Next month, Sotheby’s will present Americana Week, a series of six sales that will feature more than 750 works spanning American furniture and decorative arts, silver, folk art, manuscripts and other pieces dating from the colonial era to the 21st century. David Korins, Tony-nominated set designer for Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, is serving as creative director for the annual event, which will take place over January 18 to 21.
“I am thrilled to be collaborating with Sotheby’s on this unique opportunity to create a new type of consumer journey through their iconic Upper East Side space,” says Korins. “I am inspired by the virtuosic craftsmanship and rich history represented in each piece in the sale. My design will explore a theme of a thousand individual threads and stories woven together to tell one collective American story.”
Of the Alexander Hamilton letter offered in one of the sales, he shares: “I have spent so much time in the last five years thinking about Hamilton and what a prolific writer and thinker he was…. I am particularly drawn to the letter regarding the presidential election of 1796, and its historical significance. This moment in history is told through the song ‘One Last Time’ in the musical Hamilton, when Washington informs Hamilton he is resigning from the presidency and Jefferson will be running. I can only imagine the significance of the words ‘shall not be Jefferson’ to Hamilton, given their contentious relationship.”
Alexander Hamilton, autographed letter draft to an unidentified recipient, 1796. Estimate $10,000–$15,000; courtesy Sotheby's
“Our Americana Week this January is one for the ages. Very rarely does the public have an opportunity to see such a broad diversity of fantastic objects,” says Erik Gronning, head of the American Furniture & Decorative Arts Department at Sotheby’s. “The items on offer have been kept away in collections for many decades, so they are very fresh to the marketplace. It will be exciting to show them this January with new scholarship and connoisseurship.”
Among the items: a Queen Anne block-and-shell carved mahogany block-front dressing table; two Philadelphia “hairy paw” pieces, including the Joshua Eyre gaming table with carving by Richard Butts, and a fire screen carved by Martin Jugiez; and works by John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, Joseph Blackburn, Ralph Earl, Thomas Sully and John Trumbull.