Rachel Davis to sell collection of dog lover Janet L. Ennis, Sept. 11-12
This singular two-day event will provide an opportunity for collectors, dealers, casual buyers, and animal lovers to acquire works ranging from Hutschenreuther to Claude Conover; from Marguerite Kirmse to Jean-Baptiste Jean; from Royal Doulton figurines to Southern Art pottery. The Saturday session, starting at 9:30 a.m., will include works by Mexican, Haitian, Outsider artists, Southern Art Pottery, folk art, African and Oceanic items. Beginning at 10 a.m., the Sunday session, with a special emphasis on animal imagery, encompasses traditional paintings and works on paper, porcelain and pottery, and books.
A powerful naïveté, in style and/or content, can characterize all of the pieces in the Ennis collection. This readily applies to the important Outsider paintings by artists such as Howard Finster, Jimmy L. Sudduth and Beni Kosh, to mention only a few as well as an outstanding selection of Southern Art pottery, featuring face jugs by Lanier Meaders and B.R. Hussey, among others. Manuel Felguerez headlines a strong selection of works by Mexican painters, as Mata Ortiz pottery exemplifies the extraordinary grouping of Mexican ceramics, decorations and folk art. Similarly, paintings by the late Jean-Baptiste Jean are indicative of the high quality of the Haitian portion of the Ennis collection.
The stylistic innocence of the items in the Saturday session transfers to the innocence of the content in the animalist works offered on Sunday: Ranging from the traditional depictions of the 19th century painter F.S. Beaumont, the superb graphics of Marguerite Kirmse and Morgan Dennis to the blaring Pop paintings of Jody Whitsell. Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, Royal Copenhagen figurines, among the large selection of porcelain and pottery, offer a visual counterpoint to the Southern Art Pottery figures and Outsider sculptures included in the Saturday session, demonstrating the keen diverse eye that Ms. Ennis exercised in her acquisitions. The auction concludes on Sunday with the sale of the Ennis library.
As evidenced by the lots on both Saturday and Sunday, the connoisseurship of Ennis was also fueled by a consuming passion. This passion augmented with her love of and compassion for animals. Images of animals abound in the Ennis collection, be it traditionally, a P.E. Stretton oil, or primitively, an A. Skip Roth chain saw carving. And she worked tirelessly and generously to insure the care of domestic and wild animals. This mission continues in the sale of her collection. As mandated by the Janet L. Ennis Charitable Trust for Animals, all net proceeds from the auction will be donated to nonprofit organizations dedicated to working for the well-being and humane treatment of animals. Bidders at the Davis auction can help perpetuate the legacy of Ennis: a love of beauty, whimsy, innocence and of all creatures great and small.
Previews run through auction days at the Davis gallery. For details contact Rachel Davis Fine Arts, 1301 W. 79th St., Cleveland, OH 44102, call 216.939.1190, e-mail email@example.com or visit the website, www.racheldavisfinearts.com.
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About Janet L. Ennis:
Written by her son, Jess Ennis
The entire animal kingdom, but especially the canine family, suffered a great loss when my mom, Janet Ennis, abruptly left this world. From the day she came into the world, she was marked, literally, by an uncanny birthmark on her leg in the unmistakable shape of a dog, of which she was infinitely proud.
For her entire life, my mom acted as a tireless, unrelenting advocate for dogs and all animals – a true warrior for their cause. I’d be surprised if there is a single good local, national or international organization working on behalf of dogs and all animals that didn’t receive my mom’s financial support.
She was always writing letters to the editor and contacting reporters to investigate one case or another of abuse of animals, many of which were institutionally sanctioned. She investigated thoroughly companies’ practices regarding animals and invested carefully. She boycotted offending companies and wrote well-reasoned and passionate letters to their boards of directors.
Not surprisingly, my mom also took on the causes of other underdogs besides dogs. She and my dad loved to travel together, but not in the typical tourist fashion. They made several trips to the poorest country in this hemisphere – Haiti – but rather than relaxing in an isolated Club Med resort, my mom & dad leaped with both feet into the chaotic, throbbing heart of Port-au-Prince. They made many friends in Haiti, common folk who invited them into their humble homes – several of them folk artists.
My mom, a great connoisseur of art, developed a tremendous knowledge and appreciation of the Haitian folk artists & their art – which is earthy, raw and soulful.
In fact, she developed a deep appreciation for and true expertise on folk art from all over the world – first in the U.S., then of Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Panama and Africa.
My mom built close friendships with several American folk artists, like face-jug potters, wooden animal carvers and painters, mostly in the Carolinas and Kentucky. They often sent her gifts they made especially for her.
My mom and dad assembled a truly remarkable collection of art throughout their 50-some years together. Visitors to their house invariably remarked, wide-eyed, that they felt like they were visiting a great museum.
This auction is about my mom’s passions – animals and art. All of the net proceeds of the sale here of my parents’ amazing collection of art will be donated to organizations that work for the support and well-being of animals.
– Jess Ennis
View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE