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Freeman’s Pennsylvania Sale & Americana Auction Bring Nearly $2 Million: Artist Record Set for Wharton Esherick

  • PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania
  • /
  • November 24, 2014

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Lot 16: $40,625. George Nakashima (1905-1990), special triple sliding door cabinet, 1959.

The Pennsylvania Sale and American, Furniture, Folk, and Decorative Arts, a two day auction event at Freeman’s on November 12 & 13, brought nearly $2 million and highlighted more than 300 years of Pennsylvanian and American craftsmanship and history. Close to 600 lots of folk art, silver, books, historical documents, textiles, porcelain, pottery, American Indian art, and furniture spanning the earliest colonial period through the 20th century were offered. Items from prominent, private collections—including the Estate of the Late John S. and Martha Stokes Price (former collection of Mr. and Mrs. J. Stogdell Stokes) and a Gentleman’s Collection from a Washington, DC Townhouse—as well as fresh to the market works attracted the attention of important national and international collectors, universities, and major museums, with several institutions winning significant lots. The high point of both sales was Wharton Esherick’ s “Essie”/”Rebecca,” which achieved a record for sculpture rendered by the artist selling for $123,750 (pictured left). 

“We were thrilled with the results for the 20th Century Design section and equally delighted with the results for historically significant property including the War of 1812 presentation sword, the incredibly rare Mary Flower canvas work table cover, and the furniture from the Stokes collection,” said Americana Department Head Lynda Cain.

Four institutions acquired works over the two days of auctions. A marble bust of George Washington by Raimondo Trentanove, circa 1820, fetched $40,625 and was sold to a New England university, and William Russell Birch’s watercolor of a view from his estate (lot 317) was purchased by a major East Coast museum for $20,000. “Essie”/”Rebecca,” one of Wharton Esherick’s most personal works, went to Modernism Museum Mount Dora in Florida for $123,750, and the rare canvas worked furniture or “chest” cover by Mary Flower (1744-1778) was bought for $35,000 by Winterthur in Wilmington, DE.

Lot 10: $123,750. Wharton Esherick (1887-1970), “Essie”/”Rebecca” cocobolo sculpture, 1933. Record for the artist’s sculpture.

Linda Eaton, Winterthur’s John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections & Senior Curator of Textiles, commented, “Amanda Creekman discussed Mary Flower’s table cover in her award-winning thesis ‘An Unlimited Fancy: Ann Flower’s Sketchbook 1753-1764,’ and the cover is closely related in both design and technique to Ann’s embroidered prayer book cover, which—like her sketchbook—is in Winterthur’s collection. This textile created by Mary Flower is an extremely rare form of needlework, and we look forward to undertaking further research on it.”

Strong prices were also achieved for 20th Century Design including a Nakashima triple sliding door cabinet that sold for $40,625 and a Minguren I Coffee Table, which achieved $23,750. Items of American historical interest also inspired competitive bidding that propelled prices past their high estimates. An Important War of 1812 Presentation Sword awarded to Lieutenant John Tayloe IV by the Virginia Legislature brought $50,000 and a rare Philadelphia International Centennial Exhibition carved walnut armchair achieved $26,350. Other highlights included a redware pie plate attributed to John Neis that sold for $33,750 and an American Indian Art 19th Century rare Tlingit Chilkat dancing blanket also attracted the attention of bidders and fetched $23,750.

Notable Lots from The Pennsylvania  Sale on November 12*:

Lot 10


Wharton Esherick (1887-1970), “Essie”/”Rebecca” cocobolo sculpture, 1933. Record for the artist’s sculpture

Lot 119: $35,000. A rare canvas worked furniture or “chest” cover, Mary Flower (1744-1778), Philadelphia, PA initialed “MF” and dated “1767”.

Lot 16


George Nakashima (1905-1990), special triple sliding door cabinet, 1959.

Lot 264


A rare Philadelphia International Centennial Exhibition carved walnut armchair, 1875/6.

Lot 119


A rare canvas worked furniture or “chest” cover, Mary Flower (1744-1778), Philadelphia, PA initialed “MF” and dated “1767”.

Lot 224


Attributed to John Neis (1775-1867), glazed sgraffito and slip-decorated redware pie plate.

Lot 11


Paul Evans (1931-1987), set of six “sculptured metal” dining chairs, model PE-105, directional, circa 1972.

Lot 130


Group of Chinese Export porcelain “Quaker Farmer” tablewares, early 19th century.

Lot 262


James Fuller Queen (1820 or 1821-1886),” Scene on the Delaware River at Philadelphia, Severe Winter 1856”.

Lot 1


George Nakashima (1905-1990), Exceptional slab coffee table, 1967.

Lot 26


George Nakashima (1905-1990), Minguren I coffee table, 1987.


Notable Lots from  American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts on November 13*:

Lot 383


Important War of 1812 Presentation Sword awarded to Lieutenant John Taylor IV by Virginia Legislature, circa 1812.

Lot 277


Raimondo Trentanove (Italy, 1792-1832), white marble bust of George Washington, 1820.

Lot 488


American School 19th Century, pair of portraits: a young Cape Cod couple.

Lot 535


Leaded glass and bronze chandelier, Tiffany Studios, New York, NY, circa 1920

Lot 284


Pair of classical giltwood girandole looking glasses, each bearing paper label for Henry Marks, Boro, England, circa 1810.

Lot 316


William Russell Birch (1755-1834), view of Springland, country estate of the artist on the Delaware River, circa 1800.

Lot 370


Chippendale carved and figured mahogany high chest, Boston, MA, circa 1770.

Lot 522


Rare Tlingit Chilkat dancing blanket, 19th century.

Lot 538


Patinated bronze and leaded glass “Daffodil” table lamp, Tiffany Studios, New York, NY, circa 1910.

Lot 537


Patinated bronze and leaded glass “Tyler Scroll” table lamp, Tiffany Studios, New York, NY, early 20th century.

*All prices reported with buyer’s premium


Freeman’s is now accepting consignments for the April 2015 auctions. For Americana, please contact Department Head Lynda Cain 414.267.1237, or Associate Specialist Whitney Bounty, 414.267.1254. For 20th Century Design, contact Specialist Tim Andreadis 267.414.1215,

About Freeman’s: As America’s oldest auction house, Freeman's has been a constant throughout the auction world for seven generations. Founded in 1805 by Tristram Bampfylde Freeman, the company’s traditions of excellence have benefited many new generations of private collectors, institutions, estates, and museums. Freeman’s holds more than 30 auctions a year in the following categories: 20th Century Design; American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists; American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts; Asian Arts; Books, Maps & Manuscripts; English & Continental Furniture & Decorative Arts; European Art & Old Masters; Jewelry& Watches; Modern & Contemporary Art; Photographs & Photobooks; and Silver & Objets de Vertu. Freeman’s marketing alliance with Scotland’s Lyon & Turnbull—Scotland’s oldest auction house—has extended Freeman’s international reach, maximizing sales opportunities. Additionally, Freeman’s offers Trusts & Estates and Museum Services. For more information, visit:

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