Wow, what a great auction Skinner Inc. held May 21, 2016 for the Personal Collection of Lewis Scranton! Longtime dealer/collector Lewis Scranton hosted the auction at his home in Connecticut (preview in-home as displayed by the collector, auction under a tent outside). Mr. Scranton insisted on the auction having no buyers’ premium! It made for a very exciting auction. I watched and bid online but couldn’t get a thing although I was underbidder on a number of truly extraordinary and rare American folk silhouettes. Here is a run-down of the fantastic silhouettes at this auction. The silhouettes are not in any particular order. Congratulations to the high bidders on these profiles.
By William Bache, listed in catalog as a hollow cut. I sent an inquiry asking whether it was a hollow cut with shaded black paper behind (Bache did these but they are rare because the backing papers got separated from cutting) or fully painted. Answer came back that it appeared to be cut & paste–not words used but basically the answer. I knew that wasn’t the correct answer but didn’t bid. By price I would say it was hollow cut with shaded background.–$1700
(In my opinion misattributed) to James Holsey Whitcomb in paint decorated frame–$7500. My attribution is to Justin Salisbury.
Wish I had not been saving up for the later silhouettes and had gone higher on this one. Unattributed at auction, but I attribute to Everet Howard because of the bustline termination and the painted dots around the boy’s clothing. $900.
Charlotte Cummings by S. Williams–$1200. Interestingly, it appears that the silhouette is sewn onto the black backing (which is probably fabric).
Anonymous Artist, hollow-cut head with wood block stamped body. $900
Attr. James Holsey Whitcomb, in paint decorated frames–$5500
Unsigned hollowcut in fabulous paint decorated frames–$3000
Attributed to Anson Newell–$3000
Anonymous Artist, paint decorated paper mat. I’ve only seen two by this artist with the original painted mats. This is the 2nd time I’ve chased this silhouette but I didn’t get it this time either! $7500
Anonymous Artist–A true American folk treasure–Published in A Loving Likeness American Folk Portraits of the Nineteenth Century–$4750
Anonymous Artist–Another American folk treasure–1st child I’ve seen by this artist–$4750
Anonymouse Artist–Another great one!–$4500
Anonymous Artist–this one is different than any I’ve seen by this artist because of the very thin neck–$2000
Anonymous Artist–1 of the few I didn’t bid on because I have several women by this artist–$1700
Signed J.A. Davis, published in Silhouettes in America, 1790-1840, listed by Skinner as James A. Davis but I believe they meant Jane A. Davis–I really wanted this one!–$8000
Anonymous Artist–$5500. I was a bit surprised by the price of this one because I have one by this artist and didn’t pay nearly this much.