NEW YORK, NY.-
On September 24, Christies
presents the sale of Important American Furniture, Folk Art & Decorative Arts. This sale features over 100 diverse examples of American art and craftsmanship from the 18th and 19th Centuries. Highlights include furniture from the Wunsch Americana Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as a selection of American folk art and maritime paintings.
Leading the sale is a Chippendale Carved Mahogany Easy Chair, Philadelphia, 1760-1765 (estimate: $600,000-900,000). One of the most successful creations of the renowned "Garvan" carver, this easy chair is a triumph of Philadelphia design and artistry. Unidentified and known solely through his body of work spanning from the early 1750s to the mid-1760s, this craftsman was the city's most accomplished and influential carver of his day and this easy chair, made during the his mature style, reflects the culmination of this remarkable carver's talents. Similarly, the chair's frame, expertly crafted with a number of distinctive features, can be linked to a larger body of work and placed within the oeuvre of a known, but also unidentified, cabinetmaking shop. Long hailed as a Philadelphia masterpiece, the Philadelphia Museum of Art purchased the chair in 1925, and is now deaccessioning it to provide funds for acquisitions.
Resplendent and extraordinarily rare, another sale highlight is a Queen Anne Japanned Maple Bureau Table, Boston, circa 1735, which is one of about forty known examples of japanned furniture from colonial America, most of which are in public collections today (estimate: $60,000-90,000). The only bureau table known to exist, this piece stands as a unique survival of the form with distinctive chinoiserie ornament. The japanned ornament is attributed to Robert Davis, a prominent craftsman in colonial Boston. The tables decoration remains largely intact and reveals the full beauty of the sparking gem-like appearance intended by its eighteenth-century creator.
The sale also features a selection of property from the Wunsch Americana Foundation, including a Pair of Federal Eagle-Inlaid Mahogany Side Chairs, Attributed to William Singleton (w. 1789-1803, d. 1803), Baltimore, 1790-1800 (estimate: $60,000-90,000). This pair of chairs was lent to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the Department of State in 1968 and remained in the Monroe Reception Room as part of a larger set of four related chairs until they were returned to the Wunsch Americana Foundation. Until now, the location of this pair has been unknown.
Also included in the sale is an exceptional example of American folk portraiture by the Connecticut artist Erastus Salisbury Field (1805-1900). Exceedingly rare in subject and composition, this full-length portrait of an identified young girl, Almira Canning Cowels, is offered by a direct descendant of the sitter (estimate: $50,000-80,000). In this portrait, Almira Cowles, the daughter of a prominent reverend in the Connecticut River Valley, is depicted holding a lustrous blue ribbon restraining her rabbit that wears a diminutive corsage at its collar, and her beautiful yet restrained face suggests the hint of a smile. This portrait is a charming example of Fields personal style focusing on colorful details to enliven a purposefully humble composition and perspective.
The sale features works of maritime art by Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen (1850-1921), including The Paddlewheel Steamer St. John (1880), and Fred B. Dalzell (1892) (both estimates: $12,000-18,000).