Decor Score: A Little Effort Turns Home Into an Arts & Crafts Showplace
How to View a Wright House

Treadway Toomey Auction: May 7, 2006

The always-helpful Tamera Herrod writes to tell us about next month's Treadway-Toomey Arts & Crafts auction. This year's event, being held on May 7 2006, includes some really spectacular items, please check out several of them in our Flickr album; the rest can be seen in the online preview.

Arbiters of Craftsman Style: Influential Designs by Gustav Stickley, Limbert, L. & J.G. Stickley, More Will Be Offered May 7 at Treadway-Toomey Galleries' 20th Century Art & Design Auction

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but the craftsmanship of the originals fashioned by these visionaries - makers of the first truly American style of furniture - is beyond compare. 

OAK PARK, ILL. - Although it's been more than a century since Gustav Stickley launched his furniture revival in America, his influence in the industry today is omnipresent and demand for his authentic designs remains strong. On May 7, an impressive collective of desirable originals by Gustav Stickley, Charles Limbert, and Leopold & John George Stickley are expected to draw tremendous interest and prices at Treadway-Toomey Galleries' 20th Century Art & Design Auction. The event begins at 10 a.m. at John Toomey Gallery at 818 North Blvd., in Oak Park, Ill.

The auction will feature Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco works in the first session, Fine Art and Paintings in the second, and 1950s and Modern in the third. More than 1,000 lots has been assembled, including ceramics, glasswork, furniture, metalwork, lighting, decorative accessories, sculpture, woodblock prints, drawings, watercolors, mixed media and oil paintings.

"We've gathered an outstanding selection of Arts and Crafts furniture from all the major makers," Don Treadway, gallery owner, said. "Most of the pieces have come from private homes in New York, Chicago, Detroit and California. We're offering an array of one-, two-, and three-door bookcases, an extensive group of Morris chairs, china cabinets, desks, lamp tables, settees, dining tables and chairs, and occasional pieces such as magazine stands and tabourets."  (continued below...)

An early Morris chair by Gustav Stickley, style no. 2340, is among the offerings. The chair has a narrow bow arm form with reverse tapered legs and recovered cushions over an original frame foundation, which has a lightly recoated finish, and original faceted pegs. Unsigned but numbered, and in very good condition, this interpretation of the Morris chair is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.   

In addition, a lot of six of Gustav Stickley's Thornden dining chairs consisting of two arm chairs and four side chairs in the original finish, is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000. Crafted in an early form, style no. 1299, which features two horizontal slats to the back over an original rush seat and thru-tenon construction at stretchers, each is also signed with the early red decal.

From his brothers' camp, a couple highlights include an unusual L. & J.G. Stickley bookcase in a massive three-door custom form with key and tenon constructions at the sides. The piece is unsigned, has a cleaned finish to the case, and the doors have been replaced. The bookcase, in inches, is 100 wide by 12 deep by 66 high. A handsome L. & J.G. Stickley settle, style no. 222, an even arm form with twenty vertical slats at back and seven on each side, will also be offered. The settle has its original finish and a recovered original spring cushion. Signed with the Handcraft signature, the dimensions, in inches, are 76 wide by 31 deep by 39 high. Both the bookcase and the settle are in very good condition, and each piece is estimated at $7,000 to $9,000. 

"In ceramics, we've assembled a diverse range of Newcomb College, Rookwood Arts and Crafts pieces, and Grueby tiles and vases," Treadway added. "We have a fine selection of Teco, Arequippa, Marblehead, Hampshire, and an extremely rare piece by Albert Valentien. We've lined up more than 50 pieces of Tiffany glass, lamps and metalwork from an estate in California, as well as European art pottery and a Camille Fauré collection from Switzerland."   

A substantial piece of Paul Revere pottery is among the offerings in ceramics. Featured in "Saturday Evening Girls," the pottery book by Meg Chalmers and Judy Young, the vase is delicately painted with spritely yellow daffodils against a green ground. An important example of Arts and Crafts era pottery, the tapered, 13.25-inch tall is vase is estimated at $9,000 to $12,000. Interestingly, when this piece was painted, daffodils had become popular for the very first time in history, as a reaction against Victorian ornamentalism. Attracted to their simple lines and wildflower appearance, artisans saw them as a perfect fit with the Arts and Crafts movement. Last year, Treadway-Toomey Galleries sold a 10-inch high Paul Revere vase painted with daffodils for $21,600, triple presale estimates of $5,000 to $7,000.

An uncommon Teco design by Max Dunning in a four-handled and four-footed form is estimated at $25,000 to $35,000. Covered in a green matte glaze with charcoal highlights, the vase is 12.5 inches high. Numbered design no. 265 in the 1905 edition of The Gates Potteries' Teco catalog, which was titled "Hints for Gifts and Home Decoration," the descriptor for this wonderful piece reads: "On account of its shape and the character of its design it is especially adapted for rooms with Mission furnishings, such as library, den or office."

Another excellent Teco example, design no. 259 by Harold Hals, is a 13-inch high vase in a four-sided form with looping handles at the bottom, which is covered with a good green matte glaze. A chip at the top of the piece has been professionally restored in an exceptional fashion, and this vase is estimated to bring from $20,000 to $25,000. A terrific 7.25-inch tall Teco vase designed by William Day Gates in a lovely, four buttress form, which has been covered in an exquisite and rare yellow matte glaze, is expected to fetch $2000 to $3000.   

Sensuous and dreamlike, a magnificent Clément Massier piece is one example of French Art Nouveau ceramics among the lots.  The vase is a large organic form of undulating lines evocative of a surging wave with a reclining nude maiden sculpted into one side. Covered with a spectacular iridescent glaze that seems to emit a luminous glow, the work is signed and impressed: "Clément Massier Golfe Juan AM." The 12-inch wide by 8-inch high piece is estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. In honor of his innovative glazing technique, Massier was awarded a gold medal for his metallic, luster-glazed pottery at l'Exposition Universelle de Paris in 1889.

An elegant, Asian-inspired vase by another French ceramist, Adrien Dalpayrat, is expected to bring $5,000 to $7,000. The 12-inch tall, four-sided vase is covered in a magnificent mottled glaze in rich red, green and ivory. The Musée d'Orsay in Paris owns a number of Dalpayrat's works, including vases with his extraordinary mottled glazes.
An exceptional Tiffany Studios lamp in an unorthodox design that utilizes a
genuine nautilus shell with an opalescent finish for its shade, is expected to fetch between $6,000 and $9,000. Supported by a bronze base with its fine original patina, the lamp stands 13 inches tall and is signed "Tiffany Studios New York #25893." 

One of the many Grueby tiles in the auction is carved and painted with a compelling stylized lion design and encased in a bronze Tiffany Studios frame. Estimated at $1000 to $2000, the four-inch square tile showcases the profile of the lion roaring atop a tree-lined bank at water's edge.
A striking Gustave Baumann woodblock, a vividly colorful print titled "Three Pines," which is signed and titled in pencil, is estimated at $7,000 to $9,000. Print No. 1 of 100, the unframed piece measures 11 inches by 9.5 inches. Considered an American master of color woodblock, Baumann's work is in almost every major museum in the United States.

In the Art Deco realm, a large, bulbous vase with a stunning geometric design is just one of the fantastic works by Camille Fauré for Limoges that will be auctioned. Enameled in crimson, violet and white with an elaborate pattern of interlocking and overlapping triangles, the 12-inch tall vessel, which he signed in gold, is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.   

The Fine Art and Paintings session will feature several works from the prominent collection of former United States Senator William C. Benton (1900-1973). He was also vice president of the University of Chicago and owner of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Senator Benton and his modern art collection were the targets of attacks by Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s. Highlights of this group are four paintings by Reginald Marsh, who painted social realist scenes of New York. The top lot, titled "Gypsy Rose Lee, The Star and Garter," is a watercolor and ink, 22 inches by 29 inches, and is signed and dated 1943. This work was exhibited at both the Whitney Museum and the University of Connecticut. Lee was the star of this Broadway show, which was produced by Mike Todd in the early 1940s. The presale estimate is $50,000 to $70,000. 

Another important work that will be offered is a gouache by Fernand Leger, titled, "Project Tappiserie." The signed work measures 9 inches by 12.25 inches and bears the Leger Museum stamp of authentication. Exhibited in the Nassau County Museum's exhibition of Fernand Leger in 1999, the piece is expected to sell for $30,000 to $50,000.

In the 1950s to Modern session, a delightful circa 1960 sofa reminiscent of a giant set of watercolor paints is among the offerings. A fine George Nelson Marshmallow sofa, which was manufactured by Herman Miller, features the original multi-colored wool upholstery over 18 individual cushions on a black enameled and polished steel base in its original finish. Marked with a round metal George Nelson tag, the sofa measures, in inches: 52 wide by 30 deep by 31 high. In very good original condition, the lighthearted piece is estimated at $15,000 to $20,000. According to Lisanne Dickson, the galleries' modern design expert, Treadway-Toomey Galleries achieved a record price of $72,600 in 1998 for a George Nelson Marshmallow sofa.

The preview for this auction is April 29 to May 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time) at John Toomey Gallery. Bidding options include in-person, by phone or via absentee bids, as well as live bidding via Live Auctioneers/Ebay Live Auctions.   

Treadway-Toomey Galleries' proprietors are always seeking consignments. As specialists in 20th Century Design, both Don Treadway and John Toomey offer appraisal services, private consultations, as well as purchasing and acquisition services. In addition, Treadway Gallery now handles estate sales services.

For more information, call Treadway Gallery at (513) 321-6742 or John Toomey Gallery at (708) 383-5234 or visit