Published: September 4, 2012
“There is just no way you can see all there is to see in one day,” stated one elated, but exhausted, shopper as she departed the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show on opening day, Thursday, August 23. Sporting a packaged painting in hand, the shopper added that she would be returning to the show to continue her quest the following day. One of thousands in attendance as the Baltimore show opened for a four-day run, closing Sunday, August 26, the shopper’s views were echoed by many in the crowd.
The Baltimore show is massive †575 dealers strong †filling a chasm of an exhibition area inside the convention center. Elegant in appearance, with wide white carpeted aisles, large booths and an endless selection of wares, quality abounds from the front booths to the back booths. “The Baltimore Show exceeded all expectations,” said Scott Diament, president and chief executive officer of the Palm Beach Show Group. “Items sold in all price ranges, and the market proved very, very strong.”
“There was a big change in the floor plan,” commented Diament, with new locations for refreshments and food services, the newly designed space provided a better feel and flow to the show. The book fair †a show within the show, with almost 90 dealers exhibiting, also featured better presentation this year with a concentration of dealers in the northern region of the fair.
Unlike other Palm Beach Group shows, this fair is far more diversified. “This show is two and a half times the size of our Palm Beach Jewelry, Art and Antiques Show,” commented Diament, thus allowing a broader selection of merchandise. Simply put, the high-quality levels seen throughout any of the Palm Beach Group shows are maintained, the broad scope and mix of materials in Baltimore is more extensive due to the sheer volume of dealers exhibiting.
Art, jewelry, Orientalia and formal antiques are prevalent, yet so is a selection of Americana, a smattering of Twentieth Century and a good mixture of smalls and general antiques.
The art displayed around the floor was exceptional with artists such as Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell, Alexander Calder, James Buttersworth, Fernand Leger, Jim Dine and Hudson River School painters, such as William Trost Richards and Sanford Gifford all represented.
“I decided to bring them out,” said dealer Alex Acevedo in regards to a collection of “small treasures,” paintings measuring less than 8 by 10 inches. Acevedo has been collecting the small paintings for years by artists such as Richards, Robert Salmon and William Silva and has accumulated more than 250 over the past decades. The paintings were attracting serious attention from collectors with works, such as an oil on canvas study depicting a mouse in numerous poses that the dealer thought exhibited similarities to Haberle’s work. A small portrait of George Washington at Trenton by Thomas Sully was displayed, as were scenes that represented the differing spectrum of American art by the likes of Edward Henry Lamson and Hayley Lever.
New York City dealer Dean Borghi occupied two stands at the Baltimore Show, one that featured Twentieth Century works, the other presenting fine examples of American Nineteenth Century art. A gem of a painting was featured in the Nineteenth Century selection, a small painting that the dealer had discovered in a small upstate New York auction. The attractive oil on canvas by Sanford Gifford was titled “No Man’s Island” and depicted a boat with fisherman off the rock-strewn island. Dated “10/3/77,” the dealer was shocked when a rumor circulated at the auction in regards to a letter penned by Gifford, written just two weeks after the painting was completed, that referred to the artist’s visit to the region and executing the painting. “This lady discovered the letter when it fell out of a book she had purchased in a bookstore,” said Borghi, who was ultimately able to acquire the letter. “Over 130 years later I was able to unite the letter with the painting again,” he said, “and now they will remain together.”
Borghi’s Twentieth Century stand featured a neat Jim Dine mixed media “Heart.” Nearby was Ralston Crawford’s “Suspension Bridge #10” and “Butterflies,” a lithograph by Alexander Calder.
Reh’s Gallery, New York City, was another dealer to mix contemporary art with Nineteenth Century examples, with Daniel Ridgway Knight’s oil, “On the Path at Dusk, Rolleboise,” featured at the forefront of their display. Marked at $125,000, the painting was getting serious looks from collectors. Priced similarly was a large oil by Charles Leickert, a Belgian painter primarily known for his Dutch landscapes, titled “Figures Skating on a Frozen River.” A series of contemporary paintings was attracting a younger crowd, including an oil depicting two monkeys in biker attire seated on a chopped BSA motorcycle with “ape hanger” handlebars.
A mixed-media abstract by Kurt Schwitters, was “price on request” at King Art, Milwaukee, Wis. Honore Daumier’s oil depicting a “French Couple in Bed” was prominently displayed and marked $285,000, while a pencil titled “Deux Femmes” by Fernand Leger was “price on request.”
In the heart of horse country, equestrian paintings were popular at David Brooker, Woodbury, Conn.; a classic pinup painting of a vivacious lady in a semitransparent nightgown playing with her mischievous pup by Gil Elevgren was at D&R International, Viola, Wis.; and a selection of watercolor cartoon illustrations executed for Esquire magazine, circa 1950, were at Carlson and Stevenson, Manchester Center, Vt.
It was hard to concentrate on just one item in the booth of Post Road Gallery as the selection of impressive art and furnishings caused your eyes to dart about at a rapid pace. A Hugh Bolton Jones painting, “Summer Morning,” was centered in the display. The Larchmont, N.Y., dealers explained that Jones was a prominent Baltimore painter whose works are featured in the collection of the Baltimore Historical Society. A massive bronze fountain, “Boy with Heron,” by Philip Martiny and marked by the Roman Bronze Works was offered, as were sets of American-made gilt-bronze sconces executed for Peter A.B. Widener’s Lynnewood Hall, designed by Horace Trumbauer, circa 1900.
“Expect the Unexpected,” an ink, wash and gouache by Norman Rockwell from 1958, was at M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans, La. Aside from the captivating artwork, which also included a Claude Monet oil, a standout in the booth was a diamond ring. Perhaps the most rumored item in the show, “The Majestic” 12.27-carat pink diamond ring captured the attention of all the ladies’ eyes, stickered at $7.85 million.
Opening day sales at Ophir Galleries, Englewood, N.J., were excellent, according to proprietor Jack Ophir. “We were glad that we were able to make such a strong start. It’s the best show I’ve had in 11 years,” he said. The dealer displayed a good selection of art glass, including Tiffany, a diverse selection of lighting and an interesting assortment of Art Nouveau furniture. Listed among the numerous sales was a collection of important Tiffany Favrile vases that went to a private collector. Rare lighting in the booth included several highly unusual examples by Loetz and another by WMF Geislingen.
Fresh from a collection, a superb selection of rarely seen silver by Arts and Crafts period Chicago silversmith Kalo was offered at Spencer Marks, West Hampton, Mass. “I have never seen this many Kalo candlesticks in one place,” said the dealer, who termed the firm “the preeminent Arts and Crafts metalworkers.” The old-time collection yielded five different sets of the hammered silver candlesticks, with pairs ranging in height from 10 to 15 inches tall, a rare large bulbous water pitcher, vases and a dome-covered meat platter, the largest known example to have come from the shop. Also displayed was a massive sterling tray by Falick Novik. Highlighting the sales for the show at Spencer Marks was a monumental Art Nouveau Tiffany vase that listed an Andy Warhol provenance.
Collectors that came from Japan specifically to shop the Baltimore Show went home pleased with a host of purchases, including several pieces of silver from D&R International, Viola, Wis., including an ornate sterling salt casket set and a rocaille silver butter dish.
Americana dealer Jeffrey Tillou, Litchfield, Conn., presented a wonderful arrangement of Americana that included numerous weathervanes that ranged from an automobile and a ship to animals, such as a rooster and a steer. The dealer also displayed a folky carved wooden cane wrapped with a snake, trade signs, stylish early American furniture and paintings. Listed among the dealer’s sales was a Harriet Frishmuth bronze.
Classic American folk art was offered at The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Md., with items ranging from a large carved and polychromed figure of a man in a derby to a selection of tin wedding anniversary pieces that included a top hat, eye glasses and a bowtie. The dealers reported a good show with an Eighteenth Century Massachusetts schoolgirl needlework selling to a client. The needlework was featured in the Massachusetts chapter of Betty Ring’s landmark book, Girlhood Embroidery, according to Beverly Norwood.
The book fair was popular with all sorts of items available ranging from Woodstock Nation by Abbie Hoffman, with a graphic cover depicting a revolutionary spirited clenched fist at Old New York Book Shop, Atlanta Ga., to signed copies of Walt Whitman’s Two Rivulets and Leaves of Grass displayed by John Bale Book Co., Waterbury, Conn. Bertram Wolfe’s Three Who Made Revolution was inscribed by none other than Fidel Castro, $2,500 and a 25th anniversary edition of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are , $5,000, were shown at Kenneth Mallory Bookseller, Decatur, Ga. A first edition of George Dixon’s Voyage Round The World , 1789, was $7,500 at Bauman Rare Books, New York City.
The Baltimore Summer Antiques Show kept things lively and informative off the show floor, as well, by hosting a series of lectures that were popular with attendees. Lectures ranged from “Collecting East Asian Lacquers” presented by Robert Mintz, PhD, chief curator and the Mr and Mrs Thomas Quincy Scott curator of Asian art at the Walters Art Museum to a presentation by contemporary ceramics artist Katherine Houston.
“This was a breakthrough year,” stated an elated Diament after the show, “We are very much looking forward to Baltimore 2013.”
The next show for the Palm Beach Show Group will take be the Dallas International Art, Antique & Jewelry Show scheduled for November 8 through 12. For further information www.palmbeachshow.com or 561-822-5440.
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