Rago announces details of Fall Craftsman sale
Lambertville , N.J. - On September 17-18, 2005, David Rago Auctions will host its Fall Craftsman Auction featuring several important collections and exceptional individual consignments of art pottery, tiles, Mission furniture and art glass. “We are looking forward this fall Craftsman Auction,” said gallery owner David Rago. “When all areas of the auction are considered, this is our best sale of the year.” As always, LiveAuctioneers will provide the real-time Internet bidding component for the event.
Since outstanding Arts & Crafts lighting is both rare and highly desirable, collectors of this category will delight in the exquisite "Tiger Lily” floor lamp from Rockledge, the home designed in 1912 by George Washington Maher for Ernest L. and Grace Watkins King, in Homer, Minn. This exceptional lamp is an object study in Maher’s motif-rhythm theory, which held that by taking certain motifs and repeating them throughout a home’s architecture and interior design, a harmony would be created that is not only be beautiful in composition, but also beneficial to the lives of its inhabitants. For Rockledge, Maher chose three themes: the tiger lily, an abundant local flower; the segmented arch, reminiscent of the hills behind the house; and the trapezoidal guttae, a classical element, all of which are present in this lamp. This custom lamp, which comes from Maher’s most important and painstakingly built home, is one of the few surviving treasures of Prairie School lighting. The estimated value is $80,000-120,000. Examples of Maher’s work can be found in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Wolfsonian Museum at Florida International University.
Rago’s will also offer 40 works by Marie Zimmermann, including a carved and polychromed wood jewelry chest that is a one-of-a-kind work of art, with ivory feet handles of cast bronze with amethyst and semiprecious stones. The colors and designs were Egyptian inspired. Marie Zimmermann was considered by many to be the last of the great metal craftsmen. She was born in 1879 in Brooklyn, N.Y., during a time of great artistic ferment, when the Arts & Crafts movement had captured the imagination of the industrialized Western world. Following a course in metal work at the Pratt Institute, Marie Zimmermann continued art studies at the Art Students League. She eventually settled into a studio in Gramercy Park at the National Arts Club, where she became a member. It was there that she tried her hand at everything from stained glass windows to wood carving, but discovered that metal was the medium through which she could satisfy her great need to attain technical mastery. She hammered, soldered, spun, welded and forged vases, candlesticks and bowls as well as jeweled and enameled objets d'art, experimenting in color and a variety of finishes. From this desire to create came the unique chest in Rago’s sale, which is etimated at $30,000-50,000.
Other pieces offered from the Zimmermann estate include two unusual boxes, with a rectangular covered box in gold-plated hammered copper having a jeweled winged scarab finial, and a covered rectangular box in hammered copper with a butterscotch brushed-on patina and decorative finial. Also featured are two fluted flower form dishes in gold-plated hammered copper with leaf and stylized forms, a rare cornucopia-shaped vase in gold-plated hammered copper with applied chased leaf forms, a two-piece centerpiece in gold-plated hammered copper using leaf and stylized leaf forms, and a fluted flower-form vase on ring foot in original brown-patina copper. In addition, a hand-carved work bench designed by Marie Zimmermann and used by her, exclusively, is for sale. This magnificent piece measures 40" by 96" by 23¾in.
Other outstanding items include a unique Dard Hunter lamp from the Roycroft Inn estimated at $75,000-100,000 and a Roycroft armchair that was acquired from a Hubbard family member with an appraisal of $25,000-35,000. Gustav Stickley is well represented with a rare, circa 1902 even-arm crib settle and a two-door bookcase with original finish, having 12 panes per door, round copper pulls and includes the original key.
A choice grouping of rare tiles is offered with several seldom seen high-end pieces among them. Two very rare, colorful tile panels to be sold are by Hartford Faience, one depicting a maiden in meditative repose and the other, a hilly landscape. Both are finished in rich matte glazes. These tiles are presented in their original pine boxes, each measuring 19 by 13in. These pristine tiles have never been mounted and both are stamped Hartford Faience. Each is estimated at $6,000-9,000. Another rare item is a signed Saturday Evening Girls tile with a tall ship and village, inscribed, The Bay Where Lay The Somerset British Man-of-War. There are several lots of Grueby tiles including a six-tile water lily frieze and groups of geometric tiles.
Rounding out the auction are exceptional pieces of Rookwood, with a tall vellum vase delicately painted by K. Shirayamadani with buff-colored poppies and teal blue wheat stalks, circa 1921, estimated $8,500-12,500; and a porcelain ovoid vase decorated by E.T. Hurley with blue and amber fish on an ivory ground. Also featured are desirable pieces by George Ohr, including an unusual baluster-shape vase, its top covered in indigo glaze over a green and raspberry mottled base. Additionally, there is a fabulous selection of decorative art pieces by Grueby, Saturday Evening Girls, Teco, Overpeck, Loetz, Van Briggle, Fulper, Clewell, Marblehead and Weller Hudson. Unusual and rare lighting is on the agenda, and one noteworthy piece is a woodblock print by Frances Gearhart with a Western mountain scene estimated $2,500-3,500.