3D picture brings top bid of $37.5K at sale of 27 works by Amish-born Zook twins | Local News

An auction Friday of more than two dozen works by Amish-born artists Abner and Aaron Zook yielded a high bid of $37,500 for one Abner Zook picture although much of the bidding fell short of a similar auction in March when it took a record-breaking offer of $52,000 to win one Aaron Zook picture.

The sale at PA Auction Center in Blue Ball was attended by roughly 200 people and featured 27 pictures by Abner or Aaron Zook, although 16 were smaller octagonal or circular pictures by Aaron Zook and seven were pictures Aaron Zook made with his son Sam. The highlights of the sale were the five 3-by-5-foot pictures by Abner or Aaron Zook, some of the largest of the brothers’ works which have recently fetched the most at auction.

The high bid Friday was for one of those pictures which Abner Zook made in 1975 depicting 18th century Pennsylvania Dutch diplomat Conrad Weiser in peace talks with a Native American chieftain outside an inn.

The second-highest bid was $25,000 for an extra-large, 6.5 foot-by-4-foot picture by Abner Zook of the “Home of Eli Stoltzfus” that was made in 1972 and showed a farm that used to stand on what is now part of the Walmart in East Lampeter Township. It was bought by someone who used to live on the property.

Two pictures of covered bridges by Abner Zook – one 3-by-5-foot picture and a smaller 2.5-foot-by-1.5-foot picture — were not sold because the bidding did not reach the reserve price. Bidding on both stopped just shy of $14,000.

While several larger pictures still sold Friday for more than $20,000, the biggest difference from the sale PA Auction House held in March of the Zook works were the prices paid for the smaller, roughly 12-inch-by-12-inch pictures by Aaron Zook . In March four of those sold for average bids of nearly $6,000 while on Friday the highest price offered for one of 16 similar pictures was $2,600, with most selling for less than $2,000.

The sale also included works by Plain sect artists Dan Ash and Ben Hoover. There was also a picture made in 1976 by WB Dingeldein in a similar style as the Zook pictures and labeled as being from “Zook Studios” in Womelsdorf, where Abner Zook lived. That roughly 5-foot-by-4-foot picture, “Hickory Grove Grist Mill,” attracted a high bid of $25,000.

Abner and Aaron Zook were born in Leacock Township in 1921. The Zook twins were raised Amish although both eventually left the Old Order church. Often depicting scenes from childhood, their three-dimensional combined painting and wood carving while incorporating other elements such as twisted wire for trees.

Aaron Zook, who lived and worked most of his life in Leacock Township, died in 2003. Abner Zook, who lived and worked mostly in Lebanon County, died in 2010.


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