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Hingham, MA 02043
Copley Fine Art Auctions is the world's leading American sporting art auction company. Located in Hingham, MA, Copley specializes in antique decoys and 19th- and 20th-century American, sporting, and wildlife paintings. Principal Stephen O'Brien Jr., a fourth-generation sportsman with a refined colle...Read more
A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952), East Harwich, MA, c. 1900
An early, pre-brand, decoy that conveys the maker's complete understanding of the species and command of his craft. This full-bodied black duck exhibits excellent form, clean lines, and a head that fully extends back over the left side. The head reveals meticulously blended paint and refined carving details. The crossed and raised wing tips are inserted into the body and are finished with carved primaries. Over three inches of the left wing tip is lifted in the air. The tail also features carved feather detail. The body displays wet-on-wet dry brush feathering and an exceptional surface.
Black duck decoys were Crowell's most requested species with hundreds carved in typical straight head positions. His preening models are rare and reside in the country's top private and museum collections. The Magazine Antiques further cemented the iconic status of the Crowell preening black duck when they chose a related example for their September 1989 cover. With its exceptional condition, perfect proportions, and raised wing feathers this decoy ranks among the finest.
Provenance: Private Collection
Literature: David S. Webster and William Kehoe, "Decoys at Shelburne Museum," Burlington, VT, 1961, p. 23, No. D-43-W, similar decoy illustrated.
Adele Earnest, "The Art of the Decoy: American Bird Carvings," New York, NY, 1965, p. 172, plate 148, similar decoy illustrated.
Gene and Linda Kangas, "Decoys," Paducah, KY, 1992, p. 111, plate 156, similar decoy illustrated.
Donna Tonelli, "Top of the Line Hunting Collectibles," Atglen, PA, 1998, p. 87, similar decoy illustrated.
The Magazine Antiques, September 1989, front cover, similar decoy illustrated.
Outstanding original paint and condition, one wing tip has been reset twice.
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