BOSTON, MA – March 21, 2014 – On June 15, Skinner, Inc. will host a unique and rare event, marking the last presentation of a substantial group of objects from The Andrews Shaker Collection at public auction. Enthusiasts of Shaker culture will have the rare opportunity to purchase furniture and objects from this legendary collection.
“Gather up the Fragments”
In 1923, Edward and Faith Andrews stopped at a Shaker community to buy a loaf of bread, a simple encounter which led to a lifelong involvement with the Shakers. Over the next 40-plus years, Ted and Faith, and later Faith alone after Ted’s death in the 1960s, worked tirelessly to promote this distinctly American art and culture, which they observed as waning.
Establishing a relationship of trust with Shaker people and earnestly dedicated to scholarship, the Andrewses collected as many artifacts as they could, directly from the Shakers themselves. These objects included items for which the Shakers are renowned, such as boxes, baskets, and furniture, but also, workaday objects like tin ware, ceramics, textiles, tools, and hardware. They ultimately amassed a collection of Shaker objects that has never been – and will never be – rivaled.
The efforts of Edward and Faith Andrews resulted in several books on Shaker culture and in the establishment of public collections at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Winterthur, the American Museum in Bath, England, and, of course, at Hancock Shaker Village in Western Massachusetts.
According to Christian Goodwillie, Director and Curator of Special Collections at Hamilton College and co-author of Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection, “The Andrewses, through their comprehensive collecting and scholarship, were instrumental in bringing the Shakers and their material culture to the attention of the world. Skinner’s upcoming auction represents a unique opportunity for enthusiasts of Shaker culture today.”
A Momentous Occasion
Skinner, Inc.’s June 15th auction will feature over 100 lots of furniture and utilitarian objects, all featuring the Shakers’ characteristically simple, yet ingenious design. A number of pieces bear dates or inscriptions, as well as fine original finishes in chrome yellow or red lead.
Furniture highlights include a Brown-Red-painted Rocking Chair, Mount Lebanon, New York, c. 1800 (Lot 9, $12,000 to $15,000) and a Loom Bench with Drawer, also from Mount Lebanon, c. 1840 (Lot 42, $6,000 to $8,000), featuring the ergonomically-designed curved seat to accommodate the weaver. According to Jean Burks, Senior Curator at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, this piece was one of four items from the entire Index of American Design selected by Holger Cahill to represent the “Allied Arts” in his 1936 survey New Horizons in American Art, published by the Museum of Modern Art.
Another fine piece of furniture at auction is a Pine Schoolhouse Cupboard and Case of Drawers, Mount Lebanon, c. 1840 (Lot 39, $60,000 to $80,000). Once a classroom fixture, this piece features a series of shelves, dividers and graduated doors to facilitate the storage of schoolbooks and supplies.
A Maple and Cherry Two-drawer Stand from Hancock, Massachusetts or Enfield, Connecticut, c. 1850 (Lot 66, $10,000 to $15,000), once exhibited at the Berkshire Museum in 1932, features a square top and distinctive “spider legs.” Also desirable is a Red/Orange-Stained Pine Case of Drawers, from Mount Lebanon or Watervliet, New York, c. 1830 (Lot 58, $30,000 to $50,000), featuring an exquisite original surface as well as a dovetailed base.
A great example of one of the best known Shaker products, an Oval Box with Shaker-printed Label “Queen of the Meadow”, from New Lebanon, New York, c. 1830, (Lot 22, $3,000 to $5,000) stands out among the auction’s utilitarian offerings. Also available is a rare Yellow-painted Lidded Wooden Pail, Canterbury, New Hampshire, c. 1850 (Lot 1, $2,500 to $3,500). One of very few surviving Shaker pails, this example has an intact lid and features desirable chrome yellow paint; it is sure to generate excitement among collectors.
Stephen Fletcher, Director of American Furniture & Decorative Arts at Skinner noted, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to share the last of the Andrews Collection remaining in the family with Shaker enthusiasts, who will continue in the tradition of the Andrewses – honoring and preserving the material culture of this unique society.”
Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series Antiques Roadshow since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, with an international audience of bidders participating in person, by phone, and online through the SkinnerLive! online bidding platform. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at www.skinnerinc.com, find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/skinnerauctions, or follow us on Twitter @Skinnerinc.
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Director of American Furniture & Decorative Arts
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