A Gaggle of Interests – August 30 2009

American Empire Marble Top Dressing Table From Leland Little Auction
American Empire Marble Top Dressing Table From Leland Little Auction

In this series, Geo and I will list some of the interesting items that we have found in auctions, antique shops or eBay. We neither own the items and in most cases don’t have the capability of examining the items in person. It mainly serves as an inventory record of what interest us (not necessarily in terms of value or investment opportunities) and possibly how much it fetches (if the result can be obtained). If you are serious about some lots, please contact the auction houses, dealers or eBay sellers directly.

1. Leland Little Auction, Sept 19, Lot 169 American Empire Marble Top Dressing Table

My friend David Sokosh said yesterday “Modernism is dead, this stuff is coming back in a big way.” I hope he’s right, but let’s not hope he’s right before we’re able to snatch up a few more bargains like this American Empire Marble Top Dressing Table offered through LeLand Little. Even within the empire furniture, scroll designs like this one seem less sought than the carved pieces, yet this one seems to be an exceptional example. The starting price is only $250—an amount you can “donate” to Ikea or invest in an antique.

Note: It was sold for $800 plus premium.

2. Treadway Gallery, Sept 13, Lot 102 Rookwood plaque, Vellum glaze, Carl Schmidt

 Rookwood plaque, Vellum glaze, Carl Schmidt from Treadway Gallery, Sept 13, Lot 102
Rookwood plaque, Vellum glaze, Carl Schmidt from Treadway Gallery, Sept 13, Lot 102

Carl Schmidt is one of the best artists at Rookwood. In general plaques are more appreciated for the artistic merit than vases whose faint utilitarian purposes may distract eyes from the vellum landscape. By 1915, tonalism style has been firmly accepted in the nation. Cincinnati has produced many important painters of this school such as Alexander Wyant or John Henry Twachtman although it was actually the Rookwood artists who absorbed the style from the East Coast and innovated the techniques in pottery making. Hardly can any pottery object match the subtlety and richenss of oil paint, but here in tonalism style the goal was to reveal, not to record. By reducing the color and value range, Carl Schmidt achieved an off-focus softness that shroud a scene of greenery. It may be not suitable to display such a delicate work at a prominant place under bright light, yet it is a work of soothing effect, prompting viewers into contemplation and day-dream.

Deaccessioned Baltimore chairs from MESDA, attributed to John Barnhart, offered by Brunk
Deaccessioned Baltimore chairs from MESDA, attributed to John Barnhart, offered by Brunk

3. Brunk Auction, Sept 12, Lot 323 Fine set six Baltimore fancy chairs

This lot is deaccessioned from MESDA (The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts) and attributed to attributed to John Barnhart, Baltimore, Maryland, circa 1805-1825. Therefore it is not surprising that the  lot came with some scholarly research findings: John Barnhart is listed in Baltimore city directories between 1799 and 1829 as a house and sign painter, letterer and ornamental painter. A settee in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art couples Barnhart with cabinet maker Thomas Renshaw. The landscape scenes that embellish the tablet backs may have been painted by Cornelius DeBeet or Francis Guy, both of whom painted such scenes on other examples of Baltimore furniture. Painted chairs are more or less precious species and collectors are less inclined to use them in order to avoid any abrasion. But how many times can you find furniture with such pedigree?

4. Bonhams, Sale 16919 – Exploration & Travel, 16 Sep 2009, Lot80 Studio of Lamqua (Chinese, active 1805-1830),Portrait of a hong merchant

Studio of Lamqua, Portrait of a hong merchant, Offered by Bonhams on Sept 16
Studio of Lamqua, Portrait of a hong merchant, Offered by Bonhams on Sept 16

Western-looking art that came from China, generally, and specifically Canton, seems to all lead back to an English painter named George Chinnery. Born in 1774, Chinnery went to Canton, where he would paint many prominent people of the Western Colony, in 1825 and would stay until his death. Chinnery had Chinese students he trained to paint in a western style, the most prominent of which was Lam Qua or Lamqua. Lam Qua and Chinnery would later have a falling out that lead to a fierce rivalry. Chinnery’s degrading comments that Lam Qua was a “wretchedly bad painter” notwithstanding, Lam Qua was to become the most celebrated

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

1 comments

Leave a Reply

*