$5m George Washington portrait leads Americana Week 2009

Christie's New York will host Americana Week 2009, a series of viewings and auctions devoted to American furniture, historic paintings, folk art, silver, and porcelain.

George Washington at Princeton
(estimated at $3m-5m)

This season's sales are particularly strong in works that memorialise the birth of the US and its first presidency, and provide a fitting complement to the inauguration festivities taking place during the same week.

The sales will begin on Wednesday, January 21 with Chinese Export Art, including Part Three of The Hodroff Collection.

On Friday, January 23 the sales continue with Important American Silver, followed by Important American Furniture and Folk Art. A special section of English and Dutch Delft is included in the Friday morning session.

A major highlight of the sales week will be an outstanding 18th century bombé chest-of-drawers, crafted in Boston in the years leading up to the American Revolution (estimated at $2,000,000-4,000,000).

An outstanding 18th century bombé chest-of-drawers
(estimated at $2m-4m)

This rare and important example of the bombé form descended in the Quincy Family of Boston to Josiah Quincy III (1772-1864), and was most likely made for Josiah Quincy I (1710-1784) or William Phillips (1722-1804) - both grandfathers of Josiah III and key figures in Revolutionary War-era Boston.

The sales will continue with Important
American Silver on January 23

With its vigorously carved ball and claw feet and exquisite plum-pudding mahogany, this chest represents the best of the highly specialised bombé form which characterises the period.

Also featured in the Furniture and Folk Art sale on January 23 is George Washington at Princeton: a powerful and enduring portrait by Charles Peale Polk (estimated at $300,000-500,000).

It commemorates the General's critical 1777 victory at the Battle of Princeton.

Painted in the early 1790s, during the first term of Washington's presidency, Polk renders the first President in a bold, linear style and with an assured, steady gaze.

The overall effect is of Washington as the embodiment of composure and heroism in the face of turbulent times - an ideal from the 18th century that remains a powerful IMAGE_in today's America.

The sale takes place in New York on January 21.


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