NANTUCKET, Mass. – The halls are decked, and Rafael Osona‘s next auction, set for Saturday, December 3, is loaded for the holidays. During 42 years of Nantucket auctioneering, Osona’s December event has earned rightful standing as a mecca for serious collectors, designers and holiday shoppers. It showcases fine art, maritime arts, American and Continental furnishings, decor, offerings from leading Nantucket artists, plus antiques and collectibles sourced from island estates and collectors. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Leading the sale are two exceptional paintings by Ralph Eugene Cahoon, each a teasingly eloquent ode to 19th-century American sailors’ longings. Both are signed and neither is dated. The first, an oil on Masonite with the straightforwardly accurate title of Sailors Cavorting with Mermaids at Ship Tavern, is estimated at $25,000-$35,000, and the second, also an oil on Masonite, dubbed American Seamen’s Friend Society, has an estimate of $50,000-$60,000.
Clark Voorhees Jr.’s whale carvings are as impressive in the singular as they are en masse. Appearing in the sale is a signed and monogrammed undated 36in carved and painted Voorhees sperm whale, estimated at $4,000-$5,000.
Of course the December 3 lineup features a range of Nantucket baskets, from early and post-Lightship-era work baskets to Friendship baskets by Jose Formoso Reyes and Bill Sevrens, to Paul Willer’s and Georgia Axt’s late 20th-century miniatures. It also includes contemporary designs, such as a Judi Heustein example from the turn of the century that features platted leather handles and rosettes and a signed, dated inscription from her. The Heustein Nantucket basket is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.
Nantucket painter Robert Stark Jr. sets his iconic red sail against a brilliant sunset with dense atmospherics in his signed, undated oil on Masonite titled Red Sail at Sunset. It’s one of two Robert Stark Jr. lots in the sale, and it is estimated at $15,000-$25,000.
Of particular note is an early 19th-century Nantucket coin silver ladle by James Easton II, estimated at $2,500-$4,500, and six circa-1820-1838 Nantucket coin silver teaspoons by William Hadwen, which shine among silver offerings that include flatware services by Cartier, Steiff and Reed & Barton; ram’s-head master salts by Tiffany & Co.; and period George III and George IV-era pieces.
Modern furnishings include Stephen Swift’s signed and dated pair of rocking chairs, estimated at $4,000-$5,000. It is one among nine bench-made lots by the esteemed Nantucket and Pomfret, Connecticut designer and craftsman. Highlights among period American and English furnishings in the auction include campaign, Hayward Wakefield, vintage bamboo and Smith & Hawken outdoor teak pieces.
Maritime-related lots are distinguished by a large double sailor’s valentine from the 19th century, emblazoned with the legend “Love Me Ever” and estimated at $2,500-$3,500. Other items in the category include 18 lots of walking sticks and canes; a ship portrait by Georgina Nemethy; models and dioramas; and half hulls and lantern lights.
Rounding out the 655-lot lineup are British Regency tea caddies, Steuben glass, jewelry, 19 vintage patchwork quilts, Tony Sarg memorabilia, 23 doorstops, a 149-piece Spode Blue Trade Winds dinner service for 12, no fewer than 13 pairs of vintage or antique andirons, fireplace fenders, hand-knotted Oriental carpets and hooked rugs.
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