Likely New York State, ca. 18th century. Highly figured ash burl. Probably Iroquois. Found in the 1940's in an antique shop in Canandaigua, NY (about 30 miles south of Rochester). Stunningly beautiful design highlighted by double open-handles with rounded demi-lune cutouts. The handles flow into slightly down-curved side walls before ascending smoothly to the opposite handle. The result is a bowl of sophisticated elegance. The structural condition is superb, with no cracks. A linear inclusion, almost like a fold, shows underneath as it did when the burl knot was removed from the ash tree. The inside shows remnants of an early over-varnish, the exterior shows a mix of very thin over-varnish and smooth burnishing from handling. Desirable smaller size at just 14 1/2 inches long x 10 3/8 wide x 5 3/8 tall at the handles. Although fashioned long ago, this Native American bowl has the presence of modern art, only better..
Probably Northeast America, 19th century. Oil on artist's board. Warm patina. Presented in a black painted frame. The charm and early character of this painting would make it at home in an antique folk art or painted-surface collection, and the clean lines would present equally well in a contemporary collection. Frame size 17 1/4 inches tall x 14 1/8 wide. Original condition with no apparent in-painting. A scarce treasure of American folk art.....This portrait is a superb example of what folk art can offer. The family cat, likely painted pre-availability of photography, was rendered originally to keep the cat in the family memory, yet has been saved for generations owing to the simple and pleasing elegance of the artist's eye and rendering. Note the line of the cat's back leading the viewer's eyes to the face, and it is further framed by the straight forward structural elements behind. The ball of yarn communicates its playful nature while adding a muted splash of color just in the right position to balance the composition. And so importantly, this cat has witnessed history, it was watchful perhaps during the Civil War and all through the 20th century. No doubt the appeal of this folk art work will continue to decorate the walls of those who can "see" and appreciate it for generations more.
Probably Massachusetts or Maine, ca. 1830-1840. Oil on canvas. Attributed to George Hartwell who was closely associated with William Matthew Prior and Sturtevant Hamblin. Pleasant seated young lady in stylized scroll-back chair in soft colors holding book with rose and landscape embellishments. Painted in the desirable flat style without shade or shadow. Consistent with Hartwell in overall look and feel, and in the three-quarter length view, two-toned lips, and smooth areas in varying shades on the cheeks, noses, and under the brows to suggest modeling. Frame size 31 5/8 inches tall x 26 5/8 wide. Sight size 26 3/4 inches x 21 3/4. This compares to typical Prior-Hamblin portraits that are about half this size. Condition is strong with just minor in-painting; relined. A bit of paint loss to the right of the lady's face and scattered specks and craquelure.
New England, ca. 1825. Pine. Inner dust barrier and till. Dovetailed case, with domed top joined by unheaded cut nails. Original wonderful dry patinated crusty BLUE paint subtly decorated with wisps of willow trees on all sides. Structurally superb condition, including undisturbed wire hinges. Minor losses to paint. Retains simple wire latch. Very desirable small size at just 9 inches long x 4 1/4 tall x 4 5/8 deep. What a great piece of Americana!
Hingham, MA. ca. 1820-1840. Circular inglio stamped on the lid E.B. HINGHAM, attributed to Elisha Burr, Hingham, Massachusetts. Oval with opposing fingers. Pine top and bottom boards, with what appears to be ash or chestnut side-bands. Joinery by early hewn iron tacks and tiny wooden pegs. Wonderful early red paint with great surface and soft feel. 5 7/8 inches long x 4 1/4 wide x 2 1/4 tall. For reference, please see a paint decorated canteen by Elisha Burr, Hingham, circa 1822, at Old Sturbridge Village. An exemplary early painted box to stand alone or to stack.
Likely Hudson River Valley, ca. 18th century. Pine. Slightly canted case in original red paint, this box has an unusual double demi-lune hanger and a rarely seen reeded front board and iron-strap blacksmith-made exposed hinges. The reeding is formed by hand planning. Chisel marks are readily apparent on the chamfered hanger edges. The interior has a thin vertical divider on the left, perhaps used to hold candles on the longer side, tinder and lighting material on the shorter. The strap hinges are attached to the top of the lid via wrought nails which are clenched to the under-side. The rear of the hinges are joined by heavy wrought iron staples which penetrate the backboard, then clenched over from behind. Condition is very good, with normal wear as expected. Clearly heavily used given the encrustation visible on the lid and two ancient splits that are held by early cut nails. A museum accession number (292) is labeled on the back. This special wall box is for the collector who wants early, color, rarity, and great character. About 16 inches long x 9 tall x 5 1/2 deep. .
Dr. James and Lavinia Hall, South Freeport, Maine, ca. early 19th century. Attributed to John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854). Oil on canvas. Dr. Hall painted half-length, in black coat with white vest and tie. Lavinia Hall also half-length, with bonnet and lace collar. Set within superb period black painted frames with decorated corners.....Brewster was a deaf painter that rendered beautiful and ethereal portraits, in no small part his skill manifesting from his deafness. He developed an ability to create likenesses that have been described as in this passage by the American Museum of Folk Art "Brewster was especially sensitive to the sitters face, emphasizing his or her direct gaze as a deaf artist, eye contact became a moment of engagement and communication". Brewster was also known for broad flat areas of color to complement the soft, expressive facial features. Frame sizes: 30 inches tall x 25 1/2 wide. Condition: Tack edges missing; minor edge loss to each canvas. Minor in painting. Relined on new stretchers. Frames not original to the paintings yet are period and wonderful. Restored by Michael Heslip, Williamstown Art Conservation Center, Inc. Full restoration report available. Provenance: Private collection. Accompanied by the photocopy of a letter, dated 1932, between two cousins, descendents of the Halls, describing how the paintings had been handed down through the family. High res photos available.
New England, ca. 1740-1760. Oval, overhanging top on a molded apron resting on turned and splayed legs joined by molded box stretcher raised on button feet. Early 19th century in-use oxidized blue paint, over original mid-18th century red. Paint has a very dry even patina. The two-board top has a crack following the grain caused by shrinkage. A single original peg remains in the top with screws that are "set in" replacing missing top pegs during its period of use. Very good paint coverage with wear on lower stretchers and feet. Height 25 1/2 inches; top 25 1/4 x 34 1/4. Rare and wonderful to find an early tavern baluster table with original paint history. The small size gives this piece flexibility in placing in the home, and the wonderful early paint would fit well with painted boxes and other folk art pieces.