A FEDERAL RED-PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED POPLAR BLANKET CHEST 
A FEDERAL RED-PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED POPLAR BLANKET CHEST 
A FEDERAL RED-PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED POPLAR BLANKET CHEST 
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A FEDERAL RED-PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED POPLAR BLANKET CHEST 
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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more
A FEDERAL RED-PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED POPLAR BLANKET CHEST 

CENTRE COUNTY, POSSIBLY THE FORKS (NOW COBURN) VICINITY, PENNSYLVANIA, 1815-1825 

Details
A FEDERAL RED-PAINTED AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED POPLAR BLANKET CHEST 
CENTRE COUNTY, POSSIBLY THE FORKS (NOW COBURN) VICINITY, PENNSYLVANIA, 1815-1825 
in shades of yellow, green, white and black on a red ground
25 1⁄2 in. high, 49 3⁄4 in. wide, 20 3⁄4 in. deep
Provenance
Howard and Jean Lipman, Cannondale, Wilton, Connecticut 
Sotheby's, New York, 14 November 1981, lot 388
Sotheby's, New York, 26 January 1989, lot 1248
Literature
“Living with Antiques: The Cannondale, Connecticut, Home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Lipman,” The Magazine Antiques (June 1957), p. 543.
Jean Lipman and Alice Winchester, The Flowering of American Folk Art 1776-1876 (New York, 1974), no. 320.
Monroe H. Fabian, The Pennsylvania-German Decorated Chest (New York, 1978), p. 180, no. 189.
Richard Miller, catalogue entry, A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America (New York, 2014), p. 229, fn. 1 (referenced).
Peter Goodman, Notebook, no. 893.
Exhibited
New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Flowering of American Folk Art 1776-1876, 1 February-24 March 1974.
Special notice

Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.

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Cara Zimmerman
Cara Zimmerman Head of Americana and Outsider Art

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Lot Essay

Delicately embellished with a framework of compass-drawn arcs and flaring French feet, this blanket chest embraces the Federal aesthetic of early nineteenth-century America. Like its more densely decorated eighteenth-century predecessors, this Pennsylvania-German chest relies on paintwork to express the current fashion. Here, the painted arcs closely resemble stringing and the quarter-fans on the top are painted versions of inlaid devices seen frequently on other forms from this era.

This chest is one of at least six with red-painted grounds, the same framework of compass-drawn arcs and French feet. Perhaps because of their striking contrast to the well-known chests made by Pennsylvania-Germans during the Chippendale era, examples of this group including the present chest, were attributed to New England during the 1970s and early 1980s. However, noted first by Monroe Fabian in 1978, several of the group were found in Centre County, Pennsylvania and all were undoubtedly made in the vicinity. Decorative variations within the group include the corner embellishments, the placement of the outermost tulips, the motifs under the two central arcs and the decoration of the lowermost rail. Seen on this chest and its closest parallel, a chest at Historic Deerfield, Inc., the corners bear painted columns, the outermost tulips are contained within the arcs, vases each issuing a single berried stem are under the central arcs and the frontal design extends to the bottom of the lowermost rail (Dean A. Fales, Jr., The Furniture of Historic Deerfield (New York, 1976), p. 200, no. 411). A chest in the collection of Barbara Gordon illustrates alternative options with hearts on the corners, outermost tulips extending beyond the arcs, vases issuing multiple stems and a zig-zag pattern running along the lowermost rail (Richard Miller, catalogue entry, A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America (New York, 2014), pp. 228-229, no. 60). The other three known chests comprise an example that sold at Skinner, Inc., March 1, 2015, lot 130 and two previously owned by Olde Hope Antiques, New Hope, Pennsylvania. Christie’s would like to thank Ed Hild of Olde Hope for sharing information on these chests.

As discussed by Richard Miller, the consistency in construction and decoration suggests the practice of a single shop and single decorator, possibly the same individual. Two later related examples, probably from another shop in the vicinity, feature facades with tulips all issuing from a central stem and turned rather than French feet. One of these has a blue ground and descended in the Beahm-Meyers family of The Forks (now Coburn), providing a possible origin for all of these forms (Miller, op. cit.; Pook & Pook, Downington, PA, 16 January 2010, lot 571; Monroe H. Fabian, The Pennsylvania-German Decorated Chest (New York, 1978), p. 214, no. 246).

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