By Kaitlyn Julian
DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. – Pook & Pook, Inc. is representing Paul and Rita Flack in the sale of their personal collection of Pennsylvania folk art and antiques. With Paul's impeccable eye, knowledge, and patience, not one but several collections have been formed over the years, this being the sixth and finest of all of them. The sale will be held Saturday, October 13 and will comprise just over 250 lots.
Bidding for the sale will be available via telephone bidding, absentee bidding, online exclusively on bidquare.com, and in-house at Pook & Pook’s Downingtown, Pennsylvania, location.
Paul and Rita have spent decades becoming acquainted with local collections, plucking prized folk art pieces from assemblages throughout the Keystone State and beyond. Both Paul and Rita are experts in the fields of slip decorated pottery, fraktur, and quilts, and this latest assemblage of their collection represents these objects in abundance.
A large draw to the sale will be in its collection of fraktur, with over 70 pieces crossing the auction block. Pieces of exceptional quality and provenance will be included in the sale, with renowned makers including Christian Strenge, Arnold Hoevelmann, David Kulp, Johann Adam Eyer, and Mr. Flack’s favorite, Andreas Kolb. Charming and whimsical depictions of fantastical creatures play across pages of fraktur, including mermaids, winged angels, and dog-headed sea serpents, all still retaining their vibrant and varied color palettes. Perhaps the finest example of fraktur in the sale is a full plate drawing of a gentleman in a red coat by Conrad Gilbert, carrying a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.
Lovers of local textiles will be delighted to see the extensive selection of quilts, coverlets and hooked rugs on offer. The quality and condition of the Flack’s quilt collection underscores their keen eye for collecting and includes many examples of quality craftsmanship. Highlights include an appliqué and trapunto quilt ($5,000-$8,000), an intricate Pennsylvania patchwork Bowmansville star quilt ($500-$1,000), and a lively Pennsylvania Amish patchwork Jacob’s coat bar quilt ($500-$800).
A charming grouping of smalls comprises the bulk of this sale, from local makers of renowned importance. The lovingly selected collection of carved and painted wooden objects includes a small Jonas or Jacob Weber box ($3,000-$4,000), two Heinrich Bucher dresser boxes ($2,500-$3,500/ $3,000-$5,000), two Schimmel winged eagle carvings ($4,000-$6,000/ $2,000-$4,000), a Schtockschnitzler Simmons cane ($2,000-$3,000), and a John Reber horse carving of “The Great Grey Ghost,” a 14-time world record winning trotter.
A dynamic collection of painted and carved wooden birds are available. Selections include expertly crafted pheasants, barn swallows, a family of owls, and a rare Virginville Carver painted bird on a pedestal ($10,000-$15,000).
Painted furniture will also be on offer in the sale and includes Berks County blanket chests, brilliantly painted corner cupboards, and boldly decorated chairs.
Locally painted fine art is also represented in the Flacks’ collection and includes a Charles Hoffman watercolor landscape, circa 1864, depicting the “Hospital and Poorhouse & Lunatick House of Northampton County” ($30,000-$50,000). This exceptional watercolor painting includes the finest and most minute details. It shows horses and wagons, children playing with dogs, and readable date stones on every building. Four Hattie Brunner watercolor scenes are also on offer early in the sale, and include a springtime farm scene ($2,000-$3,000) and three lots of winter town scenes ($1,500-$2,500), all representing Brunner’s typical playful landscapes.
Interested bidders are encouraged to contact Pook & Pook, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org or (610) 269-4040 with questions regarding online, in-house, phone or absentee bidder registration, or to purchase a printed catalog for the sale. Gallery exhibitions for the Flack Collection sale will be Saturday, October 6 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Wednesday, October 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Thursday, October 11 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday, October 12 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. A Friday evening reception (5-7 p.m.) includes a specially prepared symposium from Pennsylvania German arts expert, Mrs. Lisa Minardi and quilt specialist, Ms. Stella Rubin. On the morning of Saturday, October 13 preview will be open from 8-10 a.m. Bidding for the Flack Collection auction will begin October 13 at 10 a.m.