NHADA presents Americana, folk art auction March 28
NEW YORK – More than 300 lots of outstanding Americana, vintage objects made and used in America, are offered in a Jasper52 online auction on Thursday, March 28. This exciting auction will feature items exclusively from the prestigious New Hampshire Antique Dealers Association. Rounding out the catalog are many lots of folk art, artistic works created by untrained artists in cultural isolation. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Fitting in both categories is one of the auction’s most desirable works is a painting of a boy that is attributed to William Jennys, who along with his father, Richard, were two of the country’s earliest portratists. They are known for their skillful depictions of the faces of their early New England sitters. William, especially, had the ability to portray the soul and character of his sitters on a canvas. The mischievous-looking boy is a fine example of William Jennys’ more naive portraits. Jennys’ portraits depict faces with strong rosy tones which abruptly end at the jawline. Below the jaw the skin tones generally tend toward more yellow tones. Surely this young boy’s character is bared in this portrait. He stares directly at the viewer in a rather confrontational manner. One imagines that he rebelled against sitting for his portrait and wanted to be somewhere else. His large eyes are an unusual gray color and his sandy-blond hair is parted in the center. He wears a skeleton suit with a wide white collar trimmed in lace. Skeleton suits were popular for young boys from about 1790 until 1820. The oil on canvas is painted within a painted oval portal with black spandrels. The portrait has been lined with a replaced stretcher and has minimal inpainting. The period gilt frame is not original. It is from the well-known folk art collection of Ralph and Susanne Katz (est. $10,0090-$12,000).
Another fine example of folk art is a 12-inch-high carving of a heart in an open hand, an easily recognizable symbol in New England. According to symboldictionary.net, “This cheerful, welcoming image originated with the Shakers and is found on crafts, signs, and even cookies. The symbol is a pictorial reminder of the words of Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shaker sect, who promoted a simple life of hard work and spirituality, ‘Put your hands to work, and your hearts to God.’ The image is typical of the Shaker attitude, and implies also a loving welcome.” The wooden heart in hand carving offered in the auction has a Maine origin.
In 1894 blacksmith and wagon maker William F. Kramer (1853-1908) of Dayton, Ohio, patented a superior gear for wagons with a “drop center” body. This innovation allowed vehicles such as milk wagons and vendors’ carts to turn on a much shorter radius than previously and eased delivery to urban areas. A scale model illustrating the invention of the Kramer Low Down Short Turn Gear is offered in the Jasper52 auction is 45 inches long.
Board games were a major form of home entertainment at the turn of the 20th century. A fine example from that era is the colorful double-sided game board designed for playing checkers and parcheesi. The 18-inch square board was carefully painted in eight colors.
The weathervane depicting a kneeling Cupid wielding a bow and arrow is certainly a rare form. The sheet metal figure in weathered paint is just over 2 feet tall and is mounted on a custom base.
Folk art is often marked by such attributes as highly decorative design and bright, bold colors. A fine example is the Mennonite eye dazzler windmill quilt made in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in the early 1900s. The 88-inch square quilt is in excellent condition.
Also featured is an 1850s Princess Feather applique quilt of museum quality that came out of an estate in central Indiana (est. $2,000-$2,500).
The New Hampshire Antique Dealers Association auction will be conducted through Jasper52 on Thursday, March 28, starting at 6 p.m. Eastern time.