Published: August 17, 2012
The Cahoon Museum has purchased a major furniture work by Ralph Cahoon called “Sheba and Solomon,” which is a Nineteenth Century secretary case piece. The piece was acquired from Ralph Cahoon’s son Franz and his wife Ruth.
After World War II, Ralph and Martha Cahoon purchased the large old Santuit house, where the museum is now located, for their workroom, galleries and home. Ralph Cahoon undertook his most ambitious furniture decorating projects on such large case pieces such as antique chests, cupboards and secretaries.
According to Cindy Nickerson, who is writing a book about Ralph and Martha Cahoon, Ralph looked to Swedish folk art in this piece. He drew upon Dalmaling wall-painting examples to illustrate the biblical story of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. The bouquets of stylish flowers are known as kurbits.
Through the generosity of several past and current board of trustees’ members, the museum was able to acquire the piece.
The work is now on display in the back downstairs gallery surrounded by Ralph Cahoon’s paintings of mermaids. “It is so exciting to have this major Ralph Cahoon piece back in the house. We all feel that the secretary has come home to the place it was created. In so many ways, this is a homecoming for the piece but also for us,” says director Richard Waterhouse.
The Cahoon Museum of American Art is at 4676 Falmouth Road (Route 28). For information, 508-428-7581 or www.cahoonmuseum.org .
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