New York

New York – Christie’s is pleased to announce that Americana Week 2016, a series of auctions, viewings and events, will be held from January 16-22. The week of sales is comprised of Chinese Export Art on January 21, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver on January 22, Philadelphia Splendor: The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz on January 22, and the inaugural sale of Outsider Art Liberation Through Expression: Outsider and Vernacular Art on January 22.

In all, Americana Week 2016 will offer over 500 lots and is expected to realize upwards of $8 million.  In conjunction with the sales, Christie’s will also host a preview brunch with Stephen S. Lash, Chairman Emeritus, and John Hays, Deputy Chairman, on Sunday, January 17, in memory of Dean Failey, and the annual Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts on Wednesday, January 20, honoring Morrison H. Heckscher and Peter M. Kenny, recognized for their contributions to the expansion and modernization of the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and for their continued advancements of scholarship to the field of American Decorative Arts.


Christie’s sale of Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver will present 140 lots from the 17th through 20th centuries and is expected to realize in excess of $3 million. 

Leading the sale is The Extraordinary Joined Oak and Pine Polychrome “Hadley” Chest-with-drawers, Hadley Massachusetts, circa 1715 (illustrated right; Estimate on Request) Previously unrecorded, this early painted and polychrome-decorated “Hadley” Chest is just the fourth chest of its type to emerge. The façade explodes with an array of decorative details that are all the more remarkable for their nearly intact survival. The joinery and motifs are derived from the carved “Hadley” chest tradition of the upper Connecticut River Valley from the late 17th through early 18th century, while the unique decorative scheme shows the presence of new ideas during the period. The other three known are all in institutions and the chest offered here is the only one of the group of four that makes such extensive use of the lozenge design. Among collectors of Americana, this is an icon in the field and highly sought after object for its original paint.

Following the “Hadley” Chest in the sale is a William and Mary Mahogany and Maple Dressing Table, Philadelphia, 1700-1730 (illustrated left; Estimate: $250,000-500,000).  Highly elaborate and conceived with frenetic energy, the stretchers on this dressing table make it one of the most exciting Baroque furniture forms to survive from early America. The same unusual stretcher design is seen on two other dressing tables in the collections of the Chipstone Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ownership of this dressing table is traced to the early twentieth century by Edward Corydon Wheeler, Jr. (1877-1954), a stock broker and antiques dealer living in Boston and later Weston, Massachusetts.

Also included in the sale is a Rare and Important Queen Anne Walnut Compass-Seat Armchair, Philadelphia, made circa 1755 (illustrated right; Estimate: $500,000-800,000). A triumph of the curvilinear form, this armchair illustrates the mastery of movement and harmony achieved by mid-eighteenth century Philadelphia chair makers. This chair is being sold with the approval of the trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to benefit acquisition funds. Part of a rare set of armchairs, the other known chairs from the set comprise two at Winterthur Museum, two in private collections with one of these currently on loan to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and a fifth illustrated in 1983, but whose whereabouts today is unknown.


The afternoon session of the Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver sale features significant American silver spanning 17th through early 20th century. From a beaker made by America’s first silversmiths, John Hull and Robert Sanderson around 1670, to a Tiffany tureen designed by Elsa Peretti, the sale represents a full history of American design in silver.  A Jeremiah Dummer platter and a Jacob Hurd sugar bowl display very fine baroque engraving, while a large cream jug by Elias Pelletreau is a lively work in the rococo taste. The 19th-century silver in the auction runs the full gamut of the revival styles of that eclectic century, with a very strong selection of Tiffany works in the exotic styles of the aesthetic movement. Of particular note is a giant wine cooler in the Japanese taste and a rare silver lamp in the Islamic style. A collection of art nouveau works by Gorham in their celebrated “Martele” pattern is a particular highlight of the sale.  


The carefully curated Philadelphia Splendor: The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz represents over 100 lots of the best of what was available to consumers in early America. As with many of their fellow collectors, Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz were inspired by their passion for America—the opportunity and success it allowed them. Beginning with the purchase of their Charles Steadman (1790-1868) designed home built in circa 1830 in Princeton, New Jersey, they collected patiently, zeroing in on objects that passed their high standards for quality and condition.

Highlights of the collection include Queen Anne through Federal furniture with remarkable surfaces made from Boston to Philadelphia, eagle adorned Chinese Export ceramics, silver and needlework, which once embellished every room of their household. For Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz, collecting Americana was a privilege and a way of celebrating this country. Upon entering the home, the visitor encountered a card table flanked by two side chairs from the renowned Deshler suite, three of the most stunning survivals of Rococo ornament from eighteenth-century America. It is their assemblage of these and several other masterworks from Philadelphia in particular that makes The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz one of the most important to come to the marketplace in recent years.


Christie’s hosts its inaugural various owner sale and first dedicated auction of Outsider Art in more than ten years—Liberation Through Expression: Outsider and Vernacular Art. This tightly curated sale of 50 lots includes works across various media—sculpture, painting, works-on-paper, and gelatin silver print photographs—from preeminent Outsider artists, including James Castle, Martin Ramirez, William Edmonson, and Bill Traylor. The sale includes several works by living artists, including Thornton Dial, George Widener, and Dan Miller. Nearly half the sale comes from the Marvill Collection, which contains superb examples of American Outsider Art and vernacular sculpture.


With nearly 250 lots of quality and rarity, the Chinese Export Art sale on January 21 features porcelain and paintings made for the China Trade. Four significant private collections highlight the sale including the renowned James E. Sowell Collection, The Collection of J. Jefferson and Anne Weiler Miller, The Betty Gertz ‘Hatcher Cargo’ Collection, and The Collection of Walter and Nancy Liedtke.


Preview brunch with Stephen S. Lash, Chairman Emeritus, and John Hays, Deputy Chairman | Sunday, 17 January | 10:30am

Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts | Wednesday, 20 January | 5:30-7:30pm

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