Lambertville, NJ - Rago’s December 1 Curiouser and Curiouser auction is filled with beautiful, intriguing and remarkable objects, as well as significant discoveries.
The most important of these discoveries is a major find in the American folk art field: a forty-three inch high figure of a young boy, a tender yet serious carving in original polychrome paint, purchased over 20 years ago in the Buffalo, New York area. Hitherto unidentified (and still an attribution as of production of the print auction catalog), this sculpture, ca 1840, has now been confirmed as the work of Asa Ames (1823 – 1851).
Relatively unknown until the American Folk Art Museum’s 2008 exhibit Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing, today Ames is an icon in the folk art field. It is fitting that it is the curator of Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing who has recently examined and authenticated this figure. We are grateful for her scholarship and expertise.
Despite the acclaim and publicity that followed Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing, no other works by Ames have surfaced until now. This remarkable sculpture - with its familiar determined look, sensitively detailed nose and mouth, delicate neck and throat, full eyebrows, carved hair and piercing stare that seems to follow the viewer - has been in a private collection for the last two decades. In that time, admired by collectors and featured in publications, it has been hiding in plain sight. While attributed to Asa Ames by the owner, the true authorship has not been validated until now.
Rago is pleased to offer it on December 1st, 2018 as lot 1124.
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