Monday, November 01, 2004
What a Sunday!
Politics and Pottery made for an exciting day here in swing state southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky.
Art Pottery Movers & Shakers preview the Ruthven goods.
Most of my day was spent attending the Forsythe family’s auction of the Kevin Ruthven Collection of Rookwood pottery, Cincinnati School paintings and other decorative art in the Queen City suburb of Springfield.
The Forsythe’s are to be commended, as the event was one of the most beautifully organized auctions I’ve ever attended in this midwestern hotbed of American ceramics.
A Forsythe offers an item for close inspection.
Mr. Ruthven, son of renowned wildlife artist John Ruthven, had amassed a stunningly beautiful group of objects in a 40-year span of serious collecting and offered all for sale without reserve and along with the Forsythe’s most economical 10% buyer’s premium (as opposed to the 25% attached to items sold through the larger Cincinnati art houses).
To the benefit of the transcontinental assembly of American Art Pottery mavens and despite the sharp artistic acuity of Ruthven’s eye, some truly superb objects and the efforts of the Forsythe clan, the weak economy was clearly evident as many beautiful things struggled to achieve their pre-sale estimates in bidding that infrequently approached the frenzy normally associated with these events.
Unfortunately, to avoid being stuck in an interstate traffic jam of fevered Bush supporters assembling downtown, I left before the event concluded and before some of the star objects went under the hammer.
(I’m hoping the Forsythe’s eventually publish and distribute an erratum of hammer prices to go along with their excellent catalogue.)
Some Rookwood pottery highlights:
This beautifully painted 1898 portrait of “Pacer, Apache” by Sturgis Lawrence on a 3 handled standard glaze mug sold well over its high estimate of $1,800 for $3,000.
This barely 6” tall 1907 standard glaze vase by Clara Lindeman sold, in very spirited bidding, for $600 over its high estimate at $950.
This most unusual, large and heavy Arts & Crafts loving cup, a production shape previously unknown to most collectors, hammered over its $2000 high end estimate for a, I thought, reasonable considering its rarity, $2,600.
And, this small but absolutely pristine and exquisite 1927 vellum plaque in its original gilt frame by Edward Diers sold for $2,500 over its high estimate for $10,500.
On the political front...
I was pleasantly surprised at yesterday’s auction to see no obvious Bush support and a smattering of Kerry buttons in what is usually a largely conservative crowd of serious art collectors.
This morning, on WCPO television’s excellent morning newscast I was very surprised to see videotape of thrice-married and, now, confirmed bachelor and Cincinnati Reds’ legend Johnny Bench introducing President Bush to the adoring crowd, last night, at Cincinnati’s new Great American Ballpark.
Unsurprisingly, stadium and Reds owner Carl Lindner, major Bush backer, dark force behind Cincinnati’s unsavory national reputation and likely reason the President failed to mention his recent about face on gay civil unions, was unsmilingly enthroned behind our soon-to be ex chief executive and the Hall of Fame former catcher.
This blogger urges fellow northern Kentuckians to exercise their right to vote!
Photos: sean, Forsythe Auctions, Cincinnati Enquirer