Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A CARVED, PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED CIGAR STORE INDIAN PRINCESS
PROPERTY FROM THE ALLAN STONE COLLECTION
A CARVED, PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED CIGAR STORE INDIAN PRINCESS

ATTRIBUTED TO SAMUEL ANDERSON ROBB (1851-1928), NEW YORK, LATE 19TH CENTURY

Details
A CARVED, PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED CIGAR STORE INDIAN PRINCESS
ATTRIBUTED TO SAMUEL ANDERSON ROBB (1851-1928), NEW YORK, LATE 19TH CENTURY
base inscribed Frank Holz Cigars Tobacco Pipes 1839 Central Ave
Overall with base 81 in. high, 20 1/2 in. wide, 24 in. deep
Provenance
Frank Holz, Dubuque, Iowa
Dudley E. Waters (1862-1931), Grand Rapids, Michigan
Sold, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 12-13 November 1971, lot 102
Literature
Lawrence F. Jessup, "The Tobacconists' Tribe of Treen," The Magazine Antiques (September 1930), p. 235, Fig. 5.

Condition report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Beginning his career as an apprentice to Thomas V. Brooks (1828-1895), who himself had studied under John L. Cromwell (1805-1873) (see lot 50), Samuel Anderson Robb rose to become perhaps the most prolific and accomplished of the New York carvers of shop figures. In 1876, after a later apprenticeship with William Demuth and a period of study at the National Academy of Design, Robb opened his own shop at 195 Canal Street. Eventually his shop turned out more than two hundred figures each year in addition to receiving large commissions for circus wagon sides and figures from Adam Forepaugh and Barnum, Bailey and Hutchinson.

Holding two tobacco boxes, one inscribed No 1 Smoke Best and the other CHOICE/ The PERFECT, as well as a bundle of cigars and a single rose, the present lot is one of the most popular models of cigar store princesses or maidens, reflecting the popular romantic conception of the ‘Noble Savage’. The addition of the rose appears after 1878, the year of Robb’s wife’s death and for whom he carved a monument featuring the flower complete with leaves and thorns. A similar figure, signed on the top front of the base board S. A. Robb, Carver, 195 Canal Street, N.Y., is in the collection of the New-York Historical Society (Frederick Fried, Artists in Wood (New York, 1970), pp. 196-198).

On the base, the inscription Frank Holz Cigars Tobacco Pipes 1839 Central Avenue is visible on three sides. Frank Holz was a cigar manufacturer operating in Dubuque, Iowa beginning in 1890. Between 1923 and 1937, the Dubuque City Directory lists his location as 1839 Central Avenue. It is likely that the figure was then acquired by Dudley E. Waters (1862-1931) (fig. 1), a Grand Rapids businessman who amassed one of the largest collections of cigar store Indians and was instrumental in saving many from obscurity. For more on his collection, see Lawrence F. Jessup, "The Tobacconists' Tribe of Treen," The Magazine Antiques (September 1930), pp. 232-235.

More from Important American Furniture, Outsider and Folk Art

View All
View All