COLLECTION: Decorative Sculpture

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Probably 1875-1890
Origin: America, Mid-Atlantic, Pennsylvania, Cumberland County
15 3/4" X 32 1/4" X 15 1/2"
Painted pine
From the collection of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller; gift of the Museum of Modern Art
Acc. No. 1932.701.3
A large carved wooden eagle with diamond cut carvings to indicate wings on body, pronounced knee joints, large feet/talons curved around a carved base painted green which apopears to be one piece of wood attached to the inside of the tail. Plummage carved in typical rectangular blocks, typical of Schimmel. back of wings and tail dark reddish brown with touches of black. Legs and beak yellowish brown. Crest yellow and mouth red. Front of wings, each feather carved separately, body same as back. The bird is mounted on a simple black stand, probably added later.
Label:Wilhelm Schimmel, today famous for his folk carvings, had a very different reputation during his lifetime. A German immigrant, he wandered the Cumberland Valley region of Pennsylvania and frequently found himself in trouble for his temper and drinking. For more than 20 years, Schimmel stayed with various families, most of German descent, and was in and out of jail and almshouses. In exchange for a place to stay or something to eat, he carved figures, mostly animals like this eagle. It is estimated that he carved more than 1,000 pieces, of which only about 400 are known today.
Provenance:Found in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and purchased by Edith Gregor Halpert, Downtown Gallery, NY; purchased from Halpert by Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in 1932;