Saturday's sale of American Folk Art from the Collection of Ralph O. Esmerian totalled $12,955,943, setting a record for any sale of its kind. Top prices were realized across a large variety of American folk art categories, including portraiture, carvings and weathervanes. This highest-ever total for an auciton of American folk art eclipses the previous record of the legendary Little Collection, set at Sotheby's in 1994.
Representing one of the most significant offerings of American folk art ever to have been offered at public auction, the Esmerian Collection was led by Samuel Robb's figure of Santa Claus from 1923, which sold for $875,000, three times the pre-sale estimate of $150,000-200,000. Other highlights include Ruth Whittier Shute and Samuel Addison Shute's portrait of Jeremiah H. Emerson, which sold for $665,000; a Rare Carved Pine Phesant Hen Weathervane, achieving $449,000; and a Jacob Maentel double portrait of John and Caterina Bickel, which realized $401,000.
Our 25 January sale, Visual Grace: Important Americana Folk Art from the Collection of Ralph O. Esmerian, is one of the most significant offerings of American folk art ever to have been offered at public auction.
The sale includes over 200 superb works from a broad range of American folk art categories including paintings, watercolors, pottery, needlework, carvings and weathervanes, from the early 18th century to 20th century, from New England to Pennsylvania, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and beyond.
Highlights from the superb American folk art from the Ralph Esmerian Collection include an Oval Sgraffito Decorated Plate, one of three known, from attributed to Conrad Mumbouer or John Monday from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, circa 1835; Jacob Maentel portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Haak; A Carved Pine Pheasant Hen Weathervane; and A Painted Pine Miniature Checkerboard Chest.
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