Zettlemoyer Sells Part Two Of Seagreaves Pottery And Paintings Collection

Miniature Owl Jug Brings $605

June 8, 2018

On May 17, in Fogelsville, Pa., father/son team of Woody and Eric Zettlemoyer sold the second installment of a large Jim Seagreaves pottery and Verna Seagreaves paintings collection. The material belonged to Jim and Verna’s daughter, Claudia, who lives in Colorado. Part one was sold on March 1, and as announced from the podium following the May 17 sale, a third installment will be forthcoming.
Jim (1913-97) and Verna (1913-2000) were married in 1941. The artistic couple lived in Alburtis, Pa., until 1961, and then moved to Breinigsville. Jim was a redware potter, and Verna, a painter. In 1966, the Seagreaves joined the Reading-Berks Chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsman. Their work is regionally collected today by those interested in Pennsylvania German arts. There were 15 of Verna’s folk art watercolor paintings, some unframed, and about 75 pieces of Jim’s pottery, in the sale.
Verna was a music teacher in the Alburtis and East Penn School District, from which she retired. She was also the organist and choir director for 28 years at Zion Lehigh Church, Alburtis, and also for the Church of the Good Shepherd, Alburtis. She was a watercolorist for roughly 40 years. Not a profilic artist, self-taught Verna mainly worked in the Grandma Moses style of folk painting. Her work was exhibited in 1999 at the Historical Society of Berks County (now the Berks History Center).
Jim was exempted from the draft during World War II because his work at the Bethlehem Steel plant was considered essential to the war effort. Later, he was a machinist for Air Products and Chemicals Inc. prior to retiring in 1976. He specialized in press-molded pottery but also hand-molding and threw on a pedal wheel. His pottery is known for its brightly colored glaze treatments. He signed his work with his initials, “JCS.” His early work (late ’50s, early ’60s) was signed “JS.”
It’s a buyer’s market for Seagreaves folk art. Like many categories of art and antiques, period and contemporary, prices, on average, are lower than they have been in over a generation, most noteably since the market peak in the late ’90s. Prices reported include a 10 percent buyer’s premium. The highest price achieved in the sale was for a miniature owl jug, just over 3 inches high, in mint condition, that sold for $605. A larger version of the owl jug sold for $671 in the March auction. Other JCS redware prices included a slip-decorated creamer reading “Rahm,” selling for $27.50. Rahm is Pennsylvania German for cream. A gravy boat sold for $44. A wall pocket sold for $49.50; a hand-molded bird figure bank, $247.50; a press-molded owl, $137.50; a press-molded duck, $88; and a slip-decorated “Apple Pie” plate brought $55.
A Verna painting depicting George Washington on horseback sold for $209; a floral still-life with a border of small redware plates, $286; a landscape with barn and stream, $363; a farm scene titled “Our Farm,” framed and done in 1990, sold for $539; and a belsnickel painting done in 1995 went for $143.
To contact Zettlemoyer Auction Company, readers may call 610-395-8084.


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