Saturday, September 24, 2011

African-American male, female andirons, c. early 1800s

These male and female andirons with curved, sword-like arms are possibly from west Tennessee. "The two near diminutive figures, male and female, with their strict form and rigid stance communicate aggressiveness and a coded resistance," according to an appraisal by Jimmy Allen, a dealer who concentrates on African-American material. The female andiron is slightly smaller than the mate and has a smaller head, and it has a notch between the legs. They are sized for a small hearth and room. Allen says, "the black smithy folded the iron over and over, back on itself, for increased strength to endure  the rigors of daily use." The current owner purchased the andirons from Robert Reeves, an Atlanta dealer who is an expert on African-American art and antiques.


  1. These are both profound and sublime. Two things often lacking in art no matter how one defines it.