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.
American, ca. 1870-1880. Oil on canvas. Probably New York State or Pennsylvania (given "Climax" on the windmill). Upliftingly rendered as a bright, sunny day with wispy clouds and stylized trees framing a large home, the path from which leading to a mustard-painted barn. A white painted fence separates the home from the fields in the background, helping to define this property as "our space" and the horse as a family member as he is inside the fencing. The artist pulls us in with large spaces of solid primary colors, and the "companionship" amongst the dog, horse, and bird. No in-painting save for a small (1 inch square) area in clouds. Never lined. Unframed. About 28 1/2 inches x 16 1/2. Provenance: Private collection; bought years ago from Don Walters. Something to consider: undoubtedly thousands of trained-artist paintings from this period have been lost, this folk picture survives. I think it is because of the friendly story it tells, and the bold aesthetic of its colors.
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.
Seeking special examples of early American folk art portraits. Please email photos to email@example.com, or call 585-385-9002.
Northeast America, possibly Philadelphia, ca. 18th century. Hardwood (maple?) with remnants of early cream and black paint and retaining the original iron hangers. It attracted passersby during a time when many were illiterate, so figural signs, like this carved pig (rather than lettered) were often used. The pig is a remarkable survivor, having endured many years of weathering that checked and pitted its surface into a deeply textured sculptural object with much more character and presence than when first crafted. It exhibits shadows of long lost 19th century tin sheets installed to extend its life. Comes with a custom iron stand, or may be hung. About 21 inches from the tail to the tip of the snout......Simple, honest, rare, graphic, historic.....Please ask for high res photos to better see the surface details.
Likely Pennsylvania, ca. mid 19th century. Appears to be maple. Rich dark color. Expertly carved. Pronounced lathe-turn marks on front and back with turned handle. Probably made in a small craftsman shop. A common form but elevated considerably above the norm by its crisp, accomplished carving and MINT condition. About 3 5/8 inch diameter. Provenance: Private collection, formerly Nathan Liverant & Son..
New England, ca. 1870-1890. Likely by Harris and Co., Boston. Copper, with sensational early complex surface retaining yellow sizing, gilding, verdigris, and rich chocolate browns, with more wear to the side most often facing the weather (as it should be). Crisp details, such as the rider's expressive face and the in-curves to the horses head, as seen on the earliest and finest examples. First-rate structural condition retaining even the smallest features. This weathervane survives as an exemplary sculpture with much character created by years of exposure to Mother Nature. About 34 inches long. Provenance: Prominent Midwest weathervane collection. See: A Gallery of American Weathervanes and Whirlygigs, Robert Bishop, for another horse and sulky embellished with Black Hawk horse, at that time (1981) the only one known! Please email for high resolution photos to better appreciate the details and subtleties of the surface.
American, late 19th century. Oil on canvas. Folk art townscapes, and house/farm portraits in the 19th century were painted to reflect pride in home, town, and accomplishments. This is a fine example, rendered in a quiet, soft color palette with horse and rider prancing down the path, with their dog in hot pursuit, while in the foreground a mother pig watches as her piglets drink. Several buildings, including a privy set into the trees, surround the elegant, green shuttered white-painted house with picket fence surrounding to keep out farm animals, and scattered flowers. The composition portrays an appealing simpler time. Excellent condition with minor area of toning. Appears to be original, and very pleasing, molded frame with dry, crackled surface. Overall frame size of about 33 inches x 23 inches. A note on the back indicates this painting was found on a long trip years ago.
New England, ca 1861-1865. Watercolor and pen and ink on paper. Signed W.M.C. Philbrick. The wooden, 207 foot long USS Ossipee, named after the Ossipee River of New Hampshire and Maine, was launched from the Portsmouth Navy Yard in 1861 as a sloop-of-war in the Union Navy during the Civil War. Among many actions the Ossipee served in the blockage of Newport News, Virginia in 1863 and in Admiral Farragut's naval battle in Mobile Bay, Alabama in 1864, forcing the ironclad CSS Tennessee to surrender. This precisely rendered ship portrait shows fittings for battle, including 6 cannons and gun ports enclosing more. The portrait retains strong color, highlighted by the bold American flag. Research reveals that WMC Philbrick is William M.C. Philbrick, a Naval Architect and carpenter's mate of the USS Portsmouth, based on a sketch by him depicting the USS Albatross off Mobile, AL., in 1863, and from The Private Papers of William M.C. Philbrick, US Naval Historical Center, Mystic Seaport, CT. Philbrick also sketched the iron-clad ship Essex in 1862 and likely other ships as well. Excellent condition with minor creases and several small edge tears repaired on the back. Presented in a period gilt frame measuring about 29 inches long x 21 tall. This portrait blends real history with a bright, folk art presence. Please ask for higher res photos to see detail.