COLLECTION: Decorative Sculpture

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Pigeon

Probably 1860-1880
Origin: America, Pennsylvania
Overall: 11 1/2 x 10 5/8 x 4in. (29.2 x 27 x 10.2cm)
Painted wood
Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
Acc. No. 1931.701.4
A freestanding painted woodcarving of a bird. It stands on a lyre-shaped element fitted into a flat, square base. The body is carved from one piece of wood and ornamented with abstract designs. Artist unidentified.
Label:Birds appear frequently as decorative motifs on numerous types of decorative objects produced by Pennsylvania-Germans through the middle of the nineteenth century. By the time this sculpture was created, however, birds were less frequently used to embellish other objects, and some artists considered birds themselves worthy of greater attention (note 1).
This sculpture, one of several distingished by precise carving and bright polychromy, has been linked to an unidentified carver in the village of Virginville in Berks County, Pennsylvania (note 2). All have legs dowelled into the bodies, and the feet are painted onto distinctive perches resembling the bridge on a cello. This particular example, which may represent a pigeon, is noteworthy because its breast bears the other pervasive Germanic motif--the tulip flower.
Provenance:Found in Pottstown, Penn., by Edith Gregor Halpert (Downtown Gallery), New York, N. Y., and purchased from Halpert by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.