Published: August 30, 2016
Review and Photos by Andrea Valluzzo
NANTUCKET, MASS. — A refreshing cool breeze, of the kind the island is famous for, swept through the Nantucket Summer Antiques Show this year as the show was revitalized by the Antiques Council with new dates and a new venue. Kicking off with a chic and well-attended breakfast preview serving fresh strawberries and cream with scones on Friday, August 12, the show looked stunning in its new home, the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club.
“The minute the doors opened at 10 am, we all knew that it would be a great show. As they entered the delightfully air conditioned space at the Boys and Girls Club of Nantucket, visitors were struck by how terrific the show looked and positive comments were unanimous,” said Kaye Gregg, the council’s director of shows.
Set up mid-island for years under a tent at the attractive but far-flung Bartlett Farm, the August 12–15 edition of the show saw its longtime sponsor, the Nantucket Historical Association, drop out last year to focus on presenting design events. Rather than say goodbye to a favorite show — in existence for nearly 40 years, the last 26 years under council management — the council decided to fly solo.
The council moved to the show to the Boys and Girls Club, a brand-new building situated only a mile from the downtown wharfs, making it very convenient for day visitors coming to Nantucket. The space is a bit smaller than the tent so the council had to tighten the dealer list a bit, but many perennial favorites were here and a few new dealers were added, including Winter Antiques Show veterans S.J. Shrubsole Inc and A La Vieille Russie, adding to the show’s cachet. In lieu of having a charitable sponsor, the council is making a donation to the Nantucket Preservation Trust and the Community Foundation’s Nantucket Fund through show proceeds.
The look and the feel of the show overall was much the same, with dealers presenting a choice selection of fine art, china and decorative objects, garden antiques, furniture and more. Nautical items are obviously saved up by dealers for this show and popular here with vacationers buying for their summer homes.
Results are usually a mixed bag these days at shows, but this one seemed to perform well, with most dealers we talked to reporting good results.
“It was a terrific show! New venues and new dates don’t usually add up to a successful show, but the council and the exhibiting dealers put on an exceptionally beautiful and seemingly effortless event — the fabulous air conditioning helped as well as it was 90-plus each day with 100 percent humidity!” said Denise De Laurentis, D.M. De Laurentis Fine Antique Prints, Philadelphia, Penn.
A veteran of this show for upwards of 15 years, De Laurentis said this was her best showing here. “The dealer quality was wonderful – something for everyone in price tags that made sense and were accessible. Personally, I had a terrific show with great sales – Seventeenth Century seashell engravings, Frederic Cozzens yachting prints, Eighteenth Century flower engravings, Currier & Ives sailor prints – things you would expect to sell at a show on an island 30 miles out to sea. But I also sold a set of fabulous Belle Époque French caricatures prints — oblong folio and colorful, as well as many others from this series.”
Chinese ceramics were selling at Imperial Fine Books, New York City, said dealer Bibi Mohamed, who praised the new venue as “wonderful.”
“We were impressed with the quality of the visitors to the show, who were both interested and knowledgeable,” said Andrew Chait of Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York City. “The new location is great, the attendance was good and the show never looked better. We sold both porcelain and sculpture.”
Marty Shapiro, president of the Antiques Council, said, “We were very pleased with the enthusiastic response of people, including attendees who heard about the show through our advertising and publicity and came for the first time.” His booth, Finnegan Gallery, Chicago, sold several great pieces he saved for Nantucket, including a 1930s filigreed table, a three-seater bench and a Nineteenth Century sundial.
Paul Vandekar of Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, Westchester County, N.Y., said this was his best show of the year, ticking off sales of creamware, mocha, English porcelain and Chinese export porcelain across the board. “The location of it was great, we were very happy,” he said.
Fine art dealers Joel Fletcher and John Copenhaver, Fredericksburg, Va., were equally pleased with the venue and turnout. “There were good crowds every day, even though we had fairly good beach weather, something that usually kills a Nantucket show. We saw a number of old customers and met some new ones. One of our most notable sales was a beautiful oil by Augustin Hanicotte to a West Coast collector who has bought from us before.”
Also noting a decent show selling to a mix of old and new clients was David Brooker of David Brooker Fine Art, Southport, Conn.
Nantucket’s own Sylvia Antiques and Forager House Antiques are veterans here. John Sylvia said the show was decent, noting the sale of a milliner’s table with a fine patina, and described the facility as “a huge upgrade.” George Korn of Forager House Antiques had brisk sales daily among collegiate memorabilia and Richard Kemble collages.
“The debut of the Nantucket Summer Antiques Show was a resounding and unqualified success. The odds were great: a brand-new event mounted entirely by the council. Forced into an inauspicious new date running smack dab against Americana Week in New Hampshire. A brand-new facility. A brand-new name. Four days of oppressive heat outside and perfect beach weather, the nemesis of any summer event,” said Victor Weinblatt, South Hadley, Mass., who noted he was sharing his thoughts as a dealer, not as a council representative.
“We built it and they came in record numbers. Word spread quickly on the small island. The show returned finally to its original mission: a great antiques event with great dealers selling great things in its great new super air-conditioned home, the Boys and Girls Club,” he continued. “Dance-free, band-free, party-free, 400 buyers — on a tiny island — on opening day flooded the floor.”
Echoing the results shared by many other dealers in the show, Weinblatt’s list of sales was long and impressive: a Nineteenth Century Ohio hardware store trade sign ladder; a tripartite Farm For Sale sign; a mid-coastal Maine set of diner signs for The Berry Patch with a trompe l’oeil scrolled banner-motif top; a Nineteenth Century ship’s store figural sign in the shape of a boat’s silhouette and a dozen signs sold via photograph from the booth to clients still in New Hampshire for Americana Week.
Michael Donovan of Antique American Wicker, Nashua, N.H., loved the new venue and declared that “interest in antique wicker is still strong on Nantucket.”
At the end of the show Kaye Gregg said, “We were thrilled with the response of the community who were happy that we continued the tradition of the antiques show on Nantucket. We are gratified with the dealer mix, which really worked, and of course loved the Boys and Girls Club. It was a real upgrade in every way. The gate was surprisingly strong and many people returned several times. We believe that we have established a firm foundation within the community for future shows on the island.”
New dealers A La Vieille Russie noted, “We were impressed with the quality of the visitors to the show, who were both interested and knowledgeable.” James McConnaughy of S.J. Shrubsole thought the show was beautiful and sold a variety of items, from early American to more modern pieces of silver. He summed it all up saying, “We love the location, we love Nantucket, the food is amazing and we will be back!”
For additional information, www.nantucketsummerantiquesshow.com or 413-436-7064.
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