Brooklyn Museum deaccessions choice antique furniture, sending it to Brunk March 20

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Having been founded in 1823, the Brooklyn Museum has been receiving donations of art and furniture for more than 200 years. Museum officials have decided to part with 155 items from the collection, and have selected Brunk to conduct a sale on Wednesday, March 20. The complete catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

One of the highlights is a Virginia Chippendale walnut fitted cellaret formerly owned by American furniture designer Luke Vincent Lockwood. Attributed to an unknown artisan in the Rappahannock River Valley, Virginia region in the 1750-1770 period, the cellaret’s interior can hold 20 bottles. It is estimated at $30,000-$40,000.

Another item donated to the museum by Lockwood is a Virginia Queen Anne scalloped walnut dressing table. Built between 1740 and 1770 in the Rappahannock River Basin, it is described as being in excellent overall condition, though the brasses appear to be early replacements. The table is also estimated at $30,000$40,000.

This William and Mary scrollwork and oyster veneered mirror is from circa-1700 England. The glass is ‘probably original,’ with the mirror plate exhibiting some losses to the silvering. As such, it carries an estimate of $2,000$3,000.

Originally purchased from John Hill Morgan of New York in 1915, a William and Mary daybed is probably Pennsylvanian and from the 18th century. It has contemporary upholstery in a ‘structurally sound’ frame and is affordably estimated at $800-$1,200.

Portrait of 18th-century conjurer worked magic at Brunk

Portrait of the magician Chevalier Joseph Pinetti (1750-1800) sold for $24,000 (£18,800) at Brunk.

ASHVILLE, N.C. – A portrait of the magician Chevalier Joseph Pinetti (1750-1800) emerged for sale in North Carolina on January 10. The swaggering half-length image of the once internationally famous late 18th-century conjurer was an unexpected high performer at Brunk, selling well above the $2,000-$3,000 estimate to hammer for $24,000 ($30,720 with buyer’s premium).

A physics professor in Rome in his early years, Jean-Joseph Pinetti Willedale de Merci was key to the emergence of the professional magician in the 18th century. Through tireless self-promotion, flamboyant costumes and elaborate stage props, he created an entertainment form that moved from the streets and public squares into the theaters. Popular with the middle and upper classes, he made his fortune taking his act to the courts of Germany, France, England, Portugal, and Russia in the 1780s.

In this 4ft 10in by 3ft oil on canvas, Pinetti (described by a contemporary as ‘a short pudgy man whose demeanor was that of a king’) is depicted in the guise of a military general and nobleman. This was the faux costume he wore when arriving to great fanfare in the capitals of Europe, typically riding in a gilt coach drawn by four white horses. Such showmanship occasionally courted trouble: in Berlin, Pinetti was ordered to leave within 24 hours after upstaging a procession by Frederick the Great. The monarch said that the city was not large enough for both the King of Prussia and the King of Conjurers.

The book Pinetti holds in his hand is also a clue to the sitter. The title almost visible to the spine is Physical Amusements and Diverting Experiments, the text Penetti published in 1784 to explain some of his illusions and retaliate against would-be exposes penned by rivals.

To the bottom of the canvas is an inscription that includes many of Pinetti’s self-proclaimed titles, including Knight of the German Order of Merit of St. Philip, professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, and advisor to the Prince of Limburg-Holstein. Housed in a giltwood and composition frame, it had labels to the verso for the early 20th century New York gallery M. Voruz de Vaux and was consigned from what the lot notes described as a ‘historic South Carolina plantation.’

The work ranks among the few known portraits of Chevalier Joseph Pinetti, whose image is typically shown through a series of French engravings. He died in relative poverty in Russia at the age of 50, having lost all of his money on building and experimenting with hot air balloons.

Two pairs of 18th-century chairs wildly outperformed their estimates at Brunk

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A tale of two exceptional pairs of 18th-century chairs – one made in London, the other in Philadelphia – played out at Brunk Auctions on November 16, November 17 and November 18. Both pairs made six-figure sums on the second and third days of the North Carolina sale.

A pair of George III giltwood open armchairs were being deaccessioned from ‘an important Southern institution’ with an earlier provenance to the collection of Edwin Herzog of New York and Charleston. Inspired by patterns for ‘French easy chairs’ in Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet Makers Director, the design is one associated with the architect James ‘Athenian’ Stuart (1713-1788) and attributed to the fashionable London cabinetmakers John Gordon and John Tait.

Similar Stuart-Gordon chairs with palmette medallion carvings were made for John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer (1734-1783) at Spencer House in Westminster. When the current earl Charles Spencer sold some of the furnishings from the house at Christie’s in London in 2010, pairs of chairs from two suites dated circa 1758-1765 were offered — those in the exotic West Indian hardwood sabicu and others with a white-painted and parcel-gilt finish ‘in the French manner.’

The pair at Brunk were probably from a set from Nuneham Park in Oxfordshire, commissioned by the British diplomat and general Simon Harcourt (1714-1777), 1st Earl Harcourt. He held close ties to the Spencer family. According to the auction house, they were in a fine state of overall preservation and retained most of their original gilt surface. Estimated at $30,000-$50,000, they hammered for $120,000 ($153,600 with buyer’s premium). The eight armchairs in the Christie’s Spencer House sale were sold in pairs for sums between £145,250 (about $181,450) for those in giltwood up to £802,850 (roughly $1 million) for a pair in sabicu.

On November 18, a pair of Philadelphian Queen Anne walnut ‘compass seat’ side chairs hammered for $220,000 ($281,600 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $40,000-$60,000.

Made circa-1740-1760 to a sophisticated design that includes shell carving to the backs and the legs, the two were from a set of at least nine chairs probably made for Dr. Thomas Graeme (1688-1772). A well-to-do Scotsman from Balgowan in Perthshire, he rose to prominence as port physician of Philadelphia during the period when overcrowded boats of German migrants were arriving in the city. The large estate he purchased in Horsham, Pennsylvania became Graeme Park.

For almost a century after his death, the set of chairs remained intact at Graeme Park. However, they became separated in 1865. One of these two chairs – the example with early and probably original needlework upholstery – remained in the family until it was first sold at Sotheby’s in 1983. It was most recently sold at Christie’s New York in September 2013, when it hammered for $40,000.

It was only reunited with its mate (later covered in pink silk) in January 2017 when the owner bought another chair, also at Christie’s, for $50,000. This one shared the same early history, but had left Pennsylvania for New York in the late 19th century. In total, four chairs from the set are now accounted for, with another in the collection at Colonial Williamsburg.
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Pair of George III giltwood open armchairs, which sold for $120,000 ($153,600 with buyer’s premium) at Brunk Auctions.
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Pair of Philadelphian Queen Anne walnut ‘compass seat’ side chairs, which sold for $220,000 ($281,600 with buyer’s premium) at Brunk Auctions.
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Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams and Fritz Bultman are the focus of Brunk’s Oct. 20 sale

[av_heading heading=’Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams and Fritz Bultman are the focus of Brunk’s Oct. 20 sale’ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’ size=” av-desktop-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=” av-desktop-font-size=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-desktop-font-size-1=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” subheading_color=” seperator_color=” icon_color=” margin=’,,35px,’ av-desktop-margin=” av-desktop-margin_sync=’true’ av-medium-margin=” av-medium-margin_sync=’true’ av-small-margin=’,,20px,’ av-mini-margin=” av-mini-margin_sync=’true’ headline_padding=” headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-desktop-headline_padding=” av-desktop-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-medium-headline_padding=” av-medium-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-small-headline_padding=” av-small-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-mini-headline_padding=” av-mini-headline_padding_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ av-desktop-padding=” av-medium-padding=” av-small-padding=” av-mini-padding=” icon_padding=’10’ av-desktop-icon_padding=” av-medium-icon_padding=” av-small-icon_padding=” av-mini-icon_padding=” link=” link_target=” title_attr=” id=” custom_class=” template_class=” av_uid=’av-lnd28lwv’ sc_version=’1.0′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol and Fritz Bultman are the headliners at Brunk AuctionsPhotography | Modern Art + Design sale on Friday, October 20. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The sale’s top lot is a large painting by Fritz Bultman (1919-1985), an abstract expressionist originally from New Orleans. The Ancestress, dating to 1954, measures 72.25 by 35.75in and was originally displayed in an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1955. Consigned from a private collection, the piece is estimated at $30,000-$50,000.

Atop the photography category is the Ansel Adams (1902-1984) signed and framed print Yosemite Valley Thunderstorm. The famed landscape photographer and environmentalist has a large body of work devoted to Yosemite, including this image dated to 1945.  The lot comes from a private South Carolina estate with an estimate of $15,000-$25,000.

There are few 20th-century photographers who had more impact than Diane Arbus (1923-1971). Her focus on the strange, different and often mundane was never exploitive, but instead sympathetic and celebratory of her subject matter. In The Junior Interstate Ballroom Dance Champions, Yonkers, New York, 1962, we have a classic Arbus shot — two child dancers posing in front of their trophies in a wood-floor gymnasium. The print previously sold at Christie’s in 1997 for $2,530, and now carries an estimate of $15,000-$25,000.

The sale also includes six works by Gordon Onslow-Ford (1912-2003), an English surrealist who lived long enough to become the final surviving member of the 1930s Paris surrealist group headed by André Breton. Live Land I, from 1939, was painted at the Chateau de Chemillieu in Switzerland where Onslow-Ford, his sister Elizabeth, and the group of surrealists, including Breton, had gathered that summer. The painting comes by descent from Elizabeth Onslow-Ford, and is estimated at $12,000-$18,000.
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Diane Arbus, ‘The Junior Interstate Ballroom Dance Champions, Yonkers, New York, 1962,’ estimated at $15,000-$25,000 at Brunk Auctions.
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Ansel Adams, ‘Yosemite Valley Thunderstorm,’ estimated at $15,000-$25,000 at Brunk Auctions.
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Fritz Bultman, ‘The Ancestress,’ estimated at $30,000-$50,000 at Brunk Auctions.
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Gordon Onslow-Ford, ‘Live Land I,’ estimated at $12,000-$18,000 at Brunk Auctions.
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Andy Warhol, ‘Van Heusen (Ronald Reagan) (F. & S. II.356),’ from the 1985 Ads portfolio, estimated at $25,000-$35,000 at Brunk Auctions.
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Black Americana from Dave the Potter and Winfred Rembert triumphed at Brunk

[av_heading heading=’Black Americana from Dave the Potter and Winfred Rembert triumphed at Brunk ‘ tag=’h1′ style=” subheading_active=” show_icon=” icon=’ue800′ font=’entypo-fontello’ size=” av-desktop-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” subheading_size=” av-desktop-font-size=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” icon_size=” av-desktop-font-size-1=” av-medium-font-size-1=” av-small-font-size-1=” av-mini-font-size-1=” color=” custom_font=” subheading_color=” seperator_color=” icon_color=” margin=’,,35px,’ av-desktop-margin=” av-desktop-margin_sync=’true’ av-medium-margin=” av-medium-margin_sync=’true’ av-small-margin=’,,20px,’ av-mini-margin=” av-mini-margin_sync=’true’ headline_padding=” headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-desktop-headline_padding=” av-desktop-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-medium-headline_padding=” av-medium-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-small-headline_padding=” av-small-headline_padding_sync=’true’ av-mini-headline_padding=” av-mini-headline_padding_sync=’true’ padding=’10’ av-desktop-padding=” av-medium-padding=” av-small-padding=” av-mini-padding=” icon_padding=’10’ av-desktop-icon_padding=” av-medium-icon_padding=” av-small-icon_padding=” av-mini-icon_padding=” link=” link_target=” title_attr=” id=” custom_class=” template_class=” av_uid=’av-lmqavrw5′ sc_version=’1.0′ admin_preview_bg=”][/av_heading]

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — September 16, the second day of Brunk Auctions‘ Premier Auction two-day event, saw strong performances in Black Americana, including an estimate-busting stoneware jug by Dave Drake (born circa 1800, died after 1873), also known as Dave the Potter.

Dave was “country born” (e.g. born in the United States versus Africa) some time around 1800. His owner, Harvey Drake, was a partner in a thriving pottery business in Edgefield, South Carolina. At some point, Dave was taught to read and write, allowing him to sign his jugs in his own hand.

Stoneware pottery was a common household item in the 19th century, making Edgefield a thriving business community eventually known as “Pottersville.” This example, made and signed by Dave, reads “Lm  / May 29 – 1857 / Dave.” “Lm” indicates the Lewis Miles Stony Bluff Manufactory, Horse Creek Valley, Edgefield District, South Carolina. The jug carried an estimate of $60,000-$80,000. When the hammer fell, it sold for $110,000 ($140,800 with buyer’s premium).

A second example of Dave’s work, incredibly signed and dated the same as the previous jug, features a olive green and honey brown runny alkaline glaze over most of the body. It was estimated at $100,000-$150,000 and sold for $110,000 ($140,800 with buyer’s premium).

Winfred Rembert (1945-2021) was a mostly self-taught artist working with leather and shoe polish as his primary media. Having learned leather-working while incarcerated, Rembert would go on to create a large body of work, which only saw its first gallery event in 2010 at Adelson in New York City.

Two Remberts were included in the sale. The Good Ole Boys from 2009 sold for $100,000 ($128,000 with buyer’s premium), making its lower estimate. The undated and autobiographical Winfred and Patsy’s First Dance sold for $75,000 ($96,000 with buyer’s premium), just edging out its lower estimate by $5,000.
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Dave Drake signed and dated stoneware jug, which sold for $110,000 ($140,800 with buyer’s premium) at Brunk Auctions.
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Dave Drake signed and dated stoneware jug, which sold for $110,000 ($140,800 with buyer’s premium) at Brunk Auctions.
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Winfred Rembert, ‘The Good Ole Boys,’ which sold for $100,000 ($128,000 with buyer’s premium) at Brunk Auctions.
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Winfred Rembert, ‘Winfred and Patsy’s First Dance,’ which sold for $75,000 ($96,000 with buyer’s premium) at Brunk Auctions.
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Estate of dealer Peter H. Tillou presented at Brunk Auctions, Sept. 29-30

Joseph Wright of Derby, ‘Miss Elizabeth Carver,’ estimated at $70,000-$90,000. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions and LiveAuctioneers
Joseph Wright of Derby, ‘Miss Elizabeth Carver,’ estimated at $70,000-$90,000. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions and LiveAuctioneers
Joseph Wright of Derby, ‘Miss Elizabeth Carver,’ estimated at $70,000-$90,000. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Brunk Auctions will conduct a single-owner sale of The Estate of Peter H. Tillou on Thursday, September 29 and Friday, September 30. Tillou was a legendary art dealer for more than 65 years, with galleries on two continents and a home base in Litchfield, Connecticut. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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