Philadelphia Sale in Louisiana

by John Werry on January 29, 2010

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Neal Auction’s latest sale is this weekend and it appears that the consignors with 19th Century furniture by famous Philadelphia makers will do better selling them in Louisiana than in Philadelphia area auctions.  I can’t blame them since Neal does such a great job.

I’m excited about this sale.  It is the first of the new year and I feel I need a new gauge of how the market is doing.  Secondly, and most importantly, there is some mega-cool furniture in this sale (yes mega-cool is a technical Decorative Arts term that real curators and book authors use behind the scenes).

Daniel Pabst is in the (auction) house.

A MATCHING PAIR of Daniel Pabst pedestals.  You will never see this again until this same pair is resold again.

The cut-through veneer panels that show through to a darker layer of wood is a signature technique for Pabst.  The vine tendrils with the same treatment encircle the four columns on each pedestal.  The final piece de resistance is the rotating table tops.  You can put your favorite matching statues up for display and turn them to admire from any angle.  Regardless of what these go for, this is an important set.

You know I must be taken by the Pabst pedestals if I’m writing about them first rather than the works of one of my most favorite makers: Allen & Brother.  I see at least 3 attributed Allen & Brother pieces in this sale and possibly others where they held back on the attribution.  It seems an Allen & Brother collector is letting loose some (all?) of their collection.  The cabinet below will be one of the main events.  If only I had a spare $20k lying around to spend on a space-filling cabinet …

0124 1 Philadelphia Sale in Louisiana

Here are some Victorian furniture highlights from the sale with many more not profiled here:

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

james conrad January 30, 2010 at 6:49 am

I spent a year in N.O. once upon a time, victorian furniture was/is very popular there. They have very fine victorian mansions in the garden district and a good fit for this style of furniture.

Hopefully the GD/french quarter have survived the katrina disaster and recovered from the storm.

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RAE January 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Hi, thanks for the heads up again regarding the auction in New Orleans. Out of fairness you should mention that the St Charles Gallery had their winter sale last weekend as the first of the year and it was indeed an interesting barometer of what is going on out there. I think a comparison of the two sales should bring you to some insights to share. Will anyone be attending the Palm Beach Show to bring us further information on what is going on in the antiques world?

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Ed Lawler January 30, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Someone should buy these pedestals for the Smithsonian. Daniel Pabst is well-represented in Philadelphia and New York, but there are no examples of his work in any of the national collections in Washington, DC.

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John Werry January 31, 2010 at 10:35 am

Pedestals went for $12,500. RAE, I went through the St. Charles numbers and a lot of the big ticket Victorian went unsold – two “Belters”, a signficant Gothic Revival chair…

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max February 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm

My wife and I bought the pedestals because of the great style and a lack of a good example of Pabst.
I have always said you never have enough pedestals and you can always find a place.
Now what to do with the other 20 we own.
My wife keeps threatening me with AA [antiques anonymous].

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John Werry February 4, 2010 at 8:41 am

Max, if you build another house just for antiques, then you can just fill that one too. Since your wife won’t see what get’s put there on a daily basis, you can fill at will.

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Ulysses Dietz February 5, 2010 at 10:42 am

Oy vey (an old curatorial term)…Has anyone inspected those Pabst pedestals in person? We deaccessioned a very beat-up identical pair of pedestals through Dawson & Nye in 2009 (we being the Newark Museum) because, good as they were, they were beyond our ability to conserve. One was missing its rotating top entirely, and the other had its top broken in half. Could this be our (former) pair? I had wanted to do something with them for years, but finally had to face reality and let them go. I always thought they were beautiful.

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Ulysses Dietz February 5, 2010 at 10:54 am

Well, it would be nice if I read the thread carefully before responding. So, with apologies to Max and his patient spouse: could this pair be our deaccessioned pair conserved?

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John Werry February 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Ulysses, if you think of it next time, give us a heads up on any deaccessioning going on. I would have been at that sale with check in hand for those pedestals. Especially at a $2,655 hammer price.

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max February 7, 2010 at 10:19 am

I did inspect them personally and did not see the damage you refer to, especially the missing top. Both appeared to be original with the veneer replaced on one top and both missing the cloth insert. The pedestals themselves are in excellent condition with original finish.
It is suspect that the timing would coincide.
Thanks for the heads up.

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Ulysses Dietz February 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm

The word suspicious is too negative! It is hard to imagine two identical pairs of pedestals appearing on the market in such a short time window. But I wasn’t dissing your purchase at all–I was fascinated that they might be “our” pedestals, and you can imagine the guilt that, having liked them for thirty years, I decided to deaccession them because we couldn’t afford the conservation. If I had thought them to be by Pabst, I certainly would have pushed to conserve them rather than sell them off–so I am feeling both stupid and guilty. I can send you pictures of the ones we used to own, if nothing else at least for your files. They are (having said all the rest) the nicest pedestals of their kind I’ve ever seen.

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max February 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Would love to have pictures for comparison. Likewise I can send detailed shots for your info.
I do think that the concensus is that they are Pabst. In fact the under bidder is a Pabst collector who is trying to put together a collection for an exhibition in Philadelphia and have offered a loan if he so wishes.
max@maxfoote.com

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