• <b>Bonhams 4 June 2014:</b> China: The Camera Collection. An extensive collection of material from archives of John David Zumbrun and Camera Craft. Sold for US$ 317,000 inc. premium
    <b>Bonhams 4 June 2014:</b> Chernikhov, Yakov Geogievich. 1889-1951. <i>Architectural Cycles</i>. Sold for US$ 425,000 inc. premium
    <b>Bonhams 4 June 2014:</b> Turing, Alan Mathison. 1912-1954. On Computable Numbers, Application to the Entscheidungsproblem. Sold for US$ 50,000 inc. premium
    <b>Bonhams 4 June 2014:</b> CHERNIKHOV, YAKOV GEORGIEVICH. 1889-1951. Sold for US$ 173,000 inc. premium
    <b>Bonhams 4 June 2014:</b> GÖDEL, KURT. On Undecidable Propositions of Formal Mathematical Systems. Sold for US$ 47,500 inc. premium
    <b>Bonhams 4 June 2014:</b> FEYNMAN, RICHARD and LARRY GROBEL. Original Cassette Tape of an interview of Nobel prize winning physicist. Sold for US$ 37,500 inc. premium
    <b>Bonhams 5 June 2014:</b> A D-Day 48 star Ensign flown from LST-493, 6th June 1944. Sold for US$ 386,500 inc. premium
    <b>Bonhams 5 June 2014:</b> A Rare Enigma three rotor Enciphering Machine Germany circa 1942-44. Sold for US$ 92,500 inc. premium
    <b>Bonhams 5 June 2014:</b> Anonymous, alithographic poster, 1939. Sold for US$ 27,500 inc. premium
  • <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers:<br>Sale 322 - Fine Books and Manuscripts, August 6th.</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> Lot 8. MACKENZIE, Alexander. <i>Voyages from Montreal</i>. London, 1801. First edition. Est. $3-5,000.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> Lot 27. AUDUBON, John James. <i>The Birds of America</i>. New York and Philadelphia, [1839], 1840-1844. Est. $30-50,000.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> AUDUBON, John James and John BACHMAN. <i>Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America</i>. New York, 1845-1848. 3 vols. Elephant folio edition. Est. $200-400,000.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers:<br>Sale 322 - Fine Books and Manuscripts, August 6th.</b>
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> GREW, Nehemiah. <i>The Anatomy of Plants</i>. London, 1862. First edition. Est.: $1,500-2,500.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> APIANUS, Petrus. <i>Cosmographia</i>. Cologne, 1574. With 5 plates, 4 with volvelles. Est. $7-9,000.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> SMITH, Adam. <i>An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations</i>. London, 1776. 2 vols. First edition. Est. $60-80,000.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> (LOUIS-PHILIPPE I) MCKENNEY AND HALL. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America</i>. Philadelphia, 1838, 1844. 3 vols. King Louis-Philippe I copy. Est. $140-180,000.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> GREENER, Richard. Diploma of first African American man to graduate Harvard College. Est. $10-15,000.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> (MIRO, Joan) <i>Lithographs I-VI</i>. New York and Paris, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1981 and 1992. 6 vols.<br>Est. $2-4,000.
    <b>Leslie Hindman Auctioneers August 6th:</b> HEMINGWAY, Ernest. <i>A Farewell to Arms</i>. New York, 1929. First edition. Est. $800-1,200.
  • <b>19th Century Shop</b>. 30th anniversary catalogue of landmark rare books, autographs and manuscripts, and historical photographs of all ages.
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Abraham Lincoln, "a previously unknown portrait of exceptional quality." From the collection of John Hay.
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. <i>The Federalist</i> (1788). An important association copy in original boards, untrimmed.
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Isaac Newton. <i>Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica</i> (1687).
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Shakespeare's <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies</i> (1632).
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. John Rockefeller. Ambrotype, the earliest known photograph of Rockefeller.
    <b>19th Century Shop</b>. Muybridge, <i>Animal Locomotion</i> (1887) subscriber's copy.
  • <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> DALI, BRETON, V. HUGO and GALA. <i>Surrealist portrait of Lenin</i>. 1932. Cadavre exquis signed by all four. On a postcard addressed to René Char. Estimate €15,000-20,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> CELINE. <i>Voyage au bout de la nuit</i>. One of 20 copies on vélin d’Arches, inscribed to Roland Saucier and a binding by A. Cerutti. Estimate €80,000-120,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> PROUST. <i>Autograph letter to Gaston Gallimard</i>, about the Jeunes filles en fleurs and his dreyffusian past. December 21, 1919. 4 pages. Estimate €10,000-15,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> REVERDY. <i>La Lucarne ovale. 1916</i>. First edition. One of 6 copies on Japan paper. Binding by Jean de Gonet. With a letter by Pierre Albert-Birot. Estimate €28,000-35,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> STENDHAL. <i>Histoire de la Peinture en Italie</i>. 1817. First edition, inscribed to count Kosakowsky.<br>Estimate €20,000-30,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> BAUDELAIRE. Théophile Gautier. 1859. Exceptional copy with contemporary binding, inscribed to Edouard Manet.<br>Estimate €40,000-60,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> OVIDIUS. [<i>Complete works</i>]. Venice, Aldus, 1502-1503. 17th cent. vellum. Estimate €3,000-5,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> GIEGHER. <i>Le Tre trattati</i>. Padova, 1639. Contemporary binding. Estimate €8,000-12,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> ROLEWINCK. <i>Fasciculus temporum</i>. Lyon, Huss, 1496. From the Seillières collection. Estimate €4,000-6,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> AMUS. <i>32 autograph letters to Liliane Choucroun</i>. 1936-1952.<br>Estimate €60,000-80,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> LA FONTAINE. <i>Fables</i>. 1668. Morocco by Bedford. First collective edition. Estimate €6,000-8,000
    <b>Sotheby's Paris on 19 June 2014:</b> ROUAULT. <i>Cirque de l’étoile filante</i>. Ambroise Vollard, 1938. Fine binding by Creuzevault. Copy on Japon Impérial. Estimate €30,000-50,000

AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2008 Issue

A.E. Crowell Decoys offered by Stephen O'Brien Fine Arts

Obrien

A.E. Crowell carvings from Stephen O'Brien.


By Michael Stillman

Here is a catalogue uncommon for our reviews. It is certainly not of books, and only tangentially might be called “ephemeral." However, one of the favorite subjects for book collectors is sports and sportsmen, and in the days before baseball and football were massively popular, sports hunting was of keen interest, particularly for those of means. This brings us to the latest catalogue of Stephen O'Brien Jr. Fine Arts. It is entitled Select Carvings by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952) . Crowell was both a master sportsman and artist, and those who collect in the field of hunting, particularly of waterfowl, will certainly appreciate these fine carvings.

Crowell grew up on a cranberry farm in East Harwich (Cape Cod), Massachusetts. Though not a hunter, his father gave young Crowell a shotgun when he was twelve. Crowell took to hunting like...well...a duck to water. He began devising ways to get waterfowl to stop at the lake near his home on their migrations. Although he carved some decoys early on, Elmer's preferred means was live decoys. He would train tethered ducks and geese to lure wild ones their way. He became something of a legend, and hunters sought his help.

Around 1900, Dr. John C. Phillips, sportsman, author, and Associate Curator of Birds at the zoological library at Harvard, hired Crowell, who would remain in his employ for ten years. Along with building better blinds and training his live decoys, Crowell began carving more. He carved both decoys and simply decorative works. However, this would remain a secondary activity until 1912 when Massachusetts passed a law outlawing the sale of migratory birds. Depletion of these bird species by clever techniques such as those employed by Crowell alarmed conservationists, who won their battle with the hunters in the state legislature. Unable to trade in live decoys any longer, Crowell turned to his carving skills to fashion wooden decoys and decorative carvings. This he would do for most of the remainder of his long life.

It is impossible to describe Crowell's carvings with words, other than to note that his great familiarity with the species he carved enabled him to achieve exceptional reality in his works. He carved and painted with meticulous attention to detail. His works are prized by collectors, the best having reached prices in excess of $1 million. Of course, not all are quite so pricey, but you probably would not want to use one of Crowell's carvings as an active decoy today. However, one would look spectacular on the shelf next to your antiquarian hunting books.

Stephen O'Brien may be reached at 617-536-0536 or visited online at www.americansportingart.com. The gallery is located on Newbury Street in Boston.

AE Monthly


Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions