NEW YORK CITY – The fifth annual Art, Design & Antiques Show returned to the St Ignatius Loyola Church January 24-26. As with previous shows, the three-day affair familiarly known as the Wallace Hall Show due to its venue, the large, columned basement in the church, continued its success, presenting an eclectic bunch of exhibitors showcasing everything from estate jewelry, Americana, decorative furniture, fine art, sculptures to Oriental art, handmade antique rugs, books, objets d’art and more.
“I thought it looked better than ever,” said Andrew Spindler, the Essex, Mass., antiques and design specialist. “Many visitors and customers told me how much they enjoyed the quality, variety and relative accessibility of the show, even going so far as to say they liked it more than the Winter Show! That’s a testament to the high standards and hard work of Brad Reh.
“Everything from the signage to the advertising was great, and his team couldn’t be more helpful. Brad has also assembled a really congenial group of dealers, which creates a good vibe. There were several new dealers in decorative arts that really helped to raise the bar. Attendance was good. There was constant traffic on Friday. Heavy rain on Saturday had some impact, but Sunday was very busy. Overall, I am very grateful.”
The show is just a bit larger than it was at its inception five years ago, 33 dealers this year, but it remains an important bridge between dealers and buyers, and is regarded as an accessible, approachable marketplace happening during Antiques Week in New York City. “This show has saved our butt,” said Trifles dealer Matthew Robinson from Wiscasset, Maine. “In an age where many shows are disappearing, it’s one of the few shows left that presents so much variety at reasonable prices.”
“Our show is unique because it offers visitors the opportunity to peruse and shop art and antiques on a much smaller scale and approachable atmosphere,” said Brad Reh, show co-manager. His wife and co-manager Vandy Reh pronounced it “a lovely show, with great turnout and dealers who left happy. The energy was wonderful. Several people tell me that they put it on their calendar.”
Booth chats were a new feature to the show’s programming this year. The 20-minute talks provided patrons with an opportunity to learn from experts on a variety of topics, everything from collecting decorative carriage clocks, presented by first-time exhibitor Scott Defrin of European Decorative Arts, to silver table art and French fine art décor by Jasmine Doussiere of Silver Art by D&R. Ron Bassin of A Bird in Hand was one of the speakers, talking about Grenfell rugs on Saturday. He had some great examples of this folk art tradition by people in rural communities of northern Newfoundland and Labrador in his booth, including a rare early bench cover, possibly for a piano bench, from the late 1920s-30s depicting three polar bears on ice floes. “The coloring makes it look very contemporary,” he observed. Another piece was a mix of silk and chenille. Titled “Ambulance Sled,” it was a lively scene of husky dogs pulling a sled and two medics en route to an apparent emergency.
Always interesting, always eclectic, Andrew Spindler Antiques & Design returned this year with a pleasing tableau of period furniture, Twentieth Century design, works of art, decorations, lighting and curiosities supporting his personal belief that beauty comes in many forms. For example, there was a compelling trio of giltwood mirrors on his booth wall that ranged from Nineteenth Century French rope twist to an exceptionally large French Nineteenth Century oval to Twentieth Century geometric. “As for sales, we were pleased,” he noted afterwards. “Among other things, we sold lots of smalls, including a large green glazed English pottery lion, various carved wood folk art animal figures, Midcentury Modern pottery and glass and a glass light house lens.” The French Nineteenth Century gilt wood oval mirror found a new home, as did a Louis XV period marble top table, a Scottish gueridon in rosewood with septarian stone top, circa 1830, a pair of Italian art pottery lamps and a railroad lantern. “Subsequently, we received calls and have made two more sales of items people saw at the show,” said the Essex, Mass., dealer.
There were exceptional silver items this year. Silver Art by D&R, Marseille, France, and New York City, and Greg Pepin, the Danish Georg Jensen specialist, had great presentations. At Silver Art by D&R, a choice piece was a rare antique silver and vermeil drageoir, or ceremonial sugar bowl, 1810, by Maitre Orfèvre Pierre Bourguignon. It was decorated in the Louis XVI style, featuring a vine garland with three heads of Pan, associated with wine and mirth, and the lid was topped by a cupid as finial. “It was a good show for us,” said co-owner Jasmine Doussier. “We saw a steady flow of customers over the three days. We had some repeat clients that came and purchased antique drawings and a few decorative bronze sculptures by Ferdinand Barbedienne. We also sold several antique French silver pieces, such as lamb chop holders and melon forks by Odiot as well as oysters sets and menu holders. We met quite a few new clients, and sold a gorgeous silver and crystal table centerpiece by Limousin & Souche. All in all, a lovely show.”
At Danish-American silver expert Greg Pepin, it was Georg Jensen from A to Z, including a sterling silver Jensen Art Deco pitcher with removable lid and horn handle, designed by Johan Rohde from circa 1930. Creator of the iconic Acorn pattern flatware, Rohde’s Jensen items combine elements of both Art Nouveau and Art Deco while adding a Bauhaus look, according to the dealer.
There was a bit of mild panic on the part of show manager Brad Reh just before the show opened on Friday when Austin, Texas, Asian arts dealer Lotus Gallery had not shown up. In the nick of time, though, Jonathan Tung and his staff appeared, placing oranges among the items showcased in his booth. We learned that oranges are a popular symbol of good luck in the Chinese Lunar New Year, and this being the new year’s eve, the fruit did its part to convey a good result for Tung’s gallery. “The show was much stronger this year in terms of dealers and material,” said Tung. “Brad always does a superb job in hand selecting the dealers. And all the dealers in turn do an amazing job of editing and displaying their objects. The result is a wonderfully curated show with something for just about everybody. We had a good number of our clients from previous years stop by the show, the majority of whom continued to grow their collections with purchases from us and other dealers at the show. We also met several new clients and potential clients, ranging from novice to advanced collectors. Overall, we were happy with the results of the show. Our sales were diverse, ranging from Asian works of art, to antiquities and jewelry.”
Once again, Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, Downingtown, Penn., was seemingly in two places at once over the week. Here at the Wallace Hall show, his wife Deidre Healy represented the firm with the usual woolies and botanical prints, Fornasetti items, as well as a quartet of large hand colored copper plate engravings of seabirds by Prideaux John Selby, published in Edinburgh and London in 1834. Another interesting thing in the booth was the juxtaposition of two woolies, both depicting the same ship, the HMS Hero, but by different artists and apparently at different periods in the ship’s life, as the smaller depiction included a smokestack conversion, Healy pointed out. Paul Vandekar was set up at the Bohemian National Hall representing the firm at the New York Antique Ceramics Show.
For information, 203-920-1755 or www.rehshows.com.