Travelers to Garth’s November 25-26 Thanksgiving Weekend Auction Are Treated to the Scenic Route Garth’s 51st Annual Thanksgiving Americana Auction will give bidders a chance to travel home, not only with rare, beautiful and interesting pieces - but, bits of history from the Widder collection.
Of the three decorated dressing tables in the auction, the bowfront, pine example from New England, possibly Vermont, dates to 1815-1830 (estimate $1,000-2,000). With its original grain-painted decoration, this table closely relates to the work of Thomas Matteson in South Shaftsbury, Vermont. As with the dressing tables, attracting those into more formal forms, a desk and bookcase from New England, circa 1815-1830, has two doors flanked by fluted quarter-columns over a lower section with four small drawers, a fold-out writing surface, and two large drawers, all resting on tapered legs. Retaining its original faux mahogany and curly maple graining and black and gold stencil decoration, the 77" high. piece is ex Clark Garrett (Ohio), was purchased at his annual Labor Day Auction in 1980, and is now estimated at $3,000-6,000. Two decorated mule chests from Vermont will be sold with a particularly fine example comprised of three drawers, high, cutout feet, and its original faux-grain paint that mimics highly figured veneer with inlaid stringing (estimate $2,500-5,000). The Widders noted that they especially enjoyed collecting painted boxes and chests of all sizes because “they stacked and displayed so well”. Trinket boxes decorated by Heinrich Bucher of Berks County, Pennsylvania and Jacob Weber of Fivepointsville, Lancaster, Pennsylvania are each just the thing to top a stack of boxes in a new home. Estimated at $3,000-5,000 and $4,000-8,000, respectively.
A supremely fine assortment of folk art portraits are certain to be a highlight of the sale. The Widders dedicated time to diligent research in libraries and, later, online, breathing new life into many of their antiques by making new connections and unraveling the mysteries of their makers. Their entire collection of books which comprised their home research library with over 200 volumes will be sold as well. This longtime commitment to research even led them to the front door of the 92-year-old great-great-granddaughter of folk portraitist Ruth Whittier Shute, a moment that was one of the highlights in their life in the world of antiques (and the portrait by Shute is one of the highlights of the Widder collection). The portrait of a boy (estimate $20,000-30,000) is attributed to Ruth and/or Samuel Shute of New England, who were married in 1827, living in Weare, New Hampshire. Both were itinerant artists who traveled through New England. The couple moved to Champlain, New York in 1834, but upon Samuel's death in 1836, Ruth returned to Concord, New Hampshire. In 1840, she married Alpha Tarbell and they moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where Ruth died in 1882. The family remains in Kentucky to today, including Ruth's great great granddaughter, who owns portraits of her grandmother and great-grandmother, both of which include roses identical to those in the portrait of the boy offered here. While the subject of this portrait is unknown, an almost identical portrait of an unidentified boy, possibly a brother, wearing the same vest and seated in a rose garden with a book is attributed to the Shutes (by Helen Kellogg) and is in the