Major estate collections entered in Nye & Co. auctions Jan. 20-21

estate collections

Pair of George II Anglo-Chinese Huanghuali balloon-seat side chairs, circa 1740. Nye & Co. image

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – Nye & Company Auctioneers’ two-day, online Estate Treasures auction, featuring property from the Siegmund collection of folk art and the Steve and Stephanie Alpert collection, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 20 and 21, at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The whimsical, online sale will offer a wide variety of fine and decorative arts. Every price point will be represented. The auction is packed with a variety of property from private collections, with an emphasis on American and English furniture, folk art and self-taught/outsider art, American paintings, Chinese works of art and silver and jewelry.

The Alpert collection is one of the sale’s expected headliners. Steve Alpert had an unbridled enthusiasm for all types of fine and decorative art. Both he and his wife, Stephanie, are known in many different collecting circles and their passion for collecting shines through in each object they collected.

Additionally, their support and patronage of contemporary artists is nothing short of amazing. This sale will feature a superb selection of self-taught art from primarily Southwestern artists such as Felipe and Leroy Archuleta, Leroy Ortega and Felix Lopez, as well as modern furniture from the artist Pedro Friedeberg.

The father and son duo of Felipe and Leroy Archuleta has created a number of wonderfully delightful and fascinatingly whimsical animals, such as a wild boar, with real boar teeth, an expressive alligator bench and a Dall sheep covered in real fleece.

estate collections

Carved and painted wild boar, Leroy Archuleta, New Mexico, dated 2-3-67. Nye & Co. image

Not to be outdone, Felipe has created a fabulous woodpecker feeding its babies inside the hole of a tree branch. Additionally, there are three bottlecap snakes made by Felipe. Leroy Ortega, a Santa Fe, New Mexico, artist, has also created some carved and painted animals in the same tantalizing aesthetic.

The Siegmund collection is a terrific assemblage of folk art objects that will be sure to please collectors, trade and institutions alike. For Joanne H. and Frederick Siegmund, what began as a young couple’s project to furnish their new Upper West Side apartment in the 1960s evolved into a passionate, intellectual and cultural adventure.

estate collections

Carved cigar store Indian figure, possibly John Cromwell, New York, late 19th century. Nye & Co. image

Joanne and Fred – attorneys and New Yorkers – used their second home in Litchfield County, Connecticut, as a base for exploring the earliest outdoor antique shows. They enjoyed getting to know the “interesting, friendly and knowledgeable” dealers and expanding their social circle to include collectors around the country. Many became lifelong friends.

In Joanne’s words, “Collecting became the central focus of our memories.” In Fred’s words, “We never bought anything we didn’t like.” The Siegmunds knew they were playing an important role in salvaging American history. As Joanne said, “I feel like we are making a contribution by saving all of these things.” Joanne was invited to serve on the Acquisitions Committee and join the Board of Trustees at the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

estate collections

Carved bone and pine sailor-decorated pipe, New England, 19th century. Nye & Co. image

One of the highlights of this collection is a delightful carved pine and bone sailor’s pipe. The pipe bowl is embellished with the face of a sailor wearing a hat. This is anything but a utilitarian object. It is wonderfully expressive, was skillfully executed and is the perfect 19th century vehicle for smoking tobacco. There is also a terrific carved and painted seated man by James MacCallister Edgington from Ohio. This figure wears a large brimmed hat and was once part of the Michael Friedman Collection.

Capturing the true, vivid and wildly evocative nature of self-taught and folk art is the anonymous made black preacher figure. Pictured in American Primitive, Discoveries in Folk Art Sculpture by Roger Ricco and Frank Maresca, this piece emotes the American folk tradition. Additional lots from this collection are also being offered at Christie’s, New York, In Praise of America: Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Prints and Broadsides on Jan. 22.

For those who prefer traditional decorative arts, there is a superb collection of English and Irish furniture from the estate of Robert K. Johnson of Maine and South Carolina. Headlining the collection are three lots of George II Anglo-Chinese huanghuali chairs, possibly from a set supplied to Sir Henry Gough, an extremely successful merchant who traded with India and China. The lots consist of one armchair, a pair of balloon-seat side chairs and a pair of caned balloon-seat side chairs. They are the epitome of the Baroque period and have scintillating curves and bold carving. The lion carved knees are truly expressive and regal in nature.

A similar set of chairs are featured in a painting of the Gough family by William Verelst, dated 1741: private collection, exhibited Manners and Morals The Tate Gallery, London, 1987 exh. cat., pp.124-5, No. 107 and subsequently on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Continuing with the theme of traditional decorative arts, Nye & Company is offering some additional property from the estate of William Hodgins, the highly regarded Boston-based interior designer. Hodgins was an Architectural Digest, AD100 decorator, once described as “a beacon of American Classicism.” He learned his craft working as an assistant for the leading design firm of Sister Parish and Albert Hadley.

There is a fine selection of modern furniture, including a set of four Robert Venturi Chippendale-style chairs for Knoll. There is also a Pedro Friedeberg hand and foot chair, signed by the maker.

For those who like Piet Mondrian translated into furniture, there is an excellent pair of Cassina red and blue chairs, after Gerrit Rietveld. Wonderfully rectilinear and bold in primary colors, these chairs are architectural in design and emblematic of the Dutch de Stijl movement of the 1920s. Additionally, there is a pair of Knoll Wassily Chairs after Marcel Breuer and a pair of Frank Gehry cross check chairs.

For fans of fine art, there are a number of delightful works of American folk portraits and classic American art from private collections. Folk art portraiture includes works by Micah Williams, John Paradise, Deacon Robert Pecham, William Kennedy and others.

For those who prefer the more classically trained artists, works are by delightfully done by painters such as Everett Shin, John Traynor, Joseph Barrett, Henry Bertoia and Peter Moran. Of note, there are a number of Moran drawings depicting the Eastern end of Long Island around Georgica/East Hampton.

There is also an exceptional double portrait of brothers Sheldon and Adelbert Niles Potter, painted by William Worcester Churchill (1858-1926). Evocative of the great portraits by John Singer Sargent, Churchill was trained in Boston and Paris. This portrait is a striking work that draws viewers in and transports them to a time of opulence and grandeur in the late 19th century.

estate collections

Oil on canvas double portrait of Sheldon and Adelbert Niles Potter by William Worcester Churchill (1858-1926), late 19th century. Nye & Co. image
Nye & Co. image

No collection sale would be complete without some sparkling and dazzling eye-catchers. For those who like silver, gold and jewelry, Part II of a New Jersey private Short Hills and San Francisco collector includes multiple pieces by designer Marco Bicago, David Yurman, Roberto Coin and Tiffany. Another New Jersey private collector boasts multiple, whimsical 18K and costume jewelry pieces, including a Pedro Boregaard 18K gold egg charm lariat necklace.

This collection also includes multiple early 20th century Tiffany tablewares, including a child’s bowl and underplate, a pair of small bowls and other Tiffany bowls. There is also a stunning assembled sterling silver repousse tea service by the early 20th century Baltimore firm Jenkins and Jenkins.

estate collections

Sterling silver repousse tea service, Jenkins and Jenkins, Baltimore, early 20th century. Nye & Co. image

This exceptional service includes seven pieces and was originally a wedding gift to the Baltimore society beauty, Eleonor Laurenson Myer Simpson Young from her aunt, Elizabeth Laurenson Abell (Mrs. Edwin F. Abell, also of Baltimore).


View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: