Skinner to Auction American Furniture and Decorative Arts Featuring the Barbara and Robert Levine Collection of Vermont Furniture & Decorative Arts; Folk Portraiture; Maritime Art; American Clocks; Antique Weathervane; and Needlework
News-Antique.com - Jul 28,2011 - Skinner Inc. will host an auction of American furniture and decorative arts at their Marlborough gallery on Sunday, August 14th, 2011. This sale of over 900 lots is highlighted by items from the collection of Barbara and Robert Levine. The Levines’ affection for Vermont’s rich history of folk art, needlework, clocks and furniture is reflected in the material in this collection. Of particular interest is a rare and important early 19th century Federal tiger and bird’s-eye maple veneered bureau, lot 26, made in Rutland, Vermont and estimated between $50,000 to $70,000. A cherry bombe chest of drawers attributed to George Stedman and a rare cherry shop wall regulator by Levi Pitkin of Montpelier, Vermont also highlight the collection.
Exceptional examples of folk painting include an unsigned American School work, lot 75, Portrait of Lavinia Fanning Age Seven Years. This portrait of the daughter of Nathaniel Fanning, a midshipman on John Paul Jones’s ship Bon Homme Richard, was painted in 1803 and is estimated between $8,000 to $12,000. It comes to Skinner through family descent and reportedly hung in the family home for over 200 years. A pair of portraits by John Brewster, lot 69, depicts Captain John Low and his wife Sara (Herrick) Low, and is estimated between $30,000 and $50,000. Another appealing portrait is Jonathan Orne Johnson “J.O.J.” Frost’s folk painting The “A(Zor). ORNE HOME,” Marblehead, Massachuesetts. J.O.J. Frost was an untrained artist who took up sculpting and painting later in life. The painting depicts several African-American servants with yard tools and a white gentleman holding a basket by a house.. Interestingly, this house was used in the 1830s in the “Underground Railroad” as a secret meeting place for the New England Anti-Slavery Society. Auction estimates for lot 169 range from $15,000 to $25,000.
Weathervanes, whirligigs, and folk art sculpture going on the block include a whirligig tavern sign from Connecticut, circa 1870s, lot 82, estimated between $8,000 to $12,000. The carved painted wood figure of a woman with paddle hands reportedly stood at the “Halfway House,” a tavern and inn established in 1876 halfway between the towns of Darien and Stamford, Connecticut. A diverse variety of weathervanes including codfish, horses, roosters, cows, a peacock, and a leaping stag will be offered. A copper “Dexter” running horse weathervane, lot 87, from the late 19th century had been mounted on a barn in Worcester County, Massachusetts since its original purchase and is expected to bring between $3,000 and $5,000. Finally, a J. Howard rooster weathervane, lot 692, made of gilt zinc and copper, and made in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, circa 1854-67, has been estimated to sell between $10,000 and $15,000.
Marine works include Solon Francis Monticello Badger’s Portrait of the Schooner Young Brothers. The Young Brothers was built in Belfast, Maine, in 1890. Her captain and share owner was George Snow of South Falmouth, Massachusetts. The painting, lot 622, is expected to sell for $10,000 to $15,000. Rounding out the marine offerings is an unsigned work,