Lot 11: HERON LAKE DRAKE MALLARD DUCK DECOY JOE MARR
TERRA INCOGNITA Fall Western Cowboy, Native American, Sporting, Advertising, Decoy, Gun, Knife, & Photography Auction
01 November 2016
Chicago, IL, USALive Auction
Description: DRAKE MALLARD HERON LAKE. Joe Marr (attributed). This is one of only a couple Drake Mallards (By Joe Marr) known to exist in this folky style and condition (fine for these decoys and how they were used). This exact decoy is pictured in the book Minnesota Duck Decoys, yesterdayês and todays folk artists by Doug Lodermeier. It is pictured on page 338 in the section under Joe Marr. Quoting the author Doug Lordermeier page 334, Without fear of contradiction, I can confidently say that the Marr decoys are some of the finest examples of Heron Lake decoys we see today. They have all of the characteristics that collectors look for in an example of a Heron Lake decoy; the so called horse-head style head and flowing-arched neck, the shallow body construction, and deep heavily-weighted keels that have become consistent with the classic Heron Lake style of decoy. Combined with the paint, patina and usual crazing seen on these decoys, they are truly some of the finest examples seen today. This Mallard drake has that paint with the usual crazing. The body of the decoy has brown or burnt umber breast (no under paint), grey body, blue & white speculums with black tail patch on top of decoy. Many if not most Heron Lake decoys have been repainted and often repainted several times. This Drake Mallard appears to be original. However it does sport an orange eye and has a primer base of brown/burnt umber under the green head. Did the head start out as a drake canvasback or is that just primer under the green head? We will likely never know and it could be debated either way! The green head paint is period to the decoy. It also sports its original body paint, keel and white under belly. Many Heron Lake decoys do not have any keel let alone the original keel, which is a big plus to collectors. It also has original or period rope and anchor. The head carving is classically attributed to Joe Marr and of the best quality. Body of decoy has no under-paint or primer and has never been repainted. Another characteristic sometimes seen on Heron Lake decoys was the removable head. There was a square probably tin plate, counter sunk flush with the body of decoy where the head would attach. There likely is another under the neck along with attached threaded screw, to screw in the head to the body. The head on this decoy at one time did screw in/out, but you can no longer safely remove this head without fear of cross-threading it. When considering age, paint, carving style, aesthetics and art, overall this is one of two and probably the finest Mallard known in existence. Under the decoy on page 338 of the book, the title reads Joseph Marr (attributed) Mallard Drake wonderful condition. Inset: head study of same decoy. It should be noted that every decoy listed in The Minnesota Decoy Book by Lordermeier under the Joe Marr section, does have attributed (to Joe Marr) in the heading. There are no decoys absolutely positively known to have been made by Marr, however the collecting community widely accepts this style to be that of Joe Marr. This decoy has had hunting and gunning use, yet retains its WOW factor. Regardless of maker these style decoys are among the finest from Minnesota.
Dimensions: 12 3/4" X 7" X 8"