Published: July 3, 2023
Review & Onsite Photos By Madelia Hickman Ring
HISTORIC DEERFIELD, MASS. — Once a fall staple of the antiques show circuit in New England, the Antiques Dealers Association of America’s (ADA) Historic Deerfield show has returned after a six-year hiatus with a new venue and date. A total of 38 dealers — largely ADA member dealers but now also welcoming 13 guest dealers — took to the floor of the Deerfield Academy hockey rink, June 17-18. Despite inclement weather on the first day, a long line of eager showgoers formed prior to the show’s opening, creating hustle and bustle for the first couple of hours. Prior to the show’s opening on the first day, Historic Deerfield emeritus president Philip Zea presented a hands-on look at the museum’s collection of early American powder horns, while the following morning, museum curators Amanda Lange and Dan Sousa shared insights about English ceramics at Deerfield. Add in tours of the newly restored 1795 Barnard Tavern, show visitors had plenty to do if they wanted to take a break from shopping.
“I didn’t actually manage this; it was all by committee and a real group effort,” said Karen DiSaia, who put her show manager expertise to use designing the floor plan. “I wanted to see it be an organization show rather than my show. Everyone was willing to step up and Historic Deerfield was a really great partner in this; they really helped us. I feel really good about the show. A lot of people reported good sales; for something that’s just restarting, that’s really great. The guest dealers really made the show more interesting.”
When Antiques and The Arts Weekly called ADA executive director Judith Livingston Loto after the show, she confirmed member dealers helped organize everything, “from security to soup.”
“I feel great about the show. It’s always a little intimidating when you’re trying to reboot something, but we were very pleased with how it turned out. It was such a beautiful show, and people came from far away to attend. Putting on an excellent antiques show like this is not just about the show, it’s about engaging and building audiences, creating partnerships like ours with Historic Deerfield, and raising awareness about history and material culture in general. I was thrilled to hear that so many of our dealers at the ADA/Historic Deerfield show found new customers and made new friends. As an organization, the ADA has to support its members to help them have successful businesses, of course, but we also have to work behind the scenes to create opportunities to educate, elevate and integrate history and social studies back into the daily lives of our businesses, our communities and indeed our country. In this way, we can provide an opportunity for our amazing dealers to have a genuine impact on the future of the antiques business as a whole and help preserve that customer base of history advocates and enthusiasts for generations to come. We’re eager to see it grow and get bigger and better each year.”
Historic Deerfield’s associate director of marketing and communications, Danae DiNicola, weighed in as well, confirming attendance to the show was about 650 visitors over the course of the weekend.
“Because it’s been six years — some of them pandemic years — since the show has been here in Deerfield, we really didn’t know what to expect. Also, the show has always taken place in the fall, so holding it in June was something new. Overall, we were very pleased with how the event turned out. We thought the show looked fantastic, and the turnout was good. A number of guests traveled significant distances to attend, which was great to see. The sense of excitement and anticipation coming off the Saturday morning crowd was great, and we heard from several collectors that they were impressed with the quality of the items on offer.”
When we asked DiNicola if there was a chance the show would return to a date in the fall, she said, “Nothing has been decided yet. We are already talking with the ADA about the best time and place for the next show. We do feel that October is an ideal time to have the show, but there are a lot of factors to consider, from space availability in Deerfield to the timing of other antiques shows. We hope to make a decision within the next few months, so we can begin charting the course of the next show!”
The show is — and has always been — an Americana show at heart, and those exhibitors who deal in that material were — generally speaking — the ones that did the best.
An important sale transacted during the show was in the booth of Nathan Liverant and Son. The Colchester, Conn., dealer sold a Connecticut River landscape by Nelson Augustus Moore (American, 1824-1902) to Historic Deerfield. Impressive in size and measuring 43½ by 61½ inches in its original presentation frame, the painting depicted the view looking south from the Riverdale section of West Springfield, Mass. Liverant said it was possible the painting, which was dated 1870, had been exhibited at the National Academy of Design, where Moore exhibited between 1860 and 1886.
“We are very pleased; we think it belongs there. My father sold it before, in 1971, and we got it back right before the show,” Arthur Liverant said, noting he was thrilled to be back and that it had been a good show for him.
Hilary Nolan’s booth was mere steps into the show, and within the first 15 minutes of the show opening, he was spotted wrapping up a pair of brass hogscraper candlesticks.
Elliott and Grace Snyder reported “an excellent show,” with follow-up sales in the days following the event. “I was frankly amazed at the crowd on the first day, and it was better on Sunday than I expected. People came back and we made a sale 10 minutes before the show closed on Sunday,” said Grace. The South Egremont, Mass., dealers reported sales of three pieces of furniture (a splay-leg tavern table, a Hepplewhite stand and a pair of Hudson Valley side chairs), a Folwell School needlework, a 1631 bed smoother, a burl bowl, paintings, candlesticks, Delft, a spillbox and wall box, and a 1742 bookrest.
Across the aisle from the Snyders, Frank Levy was very happy with the show. “Deerfield showed a great deal of support from the top on down and it was an easy show to do. The ADA did a great job in that regard. There was selling on both days, but the rush of the crowd on Saturday was a great sign for the future of the show.”
“It was very good for me, I’m very pleased,” said Sam Herrup, who sold — in addition to several good pieces of pottery — his best piece of furniture, a New London County, Conn., chest on chest to a young collector in New York State he has worked with before. On Sunday, he sold a portrait on panel by Ira Goodell “to a very good collector I’ve been trying to sell to for 25 years.” The Sheffield, Mass., dealer was glad to be back at Deerfield, noting “Historic Deerfield was wonderfully supportive.”
Dan and Karen Olson were down the aisle from Herrup and also reported a good show, closing deals on an Eighteenth Century tiger maple desk on frame, an early Eighteenth Century blue-gray painted dry sink, a large Eighteenth Century Chippendale mirror with its original candle arms, a Nineteenth Century stoneware crock with double bird decoration and “several smalls,” including early chestnut and other bottles, brass candlesticks, painted woodenware, some silhouettes and a large Ohio Pease ware sugar bowl.
“We were very pleased with the show,” reported Bob Haneberg. “There was a lot of work to get it going again after six years off. The committee did a great job getting everything organized and Historic Deerfield was a great host. We had a good show and sold three pieces of furniture, a painting, scrimshaw, Chinese silver, an Oriental rug and other good smalls. It was nice to see many new faces and make some new customers.”
Early in the show, Shaker decorative arts dealer John Keith Russell had sold a blanket chest, gathering basket and fancy box.
Making her debut at an ADA show — and her first show with hard walls — was Heather LaLonde who specializes in Fourteenth through Seventeenth Century European antiques under the business name New England Old World Antiquities. She reported making sales on the first day but more importantly, said it was an honor to be invited. “I think it went very well. I got some great compliments, and the dealers as a whole are just great — they were very welcoming to someone so young and new to the game. I knew some of the dealers and I introduced myself to some of them and enjoyed talking to as many of them as possible. It really helped me understand the show a bit better, which was great.
Lalonde reported sales of a six-piece set of Delft pottery, a pair of heemskerk candlesticks and a Westerwald jug, with significant interest in an early to mid-Sixteenth Century Flemish tapestry.
If Lalonde is one of the dealers who lives closest to Deerfield, the opposite was true for Zac Ziebarth, who lives in South Central Wisconsin and was also doing the ADA show for the first time. He called us after he drove the 15½ hours home to say that he really enjoyed doing the show “in a beautiful setting for a great show” and had decent sales that included a Navajo rug, tiger maple two-drawer stand, a quilt, a red-painted server from Pennsylvania and “a few other sales along the way.”
Occupying a large booth on one of the center aisles, Ron and Joyce Bassin brought their usual wonderful assortment of folk art, decoys and the Grenfell Mission mats they are known for. When Antiques and The Arts Weekly stopped by, Ron was showing off a Broadhurst Carlson brass telescope to John Smiraldo and his 8-year-old son. Bassin had a knack for engaging the youngster that was wonderful to see, a hopeful indication that upcoming generations will find other dealers who will share their knowledge and enthusiasm. After the show, Bassin reported selling to both new and old clients a variety of things — a total of 22 in all — ranging in price from $400 to $3,000.
“The best comment I got all weekend was from a guy who bought three things. He said, ‘I’m so old in life I don’t need it but I also don’t need my money.’”
In the lull that followed the rush on Saturday morning, folk art dealers Chris and Bernadette Evans, around the corner from the show’s front door, were enjoying a cup of soup while contemplating their back wall, which presented some empty areas that followed the sale of two large hooked rugs. “Deerfield was a great experience for us; we couldn’t ask for better hosts than Historic Deerfield. The crowd was strong in both number and interest and we saw a lot of folks we don’t usually see. We also saw more young people than I’ve seen at most other shows in quite a while.”
In addition to the two large hooked rugs they sold within the opening hours, the Virginia dealers tallied sales of another hooked rug, redware, stoneware and some folk art, “all to new clients.”
Paul Vandekar and Deirdre Healy were among the first booths showgoers came to upon entrance to the show. A nest of China trade trunks, late Nineteenth Century, caught our eye, as did a late Eighteenth Century English creamware dolphin- and shell-form centerpiece stand that was identified as being for sweetmeats but which Vandekar said was now also thought to have been a receptacle for serving oysters.
The Ann Parke Collection caters to those with an affinity to man’s best friend, in any medium, and has a devoted following. Though the booth was tucked into a back corner, principal Sheryl Dunleavy saw no downturn in traffic from the location on the floor. “The Deerfield Show was a lot of fun — it was great to be a part of such an accomplished and well-regarded group of dealers, and I thought that the booths were gorgeous — perhaps a bit more diverse than previous shows when the guest dealers may not have been included. For me, personally it’s always great to build a network of both clients and other dealers, and I was happy to do both. The shoppers seemed to be from a range of New England states — I spoke with several people from Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, in addition to the Massachusetts shoppers, and I was happy to meet a couple from New York City who drove up for the show. I was especially delighted when my stone hounds sold on Sunday afternoon!”
“I loved the Historic Deerfield Show. It’s a great institution and a very welcoming one. It makes such a difference when the host is happy that the show is there. The shoppers were happy — it was perfect,” said Dunleavy’s neighbor, miniatures dealer Elle Shushan, who had marked as sold a wax sculpture of John Manners, Marquess of Granby, by Samuel Percy, circa 1810.
Tucked into the other back corner of the show was Cape Cod fine art dealer Kevin Rita. “It was a very beautiful, textured and varied show. As one would expect, more classic “Americana” seemed to rule the day, so I counted among my sales a nice circa 1800 piece of redware as opposed to the more modernist works for which I’m better known.” As a board member of the ADA, he said he was very proud to be associated with the show and gave a shout out to Deirdre Healy, Judy Loto, Karen DiSaia and the electrical services contractor for all their efforts in producing and managing the show.
Rug dealers Douglas and Helen Stock are getting back into the antiques show circuit and thought the show looked great and appreciated the opportunity “to see some old friends and establish new friendships with other dealers.” They transacted some business during the show and were hopeful for follow-on sales afterward.
A date and venue for the 2024 edition of the ADA / Historic Deerfield Antiques Show have yet to be announced. For additional information, www.historic-deerfield.org/events/antiques or www.adadealers.com/html/online_show.php.
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