The Einsels’ Very Artful Estate Sale

I don’t usually post stories about estate sales.

Then again, most Westport estate sales don’t attract interest from as far away as Canada.

Most estate sales also don’t feature items from an 1853 Victorian farmhouse that for over 60 years was the home of husband-and-wife artists, both of whom were inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.

Walter and Naiad Einsel

Walter and Naiad Einsel

The couple — Walter and Naiad Einsel — were Westport icons. They worked together and independently on book and magazine illustrations, posters, ads and package designs.

They were the first married couple to create stamp designs for the US Postal Service. They also produced 55 figures — with intricate details and moving parts — for Epcot Center.

They were also important members of Westport’s arts community. Naiad designed our Bicentennial Quilt, sewn by 33 women and on display in Town Hall since 1976. She earned a Westport Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

In 2006 the Einsels received a Preservation Award for their South Morningside Drive home. Starting Friday, the entire contents of that house — including attic, basement and crawlspaces, plus their studios, the barn, outbuildings — are up for sale.

Folks will come from all over the East for thousands of pieces of folk art, antiques, paintings, prints, kinetic sculptures and advertising items. The list seems endless: a 1900 cast iron kitchen stove; an Edison standard phonograph with horn and records; 15 antique clocks, and on and on.

Tjhe Einsels' "Saver," made of copper, brass, polychrome and wood, 90 messages appear on tape in the megaphone as the flag is waved and the hat revolves.

The Einsels’ “Saver,” made of copper, brass, polychrome and wood, 90 messages appear on tape in the megaphone as the flag is waved and the hat revolves.

There’s also the usual stuff you’d find at any Westport estate sale, like sterling silver, crystal, cabinets, sofas, bookcases, blah blah blah.

I’m always amazed at the number of cars parked at “normal” estate sales. This one could be a record breaker.

There’s early buying on Friday (November 11, 4 to 9 p.m.). It costs $50 per person that night — but a portion of that fee will be donated to the Westport Historical Society.

That’s fitting. The Einsels had a lot to do with restoring the WHS’ 7-sided cobblestone building. There, Walter’s kinetic sculpture “Uncle Sam” tips his hat, and  his eyes light up. Naiad’s “Statue of Liberty” also moves: her torch shines, and her heart pulsates.

The estate sale continues Saturday (November 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday (November 13, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

It will be packed. Items will go fast. But if you don’t find anything you like, you can still purchase something Einsel-related.

The historic house is up for sale too.

(For more details, click here.)

Walter and Naiad Einsel's South Morningside Drive house.

Walter and Naiad Einsel’s South Morningside Drive house.

3 responses to “The Einsels’ Very Artful Estate Sale

  1. too bad this wasn’t running when you were in town!!!!

  2. Bonnie Bradley

    Seems like not too much interest here, Dan, but the Einsels were well-known, gifted, creative artists and I agree the sale will draw a big crowd.

    I can comment on WESTPORT’S BICENTENNIAL QUILT. I don’t remember whose idea it was, perhaps Naiad’s. But it was an exciting project for Westport as we approachd 1976. Naiad and Walter designed it and oversaw every detail. An article appeared in the paper inviting “experienced needle workers” to an open audition at the Christ and Holy Trinity under-croft. The attendees, myself included, heard an explanation of the project. Those interested were given packets complete with directions and materials to test our skills; the fabric pieces were cotton, the colors created with natural dyes. The “sample” we were given to complete was the oval with the Indian Chief’s head, just as it appears on the completed quilt today – I might still have mine in a box somewhere. The finished samples were returned and a discreet selection of the women who were to do the appliqué squares for the the actual quilt was made. We who did the appliqué worked at home. Other committee members assembled and completed the quilit.

    My square is at the lower right corner, the Catholic Church. I also finished the church in the upper left corner.

    The Bicentennial Quilt was a fun and meaningful project for Westport, thanks to Naiad and Walter and lots of enthusiastic volunteers.

    Another historical note: after the initial meeting had started a tall, blonde woman came in and wandered between the tables where everyone was seated, saying nothing to anyone, just looking on. After a short while she left… It was Martha Stewart.

    • Hello Bonnie! 🙂 Two friends of mine worked for Martha at her catering co. on Riverside. The rest I’ll save for offline & even then I may need to be bribed w/ something before elaborating…