Published: February 1, 2011
There are a number of ways to judge an opening crowd at an antiques show without counting heads. At Antiques at the Armory, one of Stella Show Mgmt Co.’s entries to Antiques Week in New York, one way is to seek out the end of the line just as the show is opening. If it bends around a few corners, goes down the stairs and ends up at the men’s room, then all is well. And that is how it was on Friday morning, January 21.
One major collector, a Big Apple resident, said upon entering the show, “I support all of the shows during Antiques Week in New York, but I have the most fun here at this show and actually buy more things here than at all the other shows put together.”
Antiques at the Armory offers variety, from garden objects to folk art, and from Art Deco to high-style English and American furniture. Dealers in Twentieth Century material sell well there, and the funky and sometimes crazy things always seem to find buyers. Americana dealers have a strong presence, and people come to this show knowing that they will get an eyeful of objects in many different tastes.
Michele Oswald, show manager, noted, “We drew many people from outside the New York City metro area, including visitors from the South and many from the West, and it was gratifying to see more furniture sell than in recent years.”
This year Stella Mgmt welcomed six new dealers to the show, and two dealers returned after a year or two absence. And when one runs down the list of exhibitors, familiar names pop up of dealers who have taken part in other New York City shows during Antiques Week. There are dealers who have been in the Winter Antiques Show, and The American Antiques Show, who have joined the 26th Street Armory where they hope to sell better, and certainly pay less.
Andrew Spindler reported having a great show, selling among other things a 1930s steel chest of drawers by Norman Bel Geddes, a Swedish Gustavian painted chest of drawers dating circa 1830, a French Directoire period demilune table in mahogany dating circa 1810, a set of six large-format black and white air- and seaplane photographs taken circa 1924, a pair of Walter von Nesson chrome and walnut lamps, some English ceramics and a pair of plaster lamps after Giacometti’s “Tete de Femme” sculpture. Now, there is variety.
A large historical blue platter, with “Governor’s Island †New York Bay” across the bottom, was on the top shelf of a case filled with other historical pieces in the booth of William R. & Teresa F. Kurau, Lampeter, Penn., while another case was filled with a fine display of Liverpool pitchers, many depicting large sailing ships and/or portraits.
Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, White Plains, N.Y., showed a massive Dutch Delft Imari vase and cover, circa 1870, hexagonal reeded-form cover surmounted with a large lion on its hind legs holding a shaped shield.
A French store mannequin, circa 1930, was leaning on a cast iron and wire fence with a “Beware of Dog” sign on it and a stuffed Husky seated in front of it in the booth of Praiseworthy Antiques, Guilford, N.Y. A tombstone once paid tribute to Gay Pete, 1929‱944. A birdcage, the largest one on the floor, in six tapering sections, painted white and black, about 5 feet tall, complete with feeding doors and perches for the birds, was shown by Barnard of New Hope, Penn.
Steven F. Still Antiques, Manheim, Penn., had a booth filled with many painted objects, including a large commemorative plaque on the back wall for Washington Light Guard, Captain John Fagan, an oil on board measuring 52 inches high and 42 inches wide. It was painted by Edward Kranich, Elizabeth, N.J., marking the organization of the light guard on October 6, 1918, and depicting firemen pulling a firefighting wagon and a portrait of George Washington on the top. Additional pieces related to firefighting were models of early equipment, a pumper and a hose cart, from the Smithsonian collection. When Steven was asked what the tall piece of cast iron he was leaning on started out life as, he thought maybe some sort of rack for holding pipes. He was more accurate, however, when he added, “It is now a piece of sculpture, and heavy.”
Punta Gorda, Fla., dealer Michael Whittemore enjoys a large booth at the front of the show, and has no trouble filling it. An early Nineteenth Century apothecary in old blue paint, six rows of drawers with three across, and open shelves in the upper section, was at the center of the booth, and a large vibrant painted game wheel was displayed on the side wall and was visible from halfway down the aisle. A large glass lantern with copper top needed to be electrified, and a large cod fish weathervane, Washburne & Co., had a gilt surface and dated circa 1920.
Robert Snyder / Judy Wilson of Wiscasset, Maine, offered a collection of doorstops, including three examples of Old Salty, and a nice hearth rug depicting a pair of moose gazing over a pond containing two herons hung on the back wall of the booth. The rug was felted wool on burlap, measured 63 by 19½ inches, and was found in Vermont. “We have had a good number of buyers from all parts of the country,” Bob Snyder said, noting that a quill weathervane was going to Texas, a cast iron star millweight was destined for Minnesota, and three pairs of Indian clubs went to Michigan collectors.
A wonderful elephant doorstop, in perfect original paint, was in the company of several other stops in the booth of Joan Bogart, Oceanside, N.Y. Others smalls included a few flower pots and a cast iron turtle lawn sprinkler. A pair of cast iron garden side chairs, with matching bench for two, showed a coat of bright white paint. Special interest was in a pair of cast iron, painted seated dog andirons by Clancy. “I have had that form before, but never painted,” Joan said.
It was impossible to walk into the booth of Chuck White, Folk Art & Antiques, Warwick, N.Y., without being aware of the short-horned Jersey cow weathervane by Fiske. It was of large size, 48 inches long, with cast head and the original weathered surface. “I have bought a good number of weathervanes from one collection and have been after this cow for years,” Chuck said. He noted that “the collector did not even have a stand for it, but it was just lying on the floor with a cover over it.” An interesting carved limestone head by Dayton, Ohio, artist Donald Richard Miller was dated circa 1940.
“They were taking down this building in Taunton, Mass., and I was looking at the cast iron capitols way up on the building and had no idea they were quite so big and very heavy,” Bob Withington of York, Maine, said of two of the objects he displayed at the front of the booth. Adding to the weight were the granite tops he had made to create tall tables that would make perfect bars or patio/sunroom furniture. A pair of large lead eagles, facing, once stood guard at a Pittsburgh estate, later went with the owners to a home in Florida, and came to Maine to join the Withington inventory. They dated circa 1900 and had a nice weathered surface. Two pairs of cast iron urns were offered, New Orleans origin, but so close “they can be used as a set of four,” Bob said.
A pair of Swedish demilune tables with an unusual black and gray painted surface, Nineteenth Century, was shown by Dawn Hill Antiques, New Preston, Conn. They could be used separately, but when put together formed a table with a 45-inch diameter.
A bronze panel with a parrot design came from the Brickman estate, Long Island, and was offered by the Village Braider, Plymouth, Mass. “It was originally part of the conservatory,” Bruce Emond said, and other pieces from the same source will soon be available. A large table for stroke sanding, steel top and adjustable heights, was at the front of the booth, and a large collection of Indian clubs was attracting buyers.
Bridges Over Time, Newburgh, N.Y., caters to the Twentieth Century with a collection of furniture and works of art. A four-panel screen or wall hanging, silver and gold leaf, depicting stylized trees, by Beatrice Kendall (1902‱968), New York, was against the back wall of the booth. It was oil on wood and dated circa 1930‱940. A pair of Hollywood Regency settees, circa 1950s, were retailed by Lord & Taylor when first introduced.
Scott Bassoff / Sandy Jacobs, Swampscott, Mass., offered a nice paint decorated child’s bench, Pennsylvania origin, in red with birds stenciled across the back and supported by six legs. A carved and painted basket of fruit, late Nineteenth Century, measured 8 inches high and 10½ inches wide. “I am still buying and selling nice early painted furniture, rugs, etc, but I have also put much attention to my selection of jewelry, which is selling very nicely,” Sandy said.
“That shot of me at the Holiday Wilton Show in the paper sure showed off my bald head,” Victor Weinblatt of South Hadley, Mass., said before asking, “Do you think I have too much in my booth this time?” Actually he did not, for there was still a bit of floor space unused and possibly room for one or two more signs on the walls. “Stud Service,” “Crabs,” Concord Grapes” and “Peanuts” were among the many signs competing for room with a hanging corner cupboard, a painted and carved model train locomotive, large Canada goose, tall glass Coke advertising bottle, 7UP advertising bottle, apothecary trade sign, milk carrier and a selection of wire mannequins. Several days after the show closed, Victor reported his best show there in the past four years, and that he had heard from some people who had been there and were now ready to buy.
Carved wooden eagles looked right at home with many nautical paintings and ship models in the booth of Port ‘N Starboard Gallery, Falmouth, Mass. Bellamy was represented with a large eagle, 57 inches long and 14 inches high, weathered pine surface, “Don’t Give Up The Ship” banner with flag, and a carved eagle and flag sculpture with the original polychrome surface was signed on the bottom by J.L. Clarke, Glacier Park, Mont. Clarke was an American Indian (1881‱970), and the piece measured 12 inches high, 12 inches wide and 10 inches deep.
Mad River Antiques, North Granby, Conn., offered its usual selection of stoneware, seven pieces mostly with cobalt blue decoration, over which hung a skating scene, Union Pond in Williamsburg, N.Y., by Thomas and Eno, 1863, attributed to Winslow Homer. A small collection of ink bottles, both glass and stoneware, dated from 1860. A red sold tag hung from a tall, narrow, cane-seat chair, a dunce chair according to Steve German. “When you were bad in school, the teacher made you sit in that kind of chair in the corner,” he said.
Stevens Antiques, Frazer, Penn., showed a carousel rooster and an interesting pair of child-size horn chairs, each outfitted with a seated mannequin. The dealers noted that “there was no pattern to the things sold,” including a life-size ship figurehead, a good two-part display cabinet, a collection of Civil War letters, a group of things (fire bucket, spyglass and book) once belonging to a sea captain, a life-size bust of a Roman emperor, a couple of canes and the display case they were in, and some smalls. They noted that most of the buyers were from the Northeast, and only one repeat customer who spent less than $100.
Across the aisle, Jim Hirsheimer of Erwinna, Penn., offered a great pair of carved and polychrome dogs, circa 1925, brown with large black spots, including the eyes.
A large cow weathervane, Cushing and White, 1870‱880, with the original surface, stood at the front of the booth of A Bird In Hand, Florham Park, N.J. Off in the corner a large sheet metal barn owl was shown, a figure once used as a scarecrow for birds. A nice pair of cast iron attention Labrador andirons was displayed on a pedestal, and Ron Bassin was quick to point out that “they are missing the dogs.” He also gave a rundown of objects sold, an impressive list that included a cow weathervane, two decoys, Spirit of ’76 painting, three Grenfell mats, three grouping of birds, tiger maple settee, blue sponge decorated box, two pieces of stoneware, a calligraphy, a duck pictorial twig panel and more.
Thurston Nichols American Antiques, Breinigsville, Penn., had a long Baltimore settee in the original paint, eight legs, circa 1810, and a fine step back cupboard with the original paint decoration, circa 1810, from Lancaster, Penn. A pair of eagle weathervanes sat on balls over arrows, each in the original weathered surface.
A carved and painted ventriloquist dummy with velvet jacket and cotton shirt came from a Massachusetts collection and was shown by The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Md. Across the aisle. Mario Pollo of Bearsville, N.Y., had a large pair of reclining lions in marble, facing each other, and among the three horse weathervanes was a Black Hawk with weathered surface. Included with two other papered hat boxes was one in the shape of a top hat.
A red sold tag was stuck on one of the ears of a metal pig in the booth of Hilary & Paulette Nolan, Falmouth, Mass., a life-size figure that “we think came off a carousel,” Hilary said, and a harvest table also sold the first day. A gilded cod fish weathervane, possibly by Cushing, circa 1880‱900, was displayed on a chest, and a wonderful diorama of large size depicted a Maine island ferry, plank on frame construction, circa 1885‱900, and of New England origin. The tag noted a “salty design.”
An architectural allegorical representation of spring, circa 1870‱880, New York, measuring 36½ inches by 60½ inches, was among the first things sold from the booth of Jewett-Berdan of Newcastle, Maine. “The piece is going to travel to York, Penn., where we are doing a show, and then back to Connecticut to the buyer,” Butch Berdan said concerning its delivery plans. Additional sales on opening day included a folky miniature of a boy in a red dress, a room-size hooked rug and a banner weathervane. Still on the wall was a hooked rug depicting two folky facing dogs against a floral and leaf background, late Nineteenth Century, 94 by 41 inches.
The Finnegan Gallery, Chicago, had a nice French painted wood boucherie display table with the original thick marble top and lower shelf, circa 1910, with the top measuring 56 by 27½ inches. A classical Philadelphia marble top center table in walnut, circa 1830, was at the front of the booth of J. Gallagher, North Norwich, N.Y., and Cunha-St John, Essex, Mass., had a red leather top library table in mahogany with working drawer and four false drawers. It was English, circa 1820.
Furniture filled the booth of Heller-Washam, Portland, Maine, including a pair of Queen Anne compass seat side chairs in cherry, Norwich, Conn., circa 1760, with tall backs. A sold tag was attached to a large sign that showed the rates for dockage, with the size of the vessel determining the cost. “We have something for the man who has everything,” Don Heller said, pointing out a large glass urn-type vase, about 18 inches tall, filled to the top with early and colorful fishing bobbers.
The booth with the most shine goes to Eve Stone, Woodbridge, Conn., with her vast collection of brass and copper pieces, including a large bulbous kettle with gooseneck spout, swing handle, American copper and measuring 15½ inches in diameter and 16 inches high. It is of Pennsylvania origin. “I love the copper and brass, but one of my favorite things this year is the pair of cast iron bear andirons from a foundry in Tennessee,” Eve said.
James and Judith Milne, New York City, also exhibiting at TAAS, brought to the Stella show a mixture that included a camel trade sign that was originally at a tobacco shop in Brooklyn, circa 1880s, and two canoe paddles, painted with fishing lure designs, that were sold as the show opened. A chrome console table with glass top, circa 1950‱960, and a marble bust of T. Miller, dated 1860 and signed by Thomas Duckett, were offered by More & More, also of New York City.
Scott Estepp, Cincinnati, Ohio, hung an oval chandelier, possibly Italian, for candles and dating from the early Twentieth Century, and said he was “pleased with the opening hours of the show.” Lance Hoyt Antiques, Brewerton, N.Y., a few booths removed, had sold a large round window, about 8 feet in diameter, that was going to a Tennessee collector.
By the end of the day, little remained unsold in the booth of Schorr & Dobinsky, Bridgehampton, N.Y. Red tags decorated a large round mirror, two cake plates, a pair of leather chairs with wooden arms, three birdcages, including a large one with double turrets, a gathering of stone birds, a tall case clock and bench supports in the form of serpents. New York City clients were among the buyers, but slips were also written for people from Rhode Island, California, Florida, Texas and Virginia.
When the dust had settled and the Sunday football games were over, Michele Oswald told Antiques and The Arts Weekly on Monday that “the show went well, Irene Stella came over from the Pier Show and loved it, and the level of the visitors was high, they asked questions and knew antiques, and best of all, they were interested in buying.”
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