Harriet Frishmuth Life-Size Bronze To Star In Benefit Shop Auction

Circa 1925 Figure Was Cast At Gorham Foundry

June 4, 2021

Many fine items will cross the block at The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc. in its Red Carpet auction on Wednesday, June 16, but the undeniable star of the show will be a lifesize Harriet Whitney Frishmuth figural bronze.
The bronze, having a fine blue-green patina, is one of the artist’s most famous works, “Crest of the Wave,” and depicts a woman with windblown hair standing tiptoe atop a cresting wave. This ca. 1925 casting stands 5 feet 6 inches tall and is on a 21-inch base. The artist created this statue using one of her favorite models, a Yugoslav-born dancer, Desha Podgorski. The statue, estimated broadly at $25,000 to $250,000, was cast at the Gorham foundry and was kept in an outdoor garden by the owner’s family, travelling with them from Miami to Palm Beach, Fla., and Greenwich and Westport, Conn. Also on offer in the sale is a 21.5-inch tall bronze version of the same work.
The Frishmuth and the majority of items in the auction are property from F.W Woolworth’s Byron DeWitt Miller estate by family descent. Miller joined F.W. Woolworth as an errand boy in 1893, and, thanks to his work ethic and initiative, he quickly climbed the corporate ladder to become one of the company’s youngest senior executives.
Besides the Frishmuth, crossing the block will be nautical collectibles, jewelry and artwork from their multiple homes and yachts. Additional local estates represented in this auction encompass jewelry, luxury fashion, various antiques and decorative arts.
“Frishmuth’s bronzes, especially those of one of her favorite models, Desha, are quite desirable, and this is one of her most famous. The pose really captures the essence of dance, and its arrested movement makes it quite appealing,” said Pam Stone, owner and founder of The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc. “Miller was an ardent collector though, and there are many striking items on offer here from his estate.”
The auction will be far-ranging and runs the gamut from a contemporary ladies watch, a La D de Dior diamond and mother-of-pearl watch (est. $2,500-$10,000), to a bronze pair of Rocky Mountain Goat bookends, signed Anna V. Hyatt Huntington, ca. 1928 (est. $5,000-$7,000), each 8-by-7-by-6 inches.
Miller had a passion for the nautical life, and his family yacht had a staff of 60 before it was commandeered in World War II by the U.S. Navy. Nautical-themed items from the estate are led by an SM-6 Class Special pond model of a sailboat (est. $1,000-$2,500) that sits on a skeg, measuring 20.5 inches long. Furniture highlights include an antique oversized roll top wooden desk (est. $500-$2,500), measuring 72-by-44-by-36 inches, and a Regina music box with 18 metal discs (est. $1,000-$2,000).
Entertaining was a big part of the Miller family’s lifestyle, and on offer is a set of 12 Herend “Csung” handpainted dinner plates (est. $500-$2,000) with the borders decorated in an allover pattern of Chinese figures framing a central figure. Other bronzes with Miller provenance include two signed works by Allan Clark, including a walking female bronze sculpture, dated 1927, depicting woman in a dress mid-step with hands running through her hair, and a nude man, also in mid-step. Each bronze is estimated at $500-$2,000.
Rounding out the auction are a restored Bally Fireball vintage pinball machine (est. $500-$2,000), retaining keys and a MCM B&B Italia Fat Sofa chair (est. $500-$2,000) upholstered in a bright chartreuse hue, measuring 45-by-39-by-41 inches.
The monthly Red Carpet sales feature choice collections of antique, Midcentury Modern, brand furnishings, sterling, china, crystal, jewelry and fine art. With a mission of “to donate, to discover and to do good,” the foundation is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, and auction proceeds support community organizations. Consignors get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal, and local nonprofits get much-needed funds.,
The auction gallery is at 185 Kisco Ave., Suite 201, Mt. Kisco, N.Y.
For further information, call 914-864-0707.


More Articles