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Folk Art

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Charming group of hand-made and painted folk art origami figures, including fourteen soldiers, three horses, a flag on a staff, and two incomplete figures (a horse and a soldier)
1 Charming group of hand-made and painted folk art origami figures, including fourteen soldiers, three horses, a flag on a staff, and two incomplete figures (a horse and a soldier)
NA Very Good 
N.d., early twentieth century (1910 to early 1930s), based, among other things, on box housing the grouping with stamp of George V, which dates from 1914. (We assume the box housed the grouping from the time it was created, more or less.) The figures are quite precisely painted, and appealingly resemble nutcracker soldiers and what we would imagine would be their toy mounts. Testament to the attention to detail is that the mane on one of the horses is very precisely cut into separate fine strands! The paint colors on the soldiers are bright and eye-catching blues and reds, with some green, yellow and quite realistic flesh colors, while the horses are bay, piebald and chestnut-ish. Most of the soldiers have bayonets or muskets, and they are all postured as if on a ceremonial march. Although origami, the figures are essentially two dimensional, but an example of the care rendered is that they are all painted on both sides. The unfinished figures are a plus to have as well, as they easily reveal the process by which the figures were made. We don't know who made the figures, although their are initials on the two unfinished ones, and we would guess that whoever made them was from the Bristol area of England, based again on the box housing them. Our conjecture was that a young adult made the figures, but certainly it had to be someone with the skill beyond the ability of a pre-teen. The soldiers are generallly 8 cm tall, the horses, the same, and the horses are about 10 cm long at their longest. Some of the firearms are bent, and there is other trivial soiling. 
Price: 600.00 USD
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Eleven Nineteenth Century Original Cut-Out Silhouette Portraits
2 Eleven Nineteenth Century Original Cut-Out Silhouette Portraits
NA Very Good 
N.d., circa 19th century. Figures represented are Napoleon, Dr. Johnson, Pope Pius VII, Mary Magdalen, Democritus (based on a medal), Shakespeare, Mad Tom and four more loosely identified figures, including a "lean curate", a "Spanish dancer, a woman representing "the Nations lost, the Nations sorrow". The silhouettes are created by the careful cutting of holes in the paper, in the vein of fretwork, resulting in a two toned picture. We have the white paper used for the cut-outs backed by a red paper, but since the white paper is not pasted on to this paper, one can change the paper to whatever backing one pleases. Such folk art efforts typically ended up mounted in albums; for whatever reason, this group was not and the silhouettes are separate from one another. Clearly, though, they were all done by the same amateur. Some of the portraits are more crisply rendered, but even the crudest cut-outs exude considerable charm. Silhouettes were very popular in the eighteenth into the nineteenth century. Surely this amateur was an English Catholic. The portrayal of Pius VII, who died in 1823, might argue for a early to mid-19th century dating, but obviously, he did not instantly descend into oblivion at this death and he could easily have chosen him as a subject many decades later. The cut-outs range in size from about 13 by 10 cm to 25 by 20 cm. Neat, calligraphic cursive ink captions identify each of the cut-outs, and the style of writing aids in our dating as well. 
Price: 275.00 USD
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Four Frames Made by Hand Using Scrap Metal and Foil Paper
3 Four Frames Made by Hand Using Scrap Metal and Foil Paper
NA Fine 
Highly unusual and original examples of folk art made of unlikely materials, and stylistically emulating Dresden lace. N.d., but probably from the 19th century. 25.5 by 21 cm. 
Price: 350.00 USD
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Kengtung Occasions
4 Kengtung Occasions
Burma (Kengtung, Shan State, presumed) 1908 Quarter Morocco, Cloth Boards Very Good 
Oblong 8vo. 18 by 25.5 cm. 30 original watercolors. With Shan captions, presumably translated into English which is presented on pastedown sheet on front inside cover. Depicted are struggles against Chinese invaders and the rise and fall of several leaders. About half of the scenes show violence, or armed engagement and/or threat, while the other scenes tend to be more placid, with men shown praying, in meditation, listening, resting. All the pictures have the irresistible charm of folk art. From the text label on the front cover, this is presumably one of two books of scenes, but without that indication, one should find this album self-contained, and while there is a cumulative impact to the scenes, each also works very well on its own. Kengtung is in the Shan State, or Northeast of Burma, of today's Myammar, close to the Chinese and Thai borders. An unattached note contained within states that a prior owner bought the album in Hong Kong. The spine label is torn at its bottom, but we believe there is no missing text to speak of. Soiling to the binding. The illustrations are generally clean and bright. A handsome, exotic album. 
Price: 10000.00 USD
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Manuscript metamorphic cut-out costume and headress overlays
5 Manuscript metamorphic cut-out costume and headress overlays
America NA Very Good 
N.d., early to mid nineteenth century. A base sheet containing the watercolored head of a woman and then eleven overlay sheets with cut-out windows for the face and watercolored hats or other headress and garments at the shoulders and neck. Styles of costumes and headwear are captioned in ink: Turkish dress, Virgin of the Sun, East Indian dress, Russian, gypsy, peasant girl, Polish, Bohemian, nun, Circassian, Mary Queen of Scots. This being folk art-ish, the overlays do not generally fit squarely atop the base piece of paper. This is surprising inasmuch as the paper cuts themselves were done with great care and precision. Ten of the top pieces are riched colored, while two, the nun and Mary Queen of Scots pieces, are rendered in black and white, which actually fits the clothing and subject matter. 
Price: 2000.00 USD
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[Faux Books][Folk Art Mechanical Toy Book] Holy Bible
6 [Faux Books][Folk Art Mechanical Toy Book] Holy Bible
Wood boards. Very Good 
Highly unusual fun piece of folk art, with the "Bible" springing up with the touch of a lever. Most definitely one-of-a-kind! N.d., circa 1900, possibly earlier. In size, like a 4to. 33 by 25 cm, 14 cm thick. The bible resembles an early 19th century leather bible. Here, though, the boards and sides are of wood, with the spine a heavy cloth which is painted to look like leather, and with the paint looks not unlike a paper mache composition. The snap is on the fore-edge, with the metal lever on the top. All sides are painted in gilt. Moderate wear throughout, as befitting an old heirloom bible. 
Price: 1250.00 USD
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[Faux Book]  Box with Intricate Marquetry Inlay Work
7 [Faux Book] Box with Intricate Marquetry Inlay Work
NA Very Good 
A beautiful, exceptional example of folk art applied to a faux book box with a drawer. Dimensions: 27 by 20 by 5.5 cm. While it reads "folk art", with a certain naivete and perhaps rough quality that would distinguish it from the work of a Parisian ebeniste, the inlay work is elaborate, intricate, and well-executed. On both the back and front one finds patterns of diamonds, zigzags and/or chevrons, and corner squares. The spine has alternating light and dark stained wood to mimic compartments divided by raised bands. There are at least three different colorations applied to the wood pieces. Virtually all inlay pieces intact, remarkably so, with only very trivial losses. One narrow edge piece is a later replacement. Some scuffs and edgewear. 
Price: 600.00 USD
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[Faux Book] Fine Folk Art Box with Folk Art Vignettes of a House and Floral Designs
8 [Faux Book] Fine Folk Art Box with Folk Art Vignettes of a House and Floral Designs
Very Good 
Circa 18th century, probably intended as a tobacco box. Dimensions: 16 by 10 by 3.5 cm. The house probably represents a plantation house, abd the plant fronds on each side, tobacco leaves. On the other side is a plant that resembles a typical folk art etched design. The spine has etched bands. The staining of the edges is suggestive of marbling, whether or not this effect was intended. The lid, which fits on very snugly, opens to a shallow well. The top of the open lid is convex, and the inside of the well was smoothly scooped out, it is plain. Words do not really do this box justice, for it is a highly appealing specimen of folk art from its time. As to its national origin, that is difficult to say with any certainty, especially given the commonality of folk art idiom to many places. The wood is a hard and heavy wood. Some scratching, rubbing and other wear, but still very handsome indeed. 
Price: 1450.00 USD
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[Faux Book] Shoe-Shaped Needle Book
9 [Faux Book] Shoe-Shaped Needle Book
Card Very Good 
N.d., circa 1900. 10 by 5 cm, at the widest and tallest. A homemade, folk art needle book, with charming blue watercolor touches such as a simple flower figure in the center, and blue lacing holding the whole thing together. Opens to fabric needle stays. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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Silhouettes Militaires.  De la Révolution et du 1er Empire Collection Bernard-Franck, Brisquet
10 Brisquet Silhouettes Militaires. De la Révolution et du 1er Empire Collection Bernard-Franck
NA Very Good 
An magnificent collection of 20 military costume mixed media oil paintings that were once part of a major French collection of militariana. N.d., 1830 to 1860 -- these were nostalgic portraits created during the reigns of Louis Philippe and Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III). Brisquet, the artist, apparently was set-up on the esplanade by les Invalides, certainly a logical place for a creator of military-related bric-a-brac to set up shop, so to speak, and seek to sell his wares. A variety of sizes, ranging in height between 34 and 45 cm, and width, 10 to 29 cm. We have 21 panels in all, with one containing a short textual description of the group. By mixed media, we are referring to the application of cut-outs, made mostly of very thick card, on board, giving the portraits and accessories a dimensionality. Some of these applied pieces are movable -- arms in particular -- or were meant to be so. Largely by dint of these cut-outs, the portraits have a folk art or naive quality. The soldiers are shown carrying firearms, flags, musical instruments, etc. Seldom is the portrait without some other element of interest, and always the background is enriched with a landscape suggestive of a rural battlefield or training ground. The portraits are all by the same artist, Brisquet, and they all are done in the same style. Based on the short explanatory panel, which describes him as a "Tir", which translates as a shooter, we would surmise that he was himself a veteran and possibly a resident himself of les Invalides. Portrayed are the following military figures, rendered in the original French and translated to English if needed: Generale Barthélemy Catherine Joubert, General Eduard Mortier (unlabeled on front), two panels of grenadiers (without further specificity), grenadier hollandais, grenadier de la Vistule (Polish grenadier), tirailleur (sharpshooter), sapeur de dragons, lancier Espagnol, fusilier, inspecteur aux regnes, porte-drapeau (flag bearer), tombour des volontaires (volunteer drummers), eclaireur a cheval jeune garde (young mounted guard and scout -- the portrait doesn't show the guard on horseback though), musicien chapeau Chinois (musician with a Chinese hat), two panels, not identical, of musicien d'Etat-Major, Legion Italique 1800, Flanqueur chasseur and a voltigeur (a member of a skirmish unit created by Napoleon). Each of the paintings is framed by brown strips of thick card, about 1 cm in width. At the base of each picture, excepting one, is a thin label, attached with brad nails, identifying for us who is being portrayed. We can assume that Brisquet made many more of these, and it seems probable that Bernard-Franck himself had many more, based on the numbering on the backs of many of the paintings. Still, we would consider this grouping to be more than ample and not conspicuously lacking in anything. Bernard Franck (1848-1924) was recognized as a leading collector of both militariana and Napoleonic era souvenirs. Born in Paris of a Jewish family, Franck ran a family business that manufactured military equipment. During the Franco-Prussian War he volunteered as a Zuoave. During his lifetime parts of his collection were loaned out for exhibition, starting with the Paris Exposition of 1900, and a part of his collection would be acquired by J.P. Morgan, who contributed it to the Metropolitan Museum. Many of the figurines in his collection are now owned by the Musée de l’Armée which is located in les Invalides. All the panels have rings on their back that can be used for hanging them. The majority of the paintings are darkened and could benefit from a cleaning. This we can discern based on a few that are considerably brighter and thus are obviously closer to their original, intended state of color. Never, though, are featured blurred beyond recognition. A few chips to the applique pieces -- a missing hand, a missing piece to a wood stump, etc. Some of what were meant to be movable pieces no longer function as such. None of these losses materially affect the imagery. Rubbing of the frame pieces here and there. A few cracks to the card material or across the painting. In general, the condition flaws are acceptable and within expectation for decorative antiques -- one could say they add to the character, even. 
Price: 6000.00 USD
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Schnitzen in der Rhon, Clauss, Herbert
11 Clauss, Herbert Schnitzen in der Rhon
Leipzig Veb Friedrich Hofmeister 1956 First Edition Near Fine very good Jacket 
8vo. Many photographs. Clean copy. Wear to DJ includes a small hole and a few minor closed tears. 
Price: 12.00 USD
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Monogram and Crest Album with Watercolors, Errington, Jane (?)
12 Errington, Jane (?) Monogram and Crest Album with Watercolors
Full Morocco Very Good 
Comparatively late "augmented" monogram album, with monograms and crests worked into winsomely naive watercolor illustrations often. By late, we mean circa 1910 to 1920, based on the depictions of automobiles from that era as well as airplanes, whereas the augmented, more special monogram albums we have come across before are virtually always squarely Victorian era. 8vo. 23 by 18 cm. 47 leaves with visual content. (Also some blank leaves. All illustrations are on rectos.) Of these, eleven pages are in our judgment more elaborate and/or original watercolors with the crests/monograms worked in, ten are geometric designs onto which the crests/monograms are incorporated, and twelve are simpler and/or more common yet non-geometric pictures with mounted crests/mongrams. (These categories can be elastic, and what we consider simpler, someone else might grade as more elaborate, and visa versa.) In addition, there are four pages of watercolors without crests/monograms, eight pages of pencil sketches of various stages of finishing, and two pages of mounted cut-out illustrations, one of which incorporates crests/monograms as well, the other, not doing so. Some of the more special artwork include a watercolored local map showing fields, a village and a few other structures punctuated with monograms, an Indian scene centered with an elephant, an airplane shown from a strikingly skewed perspective, and a battle scene with tanks, airplanes and artillery. These are all pictures we have never seen the like of in an augmented monogram album, and we would add, even if we had, they would be the most exciting images produced by our amateur artist and compiler. Other pictures he/she did are invariably delightful but somewhat more common, such as a Gothic window, various trophy designs, geometric designs, a cannon and swords, etc. While we describe this album as a monogram and crest album, it is the pages featuring them constitute the majority, but there is some artwork in this album not employing them at all, and some of these pictures also are highly ingratiating, if perhaps betraying the artistic limitations of the artist as well. Also included is an envelope of unused crests/monograms. 
Price: 2500.00 USD
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13 Ezekiah (?) Album with Original Illustrations, many featuring pioneers versus Indians, from the 1860s mostly
Quarter Morocco. Paper pastedown on boards. Good 
8vo. 24 by 19 cm. With 29 full page drawings, all done with pencil, and often color pencils or crayons. In our view, ten read as fully colored drawings, and another twelve have partial coloring (just a detail, or just one color used, or dominated by black pencil), and the remaining seven are entirely done with black pencil. There is a handwritten, in thick blue pencil or crayon, numbering of the leaves, going from 1 up to 39, but skipping some numbers, which we assume are leaves that were excised. In total, about 60 pages of content (we hesitate to furnish an exact number as meaningful content is borderline on a few pages). The album appears to have had at least three lives. It was created, or intended, as an account book by a Boston shipping firm in the 1850s. This we know from the pages with blank entries meant to document the movement of goods from a warehouse to a wharf, with 185- and Boston printed above the space meant for a descriptive entry to be entered. Perhaps the book was used as such, with the pages with entries removed. The album was then used in three ways -- as a handwriting and/or calligraphy practice notebook, as a sketchbook, and as a notebook for creative writing. We think it is quite possible that the same person used the book for all three purposes, but we are not of the view that the same person did all the artistic, penmanship and literary work, as the handwriting is not of a single piece. But we are of the opinion that all the artwork is by one hand, and since the captions are written in a neat cursive consistent with some of the calligraphic practice, we tend to think that these pieces of writing were by the same person. However, there are some stories written out in a sloppier hand, and so at some point the album was passed on or shared with someone else. Finally, in its final incarnation, the album became something of a scrapbook, with newspaper articles and pictures pasted onto the pages throughout, often obscuring in all or in part the artwork and writing. (We have endeavored to remove these newspaper clips that conceal artwork, but plenty of clips remain.) The artist could have begun the scrapbook pasting, but we find it implausible that he would have covered up so much of his own creative work, even if he later came to find it of little merit. 
Price: 7500.00 USD
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14 Greer, G., author of verse. MF (?), artist "Land of Love"
Oakland, CA (?) 1912 (?) NA Very Good 
Fun poem about barbecue picnic outing among redwoods, illustrated with utterly charming vignettes of the various doings of the party. With frame, 54 by 39 cm. The picture itself is 50 by 35 cm. The poem is nine stanzas, each four lines and rhymed fluently in an ABAB scheme, and it captures with levity a lazy afternoon in the country, with good food, friends, and merriment. The artwork is folksy, just like the poem. Together the two capture a wistful "innocent" pleasure offered by the outdoors and cameraderie, and the work evokes a nostalgia even for those who didn't participate, and perhaps, a sharper nostalgia for those who can only be vicariously transported to the time and place. Light scattered foxing. The black frame is simple but appropriate. The dating is based on "12" written below the name of the poet and the initials of the artist, and this date is completely in line with the clothing and other aspects of the work. The artist's initials are not clearly legible -- our best guess is MF, with possibly a middle initial of R, but the initials could be otherwise, and for that matter, the initials tell us little about the identity of the draftsman. 
Price: 750.00 USD
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[Faux Book] Trick Lockbox Shaped Like a Book and Bearing the Title "Famous Athletes", Smith, J.
15 Smith, J. [Faux Book] Trick Lockbox Shaped Like a Book and Bearing the Title "Famous Athletes"
Wood Very Good 
A folk art wood box with a hidden drawer. N.d., circa early 20th Century. The exterior of the box measures 7.5 by 6.5 by 2.25 inches, or 19 by 16 by 6 cm. You move the spine this way and that to remove it -- to nail head have to come out from under keyholes -- revealing a hidden drawer in the center. The wood appears to be oak, which is a strong, yet deeply grained, wood, and the title and author's name are coarsely chiseled on the top board, and together the look is decidedly of naive artisanship. Structurally sturdy, there are just minor signs of wear. 
Price: 250.00 USD
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