Antiques & Collectibles

American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds

American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds, published to coincide with an exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum, reveals the beauty, historical significance, and technical virtuosity of American vanes fashioned between the late seventeenth and early twentieth centuries.

This American art form has long been an enduring part of the country's skylines. Early church steeples were graced with weathercocks, following a European tradition that dates to the MiddleAges. America's first documented vane maker, metalsmith Shem Drowne of Boston, crafted a number of surviving vanes, including the iconic golden grasshopper that has topped the city's Faneuil Hall since 1742. Farmers, blacksmiths, and other craftsmen proudly fashioned roosters, cows, horses, and other forms for country barns, and as the tradition and public demand expanded over the course of the nineteenth century, so did the diversity of forms, which grew to fill the mail order catalogs of commercial manufacturers in Boston, New York, and other cities.

Today, weathervanes hold a well-established place in the canon of American folk art and American Weathervanes celebrates this artistry in the most up-to-date and authoritative work on the subject. Lavishly illustrated with masterworks from prominent private and public collections, this is a book to be treasured by anyone who collects or simply admires American vernacular art and sculpture.

About The Author

Robert Shaw is a critically acclaimed author, curator, and art historian who has written and lectured extensively on many aspects of American folk art. He has curated exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, the Fenimore Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Shelburne Museum, where he served as curator from 1981 to 1994.

  • Publish Date: March 02, 2021
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Antiques & Collectibles - Americana
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Electa
  • Trim Size: 11 x 11
  • Pages: 256
  • US Price: $75.00
  • CDN Price: $100.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-6390-7

Reviews

American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds is visually engaging, combining much new photography of the best American vanes with an arresting assortment of archival material, some of it recently uncovered and published for the first time. Expanded biographical profiles of the commercial makers who flourished in Boston and New York before and after the Civil War form the meaty heart of the study, which Shaw enlivens with fresh narrative detail.” —ANTIQUES & ARTS WEEKLY


American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds, published to coincide with an exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum, reveals the beauty, historical significance, and technical virtuosity of American vanes fashioned between the late 17th and early 20th centuries. Today, weathervanes hold a well-established place in the canon of American folk art, and American Weathervanes celebrates this artistry in the most up-to-date and authoritative work on the subject. Lavishly illustrated with masterworks from prominent private and public collections, this is a book to be treasured by anyone who collects or simply admires American vernacular art and sculpture.” ANTIQUES & AUCTION NEWS

“Robert Shaw’s long-awaited American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds is a book much needed. With color photographs of the finest weathervanes in public and private collections, this well-documented story of the invention, manufacture, and collecting of weathervanes recognizes them as art, a special category of American sculpture.” —MAINE ANTIQUES DIGEST

"Vane Endeavors: ANY SELF-RESPECTING FARMER can raise a wet finger to find out how the wind is blowing. Though weathervanes have been around for millennia, they have always been more decorative than practical, writes Robert Shaw in the new book “American Weathervanes: The Art of the Winds” (Rizzoli Electa), published to accompany an exhibition opening in June at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. The book surveys four centuries of vanes by American craftsmen, in the shape of dragons, eagles, angels, champion racehorses, foxes, witches, snakes and cows." —WALL STREET JOURNAL