Cupboards, Carvings & a Campus Queen Lead Garth's Fifth Annual Ohio Valley Americana Auction Anyone who has an interest in Midwestern decorative arts, or even Americana in general, must plan a trip to Ohio this May for Garth's Fifth Annual Ohio Valley auction on May 20-21.
Between the Midwest Antiques Forum, the Equal in Goodness exhibit, and Garth’s Fifth Annual Ohio Valley Auction, anyone who has an interest in Midwestern decorative arts, or even Americana in general, must plan a trip to Ohio this May. Garth’s Auctions is a proud sponsor of both the Forum and the exhibit, but is especially pleased to present over 800 lots during the upcoming May 20-21 Americana auction which will feature what is probably the best Ohio Valley auction since the inaugural sale in 2007. Comprised of nearly 200 lots, the Friday Ohio Valley session includes, not only some iconic objects, but overall, a thoroughly solid offering.
Among the hotly anticipated Ohio items to sell, Vice President Andrew Richmond counts lot 44 as a likely candidate. The decorated wardrobe (or schrank) comes from Bluffton, Allen and Hancock Counties, Ohio and dates to circa 1860. The one-piece, estimated at $2,500-5,000, has a lift-off cornice, a raised-panel door set on pintel hinges, and its original faux mahogany graining, green trim, and star decoration on the door. Since many early Bluffton settlers had migrated from Sonnenberg in Wayne County, the design and construction of both one- and two-door wardrobes is similar in both communities. For a related two-drawer Bluffton wardrobe, see Equal in Goodness: Ohio Decorative Arts 1788-1860, entry 132; for a related one-door example from Sonnenberg, see Irwin and Locher, Artistry of the Cabinetmaker, fig. 200. Richmond, who served as the guest curator for the Equal in Goodness exhibit considers himself, “a sucker for all things with Swiss or German influences.”
Another cupboard from Northern Indiana, is dated 1895 and decorated with black and red paint with gold stenciling, including embellishments of birds. The two-piece, stepback cupboard, estimated at $5,000-10,000, exhibits stenciled birds on the lower doors identical to birds on a blanket chest in private hands, and both pieces were found in northern Indiana. The heart-lyre and the starflower motifs on the present cupboard are also identical to those that appear on two blanket chests previously sold by Garth's (November 2009, lots 118 and 119). These motifs also appear on furniture by several makers in Soap Hollow, Pennsylvania, including Jeremiah Stahl (1830-1907). The consistent use of identical stenciled motifs across a large geographic area and on furniture clearly by several different hands, suggests that the stencils were being widely copied, or perhaps even produced for sale or trade.
The highlight of the Ohio folk art to sell will most certainly be from the collection of eleven works by Columbus artist Elijah Pierce. The son of a former slave, Pierce’s work gained respect and notoriety in the folk art community during the 1970s up through his death in 1984. Since the artist started producing his works in the 1920s, the breadth of work can be religious themed as well as secular showing his love of both his work as a lay minister and his interests in politics, sports, movies, and the African-American experience. The most anticipated lot is a 1966