1890 American Folk Art Carved Wooden Figure

Value (2016) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
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GUEST:
I often went to San Francisco and met a friend for the antique shows. I happened to find it in a dealer's booth, and it really appealed to me just as a folk-art kind of a decorative object. I really knew nothing about it, I don't really collect folk art, but it just spoke to me. We negotiated a price, and I bought it.

APPRAISER:
Well, it is extraordinary. It's absolutely a whimsy, I would say.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And you're right about its folk-art roots. If we just turn this around we'll see how it is carved three-dimensionally, and it has got flowers and vines. I think it's working off of a tradition during the Victorian period. You see a little date here on the bottom. Looks like it says "1800." But we get closer to it, and we notice it probably was "1890."

GUEST:
That... I would think so.

APPRAISER:
It's very difficult to determine actually where it was made. It's definitely an American piece.

GUEST:
American, yes.

APPRAISER:
For sure, but where in the United States, hard to tell. All of these little whimsical things going on. I mean he's got shoes, and knickers, and he's got a little dog.

GUEST:
The dog sold me.

APPRAISER:
There's also a little loop in his head. We had chattered earlier that there was some provenance.

GUEST:
It's certainly unofficial, but this is how I remember it. I bought it from a dealer in San Francisco I saw often. She said that it had been in Tony Duquette's estate, who was an interior designer, a creator, he did set... movie sets. And the reason she said it has the little eyehook at the top is he used it as a hanging object, and it hung above a bed.

APPRAISER:
Do you mind telling us what you had paid for it? I would say between $500 and $800, and it was maybe 15, 18 years ago. And I remember thinking that was a lot of money.

APPRAISER:
What I love about it is that it almost feels like it's a marble statue, but in fact it's painted wood.

GUEST:
Well, I even thought ivory.

APPRAISER:
Yes. The fact that the figure is seated, it gives you this very regal air to it.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And there's a tiny little bit of polychrome decoration on it. It's a wonderful piece. We bantered it about, actually, at the folk-art table. I think we're up to the $5,000 to $7,000 range...

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Would be a good auction estimate on this piece.

GUEST:
Pretty good for liking a decorative object.

APPRAISER:
Yes, yeah.

GUEST:
So much for initial attraction.

APPRAISER:
Yes, yes.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2016)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Event
Salt Lake City, UT (August 13, 2016)
Category
Folk Art

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