Avenue’s Antiques Show Sizzles, Dramatic Affair At The Armory

NEW YORK CITY — The Avenue Antiques Art & Design at the Armory show was again a dazzling affair, replete with the best of the best, boasting sophisticated offerings from a highly select contingent of American and international dealers at its October 10–13 edition at the Park Avenue Armory. The show kicked off October 9 with a capacity crowd for its preview party.

Dramatic lighting showcasing stellar objects ramped up the “wow” factor as this show, now in its seventh year, somehow manages to outdo itself each time. Dealers highlighted such showstoppers as a glass Pablo Picasso sculpture, a massive pair of ornate, bronze-clad wooden doors, a sumptuous Eighteenth Century Spanish chandelier that was literally made for royalty, a rare 10-carat blue diamond and a custom Art Deco piano by Twentieth Century French designer Maurice Dufrène.

“We saw a strong audience of serious buyers throughout the weekend. The quality of the dealers’ selections, show marketing and buzz and targeted outreach all came together to produce a great event,” said show director Barbara Goodwin.

While many dealers were familiar, about a dozen dealers were new to the fair and their offerings refreshed the show’s lineup. Among the new faces was Saddle River Gallery, Upper Saddle River, N.J., which featured Jean Dufy’s watercolor “Cavalier,” signed and dated 1920, and Constantin Kluge’s fine oil painting “St Germain Royal.”

Also new this year was Calderwood Gallery, Philadelphia, which featured a pair of great pieces from the 1920s. Among the standouts in the dealer’s booth that attracted much attention were a sublime Maurice Dufrène piano in amboyna and sculpted mahogany from the 1925 Paris Exhibition and the sculpted lacquer screen by Michel Dufet from 1922.

“The response was marvelous, and we were delighted to have three pianists who were visiting the show actually play it and react enthusiastically to it as a musical instrument as well as a superb design,” said Janet Calderwood.

Among the interesting photographs the gallery sold was one by French photographer Gerald Dearing of Mickey Spillane (renowned detective/mystery writer) wearing a fedora and holding a pistol, looking much like one of his own gumshoe characters.

A standout was the Eighteenth Century Spanish blown glass chandelier on view at Philip Colleck Ltd, New York City, who was also new to the show. The 54-inch-tall piece was made by the Real Fabrica de Cristales de La Granja for Palacio Domecq in Jerez de la Frontera, circa 1785. A specialist in antique English furniture, the dealer also showed a great George III oval, tilt top breakfast table in mahogany with terrific color and patina. It had a thumb-molded top and cabriole legs ending in rounded pad feet.

New dealer William Secord Gallery, New York City, hung on its walls all manner of Nineteenth Century as well as contemporary animal paintings, including dog paintings by George Earl (1824–1908), Maud Earl (1864–1943), John Emms (1843–1912) and Arthur Wardle (1864–1949). From a fawn pug to setters and hunting dogs to horses, there were many appealing animals here.

Show veteran Macklowe Gallery, New York City, had its usual well-appointed booth, this time taking a substantial-sized booth that the gallery arranged with furniture, Tiffany lamps, Art Nouveau sculpture and art glass. “We had sustained interest in each area. This was a nice change for us from other shows where space constraints force us to show just lamps and jewelry,” said dealer Benjamin Macklowe. “The show went well, and most of our sales were to new people, which we love.”

The Spare Room, Baltimore, was pleased with its sales of jewelry and “lots of ceramics,” according to dealer Jacqueline Smelkinson. “Curious and enthusiastic New Yorkers and the many out-of-town visitors offer great potential for dealer success at the Park Avenue Armory Antique Shows and this one proved no exception.”

Arcadia Contemporary engaged in some trompe l’oeil with Donald Jurney’s true-sized oil painting “Doorway to The Golden Age,” which nearly fooled some passing by to walk into the painting. Other highlights included a pair of bronzes by Deon Duncan titled “The Triathlete” and “Swim Series I” and Daniel Sprick’s oil on panel “Striped Amaryllis.”

Among dealer sales were a 1810 French blackamoor clock and a circa 1885 French globe timepiece at Sundial Antique Clocks, New York City, and a 1940 painting of New York by Thomas Dietrich at Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, New York City.

Gary Rubinstein Antiques, Miami, sold several fine Italian works, including a rare and important Gio Ponti desk from the 1950s, a rare Ico Parisi pair of chairs and table and a Marzio Cecchi parchment bar cabinet. “This was my strongest show ever,” Rubinstein said. “The level of sophistication of buyers was unsurpassed, as was their buying power. Decorators and collectors alike stormed my booth with enthusiasm and took home my best pieces.”

Holden Luntz Gallery, Palm Beach, Fla., reported a good show, exhibiting for just the second time. The photography specialist counted among its sales a Harry Benson photograph, “Beatles Pillow Fight,” and Ormond Gigli’s “Girls in the Windows.”

“We love the show, it is one of our favorite shows to do,” said Jodi Luntz, who noted the gallery also got a wonderful response to a special exhibition it did in a separate booth titled “Cuerpos Pintadas (Painted Bodies),” featuring Chilean photographer Roberto Edwards’ large-scale photographs of Chilean artists using body paint to express art. The works were imaginative and practically leapt off the wall at viewers. “People were really enthralled with it,” she said.

Shortly before the show closed, news broke that the Palm Beach Show Group had acquired this show from Manhattan Media. The show has been renamed New York Art, Antique and Jewelry Show and will be moved up a few weeks next year, to September 17–21. It will be interesting to see what other changes might be made, but with show director Barbara Goodwin remaining on board, rest assured the transition will be a smooth one.

For additional information, www.avenueshows.com or 646-442-1627.

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