Published: January 16, 2012
What better way to mark the new year than with something old? The New Year’s Show at Birchwood Manor, conducted January 7‸, offered a select grouping of fine antiques and vintage items that ran the gamut from antique Chinese porcelain to turn-of-the-century American paintings to Midcentury designer jewelry.
The gate was up over last year, though it was hard to compare at first, since this is the first year the show has gone from a three-day event to a Saturday-Sunday-only show. When show manager Allison Kohler ran the numbers, however, she estimates that about 400 more people attended the show this time out. Describing the event as “incredibly successful,” she said making the switch to a two-day show was an excellent decision. “Overall, it was a great show and a great way to start the new year †very encouraging.”
More importantly, the uptick in the gate apparently translated into strong sales. “We had a number of people with very good shows,” she said, adding that there were also many with good shows and very few with not-so-good shows.
The venerable show attracts a loyal following among dealers, and Art & Antique Gallery, Worcester, Mass., was in its usual place, offering a select mix of fine paintings. Standouts here included a scene of a group of tigers by Austrian artist E. Hilda and a woman in the bath fixing her face in a mirror by Robert Brackman (1898‱980). Depicting the half-nude woman with her back to the artist, the latter painting has a movement that brings to mind Degas’ “The Dancer” of 1874. The Russian-born painter is best known for his still lifes and figure painting.
Jaffe & Thurston, Wawarsing, N.Y., is also known for its collection of fine paintings. Highlights in the dealer’s booth included Minnie Lee Judson’s tender portrayal of a shepherdess and her flock. Judson (1865‱938) studied at Yale University and was a member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts and the American Federation of Art. She participated in the charter exhibition of the New Haven Paint and Clay Club in 1900 and was represented in exhibitions at the National Academy of Design and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Among the dealers who had a good showing was Tradewinds Fine Art, Narragansett, R.I., which less than one hour into the show Saturday morning had already sold three paintings. Steve and Doris McKell were busy wrapping up these paintings up for customers as well as filling in the “holes” on their booth walls left behind after the sales, but they did say one of the works was an Alfred E. Smith painting. The couple had featured a grouping of Smith’s paintings at the show, which resonated with buyers.
After the show, Steve McKell said that it had been a good show and both days were busy. The other two works that flew out of the booth right after opening were works by Gordon Grant and Alois Arnegger. Sales continued all weekend, and included a George McConnell seascape, an early Block Island painting, a George Whittaker landscape, a Milton Burns marine painting, a Nineteenth Century American Impressionist painting, a William Merritt Post work and several paintings to a local gallery owner.
Specializing in ceramics from the 1850s to the 1950s along with fine furniture, William H. Lorne Antiques, Manchester, Conn., offered two choice examples of Royal Doulton †a large compote, circa 1900, with a vibrant border on the exterior and images of ships on the interior, and a covered bowl painted with village scenes.
Marvin Baer of The Ivory Tower, Ridgewood, N.J., always has a fine selection of Japanese Satsuma and Imari ceramics. Highlights included a large Nineteenth Century Imari fish plate and a pair of double-handled Satsuma vases with bird decoration.
Susanna Lione of GemLily, Lambertville, N.J., was at the show with her jewelry designs. Trained in her native Italy as a goldsmith with expertise in gemstones, she often takes antique items and gives them a contemporary yet timeless feel as jewelry pieces. Her offerings at the show included a necklace in 18K gold with cognac diamonds from Brazil on a leather cord and an antique ivory Japanese button with a face carved on it that she set into a ring with a hand etched Japanese cloud motif pattern on the sides.
Fine jewelry was well represented in the booths of Brad Reh, Southampton, N.Y., who showcased a rare David Webb elephant brooch set with diamonds, rubies and a large pearl that was the pachyderm’s head. Webb is well known for his enameled animal-themed jewelry, but this unusual piece was clearly among the innovative jewelry designer’s best pieces. In another ballroom in the show’s elegant venue, eye candy in the booth of Anita Taub, New York City, included an 18K yellow gold necklace of interlinking rings from the 1950s.
Good Earth, Cream Ridge, N.J., not only had 1940s‵0s estate jewelry pieces, but some vintage Steiff bears, 1970s‸0s reproductions of classic examples and an anniversary Minnie Mouse stuffed animal.
Among the most interesting one-off pieces at the show was an artist’s proof for a tole tray, circa 1950, that was offered at Vintage Matters, Mount Bethel, Penn. The proof, along with the tray that would be later made, were unique custom pieces, built to the individual client’s specifications.
Philip Chasen Antiques, Oyster Bay, N.Y., featured an elegant assortment of choice Tiffany and other styles of table lamps. Sales were strong, with the most interest shown in French glass, Tiffany lamps and bronze, as well as Fulper pottery and French bronze. A notable sale for Chasen was a wonderful Tiffany Studios fleur-de-lis double candlestick lamp.
Bernice Conn, Voorhees, N.J., had a good selection of antique canes, with one sure to appeal to every cane collector from dogs to animals to ivory examples. A Max Maurer oil of a French street scene (Paris or Provence?) was hung nearby and quite appealing. Over at Carol Ann Kooperman’s booth, the Blue Bell, Penn., dealer added a colorful and whimsical look to the show with her booth full of majolica.
JMK Shows has two shows coming up in short order in Sarasota, Fla., and its next event in the tri-state area will be the White Plains (N.Y.) Antiques Show February 11‱2. The summer edition of the Birchwood Manor show will be July 28′9. For more information, www.jmkshows.com or 973-927-2794.
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