Folk Art and Storied Paintings Highlight January Americana Auction at Bonhams New York

Collectors are eagerly awaiting the January 27th auction of American Furniture & Decorative arts set to take place at Bonhams New York. With all areas of American F&D collecting represented, the over 200 lot sale is comprised of furniture spanning from the 17th century to the 19th century including folk art, paintings, textiles, clocks, and silver.

Amongst the most highly anticipated aspects of the sale is the offering of the Carlos DeMatos collection. Consisting of 43 lots the meticulously selected group features a remarkable array of paintings, furniture, and decorative arts.

Norman RockwellUndoubtedly one of the most sought after lots from the collection will be an exceptional 1926 Norman Rockwell painting celebrating the sesquicentennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Depicting a full length portrait of Benjamin Franklin, quill pen in hand prepared to sign the Declaration of Independence, the painting was commissioned for the May 29, 1926 cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Estimated at $700,000 – 1,000,000 it boasts an impeccable provenance having been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries throughout the United States including The Brooklyn Museum (NY, NY), Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Seattle Art Museum, and the Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA).

Other lots of great interest from the collection are a first quarter 19th century, American school oil painting depicting a New England village (est. $12,000 – 18,000) and a 19th century, carved and polychrome wood ship’s head figure of a lady (est. $8,000 – 12,000).

However, the DeMatos collection is only one of the many things attracting collector attention.

A fine American Aesthetic inlaid and carved rosewood bookcase will also be offered. Executed by Herter Brothers, New York, circa 1880, the work was possibly commissioned for the Edward Dayton residence in East Hampton. Made in three sections, the piece is centered by three bookcase doors flanked by two tower and two shorter doors, each with three-quarter spindle gallery and the tower doors drawer and cabinet fronts carved with foliate sprigs and inlaid with flowering cherry branches and sprigs. Exemplary of Herter Brothers work, the lot is estimated at $30,000 – 50,000.

Also demanding notice is a late 18th/early 19th century Mid-Atlantic, Chippendale carved and inlaid cherry secretary bookcase. A magnificent display of craftsmanship, the lot carries an estimate of $10,000 – 15,000.

An important, third quarter 18th century, Philadelphia Chippendale parcel gilt mahogany mirror is another lot to note. The maker’s label is certainly that of John Elliot, Sr., as the other known examples are also printed first in English, and below in German, as on the offered lot. Carrying an estimate of $30,000 – 50,000 this piece is expected to be the center of competitive bidding.

Collectors are also keeping watch on two Federal pieces. Going to block will be a set of eight, New York carved mahogany shield back dining chairs circa 1800 (est. $25,000 – 35,000) and a first quarter 19th century, New York carved mahogany sofa circa 1815 (est. $7,000 – 9,000).

Particularly exciting is the offer of an impressive selection of clocks, shelf clocks, and wall clocks. Amongst the most desirable of these is an E. Howard and Company Boston architectural street clock. Cast in Seattle and bearing the Howard Miller logo this lot is estimated at $30,000 – 50,000. Carrying an estimate of $10,000 – 15,000 is a fine, Federal inlaid mahogany tall case clock by William Cummins.

Garnering much presale interest is a mid 19th century, George Henry Story portrait of Abraham Lincoln. This insightful portrait of the wartime leader–the first to portray Lincoln with a beard–is expected to fetch $20,000 – 30,000. Other significant Lincoln piece to be offered is an important, circa 1864 “Lincoln and Johnson” campaign flag (est. $8,000 – 12,000) which was passed through the family by decent from the great-grandparents to the present owner; and a patinated bronze bust of the Abraham Lincoln done by George Bissell (est. $5,000 – 8,000).

Other notable lots relating to the founding of the country is William Penn’s land indenture manuscript dated 1682 (est. $5,000 – 7,000) and a mint condition, circa 1810 transfer decorated Liverpool jug depicting an early map of America featuring George Washington with Lady Liberty to its left and Benjamin Franklin to its right (est. $1,500 – 2,500).

Additionally, the sale boasts a number of very strong folk art lots–many also hailing from the outstanding DeMatos collection. Of these a fine, late 19th century, gilt copper horse weathervane attributed to J. Howard and Co. will be offered. Estimated at $15,000 – 20,000, this J. Howard prancing horse, was also known as the “index” horse because it was featured in the 1935 compilation of American folk art The Index of American Design. Also not to be overlooked is an early 19th century, American painted pine trade sign which carries an estimate of $10,000 – 15,000.

Also to note are the early 19th century period pieces and Tiffany & Company pieces that will be amongst the silver lots offered.

Viewings will begin at the Madison Avenue galleries on January 16th and be held until the day of the sale which takes place on January 27th at 1PM EST. The illustrated auction catalog for the sale is online now.

For more information about the department, please visit www.bonhams.com/newyork.

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