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African American Art, Headley Jewelry Shine at Case’s July 18 Auction
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— Works by two of the 20th century’s most important African American artists, Beauford Delaney and William Edmonson, headline the Summer Case Antiques Auction, set for July 18 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The 900-lot sale also sparkles with an exhibited collection of jewelry by mid-century designer to the stars, George Headley; a military couple’s collection of Asian antiques, and a silver spoon from the Andrew Jackson White House.
William Edmondson (1874-1951), who claimed divine inspiration for the limestone sculptures he began producing at the age of 57, became the first African American to have his own solo exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Case’s July 18 auction features a 12” tall squirrel figure given by Edmondson to his sister’s employer. It was exhibited at the Tennessee State Museum’s Edmondson retrospective in 1981 and includes an affidavit of provenance. Also featured are two watercolors by Tennessee-born Harlem Renaissance painter Beauford Delaney (1901-1979). One is an abstract expressionist work in warm shades of red and brown, the other a vividly colored landscape. Both are being sold by the court-appointed administrator of Delaney’s estate. An archive and 8 drawings by Beauford Delaney’s brother and fellow artist Joseph Delaney is also for sale.
Select property of the Birmingham Museum of Art is offered in this auction, including marine paintings by Albert Quartley, William Langley, and James Edwin Meadows, and landscapes by Benjamin Champney, Thomas Worthington Whitteridge, and William Hart. Other American works include a “Tiger Yawning” bronze sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington, a Venetian canal scene by Hermann Herzog, two woodcuts by Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt, a contemporary figural sculpture by Beth Cavener Stichter, a “John Brown” lithograph by John Steuart Curry, and three silhouettes by Wilhelm Hunt Diederich.
A 16th century Florentine oil portrait believed to depict Pietro di Cosimo del Medici stands out among the European art offerings, along with an Old Master painting of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene as a gardener; a large painting of three horses at exercise by contemporary Irish artist Basil Blackshaw, an Egyptian scene oil by Frederick Goodall (English, 1822-1904), a watercolor beach scene by Sir William Russell Flint, and a village canal scene by Elisee Maclet (French, 1881-1962).
Regional Southern art includes a large painting of cows by Wilhelm Eilerts and two landscapes by Harvey Joiner, both of Kentucky, along with two rare watercolor land/seascapes by Maria Howard Weeden of Alabama, surrealist watercolors by Nashvillian Werner Wildner, and a sculpture and drawing by Enrique Alferez of New Orleans.
Adding a touch of glamour to the auction is a collection of jewelry designed by George Headley (1908-1985), who apprenticed under Paul Flato and counted stars like Douglas Fairbanks and Judy Garland among his clients. After his death, Headley’s Lexington estate became the home of the Headley-Whitney Museum. Although his jewelry is notoriously rare, Case’s July 18 auction will feature six pieces, all from the estate of Mrs. Warren Wright of Kentucky’s famed Calumet Farm. They include a pair of 11-carat total weight diamond clips that form a brooch or pendant, a gold and diamond wristwatch, and a diamond-studded horse and jockey pin. More than 75 other lots of fine and estate jewelry are also for sale.
A French-made silver spoon, purchased by President Andrew Jackson in 1833 as part of the “Baron de Tuyll Service” and used in the White House, is one of more than 100 lots of sterling and coin silver up for bid. Other highlights include an Anthony Rasch New Orleans cup with steamboat inscription, a Kentucky masonic medal dated 1814; a collection of Tennessee coin silver, a Faberge style jeweled silver troika, and flatware services in patterns such as Les Cinqs Fleurs, Lily, Grand Baroque, and Old Master.
The Asian category features Chinese pieces from the estates of the late Mr. and Mrs. Adna Godfrey Wilde. Wilde, best known for his directorship of the American Numismatic Association, spent many years in the military in Asia, during which he and his wife collected white and green jade, bronzes, and other Asian items. The sale also features several pieces of Asian export silver including a dragon-motif Chinese silver tea service and porcelain including a pair of yellow, possibly Imperial Guangxu bowls.
A recently discovered Civil War prisoner of war album from Johnson’s Island, Ohio, containing 187 Confederate officers’ signatures (among them, five generals) is among the most notable lots in the historical category. There is also a group of late 19th century Texas items including a 1901 Confederate Veteran’s Surgeon’s book and six folk art watercolors of San Antonio, a signed photograph from the Taft Supreme Court signed by all 9 justices, numerous early books and autographed documents. Map collectors will want to explore a Revolutionary War map, “A Plan of the Attack on Fort Sulivan near Charles Town in South Carolina (1776),” a 1794 map of Kentucky and a 1795 map of Tennessee, 2 pairs of 16th century Baroque celestial maps by Johann Zahn, a late 19th century 2-volume “Atlas to accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.”
Furniture highlights include two Robert Adam style painted console tables with Scagliola inlaid marble tops, a pair of circa 1760 English Chinese Chippendale side chairs or backstools, a rare labeled Federal bureau by J.C. Burgner of Greeneville, Tennessee containing a built-in stringed instrument, 5 corner cupboards, a pie safe sideboard with urn and tulip tins, and a Middle Tennessee cherry sugar chest. Many of the Tennessee furniture pieces come from the estate of Betty Irene Lintz Yates of Greeneville, TN and a living estate out of Blount County, Tennessee.
Pottery, a staple at Case, includes a rare, double handled stoneware urn by George Dunn of Middle Tennessee, dated 1875 and other Tennessee and North Carolina pottery. A rare Newcomb College scenic teapot plus other Newcomb and Rookwood pieces are also for sale.
Other objects of note include a collection of early Native American Kachina dolls from the estate of University of New Mexico archaeologist Dorothy Louise Luhrs, a clock and phonograph collection, a collection of contemporary art glass sculptures by Richard Jolley, Jose Chardiet, Jon Wolfe, and Susan Gott from the estate of Arlene Goldstine of Knoxville, a number of pieces of early advertising, scientific antiques, and historic firearms.
The auction will take place at the company’s gallery in the Cherokee Mills Building, 2240 Sutherland Avenue in Knoxville, on Saturday, July 18 at 9:00 AM EST. Online, absentee and phone bids will also be accepted. A preview will take place on Friday, July 17, from noon to 6PM EST or by appointment. The catalog for the auction, with full descriptions, price estimates, and photographs for items in the order in which they will be sold can be viewed online at www.caseantiques.com. For more information or to consign objects for a future auction, call the gallery in Knoxville at (865) 558-3033 or the company’s Nashville office at (615) 812-6096 or email info [at] caseantiques [dot] com.
- (Lot 438) There are two paintings in the auction by Beauford Delaney (American, 1901-1979) being sold by the court appointed administrator for the late artist’s estate. This abstract also has a painting on the reverse. Est. $13,000-$14,000.
- (Lot 204)-This carved limestone squirrel by William Edmondson, the first African American artist to have a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, comes with an exhibition history and affidavit of provenance. Est. $30,000-$35,000.
- (Lot 218)- Five centuries of art are represented in the auction. One of the oldest objects is this 16th century Florentine portrait of Pietro di Cosimo del Medici, est. $4,000-$5,000.
- (Lot 80)- 11 carat total weight diamond pin/pendant, one of several jewelry pieces in the sale designed by George Headley for Mrs. Warren Wright of Calumet Farm, Kentucky, exhibited at the Headley-Whitney Museum. Est. $10,000-12,000.
- (Lot 625)- Case’s July 18 auction includes a collection of early 20th century Native American Kachina dolls from the estate of a University of New Mexico archaeologist. This Zuni example is estimated at $2,000-3,000.
- (Lot 49) A White House silver-gilt dessert spoon made by Pierre-Joseph Dehanne of Paris and used during the Andrew Jackson administration is estimated at $2000-2500.
- (Lot 97) Two Adam style painted console tables with Scagliola inlaid marble tops, est. $2,400-3400.