Published: July 25, 2017
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – A sleeping Canada Goose decoy seized $517,500 including buyer’s premium on day one of Guyette & Deeter’s July 25-26 Decoys At Auction event in Portsmouth. Carved by Newburyport, Mass., maker Charles Safford (1887-1957), the decoy estimated at $400/600,000 went to Arthur Liverant, who bid on behalf of a client. From the Vinal collection, the imposing figure dates to circa 1900-1910. “It is an exceptional piece of sculpture, really captivating, with its first coat of paint. The maker was well versed in the movement of wood. The construction is quite remarkable,” said the Connecticut dealer, likening the bird’s sculptural appeal to that of an eider drake decoy he acquired for $767,000 at Sotheby’s in 2014. According to decoy expert Robert Shaw, “Safford’s unique sleeper is all about the complex relationships between the big, powerful body and the elegant curves of its carefully observed, muscular neck pulled up from the right across its chest, its head then turned back laterally so the tip of its bill rests against the carved inside edge of its right wing.” A varied selection of decoys and shorebirds, including carvings by Elmer Crowell, are promised on day two of the sale, which may be viewed at www.guyetteanddeeter.com. Watch for a complete review of the sale at Antiques and The Arts Weekly.
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