NEW HAMBURG, Canada – Original oil paintings by Canadian artist Maud Lewis (1901-1970) and a group of so-called “naughty bronzes” by Austrian artist Franz Xaver Bergman (1861-1935) are a few of the expected highlights in Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.’s online-only Canadiana & Decorative Arts auction scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at 9 am Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers. All prices are given in Canadian dollars.
Maud Lewis painted many different vehicles that were part of her life, and black was her color of choice. The truck, less often seen in her work, will no doubt fill a gap for collections focusing on this aspect. Black Truck, painted in 1967 and estimated at $30,000-$35,000, is an oil on Masonite board. It’s a springtime painting, picturing the truck of the title, daffodils, blossoming cherry trees and a house.
There are two equestrian-themed paintings in the sale. One is a watercolor and pencil on paper rendering of Princess Louisa at 2 Yrs. by Joseph Swift (Canadian, 1832-1889). The circa-1880 work is estimated at $12,000-$15,000. The second is a 1900 oil on board signed by J.J. Kenyon (Canadian, 1862-1937) and titled Western Wilkes – 4566 – McGregor & McCallum, Proprietors, Wallacetown, Ont. Its estimate is $4,000-$6,000.
Highlights of the decorative arts section include the long-awaited Jack Reingold collection of cold-painted “naughty” bronzes. Several of these are by Franz Xaver Bergman, who signed his erotic works with the pseudonym “Nam Greb” or just “B” in an attempt to appear anonymous to avoid possible civil condemnation or penalties for lewdness or immorality.
Bergman’s naughty bronzes in the sale, all from the early 20th century and signed “Nam Greb,” are cold painted and gilt patinated Orientalist sculptures. They include a Vienna bronze table lamp with an amorous couple in 18th-century costume, estimated at $9,000-$12,000; a female exotic dancer, estimated at $4,000-$6,000; a Chinese Geisha, estimated at $4,000-$6,000; and a seated Buddha estimated at $3,500-$5,000.
Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd. remarked of lot 261, “The signed John Tansel powder horn is Americana at its truest. Carved with a federal eagle with shielded breast, arrows in one clawed foot and a leafy vine in the other, it is a three-dimensional journal from 1820s Kentucky.” John Tansel was the eldest son of famed Kentucky horn carver Francis Tansel, who served in the War of 1812. The 11 ½in cow horn is signed “J.T.” on the side of the eagle and is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
A circa-1910 Tiffany Studios Apple Blossom table lamp with a Tiffany-marked mosaic glass shade on a patinated metal base (which is period correct, but not original to the shade) is estimated at $8,000-$12,000. Also, a circa-1910 Canadian folk art circus parade – an extensive menagerie including parade wagons, performers, animals, banners and Punch & Judy characters, plus fabric table dressing pieces, carries an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.
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The current rate of exchange is dollar CA 1 = 77 cents.
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