Published: October 24, 2017
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
RHINEBECK, N.Y. – Sitting among themselves at the picnic tables that line the side of the building or huddled in small groups, talking with muffled voices and mechanically checking their watches, were about 50 people awaiting the 10 am opening horn at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds for the fall edition of Antiques at Rhinebeck that ran October 7-8. The fall show is smaller than its’ spring counterpart, filling three of the available bays at the fairgrounds, but many of the names remain the same, with a few additions sprinkled in and, as always, a quality and colorful offering of merchandise awaited attendees in near every booth. The show featured an assortment of proper American and country furniture, treenware, Americana objects, folk art, fine art from the Eighteenth through the Twentieth Century, nautical works, signage, stoneware, Modernist furniture and objects, American glass, silver, samplers and other embroidered works, carvings, tramp art, an assortment of sculptures and much more.
“The spring and the fall show both have their own distinct flavor,” said Frank Gaglio, show manager. “Overall, I would say the show turned out very positive for a lot of dealers. The clients that I bring into my show are qualified, they are buyers and they really support the community.”
As the dealers loaded in and began to set up, preshow sales started to trickle through the booths, with dealers doing the better half of the business that they love the most: buying.
Stockton, N.J., dealer Jim Grievo stood in his booth, the shelves and walls already set up and straightened with an assortment of American furniture, painted gameboards, hooked rugs and other Americana objects. The dealer was squinting through a loupe at a Nineteenth Century Native American bow that he had just purchased a few moments prior. “I always find something neat up here,” he said, as he focused in on the sinew string, determining that it was original and had never been off the bow. He ran his finger along the carvings and the traces of original paint that decorated the bow’s belly before finding a better place for it among the booth that would be his home for the next two days.
Another dealer that logged an industrious presale was At Home Antiques, Kingston, N.Y., that chalked up a number of early show slips, including a colorful gameboard and a gilt ship weathervane. Of course, the dealer had plenty more to offer, including a circa 1920 New Jersey merry-go-round pig in flying position with a white coat, black spots and a colorful saddle, as well as a 1940s gamewheel featuring the teams of the entire National League, a Nineteenth Century zinc rooster standing on a ball and a teal green Amish cupboard, circa 1830s.
Sitting in the center of the booth at Holden Antiques, Sherman, Conn., was a glowing Nineteenth Century shoe foot hutch table with a pine top on maple shoe feet. At the table’s center was a folky rocking horse that, while not entirely representative of a horse, was still adorable with its carved saddle and long neck, dating to the Nineteenth Century. Along the dealer’s back wall was a package deal in the form of two paintings: an oil on canvas that featured the American vessel Annie Burr, along with a portrait of the ship’s owner and captain, J.W Simpson, both painted by Luigi Renault (1845-1910). The Annie Burr traveled the world under Simpson’s command, including Liverpool, Antwerp and Buenos Aires. The artworks have never been separated, originally passing hands in the early Twentieth Century when Simpson’s Camden, Maine, home was sold to new owners, passing the paintings along with it.
Blues and browns stood out in Sanford Levy’s booth of Jenkinstown Antiques, New Paltz, N.Y., as the dealer brought along a selection replete with historical paintings, stoneware, country furniture and more. Hudson Valley paintings lined the wall, including a scene by J.A. Campbell that featured an expansive view from West Point, as well as a painting by Samuel L. Gerry depicting the view of Kosciuszko’s Monument, also at West Point. Sitting authoritatively at the head of the dining table at the booth’s center was a chair the dealer knows quite well and specializes in: an Eighteenth Century Hudson Valley flat armchair with mushroom ended armposts and attractive turned finials.
Although it was a crisp and bright October day, the moon hung high in the sky in the booth of Robert and Janet Sherwood, Cambridge, N.Y. A crescent moon stage prop measured 8 feet high and as many wide, covering the dealer’s back wall. The watercolored figure at the heart of the object had an air of mischievousness to his dark, arched eyebrow and bumped nose, but his grin let on that he was content with his position as the center of attention in the booth. Nearby, an antique sign asked restaurant patrons to kindly leave the house’s utensils, saying “Poor Boy Says silverware, ash trays, brick-a-brack are not medicine – and are not to be taken after meals.”
Harris Diamant is no stranger to antiques shows, but perhaps his art is. The special exhibit at this edition of Rhinebeck featured the old-time folk art dealer exhibiting his own contemporary art sculptures from his “Man-Made Heads” series. “Harris Diamant was one of the top folk art dealers in New York,” said Frank Gaglio. “He’s up there with Allan Daniel and America Hurrah, he was one of the icons of American folk art scene when it first began.” Diamant chalked up a few sales of his sculptures, which featured an assembled mix of found and created elements that juxtaposed perspective and space to create the form of a human head, often with gilt and polished metal features.
This Rhinebeck had something for everyone, and dare I say, even those who may have left emptyhanded, if there was anyone at all. At the very least, visitors got a drive in high-autumn along the Taconic Parkway, with its twists and turns and tunnels of New England foliage.
Antiques at Rhinebeck will return to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds May 26-27, 2018. For more information, 845-876-0616 or www.barnstar.com.
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