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1900 weathervane, Northwest Indian face mask set auction records at folk art auction

1900 weathervane, Northwest Indian face mask set auction records at folk art auction

A rare molded copper Indian chief weather vane set a record for American folk art at auction Friday when it was purchased for $5.8 million (euro4.6 million) by Jerry Lauren of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.
The circa 1900 weather vane was originally in the collection of Josephine and Walter Buhl Ford II, and had adorned the roof of their white, rambling 10-acre (4-hectare) farmhouse in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, outside Detroit, Sotheby's said. Josephine Ford was the granddaughter of the automobile baron Henry Ford.
A day earlier, the auction house said it set a record for an American Indian object _ a Tsimshian polychrome wood face mask, which sold for $1.8 million (euro1.4 million).
The weather vane attracted spirited bidding in Sotheby's Manhattan salesroom involving seven bidders until Jerry and Susan Lauren held out with the winning bid.
"This piece is more than a weather vane; it's a beautiful work of art," Jerry Lauren, the brother of Ralph Lauren and the executive vice president of men's design at Polo Ralph Lauren, said in a statement issued by Sotheby's.
The weather vane, over 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and attributed to the J. L. Mott Iron Works Company, broke the record for a weather vane and also set a new high for any piece of American folk art, said Nancy Druckman, director of Sotheby's American Folk Art Department.
The Mott Company is known for providing the iron for the Capitol Building dome.
"This fantastic example of American folk art that was on the Fords' roof has now gone through the roof! Remarkable for its size, condition and artistry, it's a masterpiece in every respect," Druckman said. Originally, the weather vane probably was a special order for a fraternal lodge or community building, she said.
The previous record for an American folk art object was a painting by Edward Hicks, "The Peaceable Kingdom," which sold for $4.7 million (euro3.7 million) at Christie's in 1999, Sotheby's said.
The early to mid-19th-century Tsimshian mask _ a portrait mask depicting a Tsimshian and used for ceremonial purposes _ was part of the Dundas Collection of Northwest Coast American Indian Art that was auctioned at Sotheby's Manhattan gallery on Thursday. The collection has remained in family hands since the Rev. Robert J. Dundas of Scotland acquired it in 1863, it said.
The mask was purchased by art dealer Donald Ellis of Ontario, Canada, who bid on a total of 27 items in the collection on behalf of two Canadian institutions, an American private collector and two members of the entrepreneurial Thomson family of Canada.
"The Donald Ellis Gallery is extremely thrilled to have been a participant in the repatriation of a major portion of the Dundas Collection to Canada," said Ellis. He said discussions were under way for the 27 items in the collection to be displayed publicly.
The previous record for an American Indian object was set at Sotheby's in May for an Upper Missouri riverman's quilled and pony beaded hide shirt that sold for $800,000. (euro630,000)
All prices include the auction house's commission.


Updated : 2020-12-01 22:49 GMT+08:00