Published: December 19, 2000
NEW YORK CITY – Doyle New York’s recent American furniture and decorations auction featured more than 65 lots of tramp art from a single-owner collection in addition to a selection of paintings, historical and decorative prints, furniture and American decorations such as samplers, candy containers, quilts, weathervanes, porcelain and sterling silver.
From the late Nineteenth Century through the 1930s, tramp art flourished in the United States. Mistakenly considered as only the work of itinerants, works were actually produced in many homes as a hobby. Tramp art frames, wall pockets, matchboxes and full-size furniture were made primarily of scrap wood and other found materials. Cigar boxes with paper and imprinted labels were frequently used in these creations.
Furniture highlights of the McCormick collection of tramp art included a large and unusual corner cabinet that fetched $9,200, and a chest of drawers with mirror that realized $8,050. Tramp art decorations that performed well were a painted wall pocket with a diamond-shaped mirror and drawer that sold for $2,185, and a church that tripled its high estimate to sell for $1,955.
American Furniture and Decorations
A highlight from the furniture section of the sale was a Rococo Revival rosewood center table, possibly from J. & J. W. Meeks, New York, circa 1850s. Since the table was in a form rarely seen on the market and had a dark, old finish, it realized $24,150. Matching the table was an elaborate set of four carved and laminated side chairs that fetched $8,050.
Examples from the Federal period included a mahogany and flame birch bedstead attributed to Judkins and Senter of Portsmouth, N.H. (active 1808-1826). Each bed foot post was inlaid with flame birch panels, and as a result it sold to a private collector for $10,350.
From the same period was a mahogany inlaid and birch fold-over card table from North Shore, Mass., that sold for $8,050. A William and Mary walnut slant-front desk from New York, circa 1700, brought $10,925, and a Queen Anne maple high chest sold for $11,500.
Another bit of Americana featured in the sale was a Nantucket Lightship basket of rattan, ebony and ivory by Jose Formoso Reyes, circa 1950. The lightship keeps moored on the Nantucket Sound of Massachusetts originally wove this type of purse. Is sold for $4,312.
The top lot of the sale was a folk art painting by the contemporary primitive artist Ralph Cahoon (1902-1982), which depicts a sailing vessel with whales framed by images of seahorses and mermaids. The mermaids became Cahoon’s hallmark in the 1960s.
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