Published: October 16, 2007
Marjorie H. “Peggy” Schorsch, 77, a well-known collector and dealer in American antiques, noted for her instinctive good taste and playful good humor, died October 12 at Walnut Place, after a long battle with emphysema.
Peggy was born February 10, 1930, in Philadelphia, to Cecelia and David Shulman. She graduated from the Convent of Mercy in Merion, Penn., and the University of Pennsylvania. Since the 1950s she was involved in the field of American antiques, first as a private collector with her former husband, John B. Schorsch, Sr, and later as a dealer.
Together John and Peggy Schorsch assembled a notable private collection that was sold as a single-owner sale at Sotheby’s in 1981. During the early 1970s she was a committee member of The University Hospital Antiques show in Philadelphia and worked on the loan exhibitions of miniature and children’s furniture, hooked rugs, and Pennsylvania German folk art.
In 1975 she became a full-time antiques dealer, running two shops, first in Greenwich, Conn., and later in New York City. She exhibited at a number of prestigious antiques shows in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, White Plains, Albany and York, Penn.
During the folk art boom of the 1980s, Peggy joined in business with her son David, and acted as a consultant and private dealer working with a small group of affluent collectors who wanted the very best American folk art.
She will be remembered for the iconic works she acquired for clients both at public sales and in private transactions. Many of them were acquired for the Ralph Esmerian collection, now a promised gift to The American Folk Art Museum. One of the greatest works that passed through her hands was the painting “The Situation of America 1848,” which she acquired for Esmerian in 1984, paying a then-record price of $300,000.
Other important works include the steam locomotive weathervane from the Woonsocket, R.I., train depot for which she paid a then-world record price $203,500 at a Skinner auction in 1987, and the exquisite blue-painted Queen Anne chest-on-frame illustrated on the back cover of American Painted Furniture by Dean A. Fales.
In 1990 in partnership with AmericaHurrah, Peggy and David Schorsch purchased and sold the renowned Barry Cohen collection, which included many superb pieces, including a major Edward Hicks “Peaceable Kingdom.” The list of superlative pieces that she bought and sold during her career is long; the friendships she made in the antiques world were the most meaningful to her.
Peggy Schorsch is survived by her five children, William D. Schorsch of Highland Park, Ill., Toni Ann Evans of Oakland, Calif., Margaret R. Schorsch of New York City, John B. Schorsch Jr of Dallas, David A. Schorsch of Middlebury, Conn.; and seven grandchildren.
Donations in her memory may be sent to The American Lung Association, 612 Broadway, New York NY 10006.
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