In the quiet town of Colchester, Connecticut, a masterpiece of American regional furniture quietly resides. Crafted between 1780 and 1785, this chest-on-chest, a creation of the skilled cabinetmaker Samuel Loomis, stands as a testament to the creative prowess of artisans in early America.
Commissioned by Jonathan Deming, a West Indies merchant with an eye for exceptional craftsmanship, Loomis was given the freedom to push the boundaries of his skill and imagination. This collaboration resulted in a piece that not only reflects the grace of Newport block-front furniture but also exemplifies Loomis' artistic daring.
What sets this chest apart is the meticulous attention to detail. The architectural elements of the piece hint at a craftsman who is no stranger to crafting doorways, revealing a deep mastery of the trade. Yet, it's the delicate berries and tendrils that frame the upper block and shell drawer that truly capture the essence of folk ornamentation. This unexpected touch provides a captivating contrast to the refined formality of Loomis' Newport contemporaries.
Masterpiece of Samuel Loomis
This extraordinary piece found its way into the private collection of Jerry and Selma Blum, where it earned its place of distinction. Albert Sack, a renowned authority on American furniture, lauded it as nothing short of a “masterpiece.” Its value was not lost on Arthur Liverant, who, bidding on behalf of a client, secured it for a remarkable $408,000.
The Blum collection was a treasure trove of exceptional items, boasting rare mocha, early metalwork, exquisite paintings, and a wealth of early furniture. This three-day auction was a celebration of American craftsmanship, with the Baten collection featuring an array of fine silver, China Trade porcelain, and captivating paintings. Notably, an Andrew Wyeth painting found a new home, fetching an impressive $156,000 – a fitting tribute to the enduring legacy of American artistry.
In the world of American furniture, the name Samuel Loomis shines brightly, a testament to his visionary approach and unwavering dedication to his craft. Through collaborations with patrons like Jonathan Deming, Loomis breathed life into wood and created pieces that continue to captivate and inspire generations. The chest-on-chest from Colchester stands as a living legacy, embodying the spirit of innovation that defined an era.
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