Folk must wait for Young
Folk art dealer Robert Young has been guarded with his first catalogue of the year.
He had planned to release it as usual in advance of the New York Winter Show, scheduled for January. But, with the Omicron variant on the rise and the fair rescheduled for April 1-10, Young decided to hold off on mailing the catalogue.
While shortly available in the US as the Winter Show gets underway, UK clients will need to wait for the catalogue to be released here in the summer, ahead of the dealer’s appearance at Masterpiece.
“Our consignment left the UK in October last year and has been sitting discretely in storage, waiting for show, as we decided to keep it all as ‘fresh’ and unseen as possible for the event,” Young tells ATG.
The Battersea gallery has shipped 72 pieces to New York, 29 of which appear in the catalogue. Several come from private collections and have not been on the market for 30 or 40 years.
Among those returning to market after several decades is a classic American swell-bodied ‘dexter’ horse and rider weathervane. Made of moulded sheet copper and metal wire, the piece was possibly made by LS Cushing of Waltham, Massachusetts c.1880. Measuring 2ft 4in (71cm) wide, it has a provenance to the Cosgrove collection and was previously in the Crane Kalman Folk Art Gallery in London. It is offered for $8500.
“It has been a real roller-coaster ride getting to a real ‘in person’ show and we are excited to be able to install a curated show again,” Young adds.
The Winter Show
The Winter Show, rescheduled following a Covid spike in January, has a new location at 660 Madison Avenue, the former flagship location of Barneys New York. Only a few minutes’ walk away from the fair’s usual location at the Park Avenue Armory, the temporary venue will host 60 exhibitors across four floors from April 1-10. Designers will create special window displays for the event. Helen Allen, executive director of the fair says: “We are thrilled that the Winter Show will once again take place in person in New York City. Although it will look slightly different from the fair we have become so familiar with, this is a true comeback story that can only happen in New York.” London dealers exhibiting at the fair include Robert Young, Ronald Phillips, Richard Green and Blairman & Sons.
Behind the mask
California-based Asian and tribal art dealer Thomas Murray features a range of transformation masks from the Himalayas and Indonesia that were previously showcased at the San Francisco Tribal Art Fair in an online exhibition catalogue. Among those featured is a court mask of a hero from Cirebon, West Java.
Used in the Kraton or royal palace, masks such as this early example are celebrated for their thinwalled carving and refined expression. This example from the 19th or early 20th century, bears an old label and is offered for $12,000.
Kerouac in love
A love letter written by Jack Kerouac to an early girlfriend is offered in Peter Harrington’s Spring catalogue for £37,500.
The Beat Generation pioneer would have turned 100 this month. In this letter, however, he is a young man, portraying himself as a Jack London-like itinerant writer. He met the recipient, a 16-year-old Norma Blickfelt in Manhattan when he was 18 and they dated briefly in April 1940, but continued to correspond afterwards.
Long and selfconsciously literary, it is titled in pink Love Letter to Norma Blickfelt by Kerouac, suggesting it was never posted.
The heroic age at Shapero
Earlier this month, Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was found more than a century after sinking in the Weddell Sea. It appears to be in remarkable condition and – protected as a Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty – will stay undisturbed.
Though souvenirs of the wreck might not be coming to the market, there may well be an uptick in collecting interest around the ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration.
In its most recent catalogue, Travel, Shapero Rare Books features several volumes related to Shackleton and his adventures.
One is a second edition of The Heart of the Antarctic: being the story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-09. The three-volume set recounts an earlier voyage by Shackleton, including a sledge journey to the south magnetic pole and the ascent and survey of Mount Erebus. Offered for £38,500, it includes the signature of every member of the shore party, is illustrated throughout, including the portrait of Shackleton, and includes four folding charts and panoramas. The final volume also features special contributions written and drawn by different members of the expedition, not present in the trade edition.
For more a harrowing read there is South, Shackleton’s account of the 1914-17 expedition on – and from – the Endurance. The 1919 first edition featured in the Shapiro catalogue for £3250 has sold, but the dealership has another available at the same price.
After the Artquake
Harry Moore-Gwyn’s exhibition After the Artquake: British Art in the Wake of Roger Fry runs in Mason’s Yard in St James’s, London, until Friday and is accompanied by a fine catalogue. It takes as its starting point the famous Manet and the Impressionists exhibition organised by Fry (1866-1934) at the Grafton Galleries in 1910-11. For many Edwardians, this was the first glimpse of Seurat, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne and what would soon be known as ‘modern art’.
Moore-Gwyn’s show includes works by Fry himself as well as others by fellow Bloomsbury set disciple Duncan Grant and members of the Camden Town Group and the London Group of artists, all of whom were working around the same time.
Hope for Albert Amor
Albert Amor’s latest catalogue of Treasures from the Mellor Cobham Collection opens with an introduction by the collector himself. Mellor, MP for Putney from 1979-97 and a member of the Major cabinet, and his wife Penelope, Viscountess Cobham have collected English porcelain for around 25 years. He recalls they began buying a few pieces here and there, initially focusing on Worcester. “Then came the fateful moment when I discovered that Chelsea was not only a place for football,” he writes.
The catalogue covers various factories, brought together, with the help of the dealership since the 1990s.
Among the highlights are 11 pieces from the Hope Service, commissioned from the Flight & Barr factory in Worcester by the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV in 1789 at a cost of £700. Presented with a choice of ‘Peace and Abundance’ or ‘Hope and Patience’ as the theme for the pattern, the future king chose the latter. The 260 pieces have long since been broken up and this is the largest to appear on the market in recent years.
Mellor comments: “The Hope Service took a good deal of assembling and I hope it will find a single home, though it is offered separately. I still think the gilding from 1792 is masterly and, by the look of it, could have been made yesterday afternoon.”