two open meetings held by Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty at the Old South Meeting House leading up to the Boston Tea Party, and he chronicled the event itself in his diary: “16 december – 342 Chests of Tea shiped [sic] by the E India Company and Consigned to Richard Clarke & Sons, Benj Faneuil junr & Govr Hutchinson 2 Sons, Tho.’ & Elisha, was by a Number of persons unknown, disguised like Indians taken out of 3 Ships…& thrown into the Sea/ all done in 110 minutes.” The painting comes to the sale from the Honorable J. William Middendorf II.
Following Copley’s portrait in the sale is a Chippendale carved cherrywood desk-and-bookcase from Lancaster, Pennsylvania made circa 1785 (estimate: $400,000 - 600,000). A masterful expression of American regionalism, this deskand-bookcase is one of the most significant survivals of the distinctive school of craftsmanship that flourished in late eighteenth-century Lancaster County. Combining English and Germanic woodworking traditions, this school made a variety of case forms but few are as elaborate as the desk-and-bookcase offered here. Only four other desk-and-bookcases with relief-carved tympanums of comparable quality are known, three of which are in museum collections. The desk offered here is further distinguished by its old surface, Israel Sack provenance and ownership in the Coleman family for the past fifty years.
This sale tells the story of collecting and collections, and several prominent collections anchor the sale. Property from The Estates of Eric Martin Wunsch, Jane Supino, and Allan Stone offer fresh-to-the market works sought after for their excellent condition and rich provenance. Property from the Gail-Oxford Collection of American Art and The Rosebrook Collection are impressive in their scope and quality.
A Queen Anne parcel-gilt tall-case clock by William Claggett, circa 1740 (estimate: $100,000 - 150,000) is a stunning object from the Estate of Eric Martin Wunsch. This tall-case clock is an unusually elaborate and rare survival of early Rhode Island craftsmanship, combining the talents of Newport’s preeminent colonial clockmaker and a local cabinetmaker.
In addition, Property from the Gail-Oxford Collection will offer more than 60 lots from Victor Gail’s (1929-2014) and Thomas H. Oxford’s (1927-2008) home in the Belmont Heights section of Long Beach, and includes examples of early American furniture, folk art and metalware. The proceeds of the sale of the Gail-Oxford Collection will benefit the American decorative arts collection at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, an organization the duo long supported.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM ESTEEMED COLLECTIONS
Property from the Estate of Jane Supino Attributed to Ruth Whittier (1803-1882) and Samuel Addison (1803-1836) Shute Portrait of Sarah Chandler Emerson graphite, gouache and watercolor on paper Estimate: $20,000 – 50,000
With an hypnotic stare and distinctive, exaggerated almond-shaped eyes, this work is one of the celebrated large-format portraits produced by the short-lived husband and wife partnership of Samuel Addison and Ruth Whittier Shute.
Property from the Rosebrook Collection A Queen Anne Mahogany Turret-Top Card Table With Drawer Boston, 1740-1760 Estimate: $30,000 – 50,000
This table represents one of the best examples of the form favored by Boston cabinetmakers in the decades before the Revolutionary War. Distinguished by its rich old surface, the table has graceful cabriole legs below bold turret-top corners and ogee shaping along the apron and knee returns. The work is a rare survival of a small group, probably numbering less than ten in total.
Property from the Gail-Oxford Collection A Carved, Painted And Polychrome Decorated Figure Of Abraham Lincoln Probably American, 19th Century Estimate: $5,000 – 10,000
Gail-Oxford Collection A Carved, Painted And Polychrome Decorated Figure Of Abraham Lincoln Probably American, 19th Century Estimate: $5,000 – 10,000
Property from the Allan Stone Collection A Carved, Painted And Polychrome Decorated Cigar Store Indian Princess Attributed To Samuel Anderson Robb (1851-1928), New York, Late 19th Century Estimate: $30,000 – 50,000
Rounding out the sale is a selection of superb Outsider Art by some of the most important American self-taught artists, including William Hawkins, Bill Traylor, and Thornton Dial, among others. This sale offers collectors the opportunity to acquire rare works from these critically acclaimed, widely-exhibited artmakers.
OUTSIDER ART SALE HIGHLIGHTS William Hawkins (1895-1990) White Elephant, dated to 1989 enamel and collage on Masonite Estimate: $20,000 – 40,000
Renowned self-taught artist William Hawkins is known for his graphic, large-scale images depicting animals, architecture, religious scenes and historic events. In 1989, the artist was particularly interested in both animals and grayscale work, though these two areas of exploration are not often found within the same composition. White Elephant is an excellent and unusual marriage of the technical and content-based concerns that mark this period of the artist’s creation. This piece is a study in texture and paint manipulation. A collaged, printed human eye, likely drawn from a magazine, brings the elephant to life and adds a humorous pop of color to the form.
Bill Traylor (1854 -1949) Black Mule, dated circa 1939-42 opaque watercolor and graphite on found card Estimate: $20,000 – 40,000
This large-format mule renders a strong and solid animal through bold opaque watercolor. After a lifetime on a plantation, former slave Traylor moved to Montgomery, Alabama, in his old age. Crippled with rheumatism, he began to draw. Traylor worked on found cardboard, and per later accounts would hang his drawings by a small loop of string along a nearby fence. Black Mule retains this string fastened through a puncture at the top of the composition.
Property from the Collection of Calynne and Lou Hill Thornton Dial, (b. 1928) Got Big. Picking Up, dated 1999 charcoal and graphite on paper Estimate: $3,000 – 5,000
Dial’s works on paper address more intimate subjects than his mixed-media constructions, and the solid, sweeping lines paired with subtle highlights of color in Got Big. Picking Up create a sophisticated balance of strength and softness.
IMPORTANT AMERICAN SILVER - JANUARY 22ND
The Important Silver sale on January 22 will offer more than 50 lots of American Colonial silver from the 17th and 18th centuries. The selection includes four pieces consigned by Old South Church in Boston, and many other pieces fresh to the market, including examples by America’s earliest silversmiths, John Hull and Robert Sanderson, and their successors Jeremiah Dummer, John Coney, Jacob Hurd, and Paul Revere. The silver craft in New York is represented by works by Jurian Blanck Jr., the city’s earliest silversmith, and the important makers Peter Van Dyck and Myer Myers.
Highlighting the Colonial section, and among over 40 lots from the Estate of Eric Martin Wunsch, is a silver teapot by Paul Revere made for his important patron Moses Michael Hays (estimate: $200,000 300,000). The Andrew Diamond silver serving plate by Jeremiah Dummer, circa 1690, is a new discovery; this previously unrecorded plate features extremely rare and elaborate baroque engraving, and is only the fourth known serving plate of the early Colonial period (estimate: $250,000-350,000). Also by Jeremiah Dummer, who was America’s first native-born silversmith, is a massive 17th-century silver wine cup from Old South Church (estimate: $150,000-250,000).
Highlighting the selection of 19th and 20th century American works is a whimsical Alaskan style silver ice bowl, featuring icicles and polar bears on ice floes, circa 1868 (estimate: $20,000-30,000); a rare pair of Martele silver ewers with Poseidon and mermaid handles from Gorham’s art nouveau silver line (estimate: $100,000-150,000); and a pair of silver Chrysanthemum-pattern seven-light candelabra by Tiffany, which are among the 20 lots of this popular pattern in the auction (estimate: $40,000-60,000).
• A Silver ice bowl in Alaskan style Gorham Mfg .Co., Providence, circa 1868 Estimate: $20,000 - 30,000
• A pair of silver Chrysanthemum-pattern seven light candelabra Tiffany and Co. New York 1907-47 Estimate: $40,000 - 60,000
• A rare silver-drum form teapot and cream jug made for Moses Michael Hays Paul Revere, Boston, 1783 Estimate: $200,000 - 300,000
MANDARIN & MENAGERIE: The Sowell Collection and Chinese Export Art from Various Owners - JANUARY 26th
MANDARIN & MENAGERIE: The Sowell Collection, formed over the last 25 years by Texan James E. Sowell, is comprised of Chinese export porcelain birds, animals and figures, including rare and important examples as well as small, charming pieces. The sale also features an old American private collection of European subject porcelain, highlighted by a rare Don Quixote plate (estimate: $12,000 -18,000). Top lot is a famille rose rooster tureen and cover, circa 1785 (estimate: $100,000 - 150,000); also included is an unusually good selection of China Trade paintings in oil and on paper. The sale offers almost 200 lots and is expected to make in excess of $2 million.
CHINESE EXPORT SALE HIGHLIGHTS
• A Massive Blue And White Jar And A Cover Kangxi period Estimate: $12,000 - 18,000
• A Large Pair Of Famille Rose Court Lady Candleholders Circa 1770 Estimate: $40,000 - 60,000