Published: December 18, 2015
NEW YORK CITY — Striking in its size and strength, American folk art from the collection of Stephen and Petra Levin heads to Sotheby’s on January 23. Accompanied by its own catalog, American Beauty: American Folk Art from the Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin, Part I, the single-session sale numbers 96 lots. Estimates range from $4,000 to more than $1 million.
Nancy Druckman. Sotheby’s senior vice president and head of American folk art, has taken a distinctive approach to the sale, organizing it by the themes of patriotism, firefighting, whimsy, fantasy, on the edge of contemporary, wind, commerce, mobility and sport.
Working with some of the field’s leading specialists — among them, David Wheatcroft, Fred Giampietro, Allan Katz, Tim and Pam Hill, Olde Hope Antiques, James and Nancy Glazer, Jeff Bridgman and Ricco/Maresca -— the Levins were drawn to “really big, powerful folk art carvings, things that are three-dimensional,” says Druckman.
Sale highlights will include “The Buckeye Family of Overton, Tennessee,” an iconic group of four carved and painted figures of circa 1925 ($800,000–$1.2 million); an American eagle wall plaque with a massive 99-inch wingspan by John Haley Bellamy ($500/$700,000); a rare Lady Golfer weathervane of circa 1895 ($400/$600,000); and Rocco Pavese’s circa 1910 carving of “M. Pavese” ($120/180,000), among other well-known pieces.
The collection is on public view at Sotheby’s 1334 York Avenue galleries from Wednesday, January 13, through Friday, January 22. Complementing the Levin auction is a three-day sale of property from the collection of Irvin and Anita Schorsch, January 20–22, and Important Americana, January 22. For information, www.sothebys.com or 212-606-7000.
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