Two catalog sales next weekend, one at Freeman's, the other at Pook & Pook Inc., will offer auctiongoers the chance to bid on works by such studio artists as Thomas Hart Benton and Fern Coppedge - as well as those of a prolific Pennsylvania woodcarver in the folk-art tradition.
The woodcarver is Wilhelm Schimmel, a 19th-century artist known for his rustic carvings, mostly of birds, done in the style of generally unschooled, often anonymous artists. More than a dozen and a half of his works will be featured by Pook & Pook at the auction house's liquidation next Friday and June 20, in Downingtown from the collection of El Roy P. and Helene Master.
The more than 700 lots in the sale also feature furniture, silver, paintings, and other decorative objects that graced the Masters' Berksveldt Farm in Robesonia, Pa., and constituted a collection that was five generations in the making. The legacy, as the lavishly illustrated auction catalog notes, began with the arrival at the turn of the 20th century in the United States of German immigrants Henry Janssen and Ferdinand Thun, who founded the Wyomissing Industries, including Textile Machine Works and Berkshire Knitting Mills.
Two of Janssen's four children, Helen and Minnie, became interested in antiques and collectibles, and many of them were at Berksveldt Farm in the 1930s after Minnie married Dr. John Livingood. Minnie died before she and her husband could move to the farm; John moved in with his two daughters, Elsa and Helene.
Eventually, Helene married El Roy Master, a West Point graduate and World War II officer, who ultimately became president of Textile Machine Works. The sale next weekend of the entire collection, the catalog notes with a touch of sadness, "marks the end of an era for the family."
Most items in the collection should bring four-figure prices.
The Schimmels, which will be offered in the June 20 session, account for some of the relatively few items with five-figure presale estimates: A polychromed rooster and a polychromed red squirrel have a presale estimate of $10,000 to $15,000 each, and a painted tiger has one of $50,000 to $80,000.
The June 20 session also will feature the top piece of furniture in the sale: a Philadelphia Queen Anne transitional carved-mahogany scroll-top high chest of drawers made around 1755 and attributed to both Samuel Harding and the so-called Garvan Carver. It has a presale estimate of $50,000 to $150,000.
Other top items in the June 20 session include a set of 12 New York Federal carved-mahogany dining chairs, nine of them dating to around 1800 ($30,000 to $40,000); a rare Maryland redware urn dated 1874 and a Georgian silver epergne (each $12,000 to $18,000); and an oil-on-canvas landscape with two young women tending a goat by the late-19th-century German Ludwig Knaus ($10,000 to $15,000).
Among the top items in the first session beginning at 6 p.m. next Friday are a Massachusetts William and Mary walnut-veneer high chest made around 1740 ($15,000 to $30,000), a New York Federal carved-mahogany three-part dining table attributed to the workshop of Duncan Phyfe ($25,000 to $50,000), and a Lancaster County painted Compass Artist box dating to the early 19th century ($30,000 to $60,000).
Previews are from noon to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. next Friday, and 8 a.m. to sale time June 20 at the gallery at 463 E. Lancaster Ave. For more information, call 610-269-4040 or go to www.pookandpook.com.
Fine art at Freeman's. The works by Benton, Coppedge and other studio artists will be offered by Freeman's at its sale of more than 125 lots of fine American and European paintings beginning at 2 p.m. June 21 at the gallery at 1808 Chestnut St. The 25-by-30-inch Coppedge, an oil-on-canvas titled January Sunshine, has a presale estimate of $60,000 to $100,000, according to the online catalog, accessible at www.freemansauction.com.
The Benton work is a study for one of his "American Historical Epic" series of paintings designed in the 1930s to portray U.S. history from colonial days through the rise of American history. Titled The Axes and with a presale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000, it depicts colonial-era woodsmen chopping trees in an almost abstract setting as an allegory of industry.
Other important works by famed American artists include Roy Nuse's The Children of James W. Hunsberger, signed and dated "Nuse 22," and depicting the present owner's mother and siblings at Cape May ($70,000 to $100,000); Edward W. Redfield's Sunlight on Snow ($50,000 to $80,000); Walter E. Schofield's A Busy Cornish Harbor ($20,000 to $30,000); Boats on a River at Dusk by the turn-of-the-20th-century American Aaron H. Gorson ($15,000 to $25,000); an oil-on-board magazine illustration by Howard Pyle titled Jonathan Rugg and inscribed and dated "From H. Pyle to his Friends, the Rowlands, 1907" ($6,000 to $10,000); and a worsted picture by "Grandma Moses" titled Covered Bridge with an embroidered signature ($12,000 to $18,000).
Major European works include The Saturn Room, Palazzo Pitti, Florence by the early-20th-century Italian Santi Corsi ($15,000 to $25,000) and Jean Dufy's ink, watercolor, pencil, and gouache on paper Au Spectacle ($4,000 to $6,000).
Not all the paintings with five-figure presale estimates are serious. Pot Luck, an oil-on-canvas by the American Gil Evgren (1914-80), has a presale estimate of $25,000 to $40,000. Reproduced for the "52 American Beauties" deck of playing cards as the six of clubs, it shows a scantily clad slot-machine player trying to catch her winnings in her skirt.
Previews are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and next Friday and noon to 5 p.m. June 20. For more information, call 215-563-9275.