A Rare Aesthete: The Collection of William N. Banks, JR. to be auctioned off at Brunk Auctions, September 12, 2020, ARTFIX daily
(ARTFIXdaily.com) LANDMARK SALE OF CONNOISSEUR’S SUPREME-QUALITY AMERICAN FURNITURE AND PAINTINGS
July 06, 2020
Brunk Auctions is delighted to announce the kick-off of the Fall auction season with the much-anticipated single-owner sale of the collection of William N. Banks, Jr. The auction consists of the contents of Bankshaven, the collector’s renowned historic property and architectural gem in Newnan, GA., housing an unrivalled collection of Federal and Classical American furniture and Nineteenth Century American paintings. The 300+ lot sale will take place, both live at Brunk Auctions, Asheville, and virtually, on September 12, 2020.
William N. Banks Jr., a consummate scholar/collector, historian, preservationist, playwright, and southern gentleman, passed away last November at age 95. A regular contributor to The Magazine Antiques, Banks was considered a Renaissance man — passionate about historic art, architecture and landscape and well-known for preserving historic homes in Georgia and New Hampshire. “The collection is a testament to Mr. Banks’s highly sophisticated eye, says Andrew Brunk, President and CEO of Brunk Auctions. “He was a rare and true aesthete – a collector and connoisseur at the highest level. Brunk is honored to handle this exceptional collection.”
For lovers of the American decorative arts, the furniture highlights in the collection include a spectacular tiger-maple Grecian sofa with a caned back and sides and verd antique and gilt feet; and a very fine rare set of Six Lyre Back Klismos Chairs, attributed to Duncan Phyfe, New York, circa 1815; A Classical and Ebony Inlaid Parcel Gilt Rosewood Swivel Top Card table by Duncan Phyfe, previously attributed to Charles-Honoré Lannuier 1815-20; a Classical marble top pier table attributed to J.&J.W. Meeks, circa 1830); and a marble top center table attributed to Anthony Quervelle, Philadelphia, circa 1829.
Banks actively bought American paintings at New York auctions and from some of the most eminent names in the business, including Spanierman Gallery, Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York, and Vose Galleries (Boston). Through Hirschl & Adler he acquired “Franconia Range from the South with Village of South Woodstock, New Hampshire,” an important 1857 work by Asher B. Durand (below left). Other major highlights include Sanford Robinson Gifford’s Mt. Washington from the Saco River, 1856, oil on canvas (below right), and other New Hampshire views by Cropsey, and Shapleigh. Other exceptional painting highlights include John Frederick Kensett’s Beacon Rock, Newport, 1856, oil on canvas.
William Nathaniel Banks, Jr. (1924-2019) earned degrees at Dartmouth and Yale (Phi Beta Kappa) and was a four-time MacDowell Colony Fellow, playwright and writer. He was in residence at MacDowell in 1958, twice in 1964, and in 1965. His plays “The Curate’s Play” and “The Glad Girls” were both professionally produced, and he was the longest standing member of MacDowell’s Board of Directors, having served since 1966. Banks devoted his considerable energy and resources to Bankshaven, his beautiful 1820’s Federal style home and gardens in Newnan, GA, which he rescued, restored and reconstructed on the site of his family’s property. In addition to Bankshaven, he maintained an important 19th century residence in Temple, New Hampshire. He was a generous supporter of many nonprofit and arts organizations including the High Museum, Atlanta, where he was a life board member. He was a Bryant Fellow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and maintained homes in New Hampshire, Georgia and New York City.