Re: Potvin - Woonsocket, RI
I am a specialist at Christie's and we currently have a few items upcoming for sale in February (2005) that were carved by Moise Potvin.One item "The Roosevelt Cabinet" was indeed exhibited at skylon towers until the amusements were disbanded in the 1980s.This is the footnote I published in the catalogue:
Moise Potvin was born into a large French-Canadian Family in West Farnham, Quebec in 1876.While Potvin was a teen his family moved to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, which would become his permanent home.Potvin grew to become an accomplished Violin maker/restorer, weaver and tinkerer.It was, however, his folk art carvings that would become his driving passion. Potvin has been likened to his contemporaries Norman Rockwell and Edward Hopper in his ability to capture the details of human life. It was his careful rendering of the smallest details that became the hallmark of his work.By 1925 Potvin had amassed a group of his carvings that he toured around the United States and Canada, and they later became attractions at Old Orchard Beach Maine, and Revere Beach in Massachusetts.Including the present lot Potvin created some twenty-two known intricately carved folk art tableaus capturing images of daily life, high society, and scenes from the western frontier.His best-known dioramas are The Roosevelt Cabinet, the self-portrait Violin Shop, Stampede of the Texas Longhorns, and Pioneering Days.After his death in 1948, Potvin's works continued to be displayed and many pieces were later moved to the "Potvin Museum" which was part of the attractions at Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls.During the 1980's Skylon Tower changed hands and the Potvin pieces moved in and out of storage and were eventually disbursed.