Sotheby’s is pleased to present 'A New Dimension of Tradition: Important American Folk Art, Proceeds of the Sale to Benefit a New Folk Art Initiative at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston' on 25 January. The preview exhibition will be on view from 16–24 January. A number of works in the sale are on offer without reserve.
T hrough the generosity of a passionate collector and philanthropist, proceeds from the sale of this important private collection will be donated to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to support a new initiative for folk and self-taught art. This transformative gift will position the MFA to break new ground in the interpretation and display of folk and self-taught art by fostering an innovative, contemporary approach to the field.
The MFA has long collected folk art – broadly defined – in many genres, beginning with the foundational M. and M. Karolik Collection of paintings, sculpture, drawings, textiles and other objects made primarily in the northeastern United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. Over the years the collection has grown to include works from other geographic regions, and today’s curators seek to develop and display a more diverse collection that embraces art by self-taught artists of many ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds.
The MFA’s new Folk Art initiative will focus on innovative programming and deeper engagement with the museum’s renowned collections to bring folk and self-taught art alive for today’s audiences.
The new Folk Art initiative will provide focus and momentum for innovative programming and deeper engagement with the museum’s renowned collections to open up new lines of inquiry, interpretation and display. Bringing the MFA’s diverse historic collections to life for today’s audiences and sustaining creative programming for the future, this gift will enhance the Museum’s capacity to advance curational innovation, reimagine exhibitions and gallery displays, engage community partners in shaping the stories we tell, and explore cross-departmental projects that address issues of creativity and artistic practices in cultures around the world.
We are deeply grateful to the visionary collector whose foresight and generosity will shine new light on one of the most storied parts of the MFA’s collection, and enable this ambitious initiative to launch in the years ahead.
Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund DirectorEthan Lasser, John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas Nonie Gadsden, Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Discover Works From the Sale
A Monumental Molded Copper and Zinc 'Cooperstown' Cow Weathervane
Probably New England, circa 1880
This unique and monumental vane originally topped the Edward Severin Clark’s dairy barn, the heir of Singer sewing machine company, in Cooperstown, New York, which was built on land once owned by James Fenimore Cooper.
Important Molded Copper Goddess of Liberty Weathervane
Attributed to William Henis or Vincent W. Baldwin, Philadelphia or New York, circa 1875-79
This superb weathervane was erected on the Hale Family Homestead in Tyringham, Massachusetts, 1877-79; Tryingham is a small town in the state's Berkshire County.
Fine and Rare Yellow Comb-Decorated and Painted Pine 'Tree of Life' Blanket Chest
New England, Early 19th Century
This exuberantly decorated chest combines curving lines of comb painting with stylized tree motifs on its lid, front, and sides.
Very Fine and Rare Full-Bodied Molded Copper Squirrel Weathervane
Attributed to Cushing & White or L.W. Cushing and Sons (Active 1865-1933) Waltham, Massachusetts, circa 1870-85
Exceptional Federal Paint and Smoke-Decorated Pine Tall-Case Clock
Works by Silas Hoadley, Plymouth, Connecticut, circa 1810-20
Silas Hoadley (1786–1870) was one the leading American clockmakers of the first half of the nineteenth century and is best known for his tall-case and shelf clocks. The works and delicately painted face of this tall-case clock are signed by Hoadley, while the painter of the simple case is unidentified.
Exceptional Celebration Whimsy
Made by John Scholl (1827- 1916)
The German-born John Scholl (1827- 1916), emigrated to Schuykill County, Pennsylvania in 1853; after settling in Germania, PA, he became both a farmer and a carpenter, helping to build much of the town. Upon retirement, Scholl applied his carpentry skills to making art – including elaborate free-standing sculptures, dubbed as “Celebrations” by early collectors.
Portrait of Andrew Jackson
Edward Hicks, circa 1832
Explore the full selection of folk art included in the upcoming auction, to be held on 25 January at 2:00 PM EDT in New York.