Published: September 5, 2017
Review and Photos by Andrea Valluzzo
BALTIMORE – The 37th annual Baltimore Art, Antique and Jewelry Show that ran August 24-27 at the Baltimore Convention Center proved that bigger is not always better. The show has been pared down from years past when it boasted some 600 dealers, but with just over half that number today, the show is still pulling in big crowds and yielding hearty sales. The quality of dealers and items on display have stayed strong and the show management, the Palm Beach Show Group, ran a host of special events to draw in new audiences.
Scott Diament, managing partner of the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show and president/chief executive officer of the Palm Beach Show Group, said, “The extraordinary collections showcased at the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show cannot be found anywhere else, so this makes our show the ideal opportunity for people to view and purchase some of the most amazing things in the world.”
Diament and his able team imbue the show with a sumptuous flavor, like all their other shows, and the Baltimore show certainly makes a beautiful presentation. Aisles are carpeted and wide, the lighting is bright, booths spacious and tall urns filled with flowers are strategically placed at the entrance and in aisles.
The show boasted a tweaked floorplan with one main entrance and two featured focus sections of the show: the Baltimore Fine Craft Show and the Baltimore Antiquarian Book Fair, allowing for intimate and relaxed browsing of these collecting specialties, set off from but still part of the larger show.
Show management recorded attendance at upward of 25,000 during the show’s four-day run, but more important than gate numbers or the show’s appearance is how dealers’ sales are, and while not all dealers will do well at any given show, most dealers we talked to went home pleased.
“While the show was noticeably smaller this year, my wife Deborah Bassett and I each had the best show we’ve had there in the past six years and one of the very best in our 18 years of doing the show,” said Steven Thomas, Woodstock, Vt. “Why? I wish I knew. Smaller show with a crowd that was maybe the same size as previous years, giving us all a bigger piece of the pie? I myself tried to price things reasonably and be flexible with a buyer with a genuine interest.” Thomas wrote up a nice Francisco Zuniga drawing that had full provenance, a number of fine prints overall and many other framed works of art. Deborah deals in jewelry and silver and also sold very well, both to retail and the trade.
Avi Girshengorn of Menorah Galleries, New York City, is among a few dealers that specialize in Judaica and the only one at this show. “It was a pretty good show and at every show we are getting new interest,” he said, noting he made sales to some new clients as well as returning customers.
The dealer’s inventory of Chanukah lamps is a primary draw for customers and is probably his number one collectible. A notable sale at the show was of a brass lamp that was more than 300 years old, to a customer from New Jersey; it had once belonged to a Jewish family in Poland.
Torah ornaments are also highly desirable and the dealer had on offer several good Nineteenth-early Twentieth Century examples from the United States and around the world. A standout was a sterling silver Torah crown from a synagogue in New York City.
A healthy, but not overpowering, selection of paintings was featured at the show. Montague Dawson’s “The Lightning on Pacific Rollers” and John Stobart’s “New York, Shipping on the East River” vied for attention at Rehs Galleries, New York City, while Guarisco Gallery, Washington, DC, displayed Kyu-Hak Lee’s “Monument-Self-Portrait in a Felt Hat (Vincent van Gogh).” Fitting for a show in a port city, Art and Antique Gallery, Worcester, Mass., embraced a nautical theme with several fine Nineteenth Century paintings depicting boats or harbor scenes. Dealer Bill Union also offered still lifes, portraits and landscapes. David Brooker Fine Art, Woodbury, Conn., reported a good showing with nine to ten sales to both returning and new clients from as far away as Florida and California.
Michael Teller of TK Asian Antiquities, Williamsburg, Va., wrote up sales to both new and returning clients, including a glazed Tang dynasty Nobel equestrian ceramic with a rare color combination. “The returning customer client base is strong and shows the loyalty of the Baltimore show collectors,” Teller said.
Also happy with the show was Susan Barr Antiques, Palm City, Fla. “We were very happy with the Baltimore show this year. It continues to be a consistent show for us for sales and attendance was good. We had many ‘return clients,’ which is always a good sign,” Barr said, noting sales of three wall/coat/hat racks, a glass top display cabinet on stand (coffee table), a pair of blue French Bergere chairs, an English shoe pump bench and miscellaneous smalls. “Overall, we think it was a wonderful show and beautifully done.”
“I am happy to vouch for the continued relevance of this show, which brings in dealers with high-quality merchandise as well as customers from Philadelphia to Washington,” said Christine Magne of Christine Magne, Antiquaire, Philadelphia.
Jewelry was an integral part of the show and a good mix of dealers was curated; offerings ranging from vintage to antique pieces. Drucker Antiques Inc, Mount Kisco, N.Y., noted much interest in Georg Jensen jewelry, selling a vintage Georg Jensen necklace in the grape motif as well as an interesting pair of chandelier-style earrings by Sakamoto. “It was important for us to exhibit at the show as many shows that were traditionally on our fall schedule are no longer held. The Baltimore show provided an interesting venue for us to keep in touch with our clients, and they seemed to enjoy the show,” said William Drucker.
While traditional antiques made up the bulk of offerings here, there are always interesting and quirky pieces to be found. House of Whitey, Dania Beach, Fla., had a great show, one of its best in years. The dealers specialize in World War II binoculars and fossils, which were well received. A noteworthy sale was a large fossilized amia (dogfish) that measured 36 by 72 inches that sold opening day. “We were busy the entire weekend. We got to meet new people and what we sell is very different and out of the norm for things you see at an antiques show. It was great to meet people who had great interest in our things.”
A key piece -and sale – in the booth of Nicolo Melissa Antiques, New York City, was a wonderful marble sculpture of a dancing faun by Attilio Piccirilli (1866-1945), 44 inches tall. The Piccirilli brothers designed and created many prominent works, including the famous Lincoln statue for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. “This year we focused on creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in which our sculptures could shine. We showcased several important sculptures,” the dealer said.
Ophir Gallery, Englewood, N.J., is known for its selection of leaded glass Tiffany lamps, but also specializes in Art Nouveau objects by both American and European masters, which Edo Ophir said did well here. He noted that last year was the best year he has ever had in Baltimore, until this year when his contacts and sales actually surpassed the previous year.
Doug Gaddis, Kensington House Antiques, Kensington, Md., also went home happy. “Attendance on Sunday was particularly strong. Baltimore has traditionally enjoyed a well-educated collector audience. We experienced a mix of clients – some who were looking to fill gaps in their collections, and others who simply reacted positively to what they found at the show.
“Our sales included a striking American Art Nouveau enameled gold necklace featuring a pendant drop set with opal and natural pink and white Mississippi River pearls; a superb 1850s New England Glass Company double-overlay cranberry perfume bottle with an open tulip stopper; a set of four finely-executed Russian polychromed wooden Easter eggs from the Imperial era and a number of smaller items. Clients are mulling over other items, with at least one confirmed follow-up purchase.”
Jill Fenichell, Brooklyn, N.Y., is already planning a return showing next year. “I had a good show – sold two pairs of Seventeenth Century chairs, three Eighteenth Century bow porcelain figures, silver, a small vintage tansu, vintage jewelry and a fine carved wood box. The show still attracts a wide audience – and I served mostly new clients,”
Jacob’s Diamond & Estate Jewelry, Los Angeles, noted good traffic Thursday through Saturday, with fair to good sales of Edwardian, Art Deco and Victorian pieces.
Richard and Lexy Kasvin of Chicago Center For The Print specialize in posters from the 1930s-60s – the golden age of graphic design in posters and just marked their fifth year as exhibitors here. “Whether European, American or other parts of the world, the response to our midcentury posters was overwhelming. A lot of interest, especially with the younger collectors,” Richard said. “We are definitely coming back.”
Suraj Joshi of Orbis Carto Numis, Fresh Meadows, N.Y., said he did better here than last year. “I do enjoy this show very much and has a unlimited potential. My interesting sales included a map of Asia from the mid-1600s and helping a customer acquire multiple Roman coins of each Roman emperor from a list I have published.” Joshi was able to find around a dozen during the show for the customer.
Over at the Baltimore Antiquarian Book Fair, B&B Rare Books, New York City, reported strong sales with a rare edition of Galilei, Galileo Systema Cosmicum (Cosmic System) as well as a set of the four Winnie-the-Pooh books.
“I was genuinely surprised by the numerous requests from dealers for larger spaces due to the strength of the retail trade at the show,” added Diament. “The amount of commerce that happened on the show floor from move-in to move-out was astounding, and we’re happy to accommodate additional sales by offering larger spaces for the display of more inventory.”
“The market for antiques, art and jewelry in the Mid-Atlantic region has always been strong and the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show has solidified itself as one of the top industry shows in the nation due to the diverse and quality selection of exhibitors and their collections,” said Rob Samuels, vice president of the Palm Beach Show Group.
The Baltimore show returns here next year, a week later, August 30-September 2.
For more information, www.baltimoresummershow.com or 561-822-5440.
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