Condition Report

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Back to Curiouser and Curiouser / October 22, 2017


SUSAN HALLS (American, 20th c.)

Three ceramic birds, along with a shadow box by Sarah Seaver displaying blown eggs on marbled paper; Owl: Approx. 7" x 4" x 3": Shadowbox: 20" dia.; Growing up in the 1960s in a traditional small town in Kent, England, animals and birds of all kinds were Susan Hallsу friends. She intends her animal sculptures to convey "a kind of animal truth" rather than the mere appearance of things. Traditionally trained as a ceramicist, she learned the rules so as to bend them, giving herself permission to develop her metier. Paper-clay mixed with nylon fiber is a staple. Her techniques are varied, but most are low fire and low technology, employing sawdust, smoke or wood. A teacher and the author of technical books on ceramics, Hallsу sculptures have the freshness and non-academic appeal of a self-taught sensibility. Her work can be found in numerous museum and private collections, including Londonуs Victoria and Albert Museum. Sarah Seaver began creating Neo-Victorian natural history displays fewer than ten years ago. Her more recent assemblages are darkly humorous and allegorical, frequently employing bone and insects, and with memento mori as a frame of reference. Seaver cringes at the use of the word "morbid" to describe her art. "All these things, even death, are inherently so amazing and natural," she says, "to call them 'dark' or 'creepy' is to deny our place in what can only be described as the natural mystery and miss out on an important opportunity to consider our relationship with it". A partner at Seaver & McLellan Antiques, she maintains a waiting list of buyers for her work.

Sale Price: $500

Estimate: $800 - $1,200

Condition Report

Chip to glaze on side of blue bird the size of a an infant fingernail