A bufflehead drake by AE Crowell (1862-1952) is to lead Guyette
& Deeter's November 10 Decoy and Sporting Art Auction in
It's an important example of Crowell's work and carries an estimate
Crowell's decoys are in a class of their own
Crowell is widely regarded as the greatest decoy carver of all
A lifelong resident of East Harwich, Massachusetts, he began
carving after the use of live decoys was banned by the US
Decoy specialist Stephen O'Brien once described him as "Cezanne in
the field of waterfowl carving".
He holds the all-time record for the most valuable decoy lot ever
sold - $1.1m for a preening pintrail drake and a Canadian goose.
The piece offered in the sale was produced in the early 20th
century, when Crowell was at the peak of his abilities.
A rare humpback style pintail hen by the Ward Brothers (produced in
the 1920s) is valued at $125,000-150,000.
The auction house describes it as "one of the very finest and most
important Ward Brothers decoys known."
Like Crowell, the Ward Brothers are among the most important decoy
carvers in the American tradition.
Both were barbers by trade and began carving when business was slow
at their shop.
A pair of mallards in their distinctive style made $90,000 at
Guyette & Deeter in July this year.
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