Published: May 30, 2017
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. – A pair of life-sized figures of Newfoundland garden dogs proved irresistible to bidders at Pook & Pook, where the sculptures went under the gavel as part of the Downingtown auctioneer’s eclectic International and Americana auction on April 29.
Measuring 65 inches long, the cast iron canines are the work of the Philadelphia foundry Wood and Perot, known for casting a wide assortment of ornamental iron in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. As shown in a vintage image reproduced by Pook, the foundry stood at the corner of Ridge Avenue and Twelfth Street in the city. The Newfies, which date to circa 1857-78 and are the only examples known, brought $56,120, including buyer’s premium.
All told, the auction realized $967,249 on roughly 500 lots assembled from the collections of Mr and Mrs Thomas B. Rentschler of Hamilton, Ohio, Steven Sachs of St Louis, the Downingtown estate of Kathleen Wiley and other consignors.
Where the arts of Pennsylvania are concerned, Pook is a powerhouse. Thus it was not unexpected when an ink, watercolor and scherenschnitte fraktur by Jacob Botz, active in Lancaster, Penn., between 1775 and 1790, crossed the block at $67,100. It boasted fine color and fresh, original condition.
An ink and watercolor on paper fraktur birth certificate for Robert Perry Lang, born December 25, 1821, by Charles Munch (1769-1833) of Union County, Penn., made $13,420. Vignettes of a farmer plowing his field and a ship at sea added to its interest.
Of similar appeal was a carved and painted wood and metal horse and rider weathervane, $12,200. It surfaced at a Chester County, Penn., sale two decades ago.
A bidding war broke out over an English delft plate inscribed with the initials of Michael and Mary Lightfoot. Dated 1738, the Liverpool ceramic measuring just under 9 inches in diameter reached $29,280. The plate is part of a small group of such items that belonged to Chester County Quakers.
Pennsylvania furniture ranged from a pair of circa 1790 Philadelphia fanback Windsor armchairs, $12,200, to a paint decorated chest of drawers, $10,980.
Leading a varied selection of paintings was the 1932 canvas “Pirates and Their Buried Treasure,” $34,160, by the artist-illustrator Anton Otto Fischer, a German immigrant known for his work for the Coast Guard.
A characteristic scene of chicks and a worm by Ben Austrian made $18,300, while the inviting “Still Life of Apples and Nuts” by John F. Francis sold for $13,420.
The varied presentation even featured a watercolor and gouache on paper by Erte of the Jazz-era entertainer Josephine Baker. It realized $1,875. Of roughly the same vintage, a Tiffany Studios six-light patinated bronze floor lamp left the room at $15,860.
One notable disappointment was the oil on poplar panel portrait of Andrew Jackson, “The Old Democrat,” with two American flags by Pennsylvania folk artist Edward Hicks (1780-1849). It failed to meet estimate, $50/70,000, and passed. Pook last auctioned the painting – exhibited at the Princeton Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum and Mercer Museum – in 2016.
Historical Blue Staffordshire, enamels and glass gathered by Kenton Broyles, a collector of political campaign memorabilia, and his wife, Audrey, rounded out the auction. Highlighting the 66-lot trove was a group of historical glass flasks, one impressed with the words “Taylor Never Surrenders,” $7,930; eight aqua glass presidential flasks, $7,500; and a Historical Blue Niagara medallion plate with portraits of Jefferson, Lafayette, Clinton and Washington, $4,880.
Pook & Pook is at 463 East Lancaster Avenue. For more information, www.pookandpook.com or 610-269-4040.
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