Apr 27, 2017 - Sale 2444

Sale 2444 - Lot 146

Price Realized: $ 1,375
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(FURNITURE.) Archive of furniture drawings and designs by New York draughtsmen. More than 250 items (1.2 linear feet), most of them original drawings in ink or pencil, but also including 59 photographs, 32 pieces of printed reference material, and a certificate; various sizes and conditions, many with at least moderate soiling and wear. New York, circa 1882-1916

Additional Details

The nearly 200 individual furniture drawings in this lot were apparently done by several different artists over a period of decades. They may represent the working papers of a high-end manufacturer of reproduction antiques, quite possibly Frank J. Grimm (see below). Also included is a 42-page folio manuscript catalogue showing hundreds of different styles which could apprently be built to order.
4 of these drawings bear the inked stamps of the well-known antique dealers Sypher & Co., circa 1882-1896. Approximately 25 of them bear the printed labels of Fenning & Co., a furniture and antiques shop in Manhattan. John Fenning (1864-1942) operated from several different locations; he was at the 4 West 28th Street location mentioned here in 1898. The large volume of designs is unsigned, but the spine is stamped "Designs, M.F. & F.E.S." One particularly attractive design for the American Saloon Fixture Company is signed by Richard Tiegler (illustrated). Finally, included in the collection is a certificate from the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen issued to Frank Grimm for drawing classes in 1891. Frank J. Grimm (1871-1942) appears in the 1900 census in Brooklyn as a dealer in antique furniture, in 1905 as a carver, in 1915 as a furniture manufacturer, and 1920 as an appraiser. In 1941 court testimony (not included here), Grimm stated that until going into business as an appraiser in 1914, he had been engaged "in the reproduction of antiques and selling of antiques" at the corner of 28th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Which if any of these parties generated this large mass of unsigned drawings and photographs is unknown, but it seems quite possible that this is Grimm's archive, including work he acquired from or performed for other firms.