On September 28, Christie’s presents the sale of Important American Furniture, Folk Art & Decorative Arts. This sale features over 90 exceptionally rare and diverse examples of American art and craftsmanship from the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries, including pieces from outstanding private collections and public institutions. This carefully edited sale is expected to realize in excess of $3 million.
Leading an outstanding selection of 17th Century furniture is a Joined and Painted Oak and Pine Chest with Drawer, Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1670-1700 (estimate: $200,000-400,000). Attributed to the Thomas Dennis shop tradition, this chest remains in a remarkable state of preservation. Of the twenty odd known examples of chests from the Dennis shop tradition, twelve are currently in institutional collections. This is the only chest of its kind to retain its original drawer and is one of only a few to survive with its original pinning, paint decoration and old dry surface. This chest descended in the family of Brigadier General James Reed of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, a celebrated officer who served under General George Washington at Bunker Hill and Fort Ticonderoga during the American Revolution.
Among the exquisite examples of 18th Century furniture is the Dexter family Chippendale Carved Mahogany Serpentine-Front Bombé Chest-of-Drawers, Boston area, 1770-1795 (estimate: $600,000-900,000). Possibly made in the shop of master craftsman Benjamin Frothingham (1734-1809) of Charlestown, Massachusetts, this exceedingly rare form is exquisitely carved and survives as a testament to the expertise and artistry of cabinetmakers in Boston during the 18th Century. This bombé chest-of-drawers was made for and descended in the Dexter family of Malden and Charlestown, Massachusetts. Ownership of this chest can be traced to William Dexter I (1742-1811) and his son William Dexter II (1764-1809), members of a prominent Massachusetts family at the start of the American Republic.
The selection of 18th Century furniture also includes the Charles Thomson Chippendale Carved Mahogany Side Chair, Philadelphia, 1765-1775 (estimate: $500,000-700,000). An extraordinary example of rococo-era craftsmanship, the carving on this elegant side chair is attributed to John Pollard, one of Philadelphia’s most accomplished and celebrated carvers. This chair was originally part of a set of twelve made for Charles Thomson (1729-1824), “the Sam Adams of Philadelphia” and a champion of the patriot cause during the American Revolution. Thomson designed the iconic Great Seal of the United States, which was adopted by Congress in 1782.
Additional sale highlights feature 19th Century paintings, including Racing Schooners by Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen (estimate: $50,000-70,000), a dynamic and dramatic depiction of an intensely competitive leg of a yacht race; a Queen Anne Birchwood and Inset Delft Tile Tilt-Top Candlestand from Salem, Massachusetts, 1750-1770 (estimate: $30,000-50,000); and a selection of watercolor and ink-decorated birth and baptismal certificates from early 19th Century Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.