Brisk late winter winds buffeted patrons entering the Fox Lane High School when the Bedford Hills Antiques Show opened on February 24, but once inside, their pace was leisurely as they perused the 37th edition of this popular fundraiser for the local Lions Club.
The 61-dealer show, organized by Martin Greenstein of The Last Detail Antiques Shows, offered shoppers from the Westchester area its usual well-balanced mix of period American furniture, fine art and estate jewelry, posters, prints, pottery and textiles. There is no early buying hoopla, just Greenstein’s proven formula of providing a roster of quality dealers with reasonably priced merchandise †a combination that still works for him, his dealers and their customers. After five years, Greenstein merely tweaks the two-day show benefiting the local Lions Club by adding a few new dealers. But, mostly familiar faces can be seen. “The first show I managed” and “consistently successful,” the Bedford Hills Antiques Show “is my favorite as well,” said Greenstein.
He admitted that the recent ups and downs the antiques market has been experiencing caused him to wonder at first whether he would be able to fill the show’s spaces. “I was surprised to find that there’s a whole new trend of people looking for good shows to do,” he said. “Consequently, I had no problem in attracting dealers.”
Of the handful of new dealers at this year’s show, Scott Lyman of Sleepy Hollow Antiques, New Canaan, Conn., is emblematic of some who in the past have maintained only shops, but who are now taking their merchandise “on the road” in order to drum up business. Not only was this Lyman’s first Bedford Hills show, it was his first antiques show †period. Lyman specializes in fine period furniture and his pieces are on display in several galleries, including an antiques center in Stamford, Conn.
The clear gem in his booth was a Salem, Mass., Sheraton mahogany chest of drawers, circa 1810-1820, featuring an elliptical front with triple birch veneer panels and crossband mahogany borders flanked by ebony myrtle inlaid and reeded corner posts with acanthus leaf raised capitals with star-punch or snowflake background. Lyman posited that the piece might be from the workshop of William Hook. It measured 40 inches high by 43½ inches wide and 23½ inches deep. Also noted was a pair of Irish Chippendale side chairs, circa 1760‸0, featuring an intricately woven carved splat above an overstuffed seat supported by cabriole legs with subtle carved knees and pad feet.
Charles and Lori Breuel, who for more than 25 years have specialized in clocks and watches and late Eighteenth to early Twentieth Century antiques and art, represent the reverse trend. Until February, the Breuels, who are based in Glenmont, N.Y., did not have an open shop, but exhibited at this show and others throughout New England and New York. Now they also show at the Connecticut Antiques Center on Canal Street in Stamford.
“With the school going through major renovation the past three years, the show is challenging to do and very exhausting with all the walking and hauling,” said Lori Breuel. “It promises to be much easier by the end of the year in time for the Thanksgiving Pound Ridge Show.”
Breuel said the couple’s sales were acceptable. “Showgoers showed a lot of interest in our items across the board. Many admired the clocks and we expect that this interest may bring them to see us at other shows,” she said. Among the clocks on display was an English Edwardian musical clock, circa 1900‱0, featuring an eight-day brass movement and a quarter-hour strike on five tubes. In a mahogany case with inlay and crossbanding decorations. the clock towered at 96 inches.
“With our new Internet site †charlesbreuelantiques.com †we hope that we will be hearing from more collectors,” said Breuel. Sales included a set of hand colored prints from the Nineteenth Century, “all framed and ready to hang to a lovely woman who had been looking for just that arrangement and color for a long time. The Saturday crowd was friendly and interested in discussing many of our objects, a hopeful change for the antiques market in general.”
Way over at the end of the large gymnasium †the show occupies a small and large gym, plus a corridorlike commons area †Steve Fisch from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., was employing his self-described “shotgun approach” of having something for everybody, which worked this day. Everything from a folk art Vietnam-era “Huey” helicopter weathervane made of metal, Plexiglas and wood to a Nineteenth Century birding cane with an ivory cue ball and built-in German telescope and compass could be found in Fisch’s booth. He also had an unsigned primitive portrait of George Washington that had been done in the early to mid-Nineteenth Century and had been discovered in a courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., as well as an unsigned abstract gouache on paper from the 1930s‵0s and an abstract oil on canvas painting of a clarinet player by Dan Samuels from the 1940s.
“The show went well,” said Fisch. “There was a last minute flurry of activity in which I sold a couple of pieces of furniture †a matched pair of carved French marble topped commodes and two framed items.”
Yesterday’s Luxuries, a firm from Hamden, Conn., represented by Rick Linehan and Bob Voss, had a large but delicate ten-light chandelier from the 1940s and a mahogany and satinwood French vanity with bronze ormolu trim, circa 1910, anchoring separate corners of its booth. “Our best sale was the French vanity, which we sold on Saturday morning,” said the dealers. “Our other better sales were pairs of table lamps and sterling silver. The show was not quite as busy as usual, but had a steady stream of customers both days.”
Her customers know her as The Frame Lady. Nancy Kaplan from Mount Sinai, N.Y., had the goods to back up the moniker †a nice selection of antique frames of all sizes and vintages, plus a small collection of watercolors of roses, which figured among her sales at the show. “There was lots of interest in the Nineteenth Century gold leaf frames,” she said, adding, “Good looking show, thanks to the promoter, plus nice people to sell to.”
American and European art pottery collectors were well served by the presence of Paul and Jorie Martinez of Westminster, Mass., who under the banner of Paul’s Pots offer pottery that “is really art.” “Our approach is to offer three-dimensional art which fits into home design strategies where the collector wants historical anchors tied to contemporary context †to satisfy a need for good design tied to historical and cultural roots,” said Paul Martinez.
The couple found most of the show attendees “willing to engage,” and so were busy most of the time. “We didn’t see impulse purchasers or quick decisionmakers, rather buyers needing to connect on a plane of ideas about their next acquisition for home or collection,” said Paul Martinez.
Notable sales included an early vase by Max Laeuger for KTK, 1895, a grouping of important vases by Wilhelm Kagel and a Rookwood 8-inch standard glaze vase.
A staple exhibit at nearly every Greenstein show is Maile Allen’s antique prints and maps. The specialist from Colonia, N.J., missed attending the show this time due to illness, but was ably represented by her father, who assists at many of the shows she does. Saying she is “feeling better every day,” Allen reported after the show that her sales at the Bedford show were “excellent. It looks like it will be my most successful show ever.” Several serious map collectors purchased maps from the late Sixteenth to mid-Seventeenth Century from her collection.
“There was interest in my Bessler botanical engravings from 1613‱640 and the decorative hand colored British botanicals from the 1830s to 1840s,” she said. “The reaction to my collection of octavio edition John James Audubon bird prints was very favorable. It is always wonderful to have a show were the clientele is so friendly and knowledgeable.”
Greenstein’s next show will be in Armonk, N.Y., at Armonk High School with 50 exhibitors, April 21′2. For information, 914-572-4132.