Published: January 26, 2016
By Laura Beach,
Photos by R. Scudder Smith
NEW YORK CITY — Befitting what partisans would call the greatest show in the greatest city on earth, the 62nd Winter Antiques Show took it to the max this year, with more of just about everything, including weather. While the threat of record snowfall may have prompted some to flee and others to simply stay away, the aptly named Winter Antiques Show was busy on Saturday afternoon, January 23, even after officials declared New York City closed for business.
In a modest concession to climatological events, the fair wrapped up two hours early, at 6 pm, on Saturday. Up and down the avenues, children played in the snow. Exhibitors, bereft of public transportation, hiked back to their lodgings. With restaurants closed, some feasted on instant noodles, apples and pretzels scavenged from the dealers’ lounge at the Park Avenue Armory, the fair’s longtime home.
The Winter Antiques Show, which benefits East Side House Settlement, opened with characteristic panache on Thursday, January 21. Supplied by Barbara Israel, a Chinese carved-granite peacock, its tail feathers fully fanned, met visitors at the entrance to the exposition. The companionable gathering of curators and collectors from around the country, plus an opening-night flurry of sales, scorched any lingering chill. In all, nearly 2,000 people attended the preview party, including Martha Stewart, Leonard Lauder and David Rockefeller among many others.
In keeping with the times, the Winter Antiques Show this year pivoted to the international — 19 exhibitors are headquartered outside of the United States — and to the contemporary, incorporating both into a presentation marked mostly for its timeless values and impeccable taste.
Some exhibitors strove to show old things in new ways. Evoking contemporary penthouse living in the modern metropolis, London dealer Apter-Fredericks arrayed Eighteenth Century English furniture against a simulated New York skyline. Combining the pop of Dorothy Draper with the stardust of Cecil Beaton, designer Ralph Harvard’s fuchsia and black booth for Elle Shushan mixed big-city glamour with social glitter, a canny choice for a dealer known for exquisite portraits of the social movers and shakers of yore.
In the American camp, Newbury, Mass., dealer Peter Eaton could have packed up after Saturday, having made 14 sales — among them a New Hampshire paint decorated press cupboard, two scalloped-top tea tables, a dwarf shelf clock and a corner chair — in the fair’s opening hours. His partner, Joan Brownstein, made a major sale of a circa 1785 three-quarter-length portrait of a girl in a red dress attributed to Abraham Delanoy Jr.
“I’m so happy to have three Boston worktables, two Federal examples by Thomas Seymour and possibly John Seymour, and the third, a Neoclassical example by Rufus Pierce,” said Hirschl & Adler’s Liz Feld. On opening night, the New York gallery sold the Sheraton-style table, which dated to about 1808–10.
“It may the largest sampler I’ve ever owned,” Grace Snyder said of a gorgeous needlework stitched in 1741 by Madeleine Bernard, a Huguenot girl living in London. The embroidery picturing Aaron and Moses with the Ten Commandments is inscribed in English and French.
“These are the two best weathervanes I’ve ever owned,” said Kelly Kinzle, pointing out a copper fox attributed to the Ohio maker W.H. Mullins, circa 1882–95, and a fetching wooden rooster, which only recently topped a barn on a farm in Lancaster County, Penn. The nails on the figure suggest that it may be as early as 1810.
Just in time for the traveling show “The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman,” opening at the New-York Historical Society on May 20, Michael Altman offered the rare, unpainted “Standing Girl (Hostess)” by Elie Nadelman, circa 1918–20.
“Henry Koerner was one of five great Magic Realists and this is his masterpiece,” Jonathan Boos said of his centerpiece, “The Pigeons,” Koerner’s oil on Masonite painting of 1948–49.
The silver specialists Shrubsole led with a circa 1730 engraved teapot by Simeon Soumaine of New York, but surprised with modern silver by Verner Panton and others. Dating to 1989, a crumpled fruit dish by Panton, a Dane, paired nicely with a Paul Evans hanging console at new exhibitor Todd Merrill Studio Contemporary.
“Even with the snow, the show’s been pretty good so far,” needlework authority Carol Huber said Sunday morning, before the fair opened for its third day. With another week to go, the Winter Show sales are likely to be robust. Watch for a complete report in these pages.
The Winter Antiques Show continues through January 31 at the Park Avenue Armory, at Park between 66th and 67th Streets. Hours are noon to 8 pm daily except Sundays and Thursday, noon to 6 pm. For additional information, www.winterantiquesshow.com or 718-292-7392.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm