. February 26, 2008

Lambertville, NJ – Mrs. Sidney Sheldon has chosen David Rago’s Craftsman Auction as the venue for the sale of her collection of Arts & Crafts furniture, lighting and decorative arts. It will be sold in company with six other stellar collections in a 900 lot sale over March 8th and March 9th, 2008.

tiffany_poppy_lamp.jpgMuch of this property was featured in the 1993 exhibition “American Arts & Crafts from the Collection of Alexandra & Sidney Sheldon” at the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Among the highlights: a Tiffany Studios “Poppy” table lamp with twisted vine bronze base (pre-sale estimate: $50,000-70,000); a Greene and Greene armchair with drop-in seat and tacked leather back (pre-sale estimate: $20,000-30,000); a Frank Lloyd Wright hall chair with tall spindle-back (pre-sale estimate: $17,500-22,500); a Harvey Ellis for Gustav Stickley inlaid occasional table (pre-sale estimate: $25,000-35,000). (The late Sidney Sheldon won awards in three careers — Broadway theater, movies and television — and then turned to writing best-selling novels. He wrote over twenty in all, published in 51 languages and sold more than 300 million copies.)

The descendants of Marblehead Pottery’s Arthur Baggs also chose Rago’s Craftsman Auction as the venue for sale of their singular collection. Baggs joined Marblehead Pottery soon after it started; as artist and owner, he brought this small company to its heyday. The best of the work he produced is in evidence in lot 567, a vase incised by Baggs with brown crabs and green sea plants in 1915 (pre-sale estimate $20,000-30,000) and lot
577, an exceptional tile incised with a landscape of poplar trees reflected in a pond, complete with original
watercolor and pencil sketch study (pre-sale estimate $10,000-15,000). The collection includes many more beautiful tiles and vases, as well as watercolors and oils, plates, bowls, hanging baskets, pitchers, teapots, wall pockets, candlesticks and mugs.

A third fine collection comes from Roycroft collector Kevin McConnell. Highlighting this grouping of metalware, furniture and smalls – some 70 lots in all – is a Secessionist hammered copper candelabra with three stems, 1910-15 (pre-sale estimate $20,000-30,000). One of only three known examples, this is the first Rago has seen. Notable among the furniture is a Roycroft Ali Baba bench (no. 46) from the Roycroft Inn – an excellent version of this form (pre-sale estimate $7,000-10,000).

American Art pottery is, as ever, a strong suit of the sale. Headline lots include a Van Briggle two-handled tapering vase with hand-applied bronze overlay of stylized mistletoe (pre-sale estimate $20,000-30,000), believed to be the work of Van Briggle’s Rookwood associate Asano for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. An 1897 vase with deeply tooled leaves and ribs that represents the transition from Grueby’s Neo-Classical style to Arts & Crafts wares is the first Rago has seen (pre-sale estimate $13,500-17,500). One of the best pots from Teco is lot 738, a massive architechtonic corseted vase (pre-sale estimate $12,500-17,500). Newcomb College is well-represented by a 1904 vase carved and painted by Marie De Hoa LeBlanc with blue wisteria (pre-sale estimate $32,500-37,500). Works by Ohr, Robineau, Frackelton, Rookwood, Newcomb College, Saturday Evening Girls, Hampshire, Wheatley, Clewell, Van Briggle, Walrath, Overbeck, Robineau, Volkmar and yet more potteries are also available, including those from the Zanesville, Ohio region: Owens, Weller and Roseville.

Arts and Crafts furniture of import (in addition to the Sheldon and O’Connell property) includes excellent examples from Gustav Stickley: a drop-front desk (pre-sale estimate $8,000-12,000); a spindle Morris chair (pre-sale estimate $11,000-14,000); and a trapezoidal tall case clock (no. 3), complete with weights and pendulum (pre-sale estimate $37,500-55,000). Other fine makers in the sale: L. and J. G. Stickley, Limbert and Rolphs.

The Sheldon’s Poppy Lamp is in good company here. Notable among works from the firms of L.C. Tiffany, Handel, Duffner & Kimberly, Pairpoint, Suess, Bigelow and Kennard, Steuben, Bradley & Hubbard, Wilkinson, Gustav Stickley and Dirk van Erp is a Handel filigree scenic table lamp and a Tiffany lantern.

Though the auction name remains “Craftsman,” Rago’s has broadened this sale in recent years to encompass decorative objects from other significant early 20th-century design movements such as Art Nouveau. Vessels, jewelry and decorative items by the workshops of Tiffany, René Lalique, Almeric Walter, François Decorchemont, Gallé, Daum, and Muller Frères will be offered, top among them a 19” Tiffany Favrile Jack-in-the-Pulpit vase (pre-sale estimate $18,500-22,500). Also worthy of note is a fantastic grouping of five of the Martin Brothers grotesque bird jars, with pre-sale estimates ranging from $12,000-26,000, as well as ceramics by other British makers.

It is a fortunate home that awaits a twenty-five tile panel from Grueby decorated with a landscape of rolling hills and tall trees. This spectacular panel comes from the 1910 home of a wealthy mining family in Michigan. For sale from Van Briggle is a fine, large tile depicting a tree against a mountainous landscape (pre-sale estimate $10,000-15,000). Also available: tiles from Hartford Faience, Saturday Evening Girls, Batchelder, American Encaustic, Low, Taylor, California Art, and, of course, the Marblehead tiles from the Baggs family.

A small but choice selection of Native American arts will attract both collectors and Arts & Crafts enthusiasts and includes a beaded pictorial Plains doctor bag and a fine California/Great Plains basket. Also of note: metalwork by Yellin, Liberty & Co., Stickley Bros., Benedict, Jarvie, Rolhfs, Louis Sullivan and Dirk van Erp; Dedham tableware; Tiffany silver; paintings and prints; textiles; stained glass windows and rugs.

“The abundance of riches in this sale astounds me,” said David Rago. “Anyone who has interest in this field of collecting and can visit the exhibition will be glad they made the effort. The catalogue will be a great resource; it’s a downright bargain.”

Auction Contact Information
David Rago and Suzanne Perrault (decorative arts): 609-397-9374 or info@ragoarts.com
Jerry Cohen (furniture): 800-448-7828 or jerry@craftsman-auctions.com.
Exhibition Preview
Saturday, March 1 – Friday, March 7, 2008 from 12- 5 pm and by appointment. Doors open at 9 a.m. on the mornings of the sale.
Printed catalogues are $25 each and can be purchased online at ragoarts.com or by calling (609) 397.9374. You can also e-mail a request to info@ragoarts.com or view the complete catalogue online.
Notes for the Editor
High-resolution image available.
More information online at ragoarts.com.

About Rago Arts and Auction Center
The Rago Arts and Auction Center was established in 1995 by David Rago, a leading expert and dealer in American art pottery who entered the business of auctions in 1984. The Auction Center, located midway between Philadelphia and New York, holds multi-million dollar sales of 20th century decorative arts and furnishings, fine art, jewelry and estate property. Rago’s achieved sales of over $27 million in the 2006-2007 season. It holds an average of twelve sales each year.

Category: Auction News

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