Published: August 29, 2023
Review by Z.G. Burnett; Images Courtesy Blanchard’s Auction Services
POTSDAM, N.Y. — Blanchard’s Auction Services celebrated its 16th Annual Premier Adirondack Auction on August 18 with almost 700 lots of fine art, furniture, Native American art and more, from the Black Forest to the American Plains. Another reason to celebrate was that every lot of the auction was sold. “We’re very pleased, it was a good response,” said Kip Blanchard. “Prices were strong in many areas.” In addition to a full house for its previews on the previous Wednesday and Thursday nights, many new customers joined in bidding for the auction. Blanchard reported buyers in many Midwestern states and over the border in Canada, as well as many local customers who promptly picked up their purchases on Monday. “Even though this stuff is made in the Adirondacks, it fits in any lake house or mountain lodge,” Blanchard continued. “No matter the location.”
Black Forest sculpture ranked high in the auction, which was led by a large full-bodied carved eagle that surprised at $17,220. According to Blanchard, two bidders “really wanted it,” and the victor was a private Lake Placid, N.Y., collector. The eagle was finely carved with glass eyes and good age, showing only a small repair on its tail feathers. Another Black Forest sculpture in the top lots was a life-sized carved bust of a deer head with natural antlers, glass eyes, an oak leaf border on the mount and a turnip in its mouth. This sold for $3,690 to a collector on Big Moose Lake, N.Y.
Furniture by Gustav Stickley (American, 1858-1942) was prominent in the auction, beginning with a rare slant-front desk that showed the most presale interest among bidders. Around 150 customers were watching the desk on LiveAuctioneers, alone. This attention propelled bidding to $13,530. Blanchard mentioned that he has seen similar examples sell from $3,000 up to $15,000 and was happy with this result. Another Stickley in the top lots was a king size, quartersawn oak bed that was designed by Harvey Ellis with inlaid headboard and footboard slats for $6,027 to a new local buyer.
Blanchard’s Adirondack auctions are known for offering excellent pieces by known craftsmen of the region, and this year’s sale was no exception. Third in the auction was a stepback cupboard by Tom Benware, made in 1999 and showing beautiful curly maple shelves. Consigned from a summer home in Lake Pleasant, the cupboard was originally purchased at Ralph Kylloe’s Lake George, N.Y., estate. It was also featured in Kylloe’s photography book Cabins & Camps (2002), and sold for $12,300. Following this in price was a glass-top table by Barney Bellinger, supported by apple, maple and hickory roots and twigs covered in 23K gold leaf. Under the glass was an original oil on panel of a Northwest bay on Blue Mountain Lake, and the table was bid to $8,303.
Other named woodwrights’ works included a rare “Yeager Gun Cabinet” by Charles P. Limbert (American, 1854-1923), made with dark quartersawn oak and showing its original hardware, which sold for $5,658. It was in good condition, concurrent with age and use. Just behind this in price was a mosaic open-top Adirondack hutch by Peter Winter, consigned from a Lake Placid Home, that was bid to $5,535.
The sole piece of Native American art to reach the top lots was a rawhide teepee painted with scenes that appeared to be Custer’s Last Stand or the Battle of the Little Bighorn, also called the Battle of Greasy Grass by Lakota and other Plains tribes, in 1876. At 32 inches high and 52 inches wide, the teepee was more an art piece than a shelter covering. It was bought by a dealer in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for $5,166.
Fine art was also represented in the auction. From a home in Lake George came an oil on canvas painting of a black bass by Harry A. Driscole (American, 1861-1923), dated 1902 that achieved $3,690. Driscole primarily painted fish, and his illustrations were often featured in Field and Stream magazine. Another of his paintings, also from Lake George, showed a trout and labels from Madison Avenue’s Braus Galleries on the reverse and sold for $3,444. These were joined by an Adirondack mountain scene from Levi Wells Prentice (American, 1851-1935), signed and dated 1871, that was bid to $3,567. Prentice grew up on a farm in Lewis County, N.Y., where he painted portraits and still lifes as well as landscapes, was associated with the Hudson River School and opened his own studio in Syracuse in 1875.
One lucky bidder found a great deal in a very scarce 12-piece set of original Gustav Stickley china made by Lenox. Decorated with the craftsman’s logo and motto, “Als ik Kan,” the set would have originally been bought at Stickley’s retail location in New York City circa 1913-15. Estimated at $1/2,000, Blanchard had hoped for local institutional interest but was surprised to see the set go for only $646.
Prices are quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For further information, www.blanchardsauctionservice.com or 315-244-0775.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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