Published: November 6, 2007
On October 13 and 14, the Dutchess County Fairgrounds showcased the biggest bumper crop of antiques, fine art and collectibles for miles around as it hosted the harvest edition of the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair.
The two-day event, promoted by Bruce Garrett and managed by Brett Brandes, presented 200 antiques dealers from throughout the United States displaying their merchandise in room-style settings inside four large buildings at the fairgrounds.
“We had great weather and a good crowd,” said Brandes, who added that while he had no specific numbers, the gate was up from last fall’s show. “We saw a lot of things going out, with the normal numbers going through our shippers. In our postshow survey, 70 percent of the dealers reported having a good to excellent show.”
“Rhinebeck provides a perfect venue for us to offer the colorful, graphic material we’re known for,” said Tim and Charline Chambers, back home again in Sikeston, Mo., after the show. “The audience remains receptive and Bruce and his staff keep it running smooth. We’re already looking forward to returning next May!”
The dealers were pleased to say they had a successful market. “Our success could basically be explained in two words †game boards,” said Tim Chambers, who was showing a selection of Nineteenth Century checkerboards from New York State and New England. “Our sales included four very good game boards, along with trade signs, small painted furniture and folk art.”
Chambers described one of the game boards sold, a delightful handmade Monopoly game. “The piece was made in Illinois, which is where we found it,” said the dealer. “It was sold to a collector who is taking it all the way back to Kentucky not more than two hours from where we live. If one thinks dealers travel a good deal, they should consider the material we offer!”
Many of the show’s patrons are day-trippers or weekend visitors from New York City who combine a fall leaf-peeping foray with shopping the show. That is just fine with Stephen Gero, whose Old Village Antiques shop in Avon, Conn., is normally a bit off the beaten track for these customers. “It’s a good show because we get a lot of people from the city,” said Gero, who with partner Dan Hackbarth was showing such items as a pair of cloisonné ginger jars on cloisonné bases, a five-piece silver service from an early Connecticut silk manufacturing family, the Cheneys, and ten Meissen soup bowls. A piece of furniture was a mahogany and flame mahogany empire three-drawer and three-door sideboard with wine bottle drawer, circa 1830, on brass casters. The dealers said they are in the process of moving to a new 2,000-square-foot location in Avon.
Stella Bernhard of Bedford Village, N.Y., brought antiques for the home and garden. At her Antiques II Ltd booth were a cast iron garden table whose top was held up by an angelic figure, a massive zinc flower cart, a pair of moss-covered round cast stone finials, a steel chaise and an industrial white metal cabinet. An interesting advertising item was a sign touting “Autos and Trucks Painted & Lettered by an Old Timer Martin Fitzpatrick 109.”
Advertising, too, was a new wrinkle for Barbara and Charles Adams. The South Yarmouth, Mass., dealers are synonymous with beloved brown Bennington pottery, but they were adding a little Rhinebeck razzle-dazzle in the form of a sign advertising Uncle Jerry’s New England Pancake Flower and an early Lee Tires advertising sign out of Conshohocken, Penn. Also on their wall was a poster created by illustrator Edward Gorey for the Cape Islands Chamber Music Festival in 1986.
First-timers are scarce at Rhinebeck due to the show’s low turnover and long waiting list. But the fall edition welcomed Candy and Rick Pirozzoli, who deal in folk art and furniture as Sport Hill Antiques of Redding, Conn.
“As first-timers, the show went quite well for us,” said Rick Pirozzoli. “The quantity and quality of great Americana was evident throughout the entire show. Candy and I felt at home with the guests as well as our fellow exhibitors and the surroundings. Selling was brisk Saturday, including a circa 1800 bootjacked six-board blanket box with original surface and hardware, an early chair table, which coincidentally went out at the same time my neighbor sold one, as well as an early Eighteenth Century tap table with stretcher base. Sunday was a bit quieter; sales included an original watercolor for a 1950s magazine ad and a large ogee mirror.”
Over in Building E, an American late Nineteenth Century Smuggler running horse weathervane was a highlight in the booth of Cheryl and Paul Scott, Hillsboro, N.H. The horse was displayed under an American banner-with-hand example, circa 1890, that still had traces of gilt on its copper form. A less pricy treasure was a cute pig print in a birch bark frame.
Amid the hustle and bustle of dealer setup on the Friday before the show, Claire Dounoucos of Delmar, N.Y., paused a few minutes to point out some of the feature items she had brought, including a 1920s″0s hooked rug from the Northeast featuring a parrot, an antique fire hose reel with metal wheels and original red paint and a rustic child’s rocking chair from the turn of the century with a carving on the front stretcher.
And speaking of tots, even Maile Allen’s 3-month-old seemed to enjoy the show, as far as she could tell. “The Rhinebeck Show was really nice this year,” said Allen of Colonia, N.J., who deals in antique maps and prints. In maps, she featured Nova Orbis Tabula by A.F. De Wit, circa 1670, with a double hemisphere, small polar hemispheres and an insular California. She also brought prints from John J. Audubon’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds , 1846, and a half dozen Edward Curtis large format photogravure plates showing tribal life scenes and portraits among the Cheyenne Indians.
“It was a perfect fall weekend for a show,” said Allen. “I had a steady stream of people through my booth, and saw a fair number of my regular customers. I’m looking forward to the next Rhinebeck show in the spring.”
Corinne Burke, Ridgefield, Conn., set up a homey tableau highlighted by a metal child’s toy wagon filled with wooden alphabet blocks, flanked by Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. The wagon sat atop a two-drawer standing box, whose diminutive size was ideal for an end table.
A New York ogee bracket base cherry desk with original “peace” hardware was a featured highlight at the booth of Dennis and Valerie Bakoledis of Rhinebeck. Fine art was represented by a signed L. Woodward oil on canvas Hudson River Valley landscape. Laura Woodward was a Nineteenth Century landscape painter of the Hudson River School. The dealers were also showing an unusual 20-foot floral swag border hooked rug.
Eclectically folky was the vibe emanating from the merchandise offered by Dennis Raleigh, Wiscasset, Maine. A Nineteenth Century Maine fire bucket marked “S.H. Gould” had a great mustard color and condition †although a sign placed next to it by the dealer implored visitors not to pick it up by its leather handle. An early Twentieth Century fish weathervane was homemade of simple construction and form with a slightly hollow core. A hooked rug sampler runner from Maine depicted birds, fish, flowers, sailboats and other items.
For a more formal sensibility, one need only stop by at Dolores Murphy’s booth hard by the entrance to Building A where the Clinton Corners, N.Y., dealer was showing a mahogany Eighteenth Century Rhode Island tea table with a swirl carved shaft and crisp rat claw feet. Artwork included scenes of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls and accessories were represented by an Arts and Crafts iron two-candle stand, circa 1900.
East Dennis Antiques dealers Fred Di Maio and Tom Buto had assembled a set of six Hitchcock chairs with slat backs, bolster tops and rush seats. The circa 1830 chairs all featured an 18-inch seat height. An unusual pine tool box, circa 1900, was decorated with an original oil painting of a New Hampshire or Vermont scene with a stag cresting a slope and a lake and mountains in the background. The East Dennis, Mass., dealers also brought a mid-Nineteenth Century cherry pie safe with original pierced tin panels and red surface.
Gary Promey Antiques, Atwater, Ohio, brought a Rhode Island tall chest, circa 1750, featuring very early if not original paint decoration. It stood on a tall bracket base and had a narrow 36-inch case. A pie safe with 12 heart and star tins that had been cleaned to an early yellow and blue was also on display.
Mount Vesuvius was erupting on a small primitive Italian Nineteenth Century oil on canvas displayed at Hallam Antiques, Hudson, N.Y. Grand Tour wannabees could also consult a folding tour map, “Rome Ancienne,” circa 1840, showing Rome’s ancient monuments, and if all of this was too tiring to contemplate, there was a William IV English reclining campaign couch, circa 1835, of mahogany and brass.
Hearth and home become the focus in the fall, and J. Gallagher, North Norwich, N.Y., has antique fireplace equipment covered in spades. For this show, dealers Jim Gallagher and Ruth Zager were featuring an important pair of New York gallery andirons, circa 1800, along with an English leather and brass bumper measuring a generous 5½ feet by 2 feet. Softening the mood generated by all that gleaming fireplace brass was a Maine hooked rug from the mid-Twentieth Century with a floral motif.
Wallingford, Conn., dealer Jane F. Wargo displayed a pair of Eighteenth Century raised panel interior pocket shutters †also called Indian shutters †which would be used to darken or insulate a room. The pair came out of Ashford, Conn. Also featured was a small box with a hand painted river scene on the top that had belonged to a Mrs Jarvis of Danielson, Conn., as evidenced not only by the name and town penciled on the lid interior, but also from the provenance that Wargo provided.
It was not all about art at Jenkinstown Antiques, but the New Paltz, N.Y. dealers capitalized on Hudson River interest to display several regional views, including an oil on canvas of sheep in a landscape by George Riecke in its original frame and an unsigned view of the Hudson Highlands, circa 1860. The big furniture story was an Eighteenth Century Dutchess County, N.Y., architectural corner cupboard with a molded recess panel doors, columns and shaped top. Remnants of exterior green paint with interior in original salmon made for a striking look.
John and Robin Sittig came from Shawnee-On-Delaware, Penn., with some prime examples of early Americana, including a paint decorated rope bed, circa 1830, an original painted tool box, circa 1880, a turn-of-the-century checkerboard and a Hepplewhite cherry drop leaf table.
Serious stoneware collectors always make a beeline to Mad River Antiques, North Granby, Conn. For this show, Steve and Lorraine German brought even more pieces than they had in May, including a hard-to-find example by Paul Cushman, circa 1810, an early Albany, N.Y., 2-gallon tall jar with a simple coggle decoration. The Germans also featured fireplace items, decoys and an unusual “sandpaper” pastel of a War of 1812 battle scene.
Front and center in quilt specialist Marie Miller’s booth was a maple half commode from Vermont, circa 1880, which held an ironstone pitcher from the same period. The Dorset, Vt., dealer’s ample selection of quilts was assembled beneath a hand routed sign from the Lake Champlain vessel Lightning.
Paul and Karen Wendhiser, Ellington, Conn., were mixing it up. They had four wrought iron white chairs from the 1950s‶0s, but they also brought a comfortable and extravagantly carved oak Morris chair with paw feet and an unusual floral “penny rug” from the mid-Nineteenth Century. A Gaudi-esque tramp art pedestal box and a pair of cast stone cherubs were offered.
Ed Miller of Pioneer Folk Antiques, Ellsworth, Maine, tried out the Rhinebeck show at its one-day summer edition last year †and he said he is happy to be among the regular dealers now. Presenting Americana, pure and simple, Miller and his wife, Lilly, were showcasing an early 1900s Adirondack twig/root stand, a Nineteenth Century cast iron hitching post with horse head in original blue paint and a rare boat painting on screen (Baltimore, Md., School) from the early Twentieth Century. One of Lilly Miller’s favorite pieces was a Twentieth Century folk carving of a water skier whose hair sculpting exuded the impression of speed.
A walnut Pennsylvania table, circa 1730, was marked $4,500 at wooden furniture specialist Richard Kyllo of Saddle River, N.J., and a birdcage Windsor armchair, circa 1810, was in original paint. Also on offer was a Nineteenth Century wood box, Pennsylvania blanket box, circa 1830, and a Nineteenth Century New England domed chest. A series of Hudson River School paintings decorated the booth walls.
Unusual seating options were offered at Vol. 1, Sharon, Conn., including a pair of woven metal French chairs and Mexican pigskin and palm wood chairs.
“Underappreciated” was the term Irma and Emily Lampert of Wenham Cross Antiques, Topsfield, Mass., used to describe a collection of reverse painted “tinsel” art the pair had on display in their booth. The art, usually floral motifs, was at its height in the mid- to late 1800s and featured a reverse painted scene on a panel of glass, enhanced with gold or silver foil that came from old tea boxes. When viewed from the front, the foil glitters through the translucent paint. “Tinsel painting continued into the early Twentieth Century, but the best examples are from about 1840‱890,” said Irma Lampert. The dealer, contacted after the show, said it had gone “amazingly well,” keeping her busy throughout the weekend.
Those who missed the recent auction of Dorothy Draper/Greenbriar material at The Potomack Company’s sale could find a luncheon service for six by the designer, circa 1950, comprising 42 pieces, at Poverty Hollow Enterprises of Redding Ridge and Stamford, Conn. Dealer Bob Baker also had English farm tables, an English six-plank coffer and a pine chest of drawers, circa 1850, from the home of Lord Willoughby de Brooke, Shipston-on-Stour, England.
Brandes said the show should be back at its usual Columbus Day weekend dates next year, which would be October 11 and 12. For information, www.RhinebeckAntiquesFair.com or 845-876-1989.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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