Collectors interested in acquiring museum-quality furniture at affordable prices will have the opportunity when 39 lots of period furniture deaccessioned by the Museum of Fine Arts are offered at Northeast Auctions’ sale Saturday and Sunday at noon at Treadwell Mansion in Portsmouth, N.H.
The pieces being sold to benefit the museum’s Collections Fund date from a Massachusetts Pilgrim-century blanket chest with a $4,000-$6,000 estimate to a 19th-century Victorian four-piece Boston parlor suite with an $800-
$1,200 estimate. Other estimates range from $100-$200 for a Sabbathday Lake, Maine, Shaker ladder-back chair to $6,000-$10,000 for a Salem Federal mahogany bowfront chest of drawers from the Maxim Karolik Collection.
Other museum property being sold includes nearly 40 lots of Staffordshire pottery from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Estimates range from $3,000-$5,000 for a 16-inch dark blue “Arms of the American States: Delaware” platter to a 9-inch “Eagle and Shield” plate. Pieces picturing the Massachusetts State House and the Boston Common include a pitcher ($400-
$600), a sauce tureen with cover ($300-
$500), and four plates ($400-$600).
The auction’s expected top seller is an oil portrait of a young girl holding her doll painted in 1918 by the Boston Impressionist Edmund Tarbell (1862-1938). The estimate is $45,000-
$65,000. The sitter was Wilhelmine Kirby, the 4-year-old granddaughter of Thomas E. Kirby, owner of the American Art Association. Competing for the second-highest price of $25,000-
45,000 are a Chippendale carved mahogany serpentine chest of drawers attributed to the Salem cabinetmaker John Chipman (1746-1819) and a 1740 silver salver that descended in the Livingston family of New York.
Other important offerings include a 1760-90 Chippendale mahogany slant-lid desk from the Newport, R.I., workshop of John Townsend ($25,000-
$40,000), a 1740-60 Rhode Island Queen Anne mahogany porringer top tea table ($22,000-$32,000), a 1770-90 New York Chippendale wing chair ($10,000-$20,000), and a circa 1855-60 China Trade painting with a view of Hong Kong Harbor ($24,000-$32,000). All of the pieces descended in the Isham family of Rhode Island.
Ten paintings consigned by a New England financial institution have estimates ranging from $15,000-$22,000 for a landscape by the Hudson River School artist Thomas Doughty (1793-1856) to $1,000-$1,500 for “Edge of the Pool” by Robert Ward Van Boskerck (1855-1932), the New Jersey-born Impressionist landscapist.
Highlighting the English offerings is a Queen Anne figured walnut double-bonnet secretary with a 15,000-$25,000 estimate, which also is the estimate for a bonnet-top highboy formerly owned by a North Shore family.
. . .
A Plains Indian shirt collected in the 1850s by 15-year-old Eugene Burr while traveling with his family along the Oregon Trail to Utah, where his father, David Burr, was to serve as Utah’s first surveyor general, sold for $144,000, the top price at Skinner’s American Indian & Ethnographic Art Auction. The estimate was $80,000-$120,000.
The hide trousers ($6,000-$8,000) that Eugene also collected failed to find a buyer, but a rare Cree beaded cloth panel bag and a pair of Cree beaded hide moccasins that belonged to either Eugene, his older brother, David, or their father, did sell. The bag brought $25,200 against a $12,000-$16,000 estimate and the moccasins $1,200 against a $1,000-
A circa 1880s Lakota pictorial beaded buffalo hide cradle with a $25,000-$35,000 estimate brought the auction’s second-highest price of $78,000, followed by the $57,000 (estimate $30,000-
$40,000) paid for a late-19th-century Kiowa beaded hide cradle.
The cradle and a Pawnee-style bear claw necklace, which also brought $57,000 (estimate $15,000-$20,000), were from the collection of the late Joseph Rivera, a leading expert in American Indian artifacts, who had owned two Sioux trading posts in Rapid City, S.D., and later managed Morning Star Gallery in Santa Fe.
Topping the 82 lots of pottery in the sale was a large four-color ovoid form Zuni storage jar decorated with three large birds that went for $24,000 (estimate $8,000-$12,000). Topping the 26 basketry lots was a 24-inch-high Apache basketry jar that fetched $12,300 (estimate $4,000-$6,000).
. . .
The grand piano that was in the Ladies’ Drawing and Music Room of the French luxury liner SS Normandie will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s 20th-Century Design Auction Wednesday.
The piano by the French Art Deco designer Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), made of macassar ebony, the highly decorative Asian wood, and American walnut with gilt bronze and ivory accents, is expected to bring $400,000-$600,000.
It is one of only six known and one of three in Ruhlmann’s iconic modern shape. He first displayed a piano in this shape at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, the 1925 exposition in Paris from which Art Deco derived its name.
After Ruhlmann’s death in 1933, his employees as a tribute to him decorated a room on the Normandie with his furniture, the room becoming the Ladies’ Drawing and Music Room.
In 1939 the US government interned the SS Normandie and turned it into a troopship named the SS Lafayette. The ship’s contents were auctioned in the 1940s by the US Treasury and the piano was purchased by Edward H. Butler, founder of the then-Buffalo Evening News. It remained in Butler’s 40-room mansion in Buffalo until 1976, when it was sold.
. . .
Grogan & Co. will give verbal appraisals on furniture, artwork, and keepsakes on Saturday from 10 a.m. to
3 p.m. at the Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak St., Brockton. The fee is $5 for each item appraised with the proceeds benefiting the museum.
Virginia Bohlin can be reached at globe