Published: July 11, 2006
A pencil and poster paint on shirt cardboard by Bill Traylor (1854-1947) was the top lot at Slotin Auction’s Spring Masterpiece Sale. The work, “Woman in Polka Dot Skirt,” circa 1939-42, realized $33,350.
Another highlight of the 800-lot sale was a rare, brown glaze face jug crafted around 1970 by the renowned folk artist Arie Meaders that sold for $9,660.
The jug, in mint condition, had been consigned by a girlfriend of the artist. “Arie Meaders has been a favorite at past auctions, so it didn’t surprise me when a bidding war broke out over this piece,” said Steve Slotin, president of Slotin Auction.
Slotin said the sale grossed just under $1 million. “That’s about what we’ve posted the last four or five auctions,” he said. “The market is holding steady, which is good in a tough economy. Folk art is a solid investment.”
Folk artist William Hawkins (1895-1990) was also represented at the sale. His enamel on Masonite work from 1984, “Female Leopard,” inspired lively bidding before fetching $16,100.
An enamel on wood board by Uncle Jack Dey, titled “Bears in the Stream,” circa 1977, garnered $10,810. The work, huge at 44 by 32 inches, is thought to be Dey’s last painting.
What would a folk art auction be without something by the late Howard Finster? A smaller work by the artist, titled “Night, Day,” circa 1976, measuring 21 by 24 inches, sailed past its high estimate of $6,000 before hammering for $9,487.
Interest in African American quilts has been keen in recent years and several crossed the block here. One that wowed the crowd was a velvet piece with blue cotton backing. Measuring 65 by 78 inches, it sold for $1,725. “The response to our African American quilts was tremendous,” Slotin said. “Buyers can expect to see more in future sales.”
African American vernacular photography standouts includedone showing a young lady’s first Communion in New York taken bynoted photographer James Van Der Zee (1886-1983); it went for$2,415.
A daguerrotype of a young black girl in a suit with white collar, holding a sign that said, “Midnight Choo-Choo” was a bargain at a mere $287.
On the other hand, some lots brought far more than expected. For example, a carved wooden buffalo by the artisan Linville Barker was expected to fetch around $1,000. Instead, the piece, done in 1994, went for five times that, at $5,462.
A carved and painted bas-relief executed in 1991 by the self-taught artist Leroy Almon, “The Old Gambler,” was expected to reach no more than $1,200 but achieved $4,600.
Works by Ulysses Davis (1913-1990) have long been a favorite at Slotin auctions. His painted wood carving of an androgynous fantasy figure surpassed the high estimate of $8,000, reaching $10,350.
Jugs were first up in the sale and they grabbed the crowd’s attention. A standout was Billy Ray Hussey’s urn, “The Friend at the Top,” showing humorous ways to reach heaven, that gaveled for $4,887.
A signed and dedicated two-tone vase by Cheever Meaders,circa 1964, rose to $2,875. The item was unusual in that Meaders,who was illiterate, rarely signed his work. It is possible his wifewrote the words, “Signed Cheever Meaders, for Kenneth Rogers.”
European Master paintings highlights included an oil on board by the British artist Alfred Daniels (b 1924), “Royal Park Hotel,” circa 1960, that sold for $1,150 and an 8-by-10-inch oil on board by Frank Kleinholz (1901-1987), “Woman With Flowers,” circa 1960s, that hanged hands for $4,312. Interest has been keen in Kleinholz, who was blacklisted by Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1953.
Next up for Slotin Auction is not an auction but a folk art show, slated for August 18-20 at the North Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross, Ga., featuring more than 90 folk art galleries and dealers from across the country.
All prices reported include a 15 percent buyer’s premium. For more information, www.slotinfolkart.com or 770-932-1000 or 404-403-4244.
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