Standing Canada Goose Charles S. Schoenheider, Sr. (1854-1924) Peoria, IL, c. 1918 22 1/2 in. long, 22 in. tall
While Schoenheider produced very few decoys, the carver’s impact on the region’s decoy portfolio was significant. He made floating decoys, as well as “ice decoys,” in the forms of mallards, pintails, and Canada geese, which were balanced on one metal foot.
Schoenheider built this large hollow body with five-piece construction. He applied a similar laminate technique when creating the head and neck. This decoy includes the maker’s original cast-metal foot which can be mounted on a sturdy base that accompanies the lot.
Adele Earnest featured this exact decoy in her 1984 book, "Folk Art in America: A Personal View." In the mid-1960s, Earnest collected four prime examples from the standing goose rig via Joe French and Joe Tonelli, who had acquired them directly from Charles Schoenheider, Jr. The rig was originally commissioned by Daniel W. Vorhees in 1918 and consisted of ten standing and two floating goose decoys.
Receiving a call from his good friend Earnest, O’Brien acquired not one, but two exemplary goose decoys by the Midwest maker. In 1986 O'Brien traded one of his Schoenheider geese to the Shelburne Museum. That goose most recently graced the cover of the Museum’s 2017 book, “Birds of a Feather” where it is described as "one of the crown jewels of the collection."
Never previously offered at public auction, this decoy, with its grand presence, excellent condition, original foot, and royal provenance, is perhaps the finest Schoenheider goose to ever cross the auction block. Excellent original paint with minimal wear, slight darkening to minor flaking on head, and a slight seam lift above tail.
Provenance: Charles Schoenheider, Jr., by descent in the family Joseph Tonelli Collection, acquired from the above Adele Earnest Collection, acquired from the above Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Collection, acquired from the above
Literature: Adele Earnest, "Folk Art In America", Exton, PA, 1984, p.132, exact bird illustrated. Robert Shaw, “Bird Decoys of North America,” New York, NY, 2010, pp. 246-247, rigmate decoys illustrated. Loy S. Harrell, Jr., "Decoys: North America’s One Hundred Greatest," Iola, WI, 2000, pp. 184-185, rigmate illustrated. Kory W. Rogers, “Birds of a Feather,” Shelburne, VT, 2017, front cover and pp. 132-133, rigmate illustrated.
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