Published: March 13, 2012
Reinvigorated, diversified and rebranded, the Maryland Antiques Show at Hunt Valley was a crowd pleaser in its debut showing February 24-26.
Many dealers did very well, only a few not so well, and attendees came out in droves †the gate was triple over last year’s fair, according to the Antiques Council, which took over management of the show this year. Among the changes, the revamped show at the Crowne Plaza Baltimore North hotel boasted a new floor plan.
The changes went a long way to rectifying past issues with some dealers in conference rooms feeling apart from the show. By relocating the show’s former entrance through the hotel lobby and into the Dulaney Room, which housed 11 dealers, show traffic easily flowed into the atrium that housed the bulk of the show with nearly 30 dealers. The two rooms flowed into each other and no dealers escaped attention.
“By all accounts, I think the show was a success,” said council president Marty Shapiro, who did double duty as an exhibitor at the show, with his Chicago-based business, Finnegan Gallery. “It was just a great big breath of fresh air injected into the show and a number of people †attendees and dealers who had done the show before †made a point to come up to board members and say ‘great’ and ‘thanks.'”
Shapiro added that the committee was a large one, and from the get-go, it set out to improve the show. “They understood that they only get one time to do a do-over, and they focused efforts on getting the word out,” he said, noting the council was getting calls in the days after the show from dealers who heard how well the show went and were interested in signing up next year.
“We were very pleased,” he said. On a personal note, he said Finnegan Gallery noted some good sales and “we made some contacts with people we have never seen before,” His best sale was a double marble shelf French display table and on Sunday, he sold another featured item, a three-piece Heywood Wakefield wicker suite in the Moderne style, circa 1925″5.
A longtime dealer here, Steve Shapiro of SAJE Americana also praised the show committee’s efforts, saying it went the extra mile to make the dealers comfortable. And boasting many young members, the committee attracted a young audience, which was well received by the dealers, he said. “They brought out young people and the young people were interested and they bought. We sold primarily to young people. That’s the most important thing&f they start buying antiques, they have a lifetime of purchase and pleasure ahead of them. This is the bedrock of the antiques business.”
The dealers sold a card table from the Boston North shore with inlay that was absolutely spectacular, some patriotic mirrors, andirons, bowls and a charger, and sold a mahogany lazy Susan to the Johns Hopkins museum. “We had a really bang-up sale, it was a really great show from every angle,” he said.
Among the venerable dealers here was Charles Edwin Puckett, Akron, Ohio, who also did well this time around. Sales included a Seventeenth Century Dutch map of the world showing California as an island; an ancient Roman bronze appliqué in the form of a lion’s head, circa Second Century; a Fifteenth Century Book of Hours leaf with a miniature painting from Florence; and several ancient Greek and Roman coins.
Teresa Puckett said, “The preview was very well attended and every event †from the lectures to the preview party †was sold out. I was very impressed with the show’s turnaround! Several of our clients commented on how impressed they were with the show this year and would definitely return.”
Cunha~St John Antiques, Charlestown, Mass., also reported a strong showing here, selling a fine campaign chest, a folk marquetry stand, along with a figural cast iron fountain, as well as other items. “We met many new clients as well as reconnected with clients who had been absent for years,” said Wayne St John. “I have also had follow-up interest originating from the [show] committee’s proactive use of social media.”
A good 1930s oil by WPA artist Max Arthur Cohn (American, 1903‱998), along with a fine engraving from the early 1950s by New York printmaker Armin Landeck (American, 1905‱984) were quick sellers at Alan Platt, Platt Fine Art, Chicago, Ill. The gallery specializes in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American paintings, works on paper and master prints with an emphasis on American Impressionism, American Scene, Regionalism and Social Realism.
Phoebe Booth Antiques, Chicago, Ill., was impressed by the interest received from new collectors who were eager to find antique furniture for their homes. “As compared to other cities, I found these couples to be very interested in reviewing all items at the show versus casually walking the floor,” Booth said. Notable sales included a Peruvian mirror, circa 1890, and a northern Italian gypsy table, circa 1840, with both going to new collectors.
Leatherwood Antiques, Sandwich, Mass., sold across the board from Vienna bronzes to Black Forest to children’s pottery and folk art. Highlights were a rare and whimsical carved vase with a dressed boar “domestic scene,” Swiss, late Nineteenth Century, and a whimsical carved and painted scene of storks and swans, German, late Nineteenth Century. “We were quite impressed with the variety and quality of dealers in the show. It was pleasant as well as successful. We are looking forward to next year,” said dealer Mo Wajselfish.
In his fifth showing here, Phil Dubey of Dubey’s Art & Antiques, Inc, Baltimore, Md., had a great performance. Specializing in Chinese Export porcelain and American furniture made before 1840, Dubey sold a pair of large Chinese Export lotus ware saucers, a pair of Chinese Imari platters and a pair of Chinese Export famille rose vases that had been converted to lamps. In addition, he did well with furniture, selling a pair of Federal armchairs, a Baltimore sewing table and a rare Eastern shore Maryland Federal sofa.
Joy Hanes of Hanes and Ruskin, Old Lyme, Conn., also did well. The dealers, who have shown here since the late 1970s, sold a tiger maple table, a good Windsor chair and a cherry server, as well as some good smalls. “We think that the council has infused a new life into the show. The council has put together a dynamic committee, revamped the show layout, and if it’s not proof that the antiques business is still alive I don’t know what is. Customers we spoke with were all impressed with the changes,” she said.
Bob Haneberg of The Hanebergs Antiques, East Lyme, Conn., also went home smiling, selling some important Chinese Export porcelain, a good marine painting, a Connecticut cherry tall chest plus some good smalls.
Elliott & Elliott Art and Antiques, Harbor Springs, Mich., specializing in American folk art and antiques, offered such eye candy as a carved and polychromed Tlingit mythology figure, “Strong Man,” circa 1890; a large running horse vane, circa 1920, from Connecticut; along with an Egyptian Revival period King Tut carving with original paint surface, circa 1920, Philadelphia.
Joel Fletcher of Fletcher/Copenhaver Fine Art, Fredericksburg, Va., noted much excitement at the preview party and said the show schedule of lectures and other events brought in good crowds all weekend. The dealer’s sales were a tad soft, but Fletcher is seeing the show as a long-term investment that has great promise.
New to the show this year was Washington Square Gallery, Philadelphia, and dealer Denise DeLaurentis was quite pleased with the response given to their antique maps and prints. “We sold framed pieces, as well as matted pieces and even took a number of purchased prints home with us for framing,” she said. “The gate was sluggish at times, but this show has lots of potential, and we will be back next year. It was a pleasure to work with a young, eager, sophisticated committee who are up to the challenge of putting on a successful show.”
Other new faces at the show included Elva Needles Antiques, Kansas City, Mo., which had some sublime examples of English ceramics, circa 1820, in its booth; Robyn Turner Gallery, New York City, which offered a Chinese ivory figure of doctor lady, early Twentieth Century; and a Japanese ivory of an old man and a child, Meiji period; and Wells And Company/R. Wells Gallery, Binghamton, N.Y., which did not find hearty appetites for “modern” offerings here, not yet, anyway, but the dealer was thrilled during a children’s tour of the show that young audiences readily embraced modern art .
Rounding out the show offerings were Neverbird Antiques, Surry, Va., with several standout samplers, including a rare Hawaiian sampler made by Isabella Chamberlain in 1849, made in a school serving missionary families; Malcolm Magruder, Millwood, Va., showing a lavishly paint-decorated chest that was interestingly marked on the front with “Maria” and the initials “EK”; and Sylvia Antiques, Inc, Nantucket, Mass., offering two large mallards, carved and painted by Phillips Sirois (1892‱979) of Bath, Maine.
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