Published: September 25, 2018
Review and Photos By Greg Smith
BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE, N.Y. – The Adirondack Experience: The Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, the host of the September 15 Antiques Show and Sale, was stuck in the embrace of a friendly cloud on its early Saturday morning opening as buyers arrived for the early preview breakfast from 8 to 10 am. The cloud spat little droplets, like going under the misting machine at any amusement park on a summer day, leaving one not so much wet, but refreshed, ready to go. And come the public opening at 10 am, the cloud had lifted off Blue Mountain, settling into a perfect sunny day, and buyers, indeed, were ready to go.
“There were over 73 people that attended the early morning preview,” said show manager Frank Gaglio. This is his second year managing the show, and he looks forward to its future.
“The only change to the show going forward is our goal is to increase dealers,” he said. He also mentioned that he would push to move the preview party back to a Friday night opening, as it was last year, when more buyers could make an evening out of it. He continued, “The weather was beautiful; it could not have been nicer. The layout was very accommodating, and the dealers overall were really pleased.”
The show serves as a benefit for the museum, which maintains a decidedly busy September schedule, hosting the Rustic Furniture Fair only the weekend prior. Visiting both would provide a rounded picture of the nature-centric Adirondack style through the ages, as it is now and tracing its roots back to as it has always been since the Nineteenth Century: the birch bark, Old Hickory and twig furniture; the taxidermy and mounted animal décor; the carvings and Native American material; and the expansive views expressed in oil paintings by famous American painters that paid homage to the pristine Adirondack landscape through art. All of these things and more were available to buyers from 27 exhibitors, some who found home as close as Lake Placid and others who traveled up the Eastern seaboard to be in attendance.
The show has its namesake and tradition in the exhibition of Adirondack material, and Gaglio reaffirmed that the heart of the show would not change. “The show has not moved away from its traditional roots. Though we try to keep the show going by expanding the offerings to broaden our audience and offer quality material for attendees.”
And quality material was the show’s focus.
While boats were grounded in a number of booths, miniature sizes could be seen at Millville, Penn., dealer Frank’s Antiques. “I’ve had it for 25 years, and I’ve never seen another like it,” said the dealer, pointing to a 3-foot-long birchbark canoe from the early Twentieth Century. It had steamed ribs and was made with traditional boatbuilding technique. “It may have been made by the Indians for the trade,” he said. The dealer also had an attractive salesman’s sample of a canoe by the Carleton Canoe Company. It was from the turn of the century and was in good, as-found condition.
Old Hickory furniture and traditional Adirondack style were found in the booth of Cherry Gallery, Damariscotta, Maine. The dealer had a nice mosaic twig checkerboard game table beneath a wall of animal-centric paintings, mounts and carvings. Two fish were found out of water: a graphic oil on canvas of a brook trout jumping from the water surface was next to a case mount of a largemouth bass. Two carvings rounded out the display, one of a hunting dog before a landscape and the other of a well-detailed brook trout.
All the way from Landrum, S.C., was Linda Davidson Antiques, who has been a mainstay at the show for decades. The dealers brought with them a mix of decorative arts, including a Cypress knee tiered floor lamp with a floral shade and a Hickory swing with original bark weave. Preserved nature was on exhibit in the form of a framed picture of pressed ferns and a wall-mounted Victorian-era squirrel taxidermy box.
A nice Adirondack rowboat was moored outside the booth of White & White Antiques, Skaneateles, N.Y. The Penn Yan boat beckoned buyers into the booth with an attractive teal body and stained wood interior. Once inside, buyers were greeted with a Northeastern Native American burl bowl on top of a Moravian pin top table as well as a miniature birchbark toy canoe from the 1930s.
The show is considered a hike for many of the dealers to get to, but it is local for two dealers who hail from Lake Placid, which is just a 45-minute drive away.
David Zabriskie is one such exhibitor, and he brought with him a Black Forest carved bear umbrella holder, which welcomed visitors at eye-level to his booth. He also had a nice set of seven miniature Adirondack chairs in different styles; an Arts and Crafts table lamp with a slag glass shade in a warm orange color; and natural decorations, including a number of hornet nests.
The other dealer who was just a short drive from home was Christopher English, who co-helms The Adirondack Store & Gallery. The dealer brought with him a set of taxidermy displays of brown skunks, Old Hickory furniture, a woven wicker picnic box with a leather-lined interior that fit the trunk of an early Twentieth Century automobile and a Fort Apache play model that resembled an outpost constructed of twigs with solider and Indian play figures.
A dealer from Hague, N.Y., was selling a large collection of listed Hudson River artist Robert Decker’s paintings. “He lived a few doors down from where I live now,” the dealer said of the artist’s home on Lake George. The display featured a number of outdoor scenes, including winter wooded scenes, autumn landscapes of a running creek, a reflective lake walled in by mountains and others.
The show continues to be a welcome detour from the gymnasium and armory-style antiques shows, presenting relevant material in the environment that birthed it. It does not get any more natural than that.
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