PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freemans
April 25 auction of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts offers Americana collectors a wide array of property. The 41-lot collection of Outsider and Folk Art from the Estate of Gloria G. Einbender (1930-2017) will open the sale and represents artists including Thornton Dial, Mamie Deschillie, Eddie Arning, Purvis Young and others.
Mrs. Einbender was a life-long lover and supporter of the arts. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Gloria moved to New York City to pursue a career in fashion illustration. There she married Edwin Einbender and in 1964, the couple relocated to Philadelphia where Edwin founded the Honeybee clothing store.
Gloria and Edwin worked closely and together, produced a fashion catalogue winning accolades in the womens fashion industry. The couple then returned to New York City, fully participating in the cultural offerings of the city. Widowed in 1987, Gloria began collecting works by self-taught artists, with an emphasis on rural Southern artists. Soon thereafter, she returned to Philadelphia, where she filled her Rittenhouse Square home with the brilliant color and exuberance of a collection gathered over nearly 30 years.
Another important collection in the auction is a group of furniture, needlework, silver, manuscripts, silhouettes, early imprints, journals and correspondence relating to prominent Quaker families of Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester Counties from the 17-20th centuries. Families represented in the collection include Richardson, Sharpless, Haines, Cadwallader, Randolph, Eastburn, Moon, Mendenhall, Stackhouse, Taylor and Clark. The material descended to the Moon family of Bucks County and Virginia, to the present owner. With lovingly preserved manuscripts and early handwritten notes accompanying decorative objects, the collection offers a rare and profound look into early American life.
The auction is also rich in historic and folk portraiture. A notable highlight is a portrait of George Washington in Presidential Costume, by Philadelphia native Rembrandt Peale ($150,000-250,000). Washington is depicted in this Porthole portrait within an oval stone window suffused with a golden, reverential glow. The painting comes from the estate of former Pennsylvania Governor William W. Scranton and First Lady Mary L. Scranton.
Another historical portrait is that of Royal Navy Captain William Locker by Gilbert Stuart ($25,000-35,000), once in the collection of Vincent Price. Captain Locker (1731-1828) was a highly esteemed career British Royal Navy Officer who served as a mentor to Lord Horatio Nelson.
Furniture highlights include a New York Chippendale mahogany tassel-back side chair ($8,000-12,000). The piece is one of a large set owned by the Van Rensselaer family and later used in the St. Croix Government house. Another highlight is a group of Federal furniture deaccessioned from the Dumbarton House Collection, in Washington D.C. sold to benefit future acquisitions. In addition, the sale will feature a highly carved rosewood square piano ($6,000-10,000) made by Schomacker & Co. in Philadelphia. This exquisite instrument, patented in 1848, was by tradition played by Jenny Lind, and previously sold through Freemans in 2010.
The auction also includes a group of weathervanes, folk carvings of animals, and a carved and painted figure of a Trapper ($30,000-50,000). This trade shop figure was made circa 1870 and stands more than five feet tall. It shares numerous characteristics with two iconic Folk Art figures: American Indian Man (1986.65.303) and American Indian Woman (1986.65.384), in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, formerly in the collection of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. (1929-1998).
A January 19, 1987, New York Times article, announcing the Smithsonians acquisition of the Hemphill Folk Art collection notes the figures were used as shop signs in a New Jersey store. This figures proportions, large bellied posture, treatment of hands and pattern of pendants are almost identical to both of the Hemphill figures, while his facial features are more closely related to those of the Indian Woman. The present lot retains a quiver similar to that on the Indian male figure, and is carved with similar arms, suspenders, protruding anklebones, shoes and naturalistically carved circular base. The similarities strongly suggest that this Trapper figure was carved by the same maker as the two Hemphill figures.
Two of the most iconic printed images in American culture are also included in the auction, the anti-slavery broadside, Remarks on the Slave Trade, Extracted from the American Museum, ($8,000-12,000) printed by Matthew Carey, Philadelphia in 1789, depicting the horrific conditions of trans-Atlantic slave ships, and James Montgomery Flaggs WWI Recruiting poster, showing Uncle Sam with the caption, I Want You for U.S. Army ($4,000-6,000).
This is a fascinating and varied sale, with a number of truly historically significant items, Department Head Lynda Cain Remarked.