Auction Blog

American Furniture and Nakashima Rack Up Strong Prices at Schwenke Auctioneers June 26th Americana & Fine Estates Auction

Posted July 19th, 2016

Nakashima Walnut Triple Door Cabinet

Caucasian Prayer Rug

Duncan Phyfe Federal Ladies Work Table

Important Pair Philadelphia Chippendale Side Chairs

S. Badlam Carved Federal Shield Back Side Chair

Boston Chippendale Mahogany Reverse Serpentine Chest

NE Chippendale Carved Mahogany Tea Table

CT Cherry Queen Anne Lowboy

Emille Gruppe - The Gulls 16x20

Tribal Shield

Ethnic, Fine Art and Oriental Rugs Also Bring Notable Results

Woodbury, CT – On Sunday June 26th at 11am, Schwenke Auctioneers held their Americana & Fine Estates Auction featuring over 800 lots of estate property from several estates and consignors. The auction included several fine groups of American country and formal furniture and decorations, American folk art, Asian decorative arts, Mid-Century Modern decorative arts, English and Continental furniture and decorative arts, English & other sterling silver, jewelry, fine art, miscellaneous decorative arts, and estate oriental rugs.

Estate material included many lots of jewelry from a Ridgefield, Connecticut estate; American country furniture from a Princeton, New Jersey estate; American folk art and country furniture from a Roxbury, Connecticut estate; many lots of Croatian and Eastern European fine art from a New York City estate, American formal furniture and decorative arts from a Ridgefield, Connecticut estate; American paintings and folk art from a Southbury, Connecticut estate; fine American furniture from a New York City estate; and other estate property.

The top lot of the sale at $30,500 was a George Nakashima (American, 1905-1990), triple sliding door cabinet, circa 1973, with American black walnut slab form top with free form front edge over three pandanus cloth mounted sliding doors, concealing three interior sections, fitted with three drawers in center section and fitted for shelves on each end section. On verso in black ink was "Roman", the name of original owner. The cabinet, measuring 32" high, 101 1/2" long, 22 1/2" deep, was offered together with a scan of the original receipt from Nakashima workshop 1973, and the provenance was a Maryland estate; Doyle Galleries, NY, Doyle At Home/Modern, February 28, 2007. The lot was claimed by a phone bidder competing against the internet, other phone bidders and a dealer present in the saleroom.

Other Mid-Century items bringing strong results were an Italian mid century modern enameled steel table lamp, illegibly signed on base, 40" high, 11" wide, which went out at $2285 to an internet bidder, and a pair of vintage Hvidt & Molgaard Ax chairs, leatherette and molded beech with teak detail designed by Peter Hvidt and Orla Molgaard-Nielsen in 1947, produced by Fritz Hansen, Denmark, stamped on underside "FH, Made in Denmark", measuring 31" high, 24" wide, 16 1/2" deep. The pair sold for $1250 to an internet bidder from California.

There were many Caucasian and other oriental estate rugs in the sale. The next to last lot was a Caucasian prayer rug, 47" long, 31" wide, which attracted significant interest and went to a phone bidder who was one of six phone bidders competing for the lot. Final price was $4250.

The core of the sale was Americana and formal American furniture. According to Schwenke, the results were encouraging as we achieved some great prices in spite of the current soft market. The top Americana lot selling at $24,000 to a house phone bidder, was a rare New York Federal carved mahogany octagonal ladies work table, with one working drawer, raised on molded arched cabriole legs ending in carved paw feet with flat shelf stretcher, attributed to Duncan Phyfe, New York, circa 1800-1810. The fine piece, measuring 29" high, 22.5" wide, 15" deep, carried provenance of Sothebys, New York, American Furniture & Decorative Arts, January 1988, lot #1810; Collection of Norman Hascoe, Greenwich, CT; Sothebys, New York, American Furniture & Decorative Arts, January 2011; lot #32.

A Ridgefield Connecticut estate yielded the second highest selling lot of American furniture, a very fine matched pair of Philadelphia chippendale carved mahogany side chairs, with shaped crest rail with bead and scrolled volutes, centering a leaf carving, above a Gothic interlaced splat with quatrefoil design, square seat with floral and leaf carved knees with cabriole legs ending in carved claw and ball feet. The chairs had been appraised by Schwenke in 1995 as part of a fine arts appraisal for the collectors, now deceased, and were described as school of Thomas Tuft or James Gillingham, Philadelphia, c. 1770-75, and measured 38” high, 22 1/2” wide, 19” deep. The pair sold to a phone bidder from Pennsylvania for $10,800.

Also selling well was an important Massachusetts Hepplewhite carved mahogany side chair, with elaborately carved shield form back, upholstered seat and floral, leaf and stop-fluted carved front legs, die-stamped "S. Badlam" on rear seat rail, by Stephen Badlam, Dorchester Lower Mills, Massachusetts, also "SF" for journeyman Samuel Fiske, late 18th century, with carving attributed to Samuel McIntyre, measuring 38" high, 21.5" wide, 18.5" deep. A related armchair stamped "S.F." is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. The chair sold to a phone bidder at $10,080.

Another top selling lot of American furniture was a New England Chippendale carved mahogany reverse serpentine oxbow four drawer chest with slide, raised on ogee bracket feet, probably Massachusetts, 18th century, measuring 32.5" high, 36.5" wide, 21" deep. The chest was from a private New York collection and retained its original hardware, and sold to yet another house phone bidder at $9,600.

An “as found” Boston Chippendale carved mahogany tip top tea table with a square molded top tipping on a turned, fluted and gear carved column, raised on acanthus carved legs with elongated claw and ball feet, measuring 27.5" high, 32" wide, 32.5" deep, sold to a phone bidder from New York at $4,575.

Also selling above estimate at $4,270 to an absentee bidder, was a very nice Connecticut queen anne cherry wood lowboy, 18th century, having one long drawer over central shell carved drawer with flanking drawers, shaped apron with acorn drops on cabriole legs with "C" scrolled knees ending in pad feet, measuring 30" high, 35 3/4" wide, 20 1/4" deep.

Fine art also performed well, with the top lot at $7,320 being an Emile Gruppe (American, 1896-1978), "Seagulls" oil on canvas board, signed lower right "Emile A. Gruppe", titled, signed on verso with original sales receipt from Emile A. Gruppe Gallery, Gloucester, Massachusetts, dated 1975, sight size: 15 3/8" high, 19 1/2" wide.

A surprising result was achieved for a tribal carved and painted wood shield, 53" long, 14 1/2" wide, consigned from a Roxbury Connecticut estate. The unusual shield, estimated at $100-200, sold for $3,625 to an internet bidder winning out against strong online competition.

The catalog for the sale was posted on Live Auctioneers and Invaluable. Prices quoted include the buyer's premium charged to purchasers. Please watch the company’s website for information regarding the next catalog auction, scheduled for Sunday, October 2nd, at 11:00 am. Consignments are now being accepted and please send photos or call 203-266-0323 to discuss consigning to upcoming sales.

The firm’s next auction will be an Onsite Connecticut Estate Auction, featuring Americana and American clocks, scheduled for Saturday, August 20th and Sunday, August 21st at 10:00 am each day. The auction will be unreserved with no additions.

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