Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Garth's is Killing Me (As Usual)

There is, I think, I storm moving up the coast...or across from the West, or something today, so while the sun is weakly shining in a seriously half-hearted, anemic way, I know even that won't last. And I won't have anything new done until tomorrow, so I won't be showing you any of my furniture for the next 12 hours.
      Which is fine and dandy for me because we need to talk about Garth's upcoming Americana Antiques, European and Decorative Arts Auction. Whoa that's a mouth full, and rightly so, it's packed to the ceiling with AH-MAZING objects, furniture, and art, and I wanna buy about all of it.
You can view the entire catalog here ----> http://auctions.garths.com/auction-catalog/Americana-&-Decorative-Arts-1159 Don't deny yourself that happiness. Life is too short and winter too grim not to spend a happy couple hours admiring wondrous old stuff!

I liked this auction so much I've actually poured through it twice now!
And here are my top picks!
Lot 2
An early 20th century carnival sign
SHUT UP. This is magnificent. Beyond fun, and bold, and graphic, and engaging. I'd love to see this in a modern home, displayed over a sleek blonde or driftwood gray mid century modern sideboard, probably with a full spread for a cocktail party elegantly set across the sideboard. Or in my home. I would definitely like to see this in my home. 

Lot 14
And early 20th century bentwood stand.
This little table packs a serious punch. Great soft old color, wonderful naive form. Adorable doesn't even begin to capture it. Picture it as a nightstand in a sweet little cottage guest room!

Lot 19
A formal Sheraton washstand, first quarter of the 19th century.
American or European
Part of the fun of this piece is its contrast to the one I showed you directly before. Such different stories these two pieces have to tell- both, I'm sure fascinating. I love how impossibly delicate the legs are, how perfectly executed that apron is. This is a symphony of design. Absolute perfection. Would be perfect in a little entryway, with a beautiful delft bowl in the center. A great and clever place to drop your mail as you come in the door.

Lot 22
An ABSURD inlaid Federal chest of drawers.
I... I can't even. I just want to, chew on it!?? It's that yummy!!
Look at the figuring of the drawer fronts!! The inlaid fans in the corners of each drawer! The variegated inlay across the apron. THE INLAID FAN IN THE APRON. I'M SHOUTING BECAUSE THIS IS SO DAMN SEXY!!
If this chest of drawers were a celebrity it would be Emma Stone. Not only is it gorgeous, it's classy, and somehow likable despite being obscenely flawless and better and more accomplished than all of us. I would get in a fist fight with several burly men if this chest were the prize.

Lot 23
A gilt acanthus leaf embellished 19th century convex mirror
...It was at this point, reading through the auction catalog, that I realized I was screen-shotting basically the entire auction. I can't help it!
Garth's somehow how has a hardline into my design psyche.
It's like they know what I NEED before even I do.
And while we're on the topic of NEED, I'm going to bid on this. It makes my knees go all weak and wobbly. I can't stop looking at this mirror!! So yes, this is my top pick of the sale. I'll double mortgage my house if I must, but this beauty must be mine. I demand it of the uncaring universe. 

Lot 43
An American dry sink c.1850 in a superb early gray paint.
Guys. Shut up. See, this is the paint surface, the wear pattern, the gentle soft color that us furniture painters are all trying to capture. But there ain't nothin like the real thing baby.
It's work clicking over to Garth's page to see this one up close(just click on the lot #- it's a link!), you can zoom in nice and close on their page. Look at all the colors that go into that surface. There's charcoals, and dove gray, ballet slipper pale pink, antique white, taupe. It's incredible.
Imagine it in a farmhouse kitchen!
Spilling over with bunches of flowers about to be cut and arranged!! 

Lot 53
Harbor at Dawn
Albert Fauley (1859-1919)
Ohio, dated 1910
Do you miss summer yet? I do. I start missing summer from the first second a sickly swamp maple gives up the ghost and starts dying in shades of thin red, which is usually around the second week of August.
I hear you, "August is still summer", but it's not really, August is tainted fully by autumn. By August everyone's talking about back to school, and all the stores are starting to sell sweaters. August tries to wear two seasons and fails at both. And my birthday is at the end of August. Horrible.
This painting makes me think of June, which is my favorite month. The air is still clear, the world is wash of aqua, and clear sky, and hope. Fields are still juicy green, and hot, tired wilt is a far distant specter. June is the only month when it's respectable and acceptable to frolic barefoot through dew-wet gardens, bonus points if you do it in the nude.
It's a lovely painting, and would be gorgeous in a bathroom, which is in no way a slight against it. In the most delicate way... the bathroom is a great and frequently overlooked gallery space. It's a place one can tend to spend a long time, enjoying art. 

Lot 126
An American applique quilt, c.1875
Part of the joy, well no, most of the joy in buying antiques is in the stories that they tell. Sometimes those stories are as apparent as an inscription traced in flowing white chalk lines across the backboard of a highboy, and sometimes those stories are whispered. To me, this quilt whispers a story.
Do you see how the top two floral wreaths in the left most row are now a pale mint instead of bright green? And the border as well? That's not intentional. I'd wager my favorite hat that these were all the same striking shade of kelly when this quilt was made, but our maker bought fabric from two different dye lots. I'd imagine she had no idea at the time, but over fourteen or so decades of use, and washing, the second dye lot has faded waaaaay more. I bet she'd be pissed if she knew.

Making a quilt like this, it's a journey. I don't quilt, but my mom does. She's made dozens through my lifetime, two of which I have the honor to now own. Each one takes months or years. It's truly a labor of love and a test of patience. When you consider the amount of effort and level of skill that it takes to create a work like this- quilts are a vastly under appreciated form of folk art. Which is to say, a lady poured her heart and soul into this even though she had struggles and challenges we modern gals can't even fathom, and now you could own it and honor this triumph of textile art. 

Lot 129
An unsigned ship portrait of the schooner Queen City
American c.1873
The rhythmic movement of the sky and the waves is like a dance across the paper, through which the schooner serenely glides. The precision with which the ship itself is rendered is wonderful, but even more so for the juxtaposition of the hilarious groundwork. It's everything you want from a piece of art, and I don't think the browning of the paper holds it back. Consider that to be time, the third, late entering dancer in the choreography. 

Lot 225
I wanted to be sure to include this stunning piece because I know how popular campaign chests are at the moment. This is a particularly arresting example, with that unique top drawer arrangement. For the sake of my everlasting argument towards buying antiques HERE is a link for a modern campaign chest from Ballard. It's waaaaay smaller, a tacky tomato red, and, you know, NOT solid wood. This original antique campaign chest about to sell at Garth's is estimated for between $250 and $450. The Ballard chest is going for $599. This should be a no-brainer. 

Lot 309
And finally, the other amazing piece I would spend all my imaginary, non-existent, seriously make believe money on-
This fantastic early 20th century landscape. If ever there was a painting that fully encapsulated not only my aesthetic, but my soul as well, it would be this. I want to run away with this painting and start a new life off in the verdant hills of a world that winter never dares to touch. I'm going to, of course, invite Eddie Redmayne too, and then landscape painting and I will fight, but somehow it will all work out, because this painting is that beautiful. 


  1. I fell in love with the rulers.

  2. I fell in love with the rulers.

  3. Anonymous1/14/2017

    OMG - you are so spot on! And I would give parts of my anatomy to have Lot 309. As a quilter, thank you for your thoughts on the magnificent quilts that are available as folk art today. They are a fabulous bargain as folk art and a labor of love. Thank you for your lovely blog.