LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – On Oct. 19-21, Rago Auctions will host three auctions that showcase both important and historic works of art and design. Day Three is titled “Autobiography of a Hoarder: Part One of the Martin Cohen Collection.” Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Martin Cohen is a collector, dealer and connoisseur of art and design whose taste has always led the collecting curve, according Rago Auctions. Over the course of four decades, he amassed an encyclopedic collection of fine furnishings, lighting, art and antiquities large enough to rival a small museum’s holdings. Cohen has placed pieces in numerous national and international museums and institutions. Hiss small Madison Avenue shop and his pursuit of the rare, beautiful and obscure brought him into contact with many artists, collectors and curators.
This sale presents over 200 lots of the American and European decorative arts, sculpture, lighting and other objects of art that have inspired and intrigued Cohen.
Two works by American folk artist George Washington Mark (1795-1879) are featured in the auction. One is a trade sign for a harness maker that depicts a horse collar (est. $3,000-$5,000). The other is an oil on canvas painting titled Greenfield Street by Moonlight, no. 18, which is dated 1848. Born in Charlestown, New Hampshire, Mark settled in the Connecticut Valley town of Greenfield, Massachusetts, in 1817, advertising his services as a house painter. As the years went by he added to his repertoire the occupations of sign and furniture painting, wood and stone imitation, picture framing, and other related activities. He indulged in art for the first time in the 1830s, and in December 1848 he announced the opening of an art gallery in his home devoted exclusively to his own paintings. The largest number of his works are landscapes, some from his own experience such as Greenfield Street by Moonlight of 1848 (above).
William Edmondson (c. 1874-1951) was an African-American folk art sculptor from Nashville, Tenn. He began sculpting when he was about 60 years old in 1934. In 1937, Edmondson was the first African-American artist to be given a one-person show exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His work, like the depiction of The Crucifixion (below), was influenced by his Christian faith and his membership in a Primitive Baptist congregation.
A pair of unusual andirons in the auction is attributed to Tiffany Studios due in part to the Favrile turtleback glass present in the design.
Favrile glass tiles were also utilized in the radiating design of an Indo-Islamic rosewood mosaic inset center table.
An abstract painting attributed to Augustus Vincent Tack (American, 1870-1949) is another auction highlight.
Part One of the Martin Cohen Collection also offers clocks, ceramics, tiles, metalwork and antique bladed weapons.