Published: June 7, 2022
RHINEBECK, N.Y. – Barn Star productions, as it has for the past 27 years, kicked off Memorial Day weekend with the two-day Antiques at Rhinebeck, May 28-29, with about 130 dealers in three large buildings at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. On our first day back in the office after the holiday weekend, Antiques And The Arts Weekly checked in with show promoter, Frank Gaglio.
“Overall, the show went very well,” Gaglio said. “Attendance was wonderful. The line just kept coming and there were a lot of young people, many who were attending for the first time. There was a downpour around noon on Saturday, but people were still coming in the rain. The gate was consistent with what we expect from Rhinebeck.”
Gaglio said there were a few last minute cancellations but also a handful of new dealers at the show, including Asian dealer David Chang, Evan Grant Art and Antiques and Susan Swift, who specializes in Native American works of art. He noted that furniture and decorations did well, as did garden ornaments.
“I was really thrilled to see the number of young people. They were buying a lot of art. We gave away a ton of return passes for Sunday and we had a very big turnout of return visitors then, and they were buying. And everyone loved the new food truck that was there – Scotties Fine Foods from Rhinebeck – they had chicken pitas, gyros and more.”
“Could there have been a less auspicious time for Rhinebeck?” mused Victor Weinblatt in an email to Antiques And The Arts Weekly after the show. “Uvalde, Putin’s War in Ukraine, the bear market, gas prices, the Covid surge, unchecked inflation, the supply chain [issues], horrific thunderstorms. But, somehow, Gaglio provided dealers with the opportunity to have a decent show amid the cascade of crises. Rhinebeck loyalists still turned up, from [New York] City, Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania: and they did buy. Last October’s Rhinebeck was a record-breaking show. This was not. But all in all, it was better than I expected in these very difficult times.”
The South Hadley, Mass., dealer reported numerous sales in several categories, including a Nineteenth Century splay leg bench from Maine that retained its original blue paint and a picket planter in original oxidized green paint from Missouri, a Nineteenth Century scrubbed top farm table with “superb” turned legs in original blue paint sold to a buyer who had an Eighteenth Century stone house on the other side of the Hudson River. For smaller decorative works, an eglomise picture of a cat and cast iron camel bank both found new homes. In his niche specialty of signs, he had buyers for a circa 1940 Maine boarding house sign that will be going to Long Island, N.Y., a circa 1930s Maine roadside dinner “light lunch” sign, an ironic arrow form sign from Virginia that read “No Place,” which sold to the same buyer of a sign that read “Not Responsible.”
Daniel Olson said that he thought this edition of Rhinebeck was “off from the two previous from last year for us,” which he attributed as possibly a result of the mass shootings in New York and Texas. He and Karen reported 17 sales during the show, including an Eighteenth Century knuckle arm Windsor chair, a folk portrait of two children, two cast iron toy circus wagons, two Sheraton mirrors, quilts, redware and several baskets.
“We love the show because there is something there for everyone. Frank and crew run a well-oiled show and [there is] always a good crowd,” reported Tom Jewett and Butch Berdan, Jewett-Berdan Antiques. The Newcastle, Maine, dealers also thought the show was “a little down from last May,” but nonetheless reported a good show and are already thinking ahead to the fall edition. Sales included several signs, some holiday pieces, architectural elements, a quilt and hooked rug, a carved statue, some patriotic columns, a folk carving and a bird tree and a folk miniature portrait of five siblings they described as “wonderful.”
Another dealer with the upcoming fall show on their mind was Barrett Menson of Perkins and Menson. “The show was a success, [we’re] always glad to set up at it. The crowd seemed to be there, and we sold across the board, from textiles, a jeweler’s bench and period Chippendale side chair, smalls and a number of early frames.”
Sam Herrup had several great objects, including a carousel horse he thought was possibly from Brooklyn, N.Y. A fabulous vignette in his booth was a landscape view of Rockland, N.Y., from Red Hook, N.Y., situated over a painted black chest that provided ample display space for a stoneware pig and painted tin boxes. Herrup likes both the ease and close proximity of the show to his home in Sheffield, Mass.
Paul Vandekar, Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, now of Downingtown, Penn., said he and wife Deirdre Healey focused on Twentieth Century design for this edition of Rhinebeck. The two reported sales that included woolies; a collection of Murano glass fish; a big collection of vintage gilt silver spoons by Michelson designed by various important artists, 1950-69; and Georges Briard porcelain.
Greg Hamilton, Stone Block Antiques, turned utilitarian objects – small hammers – into decorations by hanging them in groups on the wall of his booth. He had a large collection of them, of which he had brought just three dozen to the show, which he had priced at $975 for the group.
An interesting – and probably unique item – was a mechanized department store display figure of a standing ram playing a fiddle, which Richard Foust of Dordy Fontinel, said he had found in Central Virginia. He said the motors suggested a date of circa 1940s. Early in the show, he had sold a rhododendron root folk art frame with old photos.
Barbara Johnson, Pewter and Wood Antiques, was sharing booth space with Tom Baker, Baker & Co., Antiques. A set of three framed vintage – or possibly antique – bathing suits had red dots and Baker was in the process of sealing the deal on a tin chandelier when we passed by.
Nancy Douglas, Willow Springs Perennial Antiques, Rexford, N.Y., had a striking hooked rug that was either from the Nineteenth or Twentieth Century but based on a late Eighteenth Century print source, a 1795 broadside by Richard Burton, that depicted a carriage in a landscape. She pointed out that some of the riders in the carriage are black, which she thought was unusual and possibly unique.
Some dealers brought things they had acquired at Brimfield. Among these was Aarne Anton, who discovered an unusual pencil holder in the shape of a shrine that had velvet colored shelves. It was filled with numerous colorful pencils.
Close to the entrance to one of the buildings, Tom and Bev Longacre had sold so many things that there were gaps on the wall where things had been. That was in addition to a painted metal shelf that was waiting to be carried away. The Marlborough, N.Y., dealers had a good supply of vintage Christmas ornaments, as they always do.
Across the aisle from the Longacres, Boston dealer Stephen Score had a large booth that was sparsely filled with many amazing things, most of which he had not only acquired a short time before Rhinebeck, but which he found new homes for during the show. Among these was a trellis room that had been part of an interior of a church built in the 1840s in Iowa, a stunning Art Deco red, black and silver four-panel metal screen with a Noah’s Ark theme, and an herb drying rack that retained its original blue paint. All of these sold, as did an iron goose, a blue slat back chaise chair and a scarecrow that had been in a field in Indiana for the last 25 years, as well as some small things.
Other successful transactions spotted in the first hours of the show included a two-light candleholder with Nutting House Antiques, New Paltz, N.Y. James Grievo sold a carriage painting while a watercolor picture with Martin-Ferrick of Lincolnville, Maine, also went out the door. Francis Crespo, from Lancaster, Penn., had sold tags on two carvings – one of a carved wooden recumbent figure and the other of a boy with a sheep, in marble. Hudson, N.Y., dealer White Whale Ltd had marked both a shelf and a small box as sold.
Donna Kmetz had already made one sale when Antiques and The Arts Weekly stopped by her booth in the first hour after the show opened on Saturday. She loves doing the show and reported afterwards “[it] went well for me. I sold a nice range of paintings to previous and also new buyers. And the mood was really good all weekend.” She also gave a shout out to Gaglio and his team for doing everything he does to keep the show moving forward.
Scott Ferris, who is an expert in the works of Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), had a good supply of works by the artist on hand in a variety of media – wood engravings, lithographs, posters and books.
“The presentation serves as a means for introducing viewers to the diversity of the artist’s work, as well as introducing people to my services as a cataloger, lecturer, writer, curator and broker. I have been actively cataloging private Kent collections, while I continue to provide information for works in galleries and auction houses. So, in that sense, I was successful in engaging visitors with information about Rockwell Kent and his work. Mission partially completed. I will repeat all of the above in the upcoming Antiques in Manchester show, come August.”
Lori Frandino, Frandino Oriental Rugs, was enthusiastic about how well she had done. “The show was great for us – one of our top shows ever – with plenty of new customers. Early on during the first day we sold [a] Kazak with an interesting bird border…as well as [a] large room-size Kashan that was hanging opposite the entrance door. These are among several strong sales on the first day. But for us, the second day was even better, with more than twice as many sales, and rugs of every type finding their new homes, including two more large room – size – which always helps the load out! We’re thrilled with Rhinebeck – last year’s shows were very good for us as well and are already looking forward to fall. I wish all shows were so much fun!”
Bruce Emond of Village Braiders had recently discovered a cache of mixed media – paint and collage – pictures by Lynn McVickers, an unlisted Twentieth Century artist who liked to incorporate conspiracy theories into paintings that emulate en grisaille in the use of monochromatic tones of black, gray and white. Emond had found them in the artist’s Connecticut estate a few months before Rhinebeck and he was debuting them.
“The truth of the Rhinebeck show – it’s both vital and viable and has been for decades. It’s a quality market and attracts a pretty young crowd, an extended New York City crowd with very hip taste,” Emond said. “It’s our favorite show to do and is so much fun. I’ve never not done well there, and I had a pretty good show this year, too. It wasn’t my best Rhinebeck, but I sold a lot; I think the show was pretty good for a lot of people.”
One change to this edition that was not universally applauded was the way the fairground management altered the parking arrangements, eliminating the ability to drive close to the event and instead requiring visitors to park at a distance and walk up a hill. More than one exhibitor pointed out that this configuration was not ideal, given the aging demographic that makes up a key component of clientele for the show. It was the general consensus that the original layout of parking was better suited for both buyers and sellers.
Barn Star’s Fall Antiques at Rhinebeck is scheduled to take place Columbus Day weekend, October 8-9. For information, www.barnstar.com.
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