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Details & Cataloguing

The History of Now: The Important American Folk Art Collection of David Teiger | Sold to Benefit Teiger Foundation for the Support of Contemporary Art

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New York

The Commodore (Oliver Hazard Perry)
American School, 19th Century
carved and polychromed wood figurehead
Height 35 1/2 in. by Width 21 in. by Depth 20 in.
circa 1825
probably New Bedford, Massachusetts
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Provenance

Dr. William Greenspon, New York;
Giampietro American Art and Antiques, New Haven, Connecticut.

Literature

Robert Bishop, American Folk Sculpture, (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1974), p. 87;
Marian and Charles Klamkin, Wood Carvings: North American Folk Sculptures, (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1974) p. 10;
Tom Geismar and Harvey Kahn, Spiritually Moving:  A Collection of American Folk Art Sculpture (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998) cat. no. 72, illus. in color.

Catalogue Note

Perry (1785–1819) was born in South Kingston, Rhode Island; both his father and older brothers were also naval commanders. At the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813, he defeated and captured all the ships of an entire British squadron, reporting to General (and later President) William Henry Harrison: "We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop." The flag that Perry had made before the battle carries the famous command, “Don’t Give Up the Ship” and is now in the US Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. Perry was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 1814, and many American towns and ships were named after him.

This figurehead was probably made for a large frigate. Another figurehead of Commodore Perry resides in the collection of The Mariner's Museum, Newport News, Virginia, and is illustrated in American Figureheads (and their carvers) as pl. XIII.

The History of Now: The Important American Folk Art Collection of David Teiger | Sold to Benefit Teiger Foundation for the Support of Contemporary Art

|
New York