Published: January 23, 2017
Review by Laura Beach, Photos by Laura Beach, Greg Smith & W.A. Demers
NEW YORK CITY – The Winter Antiques Show no longer deploys a gilded phoenix as its logo, but the mythical bird remains emblematic of what is most admirable about this fair: its ability to reinvent itself annually. This longtime favorite returned for its 63rd year to the Park Avenue Armory, where it remains for ten days, with a glittering opening night preview party on Thursday, January 19. The fine-tuned presentation is a clear expression of a certain kind of American taste: classic, increasingly eclectic, vigorous and direct.
Carrying the banner for American style is the 2017 loan exhibition, “Revolution & Evolution,” organized by the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum (AARFAM) at Colonial Williamsburg and installed by Jeff Daly, who plucked elements from a colorful starburst quilt from the museum’s collection to create the fetching sky-blue and mustard-yellow backdrop for the icon-studded exhibition.
Sixty-four returning dealers were joined by a handful of newcomers, one of them Stephen Score, a Boston dealer in American folk art. “I’m the gift shop for the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum,” Score joked modestly, though nothing could have been further from the truth. Score pulled out all the stops in his inventive display mingling painted furniture, hooked rugs and folk portraits, among them Joseph Steward’s circa 1793 depiction of the New Hampshire girl Maria Wheelock, a treasure once in the collection of Nina Fletcher Little.
Michael Altman Fine Art set the tone for another kind of American beauty with John Singer Sargent’s 1907 oil portrait of Mrs Huth Jackson, an aristocrat draped in clouds of creamy satin.
Tillou Gallery built its stand around a Connecticut River Valley Chippendale secretary desk featuring a closed bonnet top, tombstone panel doors and blockfront drawers.
New York dealer Jonathan Boos mingled paintings with sculpture, pairing works by Harry Bertoia and Marshall Fredericks with a winning painting by Georgia O’Keeffe.
New York-based interior designer Ralph Harvard fashioned imaginative displays for Kelly Kinzle, Elle Shushan and Bernard & S. Dean Levy, whose powerhouse presentation of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American furniture was a major attraction.
“Blue and green have great significance in Japanese art because they are considered the color of the world,” said Japanese art authority Joan Mirviss, whose coordinated presentation of paintings, prints and ceramics, classic to contemporary, included a circa 1830 print from the Hokusai series “36 Views of Mount Fuji.”
Martin Levy of the London firm H. Blairman & Sons mounted a thematic display of work by the architecturally trained English designer of Modern Gothic and Aesthetic furniture Bruce Talbert (1838-1881). A highlight was an inlaid sideboard of 1875-80.
The show’s opening day coincided with the inauguration of the 45th American president. Patriotic flourishes appeared in the form of Uncle Sam banks and toys at Gemini Antiques and in patriotic quilts at Frank and Barbara Pollack, and at Stephen Score.
The opening night preview party drew nearly 2,000 guests. Spotted in the crowd were American folk art collector Jerry Lauren and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
On these pages is a first glimpse of the show, which will appear in full in a coming issue.
The Winter Antiques Show continues through January 29 at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue. Hours are noon to 8 pm daily except Sundays and Thursday, noon to 6 pm. For more information, www.winterantiquesshow.com.
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