On Saturday, October 20, Rago Auctions
in Lambertville, NJ hosts a single-owner sale of American and European decorative arts consigned by Martin Cohen, an internationally esteemed collector, dealer and connoisseur of art and design.
Martin Cohens taste has always been ahead of the collecting curve. Over the course of four decades, he has acquired a collection of fine furnishings, lighting, art and antiquities to rival a small museums holdings. Indeed, he has placed objects from his self-described museum quality hoard in numerous national and international institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Musée Maillol in Paris, France.
This over 200 lot sale is a rich olio of American and European decorative arts, sculpture, lighting and other artistry that have inspired Cohen, including the work of the renowned outsider sculptor William Edmondson, the first African American artist to be given a one person show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The collection on offer speaks to Cohens particular focus on the Aesthetic Movement and his passion for the work of Lockwood de Forest, Herter Brothers and Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Born to former slaves in 1883, William Edmondson first began carving stones in his mid-50s. Working with little more than a railroad spike and native stones, and believing himself to be acting under direct instruction from God, Edmondson created a stunning and varied oeuvre of tombstone and grave-markers. The Crucifixion is exemplary of Edmondsons output and can be seen in plate 25 of Visions in Stone: The Sculptures of William Edmondson by Edmund L. Fuller, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973.