Published: June 13, 2017
By Lori Gray Faversham
CHICAGO – For the first time in three years, Chicago is home again to a high-end antiques fair. Organized by Dolphin Promotions, the Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show took place at the Chicago Merchandise Mart May 19-21. The event opened with a preview party benefiting the Illinois Executive Mansion Association on May 18. Former Governor James R. Thompson served as the show’s honorary chair.
The presentation assembled 71 exhibitors from around the globe. Among them were Dorian Frank Twentieth Century Decorative Arts from Buenos Aires; Greenwald Antiques of Woodmere Village, Ohio; Harlan J. Berk of Chicago; Lee’s Antiques of Winnetka, Ill.; prominent New Orleans merchant M.S. Rau Antiques; Nally Jewels of New York City; G. Sergeant Antiques of Woodbury, Conn.; and Trinity House Paintings of New York City, London and the Cotswalds, UK. Together these specialists represented a broad range of collecting specialties, from French and English furniture to historic textiles, decorative arts and jewelry, and Impressionist, Modern and contemporary paintings.
Dealers were excited to be back in Chicago. “Chicago is a great art city. The people are sophisticated and savvy, and have the means to buy,” Bill Rau of M.S. Rau Antiques said. This sentiment was repeated time and again by dealers who had participated in one or more iteration of previous antiques fairs in Chicago, most recently the short-lived presentation at the Merchandise Mart whose last year was 2013 and the even shorter-lived Navy Pier fair in 2014.
“We are so pleased to have resurrected a successful antiques show in downtown Chicago,” said Rosemary Krieger, president of Dolphin Promotions. Dolphin Promotions has a long history of putting on fairs in the Chicago area. The company organized events in Rosemont, Ill., for many years, impressing dealers with their efforts.
Krieger and Dolphin media director Gordon Merkle think they have the formula right for ongoing success. Krieger notes not only is “the historic Merchandise Mart the perfect location for the event, but we have the support of Chicago’s design community, which is integral to the show’s success.” To this end, Dolphin partnered with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chicago, Luxe Home, Pella Branded Luxury and the Monogram Design Center for a three-part design lecture series. The events were well attended. They also worked closely with the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and its newly elected president, Cynthia Smith.
“We believe these partnerships, as well as local and national media sponsorships, are essential to establishing a solid platform for the show’s continued growth and success moving forward,” Krieger added.
Beautifully laid out and easy to navigate, the show attracted more than 3,300 people over four days, Merkle noted.
“We sold really well for a first-time event,” Robin Greenwald of Greenwald Antiques, Woodmere, Ohio, said. The company wrote up important examples of Asian art, a large piece of Meissen porcelain and a Flora Danica soup turrine.
Benchmark of Palm Beach, Blue Ridge, Ga., also sold well, as did Philip Chasen Antiques of East Norwich, N.Y., who parted with a circa 1900 Daum Nancy vase and a circa 1925 Argy-Rousseau pate-de-verre spider vase.
The show has room to grow and improve, but response so far is encouraging, Merkle said. The 2018 Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show is planned for May 18-20, with an opening benefit the evening of May 17, charity to be determined.
For information, www.chicagoantiquesartdesign.com, www.dolphinfairs.com or 708-366-2710.
Mary Carol Fitzgerald photos, courtesy Dolphin Promotion
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