American Folk Art

Freeman’s American Folk Art Department maintains both a local and national reputation for its profitable sales of American folk paintings, furniture, and decorative arts. It offers American folk art in sales twice a year, within our American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts auctions, and in the annual Pennsylvania Sale. Items are sold through our Philadelphia based location and our live online auctions, with specialists who are experts on the current market conditions; knowledge that is essential to any successful sale.

The American Folk Art Department encompasses a myriad of categories within itself. Artworks sold generally date from the 18th through the 20th centuries, and items by both self-taught and formally trained artists and craftsmen appear. Works originate from both the countryside and within the city centers, and are often utilitarian wares decorated for beauty, and for the delight of their beholders; from stoneware or redware for the pantry to blanket chests.

Artists include portrait and landscape painters such as fraktur artists, scissor-work artists, miniaturists, silhouettists, stoneware and redware potters, tinsmiths, and school girl embroiderers and quilt makers. Items often encountered by our specialists include decoys, tobacconists’ figures, and carousel animals. While some items sold by the American Folk Art specialists are one-off expressions of individuality, others, such as carousel figures and some decoys, are the products of a manufactory.

Notable American Folk Artists that have had works appear at auction in the past include William Mathew Prior, Jacob Maentel, Jonas Weber, Isaac Sheffield, Joseph Shoemaker Russell, Ruth Henshaw Bascom, Mary Way, David Ellinger, Bill Traylor, Elijah Pierce, and Samuel Addison and Ruth Whittier Shute. Freeman’s has had great success with Folk Art over the years, most recently establishing a record price for a painted and decorated dower chest by Johannes Spitler (1774-1837) which sold for $350,000, and a dressed miniature of a little girl by Mary Way (1769-1833) which brought $37,000.

Freeman’s offers American Folk art in auctions three times a year, within our American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts auctions, and in the annual Pennsylvania Sale. To make your appointment for a private complimentary consultation, please contact one of our Specialists.

Related Departments: American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American Indian Arts, American Silver, Pennsylvania Furniture & Decorative Arts

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