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Sotheby's New York opens 2018 auctions with "Americana Week: We the People"
Ferdinand V. Hayden, The Yellowstone National Park, and the Mountain Ranges of portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. Boston: l. Prang and company, 1876. Estimate $250/350,000. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s begins the 2018 auctions in New York with Americana Week: We the People. Comprised of exceptional and historically important examples of American furniture and decorative arts, silver, folk art, ceramics, books and more, the two sales this January include property from nearly a dozen distinguished private collections, and an important private collection of maps of the American West.

Works from both sales, Important Printed and Manuscript Americana, including Cartography on 17 January and Important Americana from 18-21 January, will be on view in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning tomorrow, 10 January.

Erik Gronning, Head of Sotheby’s Americana Department, remarked: “With the strong results of our 2017 Americana Week sales, we are thrilled to present yet another outstanding series of sales this January. The range of exceptional objects by both popular and lesser-known American artists is truly remarkable, and gives the public the rare opportunity to discover countless facets of American history. We also have the privilege of offering property from a number of extraordinary private collections, which provides new and seasoned collectors with the chance to acquire pieces that are very fresh to the marketplace — there really is something for everyone this season.”

Sotheby’s has renowned fashion designer, Tommy Hilfiger, participate in their 2018 Americana Week auctions. Synonymous with timeless American sportswear, Mr. Hilfiger will lend his impeccable taste and discerning eye to select his favorite pieces from across the sales, and share his insight as a principal figure in shaping the luxury American aesthetic.

Auction 18-21 January

This outstanding seven-session sale is distinguished by its breadth of fine American furniture, folk art, silver, ceramics, Chinese Export, porcelain and prints. Spanning more than four centuries, the 1,100+ lots on offer range from an Important Mansfield-Merriam Family Wainscot Armchair circa 1640-1660 to Ralph Fasanella’s Mill Workers-Lower Pacific Mill (Working at the Mill), dated 1977, and exemplify the diverse artifacts of American history on display throughout the week.

The sale is led by one of the earliest and most important Wainscot chairs to ever appear at auction. From the collection of Dorothy A. Merriam, the Important Mansfield-Merriam Family Wainscot Armchair, circa 1640-1660 was likely owned by one of the first settlers of New Haven, Connecticut, Richard Mansfield, and has since descended through his family and the Merriam family of Meriden for over 365 years (estimate $300/500,000). Twenty-one other extant Wainscot chairs are included in public collections, and only two remain in private collections. The last time a chair of similar quality appeared at auction was in 1995, and it has remained the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art ever since.

A Rare and Important Carved and Painted Pine Figure of a Baseball Player circa 1890 – thought to depict Michael J. "King" Kelly, one of the most popular players of the 1880s – from the workshop of sculptor Samuel Anderson Robb (estimate $300/500,000); a Very Fine and Rare Chippendale Block-and-Shell Carved Dressing Bureau, highlighted by exceptionally-articulated shells (estimate $300/500,000); and an American Silver and Copper “Indian” Punch Bowl and Ladle (estimate $120/175,000) attributed to celebrated silver craftsman Joseph Heinrich, further distinguish the sale.

An ensemble of private collections punctuates the sale and is led by Important American Folk Art from the Collection of Bobbi & Ralph Terkowitz. Five of the nine portraits on offer by Ammi Phillips emerge from the Washington D.C. couple’s collection, providing an extensive look at the artist’s stylistic progression throughout his career. An Exceptional Federal Cherrywood Music Clock circa 1809 (estimate $80/120,000) is also among the Terkowitz’s New England-focused assemblage of furniture and folk art.

The sale’s first session is comprised of property from the Private Collections of Two New Jersey Families: the current owner and that of Esther Ipp Schwartz, their mentor, and her husband, Samuel who both lived in Paterson, New Jersey. Assembled with an eye toward the story of an emerging nation, the collection is led by the Highly Important Zabriskie Family Engraved Pewter Tankard (estimate $50/80,000), with an impressive assemblage of furniture, ceramics and silver throughout.

Once described as “one of the great collector-scholars”, Mrs. Schwartz was a self-taught authority on American decorative arts, architecture, furniture, paintings and folk art and often loaned works from her collection to traveling exhibitions across the US. Among her many accomplishments, Mrs. Schwartz supported numerous art and historical institutions, such as the American Folk Art Museum and New Jersey Historical Society, in addition to serving as a trustee and founding member of several philanthropic organizations.

Property from the Estates of Price & Isobel H. Glover is led by a Very Fine and Rare William and Mary Inlaid and Figured Walnut High Chest of Drawers from New York, circa 1720 (estimate $60/120,000). An extremely rare example of the form from this region, the present chest reflects the Baroque penchant for verticality and the contrast between thick and thin components.

Born in rural Virginia, Price Glover discovered his interest for collecting at a young age, after being introduced to antiques and decorative arts by his aunts. Throughout his decades-long career as a pilot for Pan American Airways, Price was exposed to a host of collectors throughout his travels and was introduced to his wife, Isobel Hinckley Glover, through a pair of pewter dealers. The couple soon opened an antique shop on Madison Avenue, and established Price Glover Inc. in 1973. Throughout his life, Price enjoyed collecting pewter, early English pottery, early brass and paintings, as well as American and English furniture.

Topped by a Very Fine and Rare William and Mary Walnut High Chest of Drawers (estimate $40/60,000), property from the Dudley and Constance Godfrey Foundation reflects their passion for collecting a vast diversity of items that represent America from its infancy through its transformation into a thriving democratic nation. Constance and Dudley cherished early American history and material culture during their 50+ years as avid collectors; the objects offered by the Foundation not only demonstrate the breadth of American craftsmanship, but also stand as tangible examples of the preamble to the United States Constitution – “We the People.”

Patricia M. Sax adopted her love of fine American furniture and the decorative arts from her husband, well-known collector Stanley Paul Sax, and became a collector in her own right in 1997. Exemplifying her adoration of Classical era works in particular, property from her exceptional collection is led by a Very Fine and Rare Classical Figured and Ormulu-Mounted Mahogany Bureau (pictured left, estimate $60/80,000) by Charles Honore Lannuier and a Pair of Classical Giltwood and Verte Antique Brass-Inlaid Games Tables (estimate $50/100,000), circa 1825. Mrs. Sax’s avid passion also extended beyond her collection – she modeled her Douglas, Michigan home after Edgewater, an attractive classical revival house on the Hudson River, and designed it specifically to showcase her beautiful furniture.

Auction 17 January

Following the tremendous success of our January 2017 Alexander Hamilton: An Important Family Archive of Letters & Manuscripts sale, Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department is once again participating in Americana Week, with an exceptional offering of over 175 lots. The sale is accented by significant color-plate books and views, atlases, and maps, including an important private collection of maps of the American West.

A fresh and beautifully-preserved contemporary broadside of The Declaration of Independence (estimate $1/1.5 million) is among the sale’s top lots. Created circa 18-20 July 1776, the present document is the authorized printing for Massachusetts – the colony that led the struggle for American independence from Great Britain.

Further highlights include a vibrant set of 15 chromolithographs of Ferdinand V. Hayden and Thomas Moran’s The Yellowstone National Park and the Mountain Ranges of Portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah (pictured right, estimate $250/350,000), reproduced by Louis Prang; and broadside of Thomas Jefferson’s Plan For The Temporary Government Of The Western Territory – the only copy to ever appear at auction – with two marginal interlineations by Congressional delegate, David Howell (estimate $250/350,000). Howell’s notes on the present document match his annotations on Jefferson's manuscript, which is now in the Library of Congress.

The most significant of the many important nineteenth-century maps in the auction is a first issue of John Hamilton Robinson’s 1819 Map of Mexico, Louisiana and the Missouri Territory (estimate $200/300,000). Robinson’s seminal map of the American Southwest was the first to delineate the border of Texas and Louisiana as established by the crucial Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. This is one of only about ten copies to survive and is evidently one of the three copies deposited by Robinson in the Library of Congress in order to secure copyright.

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