FOLK ART  Collection

 

American Trade Figure Attributed to Samuel Rob New York City 

Rob Figure Full View
 A late 19th Century American Trade Figure , "Cigar Store Indian" attributed to the shop of the shop of Samuel Rob, born in Brooklyn in 1851 into a family of Scottish shipcarvers and carpenters. Some biographies give the date of 1864 as the start of his work as a professional wood carver, beginning with his five-year apprenticeship as a teenager. He quickly found a place in a workshop, and, at the encouragement of his employer, studied at the National Academy of Design. He subsequently attended and graduated from the Free Night School program at the Cooper Union School of Art. In 1876, at the age of 25, he opened his own workshop, and became well-known for the exceptional quality of his craftsmanship in carving and his extremely high productivity. He enjoyed the position of being New York’s most sought-after woodcarver, producing more than 200 figures a year. In addition to trade figures, circus companies such as Adam Forepaugh and Barnum, Bailey and Hutchison commissioned his work, ultimately leading him to open a second workshop. He closed his shops in 1910, and moved to Philadelphia for a period of nine years before returning to New York. He died in 1928 at the age of 77.
 

19th Century Besson & Co. Paint decorated Parade Drum 

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 Weathervanes 

American Hollow Body Rooster Weathervane 

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An impressive New England copper hollow bodied weathervane. Attributed to W.A. Snow Iron Works Inc. Boston Massachusets.1883-1895.  
Impressive rare imposing size and detail, with well defined cast zinc spur talons clutching an orb. Excellent condition exhibiting a residue and surface history in keeping with the age and period, with a crusty gold weathered surface. Well defined  tail plumage and feathering. Dimensions: 31" h., 24-3/4" w.
 

American Hollow Body Signed Harris    "Dexter"  Running Horse Weathervane 

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Late 19th Century running horse weathervane manufactured by ,"HARRIS and Co." as marked on a small copper oval plate attached to the horizontal rod. It is constructed of molded previously gilded copper, has zinc ears, and head, The body measures 27" long  18 1/2" tall mounted on its museum stand and has a beautifully patinated oxidized and variegated surface. No restoration or modifications , only seam separation as expected with legitimate vanes of the period. HARRIS and Co. operated from Boston MA and is considered  one of the premier manufacturers in its day.
 

 American Hollow Body "GameCock"  Weathervane 

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A Rare Small Molded Copper Gamecock Weathervane, America, late 19th/early 20th century, flattened full-body form with embossed body details and embossed sheet copper tail feathers, embossed sheet copper comb and tail, copper feet, mounted on a short rod, the surface with verdigris and remnants of gilding, no stand, on a custom iron stand. As with the majority of the companies who manufactured hollow body weathervanes in America during the 19th and early 20th century, this example was made in new England likely by one of the major producers which include Cushing & Sons, J.W.Fiske, Harris, Jewel, and Howard. Purchased from Skinners Boston in one of their many stand out  Americana sales in the early 21st century.

 

American L.W. Cushing  &  Sons Steer  Weathervane 

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IMPRESSIVE STEER WEATHERVANE OF SUBSTANTIAL SCALE, GREAT, BOXY FORM, AND BEAUTIFUL, GILDED SURFACE over original yellow sizing, L.W. CUSHING & SONS, BOSTON, CA 1880. One of the most desireable rural weathervane forms with boldly exaggerated, boxy profile, which echo the rural English prize livestock paintings of the  18th and 19th century. Fabricated Circa 1880, of hammer-molded copper with cast horns and ears. Identical examples appear in the 1883 catalogue of L.W. Cushing & Sons in Boston, Massachusetts.  The distinctive facial profile with its downward gaze, elongated muzzle and long, upward-curving horns, is also shared with the Ox design of the same manufacturer.  The surface retains much of its original gilding over the a well variegated copper body further enhanced by the chrome yellow foundation paint or sizing which adds a further enhanced dimension to the whole. 

Purchased from David Schorsch Antiques in New Hampshire in the late 90/s 

 
 

American Blackhawk Horse Weathervane 

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Attributed to Harris and Company, Boston, Massachusetts
Ca. 1875-1890 this  wonderful example was purchased at Skinners Boston from the Paul & Cheryl Scott Collection. It exhibits the highly desirable yellow well patinated surface. The moulded copper body includes cast zinc ears, the profile and identity of this classic American form is commonly known as the Blackhawk, a popular breed of horse sold by the Blackhawk Family of Weare, New Hampshire, first advertised for sale in 1859. 

Other sources quote the name Blackhawk as the name of an individual horse who according to reputation sired as many as 1,722 foals including the famous Ethan Allen. 

 modelled after Blackhawk (1833-1856), an infamous trotter who sired 1,722 foals, including the storied Ethan Allen.

 

          Troupe of 6- 19th century Italian marionettes 

 

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Three of Six large mid 19th Century Italian marionettes 
 

  Folk Art masterpiece by Joseph Swift  

Watercolour livestock Portrait of "MANFRED" 1883
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 This remarkably rare and beautiful livestock portrait was executed by Joseph Swift in 1883. It epitomizes the naive folk tradition so coveted in the United Kingdom and the USA, what makes this example so much more desirable is the quality of the naive subject matter, its state of preservation, the degree of its rarity and the composition and subtle nuances and colouring of this work.  It is one of two associated paintings of  prize draft horses owned at that time by the Graham Brothers of Claremont Ontario, just West of Markham Ontario. This and the associated / sister painting, also a portrait of a draft horse, "Royal Exchange" were purchased at a yard sale in the 1970's in the Claremont area likely from ancestors of the original owners. 

  Folk Art masterpiece by Joseph Swift  

Watercolour livestock Portrait of "ROYAL EXCHANGE " 1883
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 ThisAlthough painted just three years before its sister painting " Manfred", this folk art masterpiece also follows in the English tradition of naive livestock paintings, however this earlier work utilizes a different script to document the ownership, date and lineage of the subject. The extraordinary power of this regal animal almost jumps from  the page as the black styalized silhouette of the horse, further contrasted by the white of its socks are all beautifully set against idealized landscape of a rural Ontario Farmstead, which includes white clap boars, cupola and swallows soaring overhead. As with the later portrait Manfred, Royal Exchange is also in an extremely good state of preservation. 

 
 
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          MICHA WILLIAMS Portrait of a gentleman 

 

  Unsigned watercolour and pastel half portrait of a gentelman attributed to Micha Williams (American, 1782-1837) This distinguished elderly man sports distinctive grey locks, black waistcoat highlighted with a colourful plaid vest. The sitters confident penetrating gaze conveys a man of experience and substance echoed by the decorative broach and red leather text clasped in his right hand. The painting retains its original gold leaf tortoise shell frame and has undergone professional restoration and conservation by Franklin Shores Philadelphia Pennsylvania in the early 1990's.

 

Anna Weber  / Tree of Birds / 1870

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Arguably one of the most recognized and well documented masterpieces in the Canadian folk art tradition, this exceptional 19th century watercolour represents the pinnacle of Anna Webers work. An orphan cared for within the Waterloo mennonite community in the early 19th century, Anna produced an extensive body of work during her life time. Considered by many to be the largest, earliest and most ambitious of her works; it incorporates 22 birds in 11 pairs in a centralized tree. Surrounded by a border of alternating coloured dots, its effect is joyful, naive, colourful, balanced and a remarkable statement on many levels.  Professionally museum framed and conserved. 

 

Image Dimension  : 17 3/4” X 13 5/8” / 43cm X 32cm  

            

                                                               PUBLICATIONS  

 

A Splendid Harvest  / Germanic Folk and Decorative Arts in Canada /  MichaelBird & Terry Kobayashi

Van Nostrand Reinhold Ltd.1981

 

"Plate 119 Described as the largest and most detailed of all of Anna Weber’s drawings also bears the easiest date. In this ambitious picture she ( Anna) has arranged twenty-two birds, in eleven pairs, perched on twenty-three stylized trees. The primitive and yet charming border is composed of dots of alternating colours. 1870.” 

 

A PEOPLE'S ART Primitive, Naive,Provincial and folk Art Painting in Canada /  J. Russell Harper 

University of Toronto Press 1974

 

Colour Plate 115 Anna Weber Tree of Birds, water colour 173/4” X 13 5/8”

Anna Weber reflected aspects of Pennsylvania folk art in theses designs which grew out of fraktur painting. Although purely decorative, they show the joy in nature of this orphan girl from Waterloo’s Mennonite community, a joy allied to her people’s strong humanitarian concern for peace. Peacocks pictures here, were widely raised for ornamental effect in Pennsylvania Dutch communities. 

Ontario Fraktur / A Pennsylvania-German Folk Tradition in Early Canada /  Michael S. Bird 

M. F. Feheley Publishers Limited

 

Colour Plate. Illustration 180 “ Tree of 22 Birds: 1870” The largest and most elaborate of all of Anna Weber/’s drawings is this earliest of her works, in which paired birds of various types are perched around a central tree.

43cm X 32cm

 

ANNA’S ART / The fraktur art of Anna Weber a Waterloo County Mennonite Artist 1814-1888 / E. Reginald Good 

Pochauna Publications 1976

 

German Scherenschnitte / Dated 1761

Certainly the most detailed and complex early work of Scherenschnitte I have ever seen let alone had the plenty  of owning. A stunning , delicate and complex work or artistry and design worthy of research and further investigation. Purchased in 2012 from Elliot & Grace Snyder.  Scherenschnitte translates to "scissor cuts"and has German and Swiss origins. They often have a rotational symmetry within their designs, and commonly appear as silhouettes, valentines, and love letters. The art tradition was first appeared in the 16th century and was brought to Colonial  America in the 18th century by Swiss and German immigrants who settled primarily in Pennsylvania. Much like the art of Fraktur this tradition lives on and is associated with the folk art tradition. 

 Early Canadian Folk Portrait  

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PORT HOPE MAN 

This early 19th Century Folk portrait was originally discovered in Port Hope Ontario and was purchased from Chris Edgar Antiques in the late 80's. Some what reminiscent of similar paintings in the English and American tradition, but unusual in that this painting seems to have included some kind of gold leaf framing in the composition itself. naive, rare and the straight forward gaze of the subject speaks volumes of the integrity and strength of not only the sitter but also the composition

 Goose Decoys from Prince Edward island

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  Three early century decoys  attributed to an unknown carver from Malpeque Bay, Prince Edward Island believed to date from the late 19th Century circa 1900. Two brants purchased in the late 70's at Sothebys Canadiana Auction Toronto. The third decoy, which appears to be by the same carver, purchased from a private collection in Aurora Ontario in the late 1980's. The regional styles are consistent with other carvers from Prince Edward Island, as documented in Dale and Gary Guyettes' landmark publication Decoys of Maritime Canada, by Schiffer Publications. The construction, profiles and paintwork from this region are stylistically similar, and can also be seen in other goose decoys illustrated in this publication. Illustrated Brant decoys which date from the late 19th century ( 1890) crafted by a carver from New London Bay echo the imagery, as do later birds which continue to reflect this " look" into the second quarter of the 20th century as seen in the work of Marvin Jackson, Summerside Prince Edward Island.