Bidders Turn Their Eyes To Garth’s May Ohio Valley - American Decorative Arts Sale On May 16-17, Garth’s Auctions will host a two-day auction of over 850+ lots of Early American Furniture & Decorative Arts, featuring the highly anticipated 8th Annual Ohio Valley session.
On May 16-17, Garth’s Auctions will host a two-day auction of over 850+ lots of Early American Furniture & Decorative Arts, featuring the highly anticipated 8th Annual Ohio Valley session. The sale consists of approximately 900 lots and includes part two of the Ray and Mary Ann Meisberger Collection, as well as Ohio pottery from the collection of the late Jim Murphy, who was a well-known archaeologist at The Ohio State University. Amelia Jeffers, president of Garth’s Auctions remarked, “This is high quality auction with a lot of depth in every category and the ceramics and stoneware are excellent. This auction comes on the heels of several very good Americana auctions and I’m really proud to say it reflects the importance of the collectors in the Midwest and the Ohio regions such as Gregg & RuthAnn Ellington, longtime collectors and friends of Garths.”
The Ohio Valley session begins Saturday, May 17th at 10:00 am and will offer nearly 200 lots. The Ohio Valley sessions were first offered at Garth’s in 2007 in the interest of emphasizing the importance of Ohio’s material culture. One of the most anticipated lots of the session is an unsigned oil on canvas, half-length Portrait of Henry Clay (American, 2nd quarter-19th century). The Kentucky statesman is depicted with piercing blue eyes, and wearing a yellow vest. The portrait was once in the collection of Helen Clay Frick (1888-1984), daughter of one of America's greatest industrialists and art collectors, Henry Clay Frick. Born at Clayton, the Frick family estate in Pittsburgh, Helen followed her family to New York where her father built his Fifth Avenue mansion. After his death in 1919, Miss Frick, also a collector and staunch supporter of the arts, played a key role in building and managing the Frick Collection, the museum comprised of her father's New York mansion and art collection. She also established the Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh, and later funded the construction of the Frick Fine Arts Building. Helen Clay Frick's personal collection forms the core of what is now the Frick Art and Historical Center (located at Clayton).
Based on a label en verso, Miss Frick likely acquired the portrait from Kennedy Galleries(New York) in the 1950s or early 1960s. Then, in the spring of 1965, she gave it to her good friend James G. Fulton, Congressman of Pennsylvania's 27th district, writing, "I have decided to send you a painting. The painting in question is the portrait of a gentleman we both admire-"Henry Clay..." Fulton responded, "I can not tell you how much I appreciate your friendly interest in sending the picture of Henry Clay...With your permission, I believe I will keep it in my Pittsburgh office." Both original letters accompany this portrait. Following Fulton's death in 1971, the portrait was purchased by his brother, Robert D. Fulton, at the estate auction for $5,000. Marie Fulton, his wife, later gifted the portrait to Congressman Fulton's niece, in whose family it descended.