358 Main Street South Woodbury, CT 06798 , United States Call Seller 203.263.3131


Oversized Preening Eider Hen Decoy

Price Upon Request
  • Description
    Oversized Preening Eider Hen Decoy
    South Portland, Maine, circa 1890–1910
    Softwood, original paint
    Height 8 ¼ inches, width 19 inches, depth 9 inches

    This is a boldly carved and striking large-sized eider decoy in a dramatic preening position. Its elegant bill tip merges with the back left corner of the inlet, fully completing the graceful turn of the head. It relates to its male companion, an eider drake with carved mussel illustrated in Robert Shaw, Bird Decoys of North America: Nature, History, and Art (New York: Union Square., 2010), p. 149. In William J. Mackey, Jr., American Bird Decoys (New York: Dutton, 1965). p. 242, Quintina Colio describes the characteristics and appeal of Maine decoys: “Massiveness, simplicity, and subtlety dominate the artistic image of Down East (Maine) decoys. Theirs was a unique structure that promised durability and seaworthiness…. Inletting of the head and neck to the body was the superior feature, an architectural detail that required an expert knowledge of wood for its correct use.”

    Maine’s preeminent decoy maker, Gus Wilson, was employed as a lighthouse keeper which afforded him the time to produce his exceptionally sculptural decoys. Their scale and design offered seaworthiness, durability, practicality, and effectiveness. Wilson’s genius is demonstrated by his ability to work within existing traditions to elevate the Maine decoy to a higher level of artistic achievement. In addition to his highly distinctive decoys, Wilson is recognized as a folk sculptor of merit for a series of large figures of tigers, including a pair donated to the Brooklyn Museum by Alaister B. Martin.

    David A. Schorsch, New York, 1998; Private collection.

    “American Decoys II: A Folk Art Tradition,” David A. Schorsch, New York, 1998.

    Bob and Sharon Huxford, The Collectors Guide to Decoys, vol. II (Paducah, Kentucky: Collector Books, 1992), p. 58, illustrated.
    David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, American Decoys II: A Folk Art Tradition (New York and Woodbury, Connecticut: Antiquarian Equities, 1998), pp. 54–55, no. 27, and front cover
  • More Information
    Documentation: Documented elsewhere (similar item)
    Origin: United States
    Period: 19th Century
    Creation Date: 1890-1910
    Styles / Movements: Folk Art, Americana, Traditional
    Incollect Reference #: 729348
  • Dimensions
    W. 19 in; H. 8.25 in; D. 9 in;
    W. 48.26 cm; H. 20.96 cm; D. 22.86 cm;
Message from Seller:

David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles American Antiques is one of the world’s leading dealers and authorities in the field of American antiques and folk art, specializing in weathervanes, folk paintings, folk sculpture, formal and country furniture and Shaker design.

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