Book References for Furniture at Freemans

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Could this be a Dunlap Highboy?

I had some success finding book references for two items in this weekend’s auction of American furniture at Freemans in Philadelphia.

The first items is the fourth lot, a pair of Chippendale carved mahogany side chairs. I mentioned them in yesterday’s post as well. There are similar chairs in American chairs: Queen Anne and Chippendale, by John T. Kirk. The first (page 140) is mahogany and currently at Winterthur and identified as having originated in Rhode Island. A very similar chair is on the preceding page is English and constructed of Walnut. It’s currently housed at the High Wycombe Art Gallery and Museum in England. UPDATE FROM FREEMANS: I received a call from Freemans that indicated these chairs are not period. They are likely early 20th century reproductions.  It always helps to inspect items in person!!!

The second item is lot 21, a Queen Anne highboy. Freemans identifies it only as New England, 18th century, but Page 42 of New England Furniture: The Colonial Era by Brock Jobe and Myrna Kaye show another piece with similar characteristics attributed to the Dunlap School of Southern New Hampshire. In the description, the authors note that the highboy pictured is easily attributed to a locale and ascribed to a school of rural cabinetmakers, however the description of similar drawer arrangements don’t seem to make sense. The similar form of the skirt design seems to be the most similar characteristic. While both have a fan, the design of the fan on the book has two layers of rigid rays, while the fan on the chest at Freemans has curved rays and shorter rays at the top center.

I haven’t inspected the chest at Freemans, and an attribution can’t be made from photographs (and someone with more knowledge may be able to discount a Dunlap shop), but there may be enough to go on here enabling the region to be narrowed down from “New England” to New Hampshire.

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.

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