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Circa 1915 Carousel Horse - Attributed to the Dentzel Studio of Philadelphia
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $6,518
Carved wooden horse, attributed to the famed Dentzel Studio of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, dating from the "Golden Age" of carousels (1880-1930). This example is known as a "Prancer" because of the position of its legs, with the two front legs high in the air and both back legs touching the ground. Prancers, which are far less common than either "Jumpers" (all four legs off the ground) or "Standers" (three or four of the legs touching the ground) were typically positioned on the outside row of a carousel. The horse features an expressive face and a deeply carved mane, saddle, and blanket, as well as a real horsehair tail. Our consignor originally purchased this horse for $8,800 at a Christie's auction of carousel art held on October 18, 1990, in New York, and it is accompanied by a copy of the original auction-page listing. It is also accompanied by a copy of a 1995 appraisal letter from the highly respected Arlen Ettinger of Guernsey's in New York in which he valued the piece at $10,000. In his letter, Ettinger attests that "The horse was carved by the Dentzel Studio of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the early part of this century. The horse is in the somewhat unusual 'prancing position.' There are most likely approximately twenty similar horses in existence."
The Dentzel Studio of Philadelphia, founded by Gustav Dentzel of Germany, was one of the premier manufacturers of carousel horses between the years 1870 and 1929. The company employed numerous skilled European carvers in its studios, and its horses were noted for their expressive, playful faces, not to mention their incredible detail. The Dentzel Studio is also known today for its carving and use of menagerie animals in its carousels, in addition to the standard horses and chariots. The horse, which measures approximately 54 inches in height and 58 inches in length, has been stripped of its original lead paint and remains in Excellent condition overall. Both the bridle reins and leg straps are not original to the piece. The horse is currently mounted on a semicircular wooden base by means of a metal pole, both of which are available (at no extra cost) to the winning bidder if so desired. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be a shipping charge for this lot (which will vary depending upon where it is being shipped). The shipping charge will be billed separately from the auction invoice. If the buyer chooses to also accept the pole and stand this will increase the cost of shipping. Craters and Freighters will be the company of choice for shipping. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $6,518
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