ARMONK, N.Y. — It has been several years since the North Castle Historical Society hosted the popular and at one-time annual Armonk Antiques Show. So it was with great fanfare that the society announced the return of the show for 2014, managed this time around by Frank Gaglio, Barn Star Productions, and featuring an entirely new roster of dealers. Small, select and swanky, the event previously conducted in one of the local schools took over at the luxurious Brynwood Golf & Country Club the weekend of March 1–2.
Gaglio reported that he was “more than happy to revive the show,” citing the prime Westchester location and the lack of other shows taking place in the immediate area. “Armonk was fine,” stated Gaglio in the days following the show. “It wasn’t over the top, but a lot of the dealers made good sales and some of them did really well.” A couple of the dealers even reported a “phenomenal show,” according to the promoter.
While attendance was reported as moderate, management commented that “the people that came were serious buyers.”
The show kicked off with a gala preview party, attended by more than 100 supporters of the North Castle Historical Society. “People were having so much fun, the preview ran for well over an hour after our official closing time. We finally had to invite them back for the opening on Saturday morning as a polite way to ask them to leave.”
The show was attractive, with several dealers displaying their wares in the large foyer outside of the main ballroom. Merchandise there was highlighted by a large Guy Wiggins oil on canvas titled “Winter Along Central Park” that was stickered with a six-digit price at Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, Conn. “Coming in to his Own” was a wonderful contemporary trompe l’oeil of a bust of George Washington, executed in an early style, by Michael Theise. Just below it hung another work by the artist titled “Boom or Bust” depicting a brightly colored child’s Monopoly-style game board.
Dealer Jeff Cooley commented that he used to deal heavily in Ogden Pleissner sporting watercolors, “when they were affordable”; he is now offering the work of an equally talented contemporary artist working in the traditional style named Chet Reneson. “Trout Fishing” and “A Clear Shot” were each offered at $6,500.
Inside the main display area was another painting that was attracting a great deal of attention, a small Grandma Moses oil titled “In Olden Times.” The work displayed at Axtell Antiques, Deposit, N.Y., depicted a farmscape with a pond in the foreground and a couple riding in their horse-drawn sleigh. The painting, marked $39,000, was signed and dated December 23, 1944. Richard “Smitty” Axtell was quick to remark that he was actually the second owner, as he purchased the painting from the person that originally bought it from the artist. As always, Americana was featured in the diminutive booth that Axtell occupied.
“It was the last booth that Frank had available,” said Smitty of the small space, “and we were happy to get it.” A signed Windsor chair by John Wait, circa 1790, was in the original black paint and positioned in front of an attractive Hepplewhite cherry secretary of New York State origin were representative for the furnishings offered there.
The Village Braider, Plymouth, Mass., brought along an eclectic mix of merchandise that included an early carved oak Continental blanket chest with carved hairy claw feet, a towering copper fountain in the form of lily pads, a massive dining room cupboard with plate racks across the pierce carved upper section, and a great pair of near-life-sized Scotty dog figures that we figured were probably used as doorstops.
A wonderful pair of terracotta seated lions greeted customers at the booth of James Kilvington, Dover, Del. Of English origin, the circa 1850 figures stood nearly 3 feet tall and featured “great definition to detail and a peaceful naïve quality to their facial features.” Other items in the stand included a large Canton cider jug in excellent condition and a running horse full-bodied weathervane that were displayed atop of a New England blanket chest in the original paint decorated surface, circa 1820.
Medina, Ohio, dealer Jane Langol reported an exciting show, with numerous items selling from the booth. The dealer brought along a host of crazy quilts and, according to management, “Every time she hung one up, it sold almost right away.” Other sales included art pottery and a Pembroke table in strong tiger maple that sold to a “be-back” shopper during the last 15 minutes of the show.
Aside from a period portrait of George Washington executed during his lifetime, paintings dealer Bill Union, Art & Antique Gallery, Worcester, Mass., featured an intriguing Norman Rockwell pencil study of a young lad pouring medicine into a spoon from a bottle, presumably for the ailing pup seated next to him in a wooden crate. Union hoped it didn’t sell, saying, “I’d really like to take it home and live with it for a while.”
Union related a humorous tale from the olden days when he regularly ran advertisements in these pages that featured a slew of small pictures of paintings from his inventory. While on an overseas trip to Italy, the dealer recollected that he stopped at a shop in a small town to show the proprietor some photos of Italian paintings he had in inventory. With the shop owner speaking no English and Union speaking no Italian, the proprietor quickly sent word to another English-speaking dealer in the area. When Union showed them the photos, “They all laughed as the Italian dealers repeatedly called me the little picture man,” stated Union. “You know where they got that name?” he asked. “They got it from the ads that I ran in The Bee. Imagine that, they knew of ‘the little picture man’ in a small town in Italy because of my Bee ads.”
Living up to their shop’s name, Dualities, Larchmont, N.Y., displayed a wide selection of wares ranging from fanciful bronzes and art glass to midcentury pottery and accessories. One shelf in the stand featured a colorfully glazed Guido Gambone Italian pottery abstract lion displayed next to a set of early Oriental carved and polychromed ivory luan figures.
The Armonk show has already been scheduled to return in 2015. Next on the Barn Star schedule is the Guilford Antiques Show, March 29–30. For further information, 845-876-0616. or www.barnstar.com.