Published: April 24, 2018
Review and Photos by W.A. Demers
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Thanks to the ingenuity – some might add the tenacity – of today’s antiques show promoters, these events can come in many shapes, sizes and flavors, always seeking to find that magical equilibrium of personality, quality, ease of accessibility and more that will successfully unite dealers, shoppers and the objects of their desires. There are the big stadium and armory shows, the school gymnasium affairs, the church basement gatherings and fairgrounds extravaganzas. Frank Gaglio and Barn Star Productions, decided to take a chance and revive a show that had a few previous iterations at the famous Lyndhurst Mansion but had somehow failed to gain traction.
Overlooking the Hudson River, Lyndhurst is one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions, former home to such Gilded Age boldface names as New York City mayor William Paulding, merchant George Merritt and railroad tycoon Jay Gould. By all accounts, Gaglio and his team hit a homer on the weekend of April 7-8, producing what participating dealer Bruce Emond of the Village Braider characterized as “a gem of a little show.”
Within a tented structure attached to the Welcome Center complex, a refurbished carriage house just down the hill from the mansion, Antiques on the Hudson was set up as a boutique-style show – just 27 exhibitors – but the compact emporium provided antiques collectors the opportunity to shop an array of garden antiques, period furnishings, fine art, estate jewelry, vintage and midcentury design.
It did not hurt, certainly, that the show was paired with other events at Lyndhurst that weekend, including the parklike estate’s annual season opener, Spring Blossoms flower show [see accompanying article], a well-subscribed High Tea event in the cottage and jewelry appraisals by specialists from Rago’s. Gaglio, added even more critical mass, however, by having Antiques Roadshow celebrity Leigh Keno lead a guided walk through the show on opening day in mock competition with American tastemaker Martha Stewart to find the best “finds.” (Keno conceded Stewart the winner, posting on Antiques and The Arts Weekly LinkedIn page, “This was a terrific event at Lyndhurst! Martha Stewart and I vied for sleepers and she won – finding several – adding to my already huge admiration for her talents as a Treasure Hunter!”)
Gaglio told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that the impetus for the show came when Lyndhurst’s executive director Howard Zar came to Gaglio’s Antiques at Rhinebeck last fall to see how it was managed. Impressed by what he saw, Zar realized that a similar event scheduled to coincide with the mansion’s opening weekend had a great deal of potential with a lot of synergies among a well-choreographed lineup of happenings in and around Lyndhurst, which itself is a showcase of original antique furnishings and fine art.
The formula apparently worked, as among the approximately 2,000 visitors to Lyndhurst over the two days, at least 75 showed up for the antiques show opening on Saturday, with Gaglio noting that a staffer with a clipboard captured three pages of email addresses of show attendees, which he will certainly use for upcoming shows.
“We thought Frank did a great job putting the show together, and have not seen such an impressive and steady stream of customers in years,” reported Joy Hanes and Lee Ruskin of Old Lyme, Conn. “We only sold two items, but both were furniture and were good sales – one was a distinctive one-drawer paint-decorated pine blanket chest or ‘mule chest’ and the other a Windsor comb-back armchair. We see great potential for this show and believe it will only get better each year. It was an interesting mix of merchandise, and it worked!”
“I thought the show went really well,” concurred garden antiques specialist Barbara Israel, Katonah, N.Y. “An excellent choice of dealers with lots of variety. Martha Stewart came and enjoyed it a lot and bought from Bob Withington. Lyndhurst’s director Howard Zar gave her a tour of the mansion…whose proximity added a wonderful dimension for visitors, especially as it had the flower show underway. I had the pleasure of having High Tea in the cottage, at $150 per person with $100 going as a donation to Lyndhurst.
Israel added that she was further impressed by the carriage house adjoining the antiques show tent with its old horse stalls that “had been brilliantly converted into cafe booths. I was surprised to discover a cast iron horse trough in the cafe that was marked ‘J.W. Fiske’!
“Dealers did well, brisk sales…very impressive gate for a first-time show…we got some good follow up and are expecting more.
“My best move was vacuuming my booth just before the opening at 10 am Saturday, and the moment I turned it on, the lights in the whole show blew. Mad scrambling ensued and soon we were back in business. I expect to be teased about this for quite some time!”
Everyone knows Vergennes, Vt., dealer Greg Hamilton as a quintessentially laconic Green Mountaineer. Rarely, he said, does he ever call a promoter after a show to congratulate him on a great effort. “I did in this case,” he told Antiques and The Arts Weekly. “Customers had nothing but positive things to say about the merchandise, the dealer selection, the look of the show, etc. We sold art, furniture, jewelry and decorative items. It was our best show in quite a while. The setup and take-down was easy and the location spectacular. Dealers were invited for a private tour of Lyndhurst on Sunday morning and it was a highlight of the show. The combination of flower show and antiques show and a springy weekend resulted in a great gate. Even the food was delicious. Frank and Lynn worked very hard to make Antiques on the Hudson a great success.”
Fine art was abundant. Peter Bazar of Saratoga Fine Art, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., sold a Constantine Kluge painting and one unsigned Hudson River School painting as well as receiving interest on other paintings after the show. “I thought attendance was very good for a first-year show,” he said, “And many positive comments on the layout of the show from the buyers and onlookers.”
Bob Smith has spent the last decade and a half as a dealer, most recently in the field of Twentieth Century Modernism. The Montrose, Penn., dealer said he would put Antiques on the Hudson at Lyndhurst as a “must” on one’s yearly calendar of events. “A small, yet visually sophisticated venue filled with quality dealers who brought a stylish mix of objects from the Eighteenth through the late Twentieth Centuries, this show promises to become a yearly event,” he said. Among the items of note leaving from his booth were a large and rare “shovel-handled” wooden bowl from the late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century and a mid-Twentieth Century Gabriella Crespi pencil-rattan console table.
“I sold quite a lot,” said the Village Braider’s Emond, “a big terracotta jar, French, Nineteenth Century, a sculpture stand and a pair of train station lanterns. I sold four things to New York City designer Stephen Gambrel. I was pleasantly surprised by this show – a continual gate all weekend, a great setting with an amazing mansion. I would say it was a perfect gem of a little show.”
Barn Star’s next event is the spring Antiques at Rhinebeck at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, May 26 and 27. For information, 845-876-0616 or www.barnstar.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm