Steven S. Powers presents, MAN • BEAST • SPIRIT • WOMAN. A collection of exceptional Folk Art & Americana assembled for exhibition and sale at Antiques In Manchester: The Collector's Fair. August 10-11, 2016. Sullivan Arena, St Anselm College, 100 St Anselm Dr. Manchester, NH 03102. Featuring works from The Marvill Collection and Americana from an important Midwestern Collection.

MAN • BEAST • SPIRIT • WOMAN, explores examples of folk art that excompass these loose parameters. Some are straightforward, for example, The woman "Laundress" covers "Woman," (though in this context of broad labeling, it comes off as a one dimentional, misogynistic labeling). Other examples overlap, the cover image of the African-American limberjack, considers "Man," but is so powerful that it is imbued with, "Spirit" as well. The Woodlands, Ojibwa Mide'wiwin Figures covers, "Man, Woman and Spirit." The brownstone sculpture, "Men of the Pale Forest," explores "Man," but has elements of "Spirit and Beast." While the carved Gizzly Bear obviously represents, "Beast," its sensitive carving and remarkable surface gives her a "Spirit" as well.






S T E V E N S . P O W E R S





Exceptional Folk Art & Americana assembled for exhibition and sale at

Antiques In Manchester: The Collector's Fair. Featuring works from The

Marvill Collection and Americana from an important Midwestern Collection.

August 10-11, 2016.

Sullivan Arena St. Anselm College Manchester, NH

100 St. Anselm Dr, Manchester, NH 03102

additional show information:



& a m e r i c a n a

360 Court Street #28, Brooklyn, NY 11231 | 718.625.1715 or 917.518.0809 | | member: ADA

(previous and right) Men of the Pale Forest


Likely OH or PA origin

Circa: 1890-1910

Size: 8 1/2" (l) x 5" (w) x 6 1/2" (h)

Provenance: Marvill Collection

Though presented in the form of a utilitarian match strike, this object is a sophisticated

sculpture that asks more questions than it answers. While the narrative of these forest dwelling

men is unknown, it appears that some kinky psycho-sexual dream is playing out. A male figure

sits on a stump, tongue panting and mouth agape, while another male nude stands astride a

phallic tree root and peers around the tree holding a cat o' nine tails whip.

Though authorship of this carving is undetermined, it has stylistic and thematic similarities to a

small group of wood carvings that are also quite dark and sexualized. While, I am not making an

attribution, it is worth exploring as a hypothesis.

The artist of these aforementioned wood and polychrome carvings is also unknown, but it is

believed that one artist created the group. The most well known of this group is entitled, “The

Exorcism” (American Vernacular, page 178). The other known carvings are, “Prostitutes and

Their Tricks,” and “It’s A Shame To Take The Money” (Sotheby’s, American Beauty: The

American Folk Art Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin, Part I, lots 1407, 1409). If taken as a

group (including the sculpture herein), the underlying theme revolves around sin and/or

sexuality—on a progress bar they go from parlor humor to dark fetish.

Aside from the overlapping themes, a number of stylistic similarities between the wood carvings

and the stone carving can be noted. The first is body type—each figure is somewhat stocky, yet

pillowy—with soft edges, not angular features. Their hands, eyes and hair are rendered alike

(given the incidental variances that would occur between carving in stone and wood). Another is

the way the artist executed the junction between the mouth and tree of the standing figure of the

stone sculpture and the mouths between the kisses on the “Prostitutes” figures. The bases of

each carving follows an irregular contour and not a proper rectangle, which is unusual and maybe

telling of a relationship between the wood carvings and this most compelling stone sculpture.

While this brownstone sculpture was conceived as a utilitarian object, a match strike, and the

wood carvings are non-utilitarian art pieces, it reads just as much as a stand alone sculpture as

the others.

Additional research, insight and discussion is needed. In the meantime it stands strong and

enigmatic on its own.

African-American Limberjack

Carved wood, polychrome, mother-of-pearl, animal hair, iron, springs, linen

Buffalo, NY

Circa: 1860

Size: 16" (l) x 17 1/2" (h)

Provenance: Marvill Collection

Illustrated and discussed in American Primitive, chapter plate for “Articulated

Figures,” page 132, fig. 180.

This large scale limberjack escapes the form and is powerfully rendered more as

a fetish figure than an object of entertainment. It was likely created by an

African-American street musician made for personal performance, not novelty. Its

potent visage and presence can be compared to African nkisi or spirit figures

with the arrangement of re-purposed and disparate materials from the applied

animal hair, macramé, iron springs, mother-of-pearl eyes and the “offering up”


Its spring arms and jangly legs are animated by stepping up and down on the

re-purposed iron band—as one would use a kick drum to keep time and rhythm.

Dancing dolls or jig dolls have been used by street musicians and entertainers

since at least the 16th century. During the 19th century, in America, the figures

became a cottage craft and often depicted African-Americans as minstrel figures

(in the exploitive genre). This figure escapes that ugly prejudice and presents a

deeply personal and cultural work of art.

The figure originated from, or around, Buffalo, NY. Buffalo is part of the Niagara

Frontier and had long been a destination of free blacks. The first African-American

settler arrived in 1792. By the mid 1800’s it had the 10th largest population

of African-Americans and later became a stop along the Underground Railroad.

The Laundress

Carved wood, polychrome, aluminum foil

Circa: 1920

Size: 14" (l) x 8 5/8" (h)

Provenance: Hammer & Hammer; Marna

Anderson; Marvill Collection

Illustrated and discussed in American Primitive,

page 67, fig. 85.

Carved from hardwood, she stands well poised and

neatly dressed with a robin’s egg blue dress, foil

wrapped buttons and buckle, and smartly weaved

bobbed hair.

“The Laundress” is a unique expression of

American folk art. She is indelible. When asked,

“what objects do you most remember from the

groundbreaking publication, American Primitive,”

collectors often remark, “that towel woman!”

The Chambermaid

Carved wood, polychrome

Circa: 1920

Size: 23" (h)

Provenance: Marvill Collection

This figure, as with the previous, represents an

aspect of folk art we seldom see, women in the

home or at work (in the home). Typically men

carved women as muses, nudes, and objects of

their affection. These women are shown in a

straightforward, not overly sexualized manner.

They are portraits of contemporary, employed

women of the day.

Grizzly Bear

Carved wood


Circa: 1875

Size: 10 7/8” (l) x 6 5/8” (w) x 6” (h)

Large one piece carving of remarkable

character and surface. The hefty bear is

down on all fours with one hind leg

coming through to the front.

Surface is untouched, oxidized and

maintains a “benchmark” dark, sensual


(below) Dr. Gall Phrenology Burl Snuff Box

Amboyna burl

Circa: 1820

Size: 3 1/4" (d) x 3/4" (h)

A desirable, well defined Dr. Gall

phrenology French pressed burl snuff box.

Three skulls are depicted which are divided

into twenty-seven numbered sections. The

backside acts as a key and lists the

corresponding twenty-seven emotions.

Phrenology is a branch of pseudoscience in

which the morphology of the skull is

studied. Phrenologists believed the size and

shape of the skull to be indicative of various

emotional and character traits and of

mental abilities. Dr. Franz Joseph Gall

(1758-1828) is considered to be the founder

of phrenology.

(right) George Washington Phrenology Bust Inkwell

Glass, iron

Circa: 1860

Size: 7" (l) x 7" (d) x 7" (h)

A large, RARE Inkwell in the form of George

Washington's head, which is idealized and is divided

with phrenological numbered sections. The blackened

cast iron base is sculpted with oak and laurel leaves and

ivy—the leaves on the sides act as pen rests. The lid of

the pen cup lid has an American eagle within a Federal

shield—the underside reads: SEE WASHINGTON

MANUAL BY / JOHN HECKER, / N.Y. The front of the

glass cup is lettered: WASHINGTON MANUAL. The

1866 manual was a guide to understanding the

Washington phrenology bust. The sections that hold the

pen cup is marked: PATENTED DEC 11, 1855.

I have seen two others of this Washington inkwell in

milk glass, but none in clear.

Emily Hanson (1840-1898)

Spirit Drawing

graphite on paperboard

Circa: 1870

Size: 28" (l) x 22" (h)

A large-scale obsessive graphite drawing “Executed through spirit power, Miss Emily Hanson, instrument.

Cumberland Mills, Maine.” Though (manipulated) spirit photographs are known, very few “spirit drawings”

exist. Many of the tightly rendered florals have random faces hidden within. Also in the right center bottom, a

village with houses and a park is illustrated. In addition to the drawing by Hanson, the whole surface is

stippled on top of the drawing. The choice of flowers likely held meaning to Hanson, as there were books at

the time that discussed the “language of flowers.”

Spiritualism is a belief that spirits of the dead have both the ability and the interest to communicate with the

living. Spiritualism developed and reached its peak in the mid-late 19th century.

The Marshalltown Menagerie (ninety-plus carvings)

Marshalltown, Iowa

Carved wood, polychrome, thorns, leaves.

Circa: 1930

Average size of animal: +/- 4" (l) x +/- 2 1/2" (h)

The Marshalltown Menagerie is a group of ninety-plus extraordinary carvings

created by an individual, unknown carver from Marshalltown, Iowa.

Each animal is thoughtfully executed—with no repeats. Some have numerical

tags, which likely, at some time, identified them as part of a key for display.

According to family history, they were acquired directly from the artist by a Mr.

Calvin White in lieu of payment. They remained within the White family for at

least eighty years and are now just receiving their well deserved exposure.

While most are carved from a single block of wood and then painted, some are

finished with rose thorns, cactus thorns, sawdust, and vegetable fibers to add

Spotted Hyena

Marshalltown, Iowa

Carved wood, polychrome

Circa: 1930

Size: 5 1/8" (l) x 2 1/2" (h)

additional detail. With

the scale and number

of carvings, one may

think of the Noah’s

Ark carvings from the

late 19th and early

20th centuries that

were mass

produced through a

cottage industry—

these are not those—

each animal has a


Polar Bear

Marshalltown, Iowa

Carved wood, polychrome

Circa: 1930

Size: 5 1/8" (l) x 3" (h)

From the polar bear

with its lifted leg and

“Pete the Pup” like

black circled eyes; the

beautifully posed and

mottled spotted hyena; a Mongolian sheep with brown

painted “wool,” achieved with applied sawdust and glue; to

the dynamic

seahorse with an elegant coiled tail, big doughy eyes and tens

of applied spiky cactus thorns. There are groups of animals

with horns and tusks, a group of dinosaurs, fish, and birds—

all unique creations.

One of the wildest carvings is a large sea creature (possibly

the Loch Ness Monster given the circa 1930’s creation of these

carvings). It has large orange fins and scalloped fins along its

lanky back, and holds a smaller animal in its toothy jaws.

The most complex of the carvings is a circus cart, which is

composed of many elements. The fancifully painted cage on

the back of the cart

contains a wild, spotted

beast. Atop the

cart sits a hurdygurdy

monkey and a

colorful slithering

snake. A man sits at

the reigns and ushers

two giraffes who pull

the wagon.

The collection is

offered as a group

and will be displayed

as such on a wall

mounted zig-zagged

ramp with all of the

animals marching up

to the circus cart.

Mongolian Sheep(?)

Marshalltown, Iowa

Carved wood, polychrome,

sawdust. glue

Circa: 1930

Size: 3 7/8" (l) x 3" (w)


Marshalltown, Iowa

Carved wood, polychrome, cactus thorns

Circa: 1930

Size: 2 3/4" (l) x 6" (h)

Pulp Fiction: A Little Diddy About “Boots” and Evelyn

Carved wood, polychrome, paper, ink, photograph

York, PA

Circa: 1925-1932

Size: 16" (oah)

A vignette comprised of two wood carvings, tattoo flash

and a photograph of Charles William “Boots” Eyler

(1908-1983) and Evelyn Marstellar (1912-2001) of

York, Pennsylvania.

The gun, realistically carved by Eyler is a Colt 45,

model 1911 and is signed and dated, 1925, under the

grips. The figure, also carved by Eyler, is a portrait of a

twenty year old Evelyn dated 1932. She stands

classically posed and confident while “Boots” carves

her in all her glory.

The photograph dated to the same year of the carving

shows the young lovers laying on a flat rock—they were

married the next year.

Ojibwa Mide'wiwin Figures

Cottonwood, pigment

Circa: 1840

Size: 6" (oah)

Provenance: W. E. Channing; Marvill Collection

Related examples: Logan Museum of Anthropology, Albert Green

Heath Collection, Beloit, WI, pair of like figures; The American

Museum of Natural History, 50 / 5695 N, small female form medicine


These rare Woodlands figures were used by the Mide'wiwin or

"Grand Medicine Society" of the Ojibwa Indians. As part of a

ceremony for attracting a marriage partner, the figures would be tied

face to face and mixed with “love powder” in a bag.



“This love powder is held in high esteem, and its composition is held

a profound secret, to be transmitted only when a great fee is paid. It

consists of the following ingredients: Vermilion; powdered snakeroot

and a piece of ginseng cut from the bifurcation of the root, and



Walter Tinna (Oswego, NY)

Carved wood and polychrome

Circa: 1940-50

Size: 21 1/2" (h)

Eastern Great Lakes Woodlands (Iroquois) Ash Burl Bowl

Ash burl

Circa: 1800

Size: 13 1/2" (l) x 12 1/8" (w) x 6 1/4" (h)

Provenance: Private Midwestern Collection

An exceptional example of a compact, well proportioned

double handled Woodlands bowl.

The bowl maintains a beautiful, nutty brown, surface and

patina—burnished on the high-points and handles. The

handles are masterfully resolved with smooth chamfered



Klimt’s Kan Kollage

Tin can lids, nails, brass tacks, wood tabletop

Circa: 1930

Size: 23" (l) x 31" (h)

An assemblage of various tin can lids composed in

an overlapping pattern, each meticulously nailed

around the perimeter—like numbers on a clock


The whole is reminiscent of Klimt’s work with

silver and gold foils and reads as a macro-detail of

some of his paintings.

Framed and displayed as a painting.

detail of Gustav Klimt’s

Portrait Of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907

(left) Deep Dentil Molded


New England

Pine, butternut(?), red paint

Circa: 1780

Size: 24 5/8" (l) x 14 3/4" (w) x

26 3/8" (h)

Provenance: Private Midwestern


A bold and superb 18th century

open display cupboard. First rate

surface and condition.

Rare New England Platform Lantern

Pine, tin, glass, hinges

Circa: 1780

Size: 7 1/2" (l) x 8 1/4" (w) x 20" (h)

Provenance: Private Midwestern Collection

A remarkable, early American lighting device with a large

conical, pierced tin chimney. The rabbet joined glazed box sits

on extended legs which gives the whole a dramatic lift.

Unique Large Tiger Maple Charger / Circa: 1740 / Size: 14 1/4" (l) x 13 3/4" (w) x 2" (h) / Private Midwestern Collection

Exceptional Large Chestnut Charger / Circa: 1740 / Size: 14 3/4" (l) x 14 1/8" (w) x 2 1/4" (h) / Private Midwestern Collection

Folk Art Wantage Rod - Ezekiel Maxson (1789-1870)

Hopkinton, RI

Carved hickory

Circa: 1823

Size: 43 3/4" (oal)

This is a neat piece! For the lover of instruments,

brewery or vintner antiques...a wantage rod (gauge to

determine volume within a cask or barrel). The

hickory rod is inscribed with marks for BEER and

WINE and with an elaborate conversion chart. The

owner's name EZEKIAL MAXSON and DATE: 1823

are also deeply inscribed.

Maxson (1789-1870) turns up in census records for

Hopkinton, RI and also served in the War of 1812.

Dated 1769 Miniature Bootjack Chest with

Reeded Edge

Pine, paint, metal

Circa: 1769

Size: 14 1/8" (l) x 5 7/8" (w) x 7 3/4" (h)

Provenance: Private Midwestern Collection

A very fine miniature six board chest

with an applied reeded molding and

nicely formed bootjack ends. The two

interior till covers date the piece in large

separate numerals “6” “9.”

Maintains original paint and surface.

Original brass tip, pinned in place.



Circa: 1900

Size: 6" (d) x 4" (h)

Large Coco de Mer

Circa: late 19thC

Size: 10" x 13"

First rate example with a

nice "thigh gap."

The Virgin of Sorrows

Carved mahogany

Circa: 16th-17thC

Size: 13 3/4" (h) x 12 1/8" (w)

An early Mexican panel carved in the

transitional Indian-Christian (Aztec) or

Tequitqui to Spanish Colonial period.

Eastern Great Lakes Woodlands (Iroquois) Ash Burl


Ash burl

Circa: 1700 (or earlier)

Size: 13 1/2" (l) x 12 1/8" (w) x 6 1/4" (h)

Provenance: Trotta-Bono, Peter Brams

This Woodlands bowl has had its’ battle with the

elements over time—however, it remains an

evocative object.

The large, sweeping, demilune cutout handle is

diagnostic of early bowls and represents an eye of a


The aged surface maintains a dry, complex patina.

A double sided Ray Johnson over a

Xerox of an announcement of the





26-.” Dated 8.28.93. With “PLEASE


The other side with a screened

image of bunny ears over a

sideways illustrated bunny head,

with the text “EAR DIARY, BY


The Soviet Marxist Trotsky was

exiled to Mexico and was

assassinated there—ergo Monte

Zuma...Montezuma’s Revenge. And

Trotsky kept a diary, and diary

sounds like diarrhea... back to

Montezuma’s Revenge.

Archivally framed to be hung with

either side displayed.

Ray Johnson (1927-1995)

Ear Diary, By Monte Zuma

Silkscreen on paper, marker


Size: 8 1/2" (w) x 11" (h)

Provenance: Steven Wolf Fine Art, San Francisco,


Side 2

Steven Powers (1968 -)

Woodlands (Looking Into The Middle Distance)

Oil on panel


Size: 9" (h) x 12" (w)

Steven Powers (1968 -)

Woodlands II (Looking Into The Middle Distance)

Oil on panel


Size: 11" (h) x 14" (w)

Bull Durham

Cooperstown, NY

Carved wood, polychrome

Circa: 1920

Size: 17" (l) x 12" (h)

Large scale folk art carving with an extraordinary

paint surface. Created by a shell-shocked WWI

veteran, who found therapy in carving.

S T E V E N S . P O W E R S




& a m e r i c a n a

360 Court Street #28, Brooklyn, NY 11231 | 718.625.1715 or 917.518.0809 | | member: ADA

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