late 19th Century
with wrought iron chain and bracket.
Width 19 1/2 inches.
Wilson Folk Art, West Grove, Pennsylvania
Provenance:Property from the Collection of Paul M. Bentley, Oostburg, WI
Paul Bentley was a lifelong collector of idiosyncratic Americana and folk art, who, along with his wife Judith, built a one-of-a-kind collection which they installed in their equally interesting home. Nestled on the western shore of Lake Michigan and designed by renowned Chicago architect Margaret McCurry, the home was nicknamed “The Crayola House.”
During the planning stages, Paul wrote an essay for McCurry about the life of a retired ship captain. The essay was prompted by Paul’s encyclopedic knowledge of pirate history and his 30 years diving Lake Michigan shipwrecks, especially as a volunteer with the Wisconsin Historical Society Underwater Archaeology team. It sparked the architect’s imagination and ultimately inspired the design for the one-of-a-kind home.
Paul’s impressive collection of American folk art includes carved wood figures, carnival toys, a Popeye riding toy, trade figures and signs, and several other rare and unusual examples. His life was full of exploration and curiosity, which is so clearly represented in the objects he acquired.
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