KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An abundance of treasures, ranging from an 1830 miniature portrait of a Native American to a Leroy Neiman canvas to a Swiss automaton pocket watch, will cross the block July 9-10 at Case Auctions. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The auction features objects from multiple estates and private and museum collections. Several are from the estate of Mary Bright Wilson, a former Middle Tennessee resident whose family moved from North Carolina and Virginia to settle the area in the late 1700s.
One of the highlights of the Wilson collection is a miniature portrait of a native American brave named Kinheche or Kin-he-chee, painted in 1830 during a historic summit between Chickasaw leaders and President Andrew Jackson in Franklin, Tennessee. Among the observers at the event were a prominent local gentleman, Guilford Dudley, and his 22-year-old daughter Caroline. According to family history, Caroline Dudley, who may have been an art teacher at a nearby Female Academy, was so intrigued by Kinheche’s appearance in his tribal garb that she painted his likeness, intending to give it to him, but was advised by the chief not to do. She died two years later, and the Franklin Treaty ultimately failed to protect the Chickasaws from the Trail of Tears.
“The Franklin Treaty was the first negotiation under what would become known as the Indian Removal Act, so there’s historic significance just in having a visual record of that event,” said Case’s Vice President for Fine and Decorative Arts Sarah Campbell Drury. “But portraits of people of color – especially Native Americans – are extremely rare for this period, and to find one painted by a woman who observed the event is extraordinary.” The miniature portrait is estimated at $10,000-$12,000.
The July 9-10 auction also features a diverse selection of art. A large Leroy Neiman oil on canvas depicting a glittering wine tasting or dinner party, from the estate of Palm Beach and Chattanooga publishing executive Margaret Harold Roberts, leads the American paintings. It is estimated at $40,000-$44,000. There is also a tonalist watercolor by South Carolina artist Alice Ravenel Huger Smith and a Ralph Blakelock landscape; marine paintings by Earl Collins, Lester Chadbourne and Alex Breede; a collection of regional landscapes by Jeanne Davies; and a collection of 20th-century sporting art by David Maas, Chet Reneson, Brett James Smith and Dwayne Harty.
European art standouts include a Flemish School triptych after Quentin Matsys (1466-1530), depicting scenes of Christ’s infancy, estimated at $5,400-$6,400; as well as two Rembrandt etchings: Jan Lutman, Goldsmith, (state II/III) and The Return of the Prodigal Son (state II/III). Also featured are a Jakob Philipp Hackert landscape drawing, a Gerard Portielje oil genre scene, two 18th-century maritime paintings, and a large landscape by English painter John Clayton Adams, The Silver Dart, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1893.
A Swiss automaton pocket watch attributed to Pierre-Simon Gounouilhou (French and Swiss, 1779-1857) tells both the time, and a story. The double open face watch features a Dutch kitchen scene on one side with various movements that bring it to life, including a woman grinding a mortar and pestle, a crackling fire, and chicken rotating on a rotisserie, all in an 18K gold surround. Other examples of this watch, which carries an estimate of $20,000-$24,000, are in the collections of the Patek Philippe Museum and the Casa-Meseu Medeiros E Almeida.
There are more than 150 lots of silver in the auction, including multiple tea sets. One of the most unusual is a 19th-century coin silver repousse tea service chased with scenes of New Orleans’ Jackson Square on one side and images of pelicans on the reverse, reminiscent of those on the Louisiana State Seal. It is estimated at $8,000-$10,000. There is also a coin silver tea set by Alexander Morin of Philadelphia that was previously owned by Brigadier General Abe Buford of Kentucky, and a collection of Kentucky coin silver that includes several mint julep cups, two Asa Blanchard ladles, and numerous pieces of flatware from rural Kentucky makers.
For more information about Case Antiques, Inc. Auctions and Appraisals, visit www.caseantiques.com; call the gallery in Knoxville at 865-558-3033 or the company’s Nashville office at 615-812-6096; or email email@example.com.
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