Bidders Turn Their Eyes To Garth’s May Ohio Valley – American Decorative Arts Sale

On May 16-17, Garth’s Auctions will host a two-day auction of over 850+ lots of Early American Furniture & Decorative Arts, featuring the highly anticipated 8th Annual Ohio Valley session. The sale consists of approximately 900 lots and includes part two of the Ray and Mary Ann Meisberger Collection, as well as Ohio pottery from the collection of the late Jim Murphy, who was a well-known archaeologist at The Ohio State University. Amelia Jeffers, president of Garth’s Auctions remarked, “This is high quality auction with a lot of depth in every category and the ceramics and stoneware are excellent. This auction comes on the heels of several very good Americana auctions and I’m really proud to say it reflects the importance of the collectors in the Midwest and the Ohio regions such as Gregg & RuthAnn Ellington, longtime collectors and friends of Garths.”

The Ohio Valley session begins Saturday, May 17th at 10:00 am and will offer nearly 200 lots. The Ohio Valley sessions were first offered at Garth’s in 2007 in the interest of emphasizing the importance of Ohio’s material culture. One of the most anticipated lots of the session is an unsigned oil on canvas, half-length Portrait of Henry Clay (American, 2nd quarter-19th century). The Kentucky statesman is depicted with piercing blue eyes, and wearing a yellow vest. The portrait was once in the collection of Helen Clay Frick (1888-1984), daughter of one of America’s greatest industrialists and art collectors, Henry Clay Frick. Born at Clayton, the Frick family estate in Pittsburgh, Helen followed her family to New York where her father built his Fifth Avenue mansion. After his death in 1919, Miss Frick, also a collector and staunch supporter of the arts, played a key role in building and managing the Frick Collection, the museum comprised of her father’s New York mansion and art collection. She also established the Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh, and later funded the construction of the Frick Fine Arts Building. Helen Clay Frick’s personal collection forms the core of what is now the Frick Art and Historical Center (located at Clayton).

Based on a label en verso, Miss Frick likely acquired the portrait from Kennedy Galleries(New York) in the 1950s or early 1960s. Then, in the spring of 1965, she gave it to her good friend James G. Fulton, Congressman of Pennsylvania’s 27th district, writing, “I have decided to send you a painting. The painting in question is the portrait of a gentleman we both admire-“Henry Clay…” Fulton responded, “I can not tell you how much I appreciate your friendly interest in sending the picture of Henry Clay…With your permission, I believe I will keep it in my Pittsburgh office.” Both original letters accompany this portrait. Following Fulton’s death in 1971, the portrait was purchased by his brother, Robert D. Fulton, at the estate auction for $5,000. Marie Fulton, his wife, later gifted the portrait to Congressman Fulton’s niece, in whose family it descended. It is expected to sell for $20,000-30,000.

An Ohio Fraktur from the 1st half of the 20th century initialed “EJE” (Edward J. Ellwood, Tuscarawas County, 1926-1998). The Fraktur, estimated at $1,000-1,500, originally crossed the block at Garth’s in 2002. Another fine example of Ohio’s deep material culture is a Fairfield County, silk on linen, Ohio Sampler dated 1839. The sampler has a wide strawberry border and is signed “Sarah Huber’s Sampler / Worked in the A.D. 1839 / Ohio.” This sampler, estimated at $1,500-2,500, strongly relates to Rachel R. Allen’s 1839 Fairfield County piece pictured in Sue Studebaker’s Ohio Is My Dwelling Place. It is apparent that the girls were both instructed by Amanda Munhall, incorporating the same blue house with a yellow and green striped door. Where in Fairfield County Munhall taught is unknown, but Rachel, and probably Sarah, have family roots in the Amanda Township area of Fairfield County. The 1840 Fairfield County census lists ten Huber households, two in Amanda township and the 1850 township census records an eighteen-year-old Sarah Huber living with her widowed mother, Ruth Ricketts Huber, and her siblings.

A drawing by Ferdinand Brader (Swiss/American, Born, 1833), titled Residence of Hiram Steinmetz, Pike TP. Stark Co. Ohio, will be offered on Saturday during the Ohio Valley session. The graphite on paper is signed in the lower left and numbered 740. Ferdinand Brader identified the owners and townships of each property he visited and used a detailed sequential numbering and dating system which has been invaluable to scholars. This drawing, an unusually large view, with the incredible detail typical of Brader’s work, including a farm complex, numerous figures, animals and a train. This drawing descended within the original family. Hiram Steinmetz was a prosperous farmer, much like his father before him. Fourteen-year-old Hiram first appears in the Census in 1850, and he’s still living with his parents, John and Maria, in 1860. By 1870, Hiram had married his wife, Caroline, and had a son, John, and was living in Pike Township, along with his mother, Maria, and a farm laborer named Eli McKenney. The Steinmetz farm can be seen on the 1875 Stark County atlas. The scope of Mr. Brader’s lifetime of work will be shared in The Legacy Of Ferdinand A. Brader, the upcoming exhibit of drawings at Canton Museum of Art in Canton, Ohio scheduled December 4, 2014 thru March 15, 2015. Collaborative exhibits at the McKinley Museum / Stark County Historical Society and at the Little Art Gallery at the North Canton Ohio will substantially add to the number of drawings on display at the same time.

The dedicated Ohio session also includes an array of Ohio pottery, including stoneware and sewertile. Carrying an estimate of $4,000-6,000, a rare pair of sewertile chairs with impressed signature of “Laclede, St. Louis” is ex Tom and Carolyn Porter (Ohio). The pair originally sold at Garth’s in November 2004. For the dog lovers of the world, a rare Pottery Seated Dog signed Crooksville, Ohio and dated August 11, 1927 will be offered (estimate $250-500). Appearing to be a mastiff with a brown glaze, figures of this type have long been attributed to Edmund Tague who was born in 1904 and raised in Crooksville. His father, Albert, is listed in the 1910 Census as an engineer in the pottery industry. In 1930, Edmund accepted a Civil Service job in Washington, DC, so he likely worked, as a young man, at the same pottery his father did. An impressive Pair of Sewertile Eagles are quite fearsome looking perched on rocky bases. The eagles are ex. Jack Adamson and have an estimate of $2,500-3,000.This piece can be seen on the cover of Illustrated Handbook of Ohio Sewer Pipe Folk Art, by Jack Adamson. A sewertile Statue of Liberty Bust dated 1918 has the original black pigment on the crown and a pre-sale estimate of $3,000-4,000.

A rare ovoid shaped, Doylestown political jug, marked Samuel Routson, Doylestown, Ohio, ca.1847, is impressed with the mark “Rough & Ready.” As early as 1846, Zachary Taylor, who had earned the nickname “Old Rough and Ready” for his efforts in the Second Seminole War, was already being touted as the Whig candidate for president in the 1848 election. Given that the campaign for Taylor was underway as Routson was ending his pottery in Doylestown, it seems likely that the slogan on this jug represents a political statement on the part of the potter. This jug is discussed and illustrated in Locher, The Late, Great S. Routson and His Pottery, a copy of which accompanies this lot. (Estimate: $300-600). Another piece of pottery sure to have paddles flying is a Decorated Stoneware Churn, probably from Akron. The ten gallon, ovoid piece is decorated with a large cobalt bird on a branch and has a pre-sale estimate of $9,000-12,000. This churn is one of a group of decorated stoneware objects with a left-facing bird. One of that group is a churn incised with the name of potter William McBurney of Akron and Middlebury. McBurney probably trained at the Norton pottery and ultimately arrived in the Akron area in the 1860s. It is not certain whether McBurney made that churn, or even possibly all of the left-facing-bird objects. That churn is illustrated in “Treichler, A History of Northeast Ohio Stoneware.”

The early American furniture and decorative arts will sell in two days flanking the Ohio Valley session. Among the the pieces from the Meisberger collection is a Diminutive Chippendale Chest of Drawers from the Delaware River Valley, 1770-1790. This chest was purchased from an early Pittsfield, Massachusetts house, but the family had roots in the Delaware Valley. (Estimate: $2,500-5,000). Another highlight from that New York collection is a Queen Anne Mule chest with original red paint and leather hinges and a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-2,000.

Additional highlights of the American decorative lots will include a Sheraton Tall Chest (Estimate $2,500-5,000), labeled for William Frick, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, ca. 1815, bears an interesting ink and chalk inscription indicating that Frick sold it to John Crider for $10 in cash and $12 in wood. Of the eleven blanket chests offered throughout the sale, a Decorated Blanket Chest, signed by Christan Seltzer (1749-1831), Jonestown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, dated 1775, originally sold at Sotheby’s (New York), 1992, lot 347. Christian Seltzer was the patriarch of a school of makers of decorated chests in the area of Jonestown–a school that included his son, John, as well as John and Peter Ranck. The large group of surviving chests by this family are among the most well-documented, and perhaps most informative, group of Pennsylvania-German furniture. The chest offered here, with its date of 1775, places it among the earliest (Estimate $ 9,000-12,000), along with another chest of the same date in the collection of the William Penn Memorial Museum. It is also seen in Paint, Pattern, and People: The Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725-1850 by Cooper and Minardi. A Rare Moravian Figural Caster or Shaker in the form of a rooster from Salem, North Carolina (Estimate $ 1,500-2,500) is a standout with a vibrant green glaze. Of the 26 lots of decoys to be sold, a late 19th century American Duck Decoy of a redhead drake by Capt. Ben Dye (Havre de Grace, Maryland) is special and bears the owner’s initials (estimate $700-900).

Several lots of English ceramics will also cross the block, such as a Rainbow Spatter Pitcher, from the 2nd quarter of the 19th century. With five colored stripes, it is expected to fetch $1,000-1,500. A Rainbow Spatterware Cup and Saucer, also from the 2nd quarter of the 19th century, is decorated with a bee skep and rainbow drape and has a pre-sale estimate of $600-$900. The forty-three lots of mocha to sell are sure to grab the bidders attention including a lot with two Mocha Pitchers with leaf molded handles carrying an estimate of $1,000-1,500. Three Mocha Bowls decorated with earthworms, seaweed and cat’s eyes are expected to fetch $1,000-$1,500.

A collection of early lighting will be offered over the course of the two-day auction including:a corner Lantern with a brass label that states, “Lamp Stove Co., Augusta, Maine 1881.” (Estimate: $200-400), A Pair of Capstan Candlesticks with an estimate of $600-1,200 and a Pair of Amethyst Candlesticks, also with an estimate of $600-1,200. Fourteen lots of pewter will cross the block and a rare and unusual Pewter lamp is featured. With a mark for Yale & Curtis (New York City, 1858-1867), the lamp has two whale oil fonts off a central reservoir marked “Patent Applied For” and it carries a pre-sale estimate of $800-1200. A Rare Vertical Reflecting Roaster measuring a monumental 52” high is being sold together with an English spit jack marked for John Linwood (Estimate $400-800).

Garth’s catalogs are available for purchase or to browse online in a digital flipbook format at www.garths.com. Garth’s Main Gallery is located at 2690 Stratford Road, Delaware, Ohio. Preview hours will be held from May 12th thru May 17th. Garth’s is accepting quality items for the upcoming auctions including 20th century design, firearms, and fine & vintage jewelry. For further information regarding how to sell at Garth’s, or for a valuation of your item(s), please contact [email protected] or call 740-362-4771.

Top