It became the most successful one-day sale in the young auction house’s history. The Important Americana sale fetched remarkable prices for star lots with 80 percent sold by lot and totaling $2,626,000. New world auction records were established for a 17th-century joined chest and a Federal painted table, which led the sale.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the landmark auction of property from the iconic collection of Peter Brams. The single owner sale was a tribute to the discerning eye of this celebrated inveterate collector, with 81 percent sold by lot totaling $889,900 and saw a world record set for a Native American effigy ladle.
The top lot of the Americana sale was the exceptional 17th-century Drake Family carved and painted joined chest with drawer (Lot 75) which realized $632,400, setting a world auction record for a 17th-century joined chest. The chest, originally owned by John and Hannah Drake, was passed down through successive generations of their family directly to the consignors. With its extensive carved surface, oak lid and triple paneled sides, it is the most elaborate and fully developed Connecticut River Valley three-panel chest known. It has survived in remarkable condition, retaining its original surface and most of its original painted red and blue decoration.
“It was an honor to offer this superb chest at auction and will most definitely be one of the most memorable auctioneering events in my career. With its fully carved façade, extraordinary painted surface and impeccable provenance, it is one of the most important pieces of 17th-century joined pieces discovered in decades,” said Leigh Keno, president of Keno Auctions.
Another highlight of the sale included a fancy painted and gilt card table (Lot 80) attributed to Thomas Seymour, which sold to a private New England collector for $347,200, and was underbid by a determined telephone bidder. This elegant table remarkably survived with most of its original painted decoration intact; it represents the best effort of Boston’s most preeminent craftsman of the Federal era, the cabinetmaker Thomas Seymour (1771-1848).
A Prior-Hamblin School painting of Eleanor Maria Doane in a rocking basket holding cherries (lot 175) sold for $142,600.
A Massachusetts family bought a diminutive Federal mahogany upholstered settee (Lot 90). The carving is attributed to Samuel McIntire and features an intricate basket carved crest rail. This sofa represents a version of the camelback sofa form unique to Salem, Mass., where it first appeared in the 1790s and became one of the most desirable furniture forms associated with Samuel McIntire (1751-1811). The settee sold for $86,800.
Frederick Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935) Sunset, Isles of Shoals, 1904, (Lot 32) is typical of the artist’s Isle of Shoals plein air paintings—painted on a cigar box top—achieved $74,400.
William Mason Brown (American, 1828-1898) Still Life With Watermelon, Fruit and Calla Lilies (Lot 8) fetched $59,520.
A carved and painted Indian “totem” figure from the Red Men’s Lodge (Lot 188) consigned by an upstate New York chapter of the Order of Red Men, has been at the lodge for the last century. The figure was used for special council meetings at the lodge until recently and has never been taken outside of the building. The totem figure sold for $47,120.
A pair of diminutive early Classical carved giltwood girandole mirrors (Lot 117) with the label of Philadelphia craftsman C.N. Robinson, each with carved eagles with spread wings holding a chain and ball in their beaks, achieved $40,300.
A rare clear with blue tint cornflower Columbia flask (Lot 165) with 13 small six-pointed stars in a semicircle above the bust brought $24,800.
The afternoon session offered the Peter Brams Collection of Important Woodlands Indian Art. “Peter Brams’ magnificent collection of important Woodlands Indian art has captivated the auction world, resulting in worldwide interest and strong sale results; bidding came from all corners of the globe, including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. For many, there was the wish to purchase unique American Indian artifacts, which brought Peter such joy and that reflect his remarkable connoisseurship. Without question this was the greatest private collection of Woodlands Indian art ever assembled, and this sale marks the powerful start for Keno Auctions this year,” said Keno.
The top lot of the afternoon session was the powerful figured maple lynx/bobcat effigy ladle (Lot 346), which realized $89,900 setting a world record for a Native American ladle. The lynx ladle sold at the auction is the only known example of its kind. The airy open carving between the animal’s front legs and body and the commanding posture it displays is extraordinary and led to a battle among three bidders.
The Thompson Family seated human effigy feast ladle (Lot 322) brought $68,200. This important Delaware region human effigy feast ladle is very large in scale, which gives it a strong sculptural presence; the figure is powerfully portrayed.
A maple burl effigy bowl (Lot 365) was wafer thin with sophisticated lines, excellent color and surface. It sold for $62,000.
An elm burl effigy bowl (Lot 308) was example that stands high in terms of sheer elegance and quiet beauty. The bowl realized $48,360.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE