Published: October 25, 2016
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos by R. Scudder Smith and W.A. Demers
RHINEBECK, N.Y. — Barn Star Productions’ second annual Fall Antiques at Rhinebeck Show ran October 8–9 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. Approximately 125 exhibitors displayed an array of antiques, art, estate and vintage jewelry, Oriental rugs, toys and banks, garden and architectural decorations, American folk art, pottery, Midcentury Modern design and more. They came from more than 13 states, bringing their latest finds saved just for Rhinebeck.
Among those compelling finds were a trio of items being shown by June Bertini of Ackerson Homestead Antiques, Park Ridge, N.J. They included family portraits of Martha Anne Hayes (b 1820) as a child clutching a doll in a red dress and either her mother or Martha as a young adult — and as a bonus, the actual doll (wearing a reproduction dress, however) that is seen in the child’s portrait. Family documentation accompanied this interesting group.
Also on offer here was a New England early Nineteenth Century set of playing checkers made from sliced corn cobs displayed atop a game board of checkers/fox and geese, as well as a paint decorated dome top trunk in original surface and dated 1830 on the back.
Things were ducky in Maile Allen’s booth. The antique prints and maps dealer from Poughquag, N.Y., showcased a dozen color prints from Upland Game Birds and Water Fowl of the United States, drawn by Alexander Pope Jr and published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York City, in 1878. Available by subscription only at the time, the intent of the portfolio, according the accompanying prospectus, was “to present to the American public a series of exact illustrations of some of our principal Game Birds and Water Fowl drawn from and colored to the life by an artistic sportsman who has given them years of careful and patient study…” Included were such birds as the ruffle headed duck, American quail, Canada grouse, canvasback duck and others. Always appealing, too, were Allen’s large selection of maps of the United States and Europe and the ever-popular county and town maps, including an 1867 plan of the town of Rhinebeck from Beer’s Atlas of New York and Vicinity.
Fine art was on offer by several dealers at the show, none perhaps having as many blue-chip names on the wall as Bill Union of Art & Antiques Gallery, Worcester, Mass. Set up in the front-facing space at the entrance to Building B, Union’s space was bristling with works by artists like Charles Hawthorne, Antonio Jacobsen — two, in fact, a ship’s portrait of the Moro Castle and the White Star Line’s Antilles — Maurice Braun, Adirondack artist Joseph Antonio Hekking (1830–1903) and French painter Suzanne Valadon, mother of Maurice Utrillo.
Lovers of Pennsylvania contemporary art could find much to love in the booth of Bob Smith, a dealer from Montrose, Penn., who mixed material like a Nineteenth Century Pembroke tiger maple table on Chippendale in-chamfered legs with striking contemporary canvases. He presented an abstract oil on canvas by Jack Kreueger (b 1941) titled “Looking Inside My Forehead”; a powerful, unsigned work titled “Stonehenge”; and a Danish Modern Abstract Expressionist piece dating from the last half of the Twentieth Century. Sculptural art was represented by a dramatic pair of Twentieth Century studio pottery table lamps with original shades from the Hickory Grove Studios of Warren Hullow and Isabelle Parks, Susquehanna, Penn.
“For me it was a good show,” Smith reported. “I acquired two works, as well as selling a large, powerful, late Twentieth or early Twenty-First Century painting of Stonehenge to a well-known New York City decorator for his personal collection.”
“We did well with furniture this time,” said David Steele, one-half of Steele & Steele Antiques from Middletown R.I. He and his wife Jane sold a great federal drop leaf, red painted table, circa 1800s, early on Saturday. It found a new home with a couple that was intrigued by its accessory “company boards,” two separate extension pieces that extend the table to accommodate six to eight people. Interestingly, the company boards were in natural brown, not stained red, because, as David explained, “They were stored when not in use and the table would be covered with a cloth spread anyway.” The Steeles also parted with four tiger maple chairs to a couple that planned to use them in their dining room, a small birch one-drawer stand and a pine dough box.
The unerring eye of Susan Wechsler of South Road Art and Antiques, New York City, was evident in several dynamic pieces she had on show. One was an antique architectural fan light from the Nineteenth Century and found in New England. The painted wooden fan light stretched 79½ inches long and featured carved lover decoration. Four colorful Arts and Crafts posts, circa 1900s, came from a camp in upstate New York where they had formed the supports for a built-in bookcase. Wechsler pointed out that they could be used as cornices or columns or for another built-in structure — “or they just look great on a wall.” The dealer had queried the Minnesota Historical Society about the origins of a well-weathered architectural carved wood gable end board, 80¼ by 40 inches, that had been found in Minnesota, but was unable to unearth any good information about the Nineteenth Century survivor.
Said Wechsler after the show, “Much interest in the fan light, a basket and the gable end board, and I expect some follow-up on those items. Local clients stopped by and expressed interest in coming to my barn to review some paintings and furniture, so exposure is always good.”
A Hudson Valley step back cupboard was stocked with four choice pieces of stoneware in the booth of Sanford Levy, Jenkinstown Antiques — three were American and one was European, including a New York Crolius crock, circa 1800, a smaller Crolius New York crock, circa 1900, a New York preserve jar, circa 1810, and a Dutch crock, circa 1800. “The show was good,” said the New Paltz, N.Y., dealer. “People were enthusiastic, even the Sunday crowd was interested in old things. I sold several top-quality items, including a large delft charger and all the stoneware I brought with me.”
Steve Thomas and Deborah Bassett, Woodstock, Vt., said, “It was our first time and we were pleased and encouraged. We handle a variety of items — paintings, prints, sculpture, jewelry, silver and decorative smalls. We sold a little from each grouping, including a nice contemporary bronze of a mare and foal, a Tiffany & Co. silver stirrup cup, a primitive oil and assorted jewelry. The show looked great and I understand that they’re looking for more diversity in offerings, which I think is being implemented. I heard the show had gone through a hard stretch before Frank took it over and now it is on the rebound.”
Boston dealer Stephen Score reported that he had a very good show, and indeed, his booth was active with shoppers early on Saturday. He wrote up slips for four early Nineteenth Century wooden panels with carved fans along the top rail over horizontal and vertical raised panel below in original salmon-pink paint. These panels were uncovered days before the show in a cellar where they had been stored for more than 20 years behind a mattress and brass bed. They were said to have come from a church in New Hampshire.
About the panels that were 17 feet in length, Score quipped, “They could have gone straight from the cellar to East Side.”
Score also sold a pair of beautiful painted, decorated, plaster wall panels with trees and foliage attributed to Jonathan Poor, about 1830, that he got out of a private collection the night before the Rhinebeck set-up. A great silk quilt with biblical quotes under the words “God is Love” and dated in large blocks 1876 was among the wonderful objects that were sold within minutes of the busy opening of the show, as was a very folky — almost Outsider-art-like — Odd Fellows embroidered cloth with depictions of the Ark, the American flag and, said Score, “a final consideration, a coffin denoting the ‘End of our Stay.’”
“In tough times and in an election year filled with uncertainty, Barn Star Productions and its crew along with a cadre of knowledgeable dealers put together yet another visually exciting show packed with wonderful objects spanning five centuries of the decorative arts,” summarized fine art dealer Bob Smith. “If you have yet to make one of these shows, you need mark your calendar and plan to attend either the spring or fall show or both! This fall’s show was, again, completely booked by dealers who populated the three large buildings with a large array of ‘eye-stopping’ material to enrich the homes and lives of those who collect.”
For information, www.barnstar.com or 845-876-0616.
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