Published: June 4, 2019
Review and Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
CHICAGO – The 3rd Annual Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show returned to the Merchandise Mart May 17-19 and featured approximately 50 national and international exhibitors presenting jewelry, furniture, decorative and fine arts from the Seventeenth to Twenty-First Centuries.
As with most shows these days, exhibitors reported varying levels of sales and interest throughout the course of the show, but nearly all were pleased with the look of the show and the location at the Merchandise Mart.
The Woman’s Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital hosted the opening night party of the show on May 16, giving guests a chance to shop exhibitors prior to the show’s public opening. Bahamas-based interior designer Amanda Lindroth, author of a new book Island Hopping, and landscape designer Fernando Wong, served as design chairs for the opening night event. Lindroth and Wong gave a keynote lecture prior to the start of the gala, which was moderated by Christie’s senior vice president and Chicago managing director Catherine Busch.
“The Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show brings together more than 50 of the world’s top dealers and experts in their fields providing collectors a wealth of information as well as an opportunity to acquire rarely seen pieces not available at many other shows,” observed Rosemary Krieger, president of Dolphin Promotions and the show’s organizer. “This third edition of the show was the most beautiful we have seen with our dealers presenting gorgeous displays surrounding a beautiful garden which was the centerpiece of the show entrance. In fact, the garden presentation was so well received that we have decided to expand the content of the show to include garden antiques and artifacts and rebrand it the Chicago Antiques + Art + Garden Show for next year.”
The hands-down marquee lot with Greg Pepin Silver, Copenhagen, Denmark, was an extraordinary Georg Jensen Blossom or Magnolia pattern service for 40, which came from an estate in Dubai. Pepin had brought to the show just three of the original twelve fitted Jensen cases the service came in and was asking $275,000. Pepin said a service like this would have taken years to produce and was, to the best of his knowledge, the largest one Jensen ever produced.
Silver Art by D&R featured both French silver and French artwork. When asked about particularly important works, Jasmine and Thierry Doussiere pointed out an Eighteenth Century silver oil and vinegar cruet set holder by Jean Louis Outrebon and an ink drawing of a horse by Leon Cogniet, who had been a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris with Eugene Delacroix and Jean-Louis Andé Théodore Géricault. While neither sold at the show, the Marseilles dealers reported selling a set of drawings by Jean Baptiste Pillement, a drawing by Jean Henri Alexandre Pernet and a gilt-silver confiturier by François Cécil Soccard.
Americana dealer, Roberto Freitas, had also brought a few English and Continental pieces. The Stonington, Conn., dealer had a nice mix of folk art and formal furniture, including a stunning folk art painting by Addie Harrington titled “Thanksgiving Day, 1863”; a recently acquired Philadelphia Chippendale carved mahogany wing chair; a Stephen Scott Young watercolor, “Made in America”; a George III green and gilt japanned longcase clock with works by John Meredith; and some LeRoy Neiman and Alexa King bronzes. Freitas said he made only two small sales at the show but had continuing interest in two paintings.
When asked to point out favorite highlights, Americana dealers Ron and Joyce Bassin, pointed to a Charles Perdue crow decoy, a Smuggler running horse weathervane stamped Harris and a nice selection of Native American items that they said were newly acquired. On opening night, they sold a French bistro table with four chairs and three carved animals by Emile Taugourdeau (1917-1989). By the end of the show, the Florham Park, N.J., dealers reported a total of 19 sales, including two more of Taugourdeau’s carved animals, a watermelon painting and a ship painting.
“It’s always good at the eleventh hour,” said Gary Sergeant. The Woodbury, Conn., dealer who specializes in English furniture, said the show had a slow start but by the end of the show he had made several sales. Among the things he sold were a pair of eagle brackets, a pietra dura box, an important kidney-shaped desk, several candlesticks and some mirrors. Not only did Sergeant report some longtime clients came to the show but that he had also made connections with some potentially new clients. Sergeant thought that the show had a prettier look than the previous year and was a good size.
New Orleans-based antiques and fine art dealers, M.S. Rau, had a booth full of wonderful things, including a collection of Wright Brothers Flyer III artifacts, a pedestal table with inlaid pietra dura top, a Seventeenth Century Italian ebony and hardwood cabinet of curiosities with gilt-bronze and hardstone mounts, the coronation inkstand and pen of King George VII, Norman Rockwell’s “Delivering Two Busts,” a bronze of Winston Churchill by Ivor Roberts Jones, a portrait of Frederick the Wise by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a recently acquired work by Claude Monet, a Neil Armstrong Lunar Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels and an 88.95-carat aquamarine pendant. The gallery reported selling a large-scale painting by Paul Charles Chocarne-Moreau to a first-time buyer.
Guarding Glen Leroux’s booth were two circa 1950s French life-size nickel-finished bronze greyhounds. Though the dogs did not find a new home at the show, the Westport, Conn., dealer called the show a success, selling a cocktail table, a piece of art and glass, as well as jewelry. “The show seemed as busy as usual, and I received many complements on my booth and quality of merchandise offered.
Early Twentieth Century decorative arts were well represented by Philip Chasen Antiques, East Norwich, N.Y., and Ophir Gallery, Englewood, N.J. Chasen specializes in French and American glass and lighting, with marquee names such as Tiffany, Galley, Daum, Lalique and Rookwood. He characterized the show as “decent,” saying that business was off slightly from the previous year and reported selling a Tiffany 10-light lily lamp on the last day of the show.
Edo Ophir pointed out two Tiffany Studios leaded and stained glass lamps – one with a nasturtium shade, the other with a clematis shade – that were fresh to the market, as was a Tiffany Studios mosaic panel. Other offerings in the booth included two Tiffany lily lamps, one with 18 lights, the other a pulled feather lily lamp with 12 lights, as well as Tiffany Studios accessories, glass and midcentury art glass.
Jacqueline Smelkinson, Moylan-Smelkinson / The Spare Room had only praise for the weekend. “The show had an interesting mix of dealers and was beautifully displayed. [It is] one of the prettier shows in which we have exhibited. Additionally, and not typical of many shows today, it was well balanced, not too many dealers in any one category, something for everyone. We are quite satisfied with good sales in ceramics and jewelry. We will definitely return.”
Ron Greenwald of Greenwald Antiques, Woodmere, Ohio, enthusiastically pointed out several interesting pieces, including a circa 1920s carving trolley by Drake of London, a Russian bronze of a troika by Vasily Grachev, a large painting of two women gathering flowers by James John Hill (British, 1811-1882) and a Paul Evans credenza. Sales of sculpture, porcelain, glass, furniture and jewelry were reported. Antiques and The Arts Weekly caught up with Greenwald at the tail end of a long drive home but he was upbeat, nonetheless. “The show was good, and I believe overall the dealers were pleased. I have to say, the weather cooperated and brought people out to shop. Chicago is such a marvelous city filled with very sophisticated and savvy people. I’ll say they aren’t shy – they know what they like, and they make their minds up on the spot. We met many new people this year and now have more new customers, along with seeing many of our old clients. We have sold in the Chicago area for more than 40 years…it’s like coming home when you see all the familiar faces.”
Print and map, illuminated manuscript and antiquities dealer, Charles Edwin Puckett had a good show, selling three medieval illuminated manuscript leaves with illuminated miniatures depicting “David in Prayer,” “St Michael and the Devil” and “The Nativity.” The Akron, Ohio, dealer also sold a number of Greek and Roman antiquities, including a Roman bronze bull and a large Greek silver coin of the Seleucid Kingdom, as well as lots of maps in all price ranges.
Haynes Fine Art had an expansive selection of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century works. Mark Shaw, the gallery’s senior director, said the gallery has been successful selling Parisian street scenes to Chicago collectors and pointed out two works by Edouard Leon Cortes, a sun-drenched Parisian riverside scene by Lucien Adrion, as well as an intimate Sussex landscape watercolor by Sir William Russell Flint, a Venetian scene of the Grand Canal by Antoine Bouvard Sr and a large painting of a Holland canal.
Zachary Hall, speaking on behalf of Trinity House, said, “Chicago was great, it really was. We are devoted to the area and have met some great people, great collectors. Chicago has a great collecting history and it is vital to us that we are a part of that.” As far as sales goes, Hall was not specific, saying only that the firm, which has offices in London, the Cotswolds, New York and the San Francisco area, sold a number of pictures worth between $10,000 and $100,000.
Barbara Brassner, speaking on the phone a few days after the show closed, said the show was really good for Art Link International. A representative for the gallery, speaking on behalf of Howard Brassner, said they were very pleasantly surprised at how well run and organized the show was and wanted to point out they were very impressed with the quality of the attendees at the show. The gallery sold six works ranging in price from $3,000 to $40,000, which they said was on par with past shows.
Bibi Mohamed, Imperial Fine Books and Oriental Art, New York City, had a great selection of books and porcelains but particularly important were a pair of famille rose hawks from the mid-Nineteenth Century and a Kangxi period (1662-1722) blue and white celadon ground jardinière.
Despite the business name, TK Asian does not trade exclusively in Asian works of art but included English and Continental pieces of furniture among the pieces in their booth. Michael Teller modestly characterized the show as “not too bad” before ticking off a list of sales that included two Third Century Scythian gold adornments, a framed Dali dream stone, a late Eighteenth Century rosewood games table, a pair of Chinese ironwood chairs and several pieces of Tang dynasty sculpture.
Whimsical is the best description for two Raymond Yard brooches with Nally Jewels, New York City. One depicted a hen carrying a tray with a martini shaker and glasses, the other depicted a hen with an umbrella. Worked in diamonds, enamel, ruby and gold, Adelina Markarian thought they were singular pieces and dated them to the 1920s or early 1930s. Both found buyers but Markarian said they thought the attendance and interest at the show was good, that it “is getting better every year.”
Milena Palandech of Studio Sonja Milan is a relatively new dealer in the field and had a large booth along the back wall of the floor, adjacent to windows with stunning views of downtown Chicago. Some of the favorite pieces the Chicago-based Palandech brought were a dining table designed by Gio Ponte for Singer & Sons and coordinating dining chairs designed by Bertha Schaefer, a tall round walnut bar cabinet by Weiman and a still life painting by Franz Priking. She sold the Weiman cabinet on opening night and all of the gilt barware she had brought, while the Ponte table and Schaefer chairs saw interest that she felt might translate into post-show sales. Palandech commented that she overheard several attendees comment that they had no idea that there would be anything but traditional antiques and were surprised to see midcentury pieces.
One of the exhibitors new to the show was Richard Norton Gallery, which has offices in the Merchandise Mart, so did not have far to travel. Speaking after the show, Richard Norton said “It was our best show at the Mart. We showed a whole range of things, from American Impressionist works to equally charming but more affordable works.” Among sales the gallery reported were a number of small framed works by Andre Delfau (French, 1914-2000), which were moderately priced, and which showgoers “really responded to.” Additionally, Norton observed that the show attracted a mix of a younger and older audience, which he characterized as “very sophisticated.”
Also new to the show, and also based in Chicago, was Nicholas Wolfe, who specializes in American modern furniture from the 1940s through the 1970s. Framing his booth were graphically bold and colorful works by David Heo (b 1992), while pieces by Paul McCobb, Milo Baughman, Harvey Probber and Paul Lazlo, among others, filled out the floor.
Philadelphia exhibitor, Colm Rowan, had a diverse booth, exhibiting Twentieth Century paintings and sculptures. Rowan brought two Picasso etchings from the 347 series, from the personal collection of Marina Picasso, Picasso’s granddaughter, as well as works by Michael Wommack and two striking hyperrealist paintings by contemporary Chinese painter Zhao Kailin (b 1961). After the show, Rowan reported selling one of the Picasso etchings and a work by Wommack.
Craig Bergmann Landscape Design, Inc, of Lake Forest, Ill., was displaying garden décor and after the show, commented, “All in all we had very favorable reviews from show attendees and vendors. Everyone was quite pleased to be presented with such a bang as they first entered the show, and the fact that the booth offered something entirely different than the other booths seemed to make people smile, including our fellow vendors. The assembled vendor community was welcoming, the Dolphin Production staff was accommodating and easy to communicate with and the show support by the Mart staff was fantastic.”
“We had hoped for a larger group at the preview party. Everyone enjoyed mingling and looking at the sites, but overall it was not a shopping crowd. We think we could have sold more expensive, hard-to-handle items if there had been a porter system and ease for delivery to customer cars and homes. The average city customer took cabs or walked to the show, there was much hesitation in buying large and heavy items.”
“There was quite a bit of sentiment that attendees missed the Chicago Botanic Garden Antique and Design Show and our booth/display reminded them of that show. Interestingly, we were hired by the Botanic Garden to do the displays for the show for many years and it was nice to be remembered favorably. Joining the list of next year’s vendors is an exciting thought. We love creating beautiful spaces for people to enjoy. We are a passionate group and sharing our enthusiasm is very satisfying. The concept of adding the word “Garden” into the show title sounds great but will only carry the punch if quality vendors are added to the vendor list. Narrowing in on what the market really wants to buy at the show will be the key to our participation in future shows.”
The 2020 edition is scheduled for May 14-17. For information, www.chicagoantiquesartdesign.com.
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