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BOSTON, Mass. – February 14, 2013 – Skinner, Inc. will host an auction of American Furniture and Decorative Arts on Sunday, March 3rd in its Boston gallery. The auction features the Andy Williams Folk Art Collection and will also present the monumental silver punch bowl that F.W. Woolworth commissioned from Tiffany & Co. for architect Cass Gilbert, presented at the dedication of the Woolworth building in New York City in April 1913. A fine selection of Federal furniture and a wide range of maritime art and artifacts will also be offered.
The auction commences with The Andy Williams Folk Art Collection. Known the world over for his smooth voice and timeless charm, Andy Williams entertained generations through his music, television, and theater. Following an extraordinarily successful performing and recording career, Williams built a focused collection of visual art. Alongside modern American paintings, American Indian artifacts, and pre-Columbian art, he put together a distinctly beautiful distillation of American folk art. Gathering prime examples of weathervanes, shop carvings, and paintings, Andy collected examples of uniquely distinctive and striking American popular and untrained art. He was known in the art world for his keen eye and impeccable taste, and his folk art collection supplies ample evidence of both.
Notable paintings from the collection include two portraits by Ammi Phillips: a double portrait of the Ten Broeck twins (lot 13, estimated between $300,000 and $500,000) and a portrait of a child in a pink dress with a spaniel (lot 14, $200,000 to $300,000). One of John Rasmussen’s Berks County Almshouse paintings (lot 6, $100,000 to $150,000), James Bard’s portrait of the sidewheeler steamboat NEVERSINK (lot 7, $50,000 to $75,000), and an extraordinary and rare 19th century still life of a basket of fruit with flowers (lot 16, $150,000 to $250,000) round out this collection.
The collection counts a number of decorative objects among its offerings, including a superb pair of Ward Brothers Widgeon decoys, carved in Maryland in the early 20th century, whose color and carving render them nearly life-like (lot 1, $20,000 to $30,000); and a carved and polychrome-painted race-track tout tobacconist figure (lot 8, $150,000 to $250,000). From late nineteenth century New England, this tout shows off the best of shop-figure carving and presents a confident stance, ready cigar, and flashy suit. Based on his stance, clothing, and carving style, it is possible that the polychrome tout is the work of figure carver Charles Parker Dowler.
Weathervane lots include the J. Howard gilt cast zinc and molded copper "Index" Horse weathervane (lot 3, $15,000 to $25,000), a molded copper and cast zinc horse and sulky weathervane (lot 10, $15,000 to $25,000), and a gilt molded copper and cast zinc pig weathervane (lot 2, $15,000 to $25,000).
A fine group of American silver spanning 300 years includes an important Tiffany & Co. presentation punch bowl, commissioned by F.W. Woolworth to commemorate the completion of the Woolworth building in Manhattan in April 1913 (lot 227, $30,000 to $50,000). As the 100th anniversary of the Woolworth building nears, Skinner is pleased to offer the sterling silver punch bowl that F.W. Woolworth presented to the building’s architect, Cass Gilbert, during a legendary dinner that took place when the building first opened.