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Famous names mark Kimball Sterling's Outsider Art auction, July 18

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Written by Auction Central News Staff   
Monday, 13 July 2009 13:25
It's a Barker. Because a poodle is an unusual form for carver Linville Barker, this big dog has a $2,000-$3,0000 estimate. Image courtesy Kimball M. Sterling Inc.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - An early carved and painted artwork by Josephus Farmer (1894-1989) is one of the highlights of Kimball Sterling's auction July 18 of outsider and folk art and canes. will provide Internet live bidding.

Out of Egypt depicts the Baby Jesus and Mary riding a donkey led by Joseph. The carved and painted panel measures 24 1/2 inches long by 11 inches high.

"It's a premier piece," said auctioneer Kimball Sterling, who believes it is an early work by the Tennessee-born Pentecostal minister.

When Farmer retired from the ministry in the 1960s he began carving scenes in low relief and painting them. Carving was a skill Farmer learned as a black child growing up in the rural South.

Sterling estimates the carved relief painting will sell for $600-$1,200.

"Ninety percent of the folk are and outsider art in the auction is a 20-year collection from the Midwest," said Sterling, who is cautiously optimistic the high quality of the nearly 500 lots will outweigh the weak economy.

Another anticipated highlight is a 13-inch-long carved poodle by Linville Barker, signed and dated 1990. Because it is considered a rare form, the estimate is $2,000-$3,000. A 16-inch long Barker pig in the auction has a $2,000-$2,500 estimate, while a 9-inch-long piglet has a $1,000-$1,200 estimate.

"He's from Kentucky. His pieces are very stylized and well done," said Sterling.

The auction will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. A second session consisting of more than 100 antique walking canes will begin at 4 p.m. Included will be several canes known as system sticks.

"They're canes that do something. One is designed to measure the height of a horse in hands rather than inches," said Sterling.

The outsider and folk art auction will start with approximately 50 pottery face jugs.

"They're contemporary but by known artists," said Sterling.

Of course, there's more to Southern folk pottery than face jugs. One of the best examples is a 6 1/2-inch swirled wedding jug by North Carolina's Burlon "B.B." Craig (1914-2002), which has a conservative estimate of $150-$300.

The auction will be held at Kimball M. Sterling Inc., 125 W. Market St. in Johnson City. For details phone 423-928-1471.

View the fully illustrated catalogs and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet during the sale at

Josephus Farmer's ‘Out of Egypt' is relief carved and polychrome painted wood. Image courtesy Kimball M. Sterling Inc. Blind potter Roger Hicks signed this blue face jug, which is 9 inch high by 7 inches wide. It has a $200-$300 estimate. Image courtesy Kimball M. Sterling Inc. Herbert Singleton's ‘Baker' stands 17 inches tall, 7 inches wide and 7 inches deep. The Carved and polychrome head has a $600-$1,000 estimate. Image courtesy Kimball M. Sterling Inc. The owner of this cane always went walking with his dog. The late Victorian cane features a carved ivory handle with glass eyes. Image courtesy Kimball M. Sterling Inc. Mose Toliver used paint and mud on board for his early ‘Bird,' which measures 9 by 12 inches. Image courtesy Kimball M. Sterling Inc.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 July 2009 11:30

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