KATONAH, N.Y. — The Harvey School was once again host to the always elegant Bedford Spring Antiques Show, an annual fundraiser for St Matthew’s Church, running April 5–6 and showcasing the wares of about 25 dealers.
The show traditionally opens with a champagne gala, and this year’s edition kicked off Friday, April 4, from 6 to 8 pm. An enthusiastic crowd of more than 150 patrons was able to preview booths bristling with treasures of American, English and Continental furniture, decorative accessories, antique prints, vintage posters and fine paintings, drawings and sculpture ranging from the Eighteenth to Twentieth Centuries in American and European art.
The catered affair included a phalanx of young men providing valet parking service as attendees arrived to meet, greet and browse the show. Katonah’s notable resident celebrity Martha Stewart chatted with dealers and took photos. One dealer said Stewart will often return the next day to purchase an item if her photographic record still appeals after the preview.
Joel Fletcher and John Copenhaver, fine art dealers from Fredericksburg, Va., have made a vibrant market in artwork by the French artist Alix Ayme (1894–1989), whose “Le Bouquet de Babette,” a pulsating jewel still life reverse painting on glass with tempera and gold leaf, was out for the first time at shows. “It’s the first one we’ve had,” said Fletcher. “Beautiful.” Another of the prodigy’s works, “The House On Stilts,” an oil on board probably from the 1930s of a scene in Laos or Indochina, was on view. The dealers were hoping to have similar success with some recently acquired works by Louise (Lue) Osborne (1889–1968), one of the first artists to experiment with synthetic resins.
New to this show but certainly not to the area was Find Weatherly, Westport, Conn., owned by Ann Wilbanks and offering a double-sided painted tire trade sign featuring a rust and white pointer dog above the “Bullard” logo, a late Nineteenth–early Twentieth Century heavy sheet metal running fox weathervane in old red paint and a blacksmith-made sculpture of Noah’s Ark-like animals from the 1920s–30s.
Rare and in superb condition was an English tiger maple Deco desk with original top and oak-lined drawers, circa 1920s, at Susan Barr Antiques, Trumbull, Conn. The dealer noted that although it was not a partners desk it could certainly be used as one.
Earl Vandekar of Knightsbridge, White Plains, N.Y., always can be counted upon for a diverse selection of antique ceramics, China Trade watercolors and sailors’ woolies. A special highlight this time around was a set of 12 Francois Nicolas Martinet bird engravings, 1765–1780, a series that came from one of the most important and comprehensive late Eighteenth Century French ornithological color plate sets. Birds both native to Europe as well as the then-more exotic locales of Asia and America were included.
Presenting Eighteenth Century through midcentury home furnishings, Knollwood Antiques, Village of Thorndike, Mass., deftly covered that span of history with panache by showing cheek-by-jowl a French Moderne armoire, circa 1935–1945, with a handcarved arabesque surround and panels depicting harlequins, with a Nineteenth Century Chinese head of a Buddha from the Tibetan Plateau and a dynamic pair of midcentury gull wing chairs with walnut tapered legs wearing copper sabots below hardwood frames.
Bear and Susan van Asche, collectively Black Swan Antiques, Washington Depot, Conn., created a pleasing space filled with Seventeenth through Nineteenth Century decorative arts, augmented by Susan’s mixed media artwork and Bear’s bespoke furniture pieces covered in antique parchment. Among the notable items were a Dutch colonial metal-mounted hardwood chest from the Eighteenth Century, several American brass ship spotlights from the first half of the Twentieth Century that had been refurbished and a Dutch still life painting from the Eighteenth Century.
A pair of English Chippendale mahogany window seats from the Nineteenth Century gathered admiring looks on the outside wall of Essex Antiquarians, Essex, Mass. The camel back-form seats with flared, rolled arms were covered with yellow upholstery and featured carved cabriole legs ending in ball and claw feet. Inside the booth was a stunning English satinwood Pembroke table, circa 1800s, with tiger maple inlay ovals to the top and leaves having floral decoration, tulipwood bindings and original brass casters.
The sign gods identified an end booth as “Deborah Turi Antiques” — “That’s the name on my checks,” quipped the Roseland, N.J., dealer who most showgoers know as Debbie and who can always be assured of bringing a diverse selection of antiques and collectibles exuding Americana, including, this time, an endearing wooden Pinocchio figure, a stone cat carving with a face that was more human than feline, and a wonderful, simply decorated American game board of alternating red and black squares.
For additional information, www.stmatthewsbedford.org.