Likely New Hampshire, dated 1810 at the bottom, the sitter identified as "James N. Sinter". Watercolor on paper. Attributed to the seldom found, highly sought after artist known only as "Mr Willson" (aka 'Wilson'). Similar portraits by Mr. Willson are in the collection of the New York State Historical Society, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston); Currier Art Gallery; the Shelburne Museum and in private collections. Subjects in Mr. Willson portraits are typically bust-length, three quarter view turned to the right, against a neutral background. Facial features have the profile of the nose, upper eyelid and mouth delineated as a single line. This portrait shows a stylishly dressed, most handsome young James with blue eyes and reddish hair. Early tears were professionally paper-conserved long ago, likely when framed by the Philadelphia Print Shop. Scattered foxing and toning. Frame size about 24 1/2 inches x 20 inches; sight size about 19 inches x 14. See A Loving Likeness, American Folk Portraits of the Nineteenth Century, The Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Susan and Ray Egan; and Folk Art's Many Faces, Portraits in the New York State Historical Association, for reference. Portraits by Mr. Willson have a look and feel that stands out as very special. I love this portrait. Provenance: The important collection of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch.
New England, 18th century, 1740-1780. Mixed woods which appear to be maple, cherry, and mahogany with original rich, deep surface and color. Threaded post with adjustable chip-carved rail fitted with original iron candle holders above a scarce medial "table", perhaps to hold extra candles, wick trimmers, etc. All supported by a plinth with tripod raking legs. The carved screw mechanism allowed candles, and medial table, to be raised and lowered to just the right height to optimize precious candle light. In a very high state of originality. The screw mechanism continues to work smoothly. The underside of the medial table is beautifully tooled (see close up photo of its underside). About 32 inches total height. Ex-WADSWORTH ATHENEUM, Hartford (accession number painted on 26.522). PICTURED IN WALLACE NUTTING,1928, plate 1359. Provenance: Private New England collection; Hollis Broderick.
New England, ca. 1822-1830. Watercolor and ink on paper, in what appears to be the original period frame. The artist effectively used arbitrary scale: note the relative sizing of the lady, the church, the home. Memorials were typically created by young ladies while attending a seminary, where the well-educated girl was expected to master the basics of drawing, painting, embroidery, and penmanship. A memorial would have been influenced by the instructor and by the tenets of Romanticism learned from the popular authors of the day (the content of art comes from the imagination of the artist, not defined by a set of "rules"). They were often created years after the events they depicted as gifts for family or close friends. The home with its red door, three floors of green windows, and stylized trees has striking similarity to a Fitchburg, Massachusetts family record that I once owned, which is pictured on page 40 of "The Art of the Family". Colors are rich and saturated with impressive finely painted detail. The large tree bordering the right side, and bushes below it, are "PIN-PRICKED" to give the leaves dimensionality (simulating embroidery). The winged angel adds considerable interest. By the late 1830's many of the young ladies' seminaries had been replaced by public schools with emphasis on academic subjects rather than art, and Romanticism was replaced by the Industrial Revolution and Realism, so few examples of this exceptional artistic merit are seen after this period. Deserving of the best of folk art collections. Frame size about 16 3/4 inches wide x 13 inches tall. HAPPY TO EMAIL HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTOS.
American, probably New England, dated 1829. Oil on wooden panel. The young man identified on the back as HC Pond, born Dcm (December) 18-1812, painted in 1829 age 17. The lower right front panel signed E. Pond, undoubtedly a relative of young HC. Research finds no other painting by this artist, so may be a singular work, although it likely other portraits were painted by this artist given his obvious skill. HC is most fashionably attired in an elegant double breasted charcoal-gray coat, black vest and tie, and high collared white shirt. His handsome face with wide almond-shaped eyes and smooth skin complement his stylish attire, which, combined with excellent proportions and subtle color harmony, elevate this portrait well above most that we encounter. The portrait cuts a clear, bold silhouette that makes good use of the characteristic padded shoulders found on the coats of the period. The work is executed with both confidence and skill and yet is "flatter", intuitive and less developed than its academic counterparts. Excellent condition with very thin vertical cracks repaired; minor in-painting. Housed in a terrific period red-painted frame that presents the portrait beautifully. Appealing small size without being a miniature. It does not demand a large wall and yet still carries visually at a reasonable distance. Overall frame size about 15 1/2 inches tall x 13 wide. Compares favorably to "Mr. Boyd" yet larger, facing forward and much scarcer.
Probably Connecticut, ca. 1870-1880. Oil on canvas. The proud owners/workers standing before the Shea and McCarthy Blacksmithing and Jobbing Shop joined with the C.S. Gamwell Carriage Shop. As with most folk art paintings of PRIDE in town or business, the artist has depicted an idealistic view, with no disrepair or debris, and has effectively used rich primary colors of blue in the sky with puffy white clouds contrasted against the reds of the clothing and carriages. The scene shows workers with tools; the blacksmith with leather apron. Of note is the ramp alongside the carriage shop which would allow carriages or wagons to be pulled to the second level for repair, perhaps providing access to the undersides. Excellent condition, cleaned with minor retouch. Original stretcher and likely original frame. Unlined except for tack-edges. Sight size about 30 inches x 22. Overall frame size about 34 x 27.
American, likely Pennsylvania, ca. 3rd quarter, 19th century. Appears to be walnut. Original, remarkable, bold, fanciful decoration by a skilled ornamental painter who likely painted game boards and signs. As with other imaginative and innovative works of art, this piece has significance as being an original creation, not a copy of other works, and a contrast to the subdued color palettes typical of that period, i.e., avant-garde, edgy, and beautiful. Solid, sturdy construction with thumbnail molding about the perimeter, the pegs firmly tenoned through the backboard. Excellent condition with appropriate wear on the pegs. Note diminutive size of just 19 1/4 inches long x 2 3/4 tall with pegs depth of 4 1/2 inches. May have been used for hanging clothing or textiles, and perhaps even as a "gameboard for rings". Provenance: Virginia Pope Cave, David Schorsch, private Connecticut collection..
New England, discovered decades ago in Massachusetts. 18th century. Pine and linen, the top and bottom panels profusely carved, retaining untouched rich natural patina, the two panels joined by a circle of long wooden pins about the perimeter. The top panel is centered by a leather-hinged door, the leather held by rose-head nails (the leather long ago worn through). Retains the original carved turnbuckle clasp, and door finial. The wooden pins form the structure around which thick linen (with likely cotton batting within) are wrapped. The linen wrap is the foundation upon which the lace is crafted using pins to hold the lace in place. The inside of the ball functions as a box, holding carved wooden tools (two present) that provided tension to lace-threads. The door is decorated with an elaborate petal design that is repeated under the base. A substantial piece of about 8 1/2 inches diameter x 5 tall, and pleasingly weighty in-hand. This is an exceedingly rare Americana survival.
Pennsylvania. ca. late 18th/early 19th century. Watercolor on laid paper. Confidentally attributed to Daniel Otto (1770-1820) the most talented of the four sons of Johann Henrich Otto (1733-1800), one of the Pennsylvania Germans' seminal fraktur artists, who took up his father's art along with his brothers. Born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, Daniel's work surpassed his brothers' with the intensity of his colors and the striking nature of his designs. This fraktur vividly portrays a stylized, exotic parrot set among flowers. Note the cool treatment of the claws. Colors remain bright and saturated. Set within a 19th century carved walnut frame, not original to the fraktur, yet a terrific presentation. The frame about 8 inches x 6. The fraktur itself about 4 inches x 3.
HANNAH BROWN. Dated 1780. Primarily wool and silk. Of a small, delicate size for a pocket, this exceptional embroidered flame-stitch-variant pocket is rarer than similarly crafted pocketbooks. Representative of the best American needlework. Beautiful, labor-intensive textiles for personal adornment were amongst the most valuable possessions in the 18th century and a symbol of status. Probably made by Hannah for her own use, imagine her wearing this pocket at the finest gatherings. And like samplers, needlework accomplishments were often part of a young woman's dowry. Handsomely mounted for presentation yet also easily removed from the mount if desired. The pocket is about 7 inches wide x 10 1/4 to the top of the silk hanger. Mounting is about 12 3/4 inches x 9 3/4. Excellent condition with minor losses. Reference: "Worldly Goods, the Arts of Early Pennsylvania", Philadelphia Museum of Art, and "What Clothes Reveal", Baumgarten, Colonial Williamsburg. A beautiful object that would be unique in a modern or classical decor with the character of almost 250 years of history.
New England, ca. mid 18th century. A witness to the early days of Colonial America, highlighted by ancient original paint and rare STRIKING tombstone shaped door. The turnbuckle knob (which any lover of treen will notice for its sensational surface) opens the door revealing three shelves, one defined by the shaped round of the tombstone. The door is scratch-carved with a small B and large N. (18th century scrafitto from a child?) High state of originality with all original moldings, H-hinges with rosehead nails, and knob/turnbuckle. Wear related to age and use. A later nail added at the closure to compensate for wear. About 30 1/8 inches tall x 26 1/4 wide and delightfully shallow at only 7 1/2 inches deep not including the molding. May be mounted to a wall or rest on a chest. THE WHOLE LEAVES AN INDELIBLE IMAGE. Provenance: Private collection of the best of 18th century country America; Lillian Blankley Cogan (decades ago), a doyenne of Americana dealers for nearly 70 years.