BUFORD, Ga. – A Fall Masterpiece Auction, featuring the lifetime collection of prestigious folk art collector and early self-taught art pioneer Lynne Ingram, will be held Nov. 7 by Slotin Auction, in the Historic Buford Hall located at 112 East Shallowford Avenue. About two-thirds of the auction will be dedicated to Ms. Ingram’s collection, most of which has been in storage for 30 years.
The sale will feature approximately 800 lots of self-taught art, Southern folk pottery, outsider art, African-American decorative arts, quilts, circus art, new discoveries, major collections and more. “Our Fall Masterpiece Auction is always a special event on our calendar, but this year we feel particularly fortunate to have as the centerpiece the collection of Lynne Ingram,” said Steve Slotin of Slotin Auction.
Ms. Ingram lives in New Jersey but is originally from North Carolina. Beginning in the 1980s, she started collecting folk art when the genre was still in its relative infancy. But she didn’t just passively acquire pieces. She actually traveled around the Southeast and visited the artists, who became her friends. All the while she was amassing an outstanding collection.
“Lynne Ingram saw the best that these artists had to offer, and she acquired much of it along the way,” Mr. Slotin remarked. “She later expanded her collection to include earlier Masters who had already passed on, like Bill Traylor, but she had a keen eye for emerging second-tier artists of the day, too – talents like Mose Tolliver and Jimmy Lee Sudduth. Hers is an unbelievable, top-shelf collection.”
Mr. Slotin added the collection is made more desirable by the fact that it’s been in a New Jersey storage facility, untouched and in pristine condition, for the better part of the last 30 years. “So what you have are impressive examples of the best names in folk art, offered to the market for the very first time. Collectors would be wise to make plans to attend this sale. Stuff like this doesn’t come along that often.”
Some expected top lots of the auction follow, along with their low and high sale estimates.
A paint and graphite on cardboard work by Bill Traylor, signed on the front and titled Mexican Woman, is expected to bring $25,000-$35,000. Ms. Ingram acquired the framed piece in the mid-‘80s from Marcia Weber, a world-renowned expert on Mr. Traylor and an early promoter of his work. This painting is considered significant because it is 100 percent original, with no re-touches or restoration.
A colored pencil on paper creation by Adolf Wolfli (1864-1930) was the top lot at Slotin Auctions’ last sale, held in March. It realized $40,480. This sale features another example by the Swiss self-taught artist: a graphite, pastel and colored pencil on paper work titled The Lion and the Masked Man. It is a strong piece in excellent condition, and carries a presale estimate of $30,000-$35,000.
The name Howard Finster (1916-2001) is sure to get paddles wagging, and this sale features a beauty by the late iconic folk artist. It is a paint-on-board work housed in an artist signature wood-burned frame, titled Vision of Cartoon Howard Finster, #3,169 (Dec. 1983). The painting measures 32 1/2 inches wide by 16 inches tall. This piece was originally in the collection of Chuck and Jan Rosenak (estimate $4,000-$6,000).
A carved and painted wood creation by S.L. Jones (1901-1997), titled Man’s Bust, should fetch $8,000-$15,000. “It’s one of the best examples of Jones’ work I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Slotin said of the 10 inch by 7 inch by 13 1/2 inch work, in excellent condition. Also, a 1976 oil on canvas painting by Vestie Davis (1903-1978), Hasidic Street Scene, large at 51 inches by 27 inches, should bring $4,000-$6,000.
Lanier Meaders is another name familiar to veterans of the folk art scene. His hand-turned painted face jugs are renowned, and this sale will feature a china plate teeth face jug that was crafted by Meaders in 1968 with a beautiful tobacco-split glaze. The piece boasts great veining all around and measures 9 inches in height. The face has three teeth and the jug is in overall mint condition. It should sell for $3,000-$5,000.
Bidding should be brisk for a paint-on-board by Teofilo Magliocchi, titled Madonna and Child. The signed work features a frame decorated with costume jewelry adornments. It is a very large piece – 47 inches by 75 inches, including the frame (estimate $3,000-$5,000). Other works, including a collection of erotic pencil drawings by Magliocchi, an exciting up-and-coming folk artist, will also be offered.
The aforementioned Mose Tolliver will be represented in the form of a latex on plywood panel work done circa 1989 and titled Saturday Night Dance Hall. The 36-by-40-inch piece is estimated to bring $2,000-$3,000. Also, a paint, glitter, lettering, mixed media on Masonite work by African-American sign maker John Edward Welch, titled Abraham Lincoln, It Would Help to Save the Union (1999), should realize $1,000-$1,500.
Slotin Auction conducts its sales in a 6,000-square-foot converted grocery store in downtown Buford, located just north of Atlanta. But don’t be fooled by the unassuming venue. Buyers and sellers include some of the folk art world’s most respected collectors, such as film directors Jonathan Demme and Penny Marshall.
Folk art is a rambling but rapidly burgeoning genre. For a long time folk art was dismissed by highbrow critics, mainly because it was created by untrained, often uneducated artists. But today, it has found a place in some of the most well-respected art institutions in the world. The High Museum in Atlanta has acquired folk art through Slotin sales.
Slotin Auction is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. For more information or to consign a single piece or an entire collection, you may call them directly at 770-532-1115 or 404-403-4244. Or e-mail them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. To order a free 100-page color catalog for the Nov. 7 Fall Masterpiece Auction visit www.slotinfolkart.com.
Photos courtesy Slotin Auction.