WINNOWED

stevenspowers

It is not easy coming up with compelling and complex material show after show. This catalog is thinner than usual, but phat as ever—quality over quantity with no filler! Of course, we will be bringing more than these works of art to the fair, but herein are a group of well-winnowed works that deserve special attention. Enjoy!
Come see this collection and more at The Philadelphia Antiques & Art Show, April 20-22 (*preview party April 19, 2018).
Location: The Navy Yard, 4747 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19112.

W I N N O W E D

PHILADELPHIA ANTIQUES & ART SHOW • A P R I L 2 0 - 2 2


W I N N O W E D

It is not easy coming up with compelling and complex

material show after show. This catalog is thinner than

usual, but phat as ever—quality over quantity with no

filler! Of course, we will be bringing more than these

works of art to the fair, but herein are a group of wellwinnowed

works that deserve special attention. Enjoy!

Come see this collection and more at The Philadelphia Antiques

& Art Show, April 20-22, 2018 (*preview party April 19).

Location: The Navy Yard, 4747 South Broad Street,

Philadelphia, PA 19112.

additional show information: philadelphiaantiquesandartshow.com

W O R K S O F

A R T

& a m e r i c a n a

109 3rd Place #2, Brooklyn, NY 11231 | 718.625.1715 or 917.518.0809 | stevenspowers.com | member: ADA


Folk Art Acrobat Whirligig (detail)

New England

Wood and polychrome

Circa: 1880

*full details pages 8-9.


An Important Pair of African-American (Slave) Made Andirons

Madison County, Tennessee (found)

Circa: 1820 (or earlier)

Size: 14 3/8" (h) x 10 1/2" (deep)

Provenance: Robert Reeves, Private Southern collection, Peter Brams.

Exceedingly rare wrought iron, diminutive African-American (slave) made

andirons in the form of male and female figures. The figures stand in a coded

stance communicating power. The female figure is slightly smaller and has a

triangular notch clipped between her legs designating her gender.

A number of African men who were forcibly brought to America came with

generational expertise in blacksmithing, as iron working was a centuries-old

and honorable tradition in Africa.

The anthropologist, John Michael Vlach writes in, By The Work of Their

Hands; Studies in Afro-American Folklife, “The [slave] blacksmith was the

pivotal craftsman of his community; all other skills in some manner

depended on his efforts.” To this end, the slave blacksmith had a greater

privilege and standing among other slaves. Slave quarters were barren but

had basic necessities like a small hearth, iron kettles, and simple furniture

(which they often made themselves). Vlach further writes, “slaves

surreptitiously took partial control of their own lives by establishing a sense

of place...for those slaves with either a personal experience of Africa or the

memory of strong ancestral direction, the slave-made landscape provided the

means to recapture a measure of freedom symbolized by the mother

continent.” It was the small things in their living quarters that they could

make personal, like clothing, tools or music that provided a sense of life in

otherwise dark circumstances.


Early African-American, slave-made ironworks are remarkably scarce. A

documented wrought iron figure, formerly in the Adele Earnest collection,

was excavated in slave quarters in Alexandria, Virginia and is “one of the

rare objects which link American Negro Art to Africa” (Made of Iron, 1966,

p. 107). It has been put forth that the Earnest figure relates to Mande,

Bamana made figures. Mande made iron figures feature small heads and thin

wrought bodies, similar to those seen on these andiron figures. And a wood

figure, from the Lega culture and in the Brooklyn Museum displays the same

posture as these figures and has an incised notch between the legs.

These small andirons, placed within a modest hearth provided a platform for

warmth and cooking and in a subtle, but meaningful way served as proud

and poignant reminders of personal identity and cultural heritage.

Female Iginga, Lega culture, 19th–20thC,

Brooklyn Museum (74.66.1). Note posture

of arms and legs and notch in pelvis.

Photo of a slave cabin’s hearth.

Thornhill Plantation, Forkland, Greene County,

AL. Photo by Alex Bush, 1934.


Folk Art Acrobat Whirligig

New England (Massachusetts)

Circa: 1880

Size: 14" (oah) x 4 1/2" (w)

Provenance: Stephen Score; Olde

Hope Antiques; Private Southern

collection

First rate folk art whirligig in the

form of an acrobat with red face

paint, a red and white uniform and

blue paddles. The original paint

surface is in a remarkable state of

preservation and maintains a

complex craquelure and

patination—one of the very best I

have seen.


The Venus of Baltimore

Carved walnut by A. Leibniz

Baltimore, Maryland

Dated: 1909

Size: 15 3/4" (h) x 10" (w) x 10" (l)

Provenance: Harris Diamant; Hill Gallery;

Private Southern collection

Related: see American Vernacular, p. 164

for a walnut carved female figure found in

Baltimore.

A striking, bold and sensual folk art

carving by a very skilled artisan. A young

nude woman stands with her arms above

her head, leaning contrapposto against a

tree stump above an elaborate carved

floral base, which is cornered by dogs and

elephants(?). The animals have black glass

beads and rhinestone inset eyes. It should

be noted that each side of the base is

carved slightly different than the

other—each with a different floral

and base molding motif.


Ojibwa Mide'wiwin Figures

Cottonwood, pigment

Circa: 1840

Size: 6" (oah)

Provenance: W. E. Channing; Marvill Collection; Private

Related examples: Denver Art Museum, 1946.265, 1946.266 for a near

identical pair; 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 figure.

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.

Excerpted from: THE MIDĒ´WIWIN OR

“GRAND MEDICINE SOCIETY” OF THE

OJIBWA, by W. J. Hoffman.

“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

powdered.”

A Pair of near identical figures from the

collection at the Denver Art Museum,

1946.265


Ojibwa Pictographic Textile

Yarn on linen

Circa: 1900-1920

Size: 28" (w) x 28" (h)

Provenance: Rev. Ellen Grant Gustin (1836-1924) of Attleboro, MA

The Ojibwa and other Native tribes have a long history of using pictographic

imagery for storytelling—from medicine scrolls, spirit sticks and in many

instances ledger drawings of the Plains Indian tribes.

An old label, attached to the textile, reads, “This is an Indian prayer rug used

by the Ojibway and presented by one of the Indians as a friendly and

protective offering for kindness received. — E. G. G.”

Though this rare textile is misidentified as a prayer rug (the Ojibway were not

weavers) and it is not known if the full textile has any narrative, we may infer

that the figures on the upper left may represent Ms. Gustin and the father of

the Ojibwa child who may have created the textile for Guston (possibly for

religious instruction). The stylized headdresses are quite remarkable and I

love the image of the Indian child standing atop the horse.

The Rev. Ellen G. Guston was a

strongly spoken preacher, a

pioneer woman suffragists and

President of the Women’s Board

of Foreign Missions. In 1877,

Gustin was part of a “small but

radical Christian denomination,

[and] preached a series of revivals

in Westerly, Rhode Island [and]

caused such a commotion that her

preaching got national attention.”


Adolph Kronengold (1900-1986)

(ul) Hudson River Brick Factories;

(ur) Meatpacking District;

(ll) Brooklyn Bridge; (lr) Westside Passenger Piers

Oil on canvas board

Circa: early-mid 1920’s

Size: each 6" x 8" (sight)

11 1/2" x 13 1/2" (framed)

Kronengold was born in New Orleans and

studied at New York’s Art Student League and

the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In the

late 20’s and 30’s he was a leading cover

illustrator for the New Yorker.

These four small, en plein air, paintings exhibit

an assured handling of paint with broad strokes

and blocks of color that readily define the space

and light of scenes in and around New York City.


Ida Jones (1874-1959)

Mock Orange [Philadelphus]

Oil on canvas board

Circa: July, 1952

Size: 20" (w) x 16" (h)

Mockorange, (Philadelphus), is a shrub with a citrus scent and has white

blossoms that bloom in the late spring to early summer. A portion of

this painting can be seen in the upper left corner of the photo herein—

Jones in her living room/studio.

Ida Jones, the daughter of a former slave, had ten children and at the age

of seventy-two began painting. Self-taught, her work focuses on local

(Chester County, PA) landscapes, still-lifes and Biblical stories

The Chester County Historical Society held a retrospective exhibit in

1995 and Jones was recently included

in “We Speak: Black Artists

in Philadelphia, 1920s-1970s, ”

2015.

Literature: Starting Anew After

Seventy: The Story of Ida Ella

Jones, Primitive Artist, by Ida J.

Williams, 1980.

To Everything a Season: The Art

and Life of Ida Jones, by Beverly

Sheppard and Roberta Townsend,

1995.

Photo of Jones at the easel in her living room. A

portion of this painting is shown in the upper left

corner. Photo circa 1955.


M.L. Snyder

held their own on the galle

A Set of Three Folk Art Bakery Signs

De Kooning, Kline and othe

Maytown, Pennsylvania

the map and Thiebaud’s ear

Painted wood

widely held as seminal wor

Circa 1901

Sizes: (l) 15" x 15 1/4"; (c) 13 3/8" x 17 1/4"; Though we are not sure wh

(r) 19" x 15"

paintings came into Stone’s

The Newport Zoo had his name all over them

Provenance: Allan Stone Collection Newport, KY

Dated: April 6, 1925 Each is signed “M. L. Synde

In 1962, a then-unknown Wayne Size: Thiebaud 11 1/2" (w) x 5 1/4" further (d) x signed 3 1/2" and (h) dated on

walked into the Allan Stone Gallery and

May 6, 1901”

showed him his paintings of cakes A large and and unusual piece of Southern

pastries. At first, the paintings perplexed ceramics featuring a menagerie of

Stone and he thought they just might animals—an be the alligator, birds, a fish, and a

craziest things of earnest he had turtle. ever seen.

But to his amazement, he noticed that they


y walls—mixed amoung

rs. Stone put Thiebaud on

ly cake paintings are now

ks of early Pop Art.

en this set of cake

collection—they certainly

!

r” and the center one is

the back, “Maytown, PA /


Pebble People

Arizona

Circa: 1899-1900

Sizes range from: 3/4" - 2 1/4" (oah)

A fascinating group of seven carved

stones, each in the form of a man’s face

with a pronounced, well-groomed

mustache.

Though the carver’s identity is unknown,

three of the stones are dated; 1) July 15,

1899; 2) Oct. 1899; 3) July 15, 1900


Frederick Hastings (1919-2013)

A Group of Five Figures

Steel, air-dried clay, paint, cardboard, cotton, lead and masking tape

Circa: 1960-80

Size: range from 2 1/2" - 7 1/4" (oah)

The work of Frederick Hastings was discovered a few years ago and

much of the details of his life and work remains a mystery. The two

larger are made from steel armatures under air dried clay and the

smaller three are steel armatures under painted lead.

What is known is that he lived outside of Philadelphia, was an architect

and may have had family money. It is also known that he was into

trains and built elaborate sets.

The figures are very well made, with steel armatures or skeletons and

then carefully modeled with some sort of air-dried clay or modeling

putty. Most have applied paper bikinis and several have wigs of cotton

or wool. Most of the figures come with hand-made boxes, custom fit to

accommodate the size and posture of each.

At first glance the figures appear hermaphroditic or trans-gendered,

however, none have genitals—just muscular bodies with breasts. And

though great effort is put into modeling and composing the figures,

there appears to be no attempt to idealize or beautify the faces—which

are often quite severe and grotesque.

During the same period in which Forrest Bess was exploring sexuality

through hermaphroditism, Hastings was engaged in exploring the

boundaries of masculinity and femininity.


American Folk Art Ventriloquist’s Head

Wood, polychrome and wool hair

Circa: 1900

Size: 20 1/2" (oah)

Pictured and discussed in American

Vernacular, page 84.

A striking example with first rate paint

and features—look at those eyelashes!


(l) A Folk Art Cane for Elias H. Gilbert

Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Circa: 1890

Size: 37" (oah)

Gilbert was the owner of the Merchants’

Hotel in Pottstown, PA and was one of

the town’s most popular citizens. In 1904

a newspaper wrote about Gilbert’s trained

pig and noted that it could “count, walk

on two feet and do some clever stunts.”

Gilbert went on to become a PA State

Representative from 1907-1910.

The cane features Gambrinus atop a beer

keg with his right arm making a toast

with a stein. Behind him, a goat and a

dog appear at opposite ends of a barrel.


(c) Folk Art Cane of a Black Man

Circa: 1880

Size: 37 1/2" (oah)

Likely Southern and African American carved.

Very powerful piece.

(r) Folk Art Cane of a Monkey, Snake and Lizard

Circa: 1880-1900

Size: 36" (oah)

Very fine and skillfully carved with a monkey

atop a pole with inset mother-of-pearl eyes—

the snake with hundreds of individually carved

scales and inset blue glass eyes.


To Have and To Hold

Folk Art Painted Tintypes

Circa: 1860-1880

Size: +/- 7" x 10"

(slightly larger than

typical full plate)

A rare pair of African

American tintypes of a

husband and wife.

Both figures are quite

striking—sophisticated,

strong—and look at that

dress!


An Arranged Marriage

Folk Art Painted Tintypes

Circa: 1860-1880

Size: +/- 7 1/8" x 10 1/8"

(slightly larger than

typical full plate)

Though these were found

separately, the plate size

and unusual mountainous

lake backgrounds are

more/less the same and

the sitters make a nice

“marriage.”


Folk Art Painted Tintype

Circa: 1860-1880

Size: +/- 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" (full plate)

Charming portrait of a young

red-headed boy in a dress atop a

wonderful green floorcloth.


Folk Art Painted Snuff Box of a Black Man

Circa: 1820-1840

Size: 3 5/8" (d)

I have handled a good number of

lacquered papier-mache snuffboxes and

have seen thousands more—this is the

first example that I have had of a fully

painted miniature of a black man's face.

The face occupies the full round—it is

quite effective. The lacquer is of very good

quality and it probably English or

Continental of the Saundauer type.


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

W O R K S O F

A R T

& a m e r i c a n a

109 3rd Place #2, Brooklyn, NY 11231 | 718.625.1715 or 917.518.0809 | stevenspowers.com | member: ADA

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines