Double-Horse Hooked Rug. Attributed to Magdalena Briner, Perry County, Pennsylvania, late 19th Century

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Wool. 24 x 45 x 1 in.

Of all animals represented on hooked rugs, horses are among the more common, though it is rare and desirable to see two horses on the same rug. The prancing pose is further energized by the striated ground with stylized trees, clouds and flowers.

The striated ground shown here is typically associated with the work of Magdalena Briner (1839-1915); not only did she produce an exceptional body of work but her skill was second to none.

Her rugs are considered masterpieces of the form and are highly sought-after by collectors. Born in 1839 in Perry County, Pennsylvania, Magdalena married Jacob Eby in 1855, had a daughter, Ellen, in 1857, and was widowed in 1858.
She moved back into her family¹s home with her daughter, eventually moving into her daughter¹s household when Ellen married Charles McKeehan in 1880.
She hooked rugs while concurrently caring for her grandchildren, doing farm work, gardening and her church work. Family history holds that she continued to hook rugs into the early 1890s, before her eventual death in 1915.

Hooked rugs are arguably one of the few indigenous North American folk arts, and they were extremely popular throughout the nineteenth century. Designs fall into three broad categories: florals, geometrics and pictorials.
Pictorial rugs are the most popular and desirable to collectors, who appreciate them for their stylized and often freehand designs and bold colors. This rug is a very fine example of a pictorial rug and demonstrates all of the qualities desirable to discerning collectors.

Publications:
Joel and Kate Kopp, Folk Art Underfoot, American Hooked and Sewn Rugs, New York (E.P. Dutton, 1985), p. 75, no. 104.

Provenance:
Purchased from American Hurrah in the 1980s
Private Collection

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