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Painted pine hanging cupboard with spoon shelf, attributed to john

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Inscribed door front, paint: Abraham Stauffer / 1800\nThe surname Drissel appears prominently among the early German Mennonite communities of Bucks and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania, and the frequency with which the name John Drissel appears in various local town records has caused some confusion in positively identifying the craftsman responsible for this small hanging cupboard and a related group of similarly decorated tape looms, wall boxes, and tabletop boxes with sliding covers.1A Johannes Drissel (1762-1846) listed as a carpenter in the records of the East Swamp Mennonite Meeting, Milford Township, Bucks County (1817), is most likely the craftsman who created and signed this important group of decorated domestic objects. This hanging cupboard, the largest known example inscribed by Drissel, is constructed utilizing shallow blind mortises, lapped and pinned joints in its door framing, and butt joints secured with wooden pins, traditional joinery techniques seemingly preferred by a number of Pennsylvania German cabinetmakers. The arched cutout to the cupboard's interior notched shelf, intended to facilitate the display of prized metal tablespoons, is a design feature found on numerous larger-scale hanging cupboards and shelves produced by local traditional Pennsylvania German craftsmen.\nDrissel's decorative paint techniques employed on this cupboard and across the known body of his signed work relate to a larger body of painted decoration produced within the local Germanic community. The thin white or cream ground color and the figural and script decorations of the cupboard are close in design and execution to those popularized by several fraktur artisans practicing contemporarily within the local Mennonite and German Lutheran communities from which Drissel gained many patrons. Several of the names inscribed on surviving examples of Drissel's works were students of Johann Adam Eyer (1755-1837), a schoolteacher, scrivener, and fraktur artist (see nos. 172-75, 177-79) whose surviving watercolor-decorated bookplates and Tauftcheine (baptismal certificates) show particular stylistic ties to Drissel's lettering and decorative repertoire. - J. L. L.\n1 Known examples from this group include two tape looms (collection PMA); a tape loom, a sliding-lid box, and a hanging salt box (collection Winterthur); and a hanging wall box, which is illustrated in Stacy C. Hollander, American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with AFAM, 2001), cat. no. 10.


No apparent inpainting under blacklight In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.


19 by 10 by 5 3/8 in.


American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, p. 175, fig. 142


M. Austin and Jill R. Fine, Baltimore Sotheby’s New York, "Americana from the Collection of M. Austin and Jill R. Fine," January 30, 1987, lot 886

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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