Monday, August 12, 2013

19th Century Circus Figures

Carved and painted circus figures formerly from Norman Flayderman's collection. Carved by Samuel Robb.

Sold for $3,000.00 (Chinaman) and $1,700.00 (Dullard) at Louis J. Dianni. (w/o premium)

Here's the auction description: Carved and painted face depicting a Chinaman with long mustache, slit eyes, protruding ears and chin wart. Paint decorated in realistic colors. Likely a circus figure.
Condition: Age split in back protruding to the top of the head. Paint is original first coat with desirable dry surface having only minor losses and no restoration.History: Samuel A. Robb was born in Brooklyn in 1851 into a family of Scottish shipcarvers and carpenters. Some biographies give the date of 1864 as the start of his work as a professional wood carver, beginning with his five-year apprenticeship as a teenager. He quickly found a place in a workshop, and, at the encouragement of his employer, studied at the National Academy of Design. He subsequently attended and graduated from the Free Night School program at the Cooper Union School of Art. In 1876, at the age of 25, he opened his own workshop, and became well-known for the exceptional quality of his craftsmanship in carving and his extremely high productivity. He enjoyed the position of being New York’s most sought-after woodcarver, producing more than 200 figures a year. In addition to trade figures, circus companies such as Adam Forepaugh and Barnum, Bailey and Hutchison commissioned his work, ultimately leading him to open a second workshop. He closed his shops in 1910, and moved to Philadelphia for a period of nine years before returning to New York. He died in 1928 at the age of 77.

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