Leigh Keno's Paintings, Folk Art and Furniture Auction (Exclusive)
On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Keno Auctions will hold its American and European Paintings, Folk Art, Furniture, and Decorative Arts auction. The auction will feature such important items as a Winslow Homer watercolor, an extremely rare Andrew Wyeth sketchbook, early American antique furniture, and important Folk Art. (see gallery below). Winslow Homer's watercolor is seen above with Keno Auctions' president, Leigh Keno, who is one of the foremost experts in the world of art and decorative arts as well as a regular contributor, along with his twin brother, Leslie, to the popular PBS television program Antiques Roadshow.
"We are very excited about the sale," Leigh Keno told Luxist. "It's a mixture of American, English and British furniture and paintings. There are some Chinese and other Asian things too. There is real variety---even a Minoan bronze bowl that dates back to 1200 to 1600 BC that was found in Crete. The great thing about the auction is that we have the Internet---including Live Auctioneers and ArtFact---as well as our own telephone bidding system, which makes it possible for anyone around the world to bid."
Keno has devoted much of his time of late amassing the large collection of important items that are featured in this auction. Important furniture items include a William and Mary veneered high chest of drawers (estimate: $60,000 to $120,000). "This is the most important example of American cabinetmaking in the baroque style in early 18th century Boston," says Keno. "There are only two others with veneered walnut moldings. But this high chest has the distinction of not only having the veneer on the sides, but also having the original surface on the legs and feet. The fact that the base is completely original is of great importance."
The cost of having a high chest with veneered sides made back in the early 18th century in Boston added 40% to the original cost, added Keno. "It would have made the ultimate statement back when it was made," he says. "This high chest has survived 300 years. Can you imagine that? It is a great artifact."
Another auction highlight is a Chippendale six-leg mahogany dining table associated with John Hancock (estimate $30,000 to $60,000). Attributed to Benjamin Frothingham, it was probably made in Boston around 1760. Its provenance began with Frank Hancock, the grand-nephew of John Hancock. An identical table, in terms of design, is found at Winterhur.
Works of art include a Winslow Homer painting entitled Five Boys at the Shore, Gloucester, 1880. The painting was purchased on December 22, 1880 during the first exhibition of Winslow Homer's watercolors at Doll and Richards Gallery, Boston. "It was originally purchased for $50 and has remained in the same family of the original purchaser ever since," Keno told Luxist. "You can't get a better provenance than that."
Five Boys at the Shore, Gloucester, 1880 was painted during the summer Homer spent in Gloucester sketching boys and capturing the carefree aspects of life, says Keno. It represents a shift in Homer's working process, as he experimented with new colors and techniques during that time. Five Boys at the Shore, Gloucester, 1880 captures a specific and important moment in Homer's career. "The interesting thing about this painting are the great details such as the sunburned necks of the boys," says Keno, who has helped build some of the top institutional and private collections of American furniture, paintings and decorative arts in the world. "The summer of 1880 is when Homer really experimented with watercolors, which is what he is famous for." The painting's estimate is $350,000 to $450,000.
Also featured in the auction is an extremely rare Andrew Wyeth sketchbook, circa 1939-1940. The sketches from the sketchbook are being sold individually, with some being pen and ink and others in pencil. One of the more impressive sketches is of the Olsen house and farm in Cushing, Maine, where Wyeth later painted his iconic painting of Christina Olson. The estimate for the 8 3/4 by 12 in. pen and ink sketch is $20,000 to $40,000.
The auction also features important decorative items including a decorated tulip poplar box with sliding lid. Depicting a painted peacock, rooster, and vases of tulips, the painted box dates probably to South Eastern Pennsylvania, 1764. It is initialed and dated on sliding lid "BS 1764". An analysis of the paint was perform in November 2010 by Jennifer L. Mass, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory, Conservation Department, Winterhur Museum. h. 5 3/4 in., w. 17 in., d. 11 5/8 in. Its estimate is $20,000 to $40,000.
Other decorative items include an impressive Minoan bronze bowl that dates back to Crete, circa 1200 to 1600 BC with an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. "The bowl was found in Crete by the consignor's grandfather in the early 20th century," says Keno. Perhaps the strangest item in the auction is a Masonic Ritual Skull with Hinged Lid and Silver and Ivory Mounted. The skull features a fitted red velvet interior with accoutrement for ritual use. Dating back to the 19th century, its estimate is $6,000 to $10,000. (See gallery for photos).
An online catalogue that includes all of the auction items can be viewed on Keno Auction's website.
The auction items are available for preview today from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, on Monday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Tuesday, January 18 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am. The sale beings on Tuesday, January 18th at 11:00 am. The preview and auction will be held in Wallace Hall, Church of St. Ignatius Loyola at 980 Park Avenue at 84th Street in Manhattan.
To register for a paddle, phone bid or absent bid, visit the Keno Auctions' website. For more information, call Keno Auctions at (212) 734-2381. Bids can also be placed through Live Auctioneers and ArtFact. Keno Auctions is a full-service auction house based in Manhattan.