Published: November 18, 2015
Review And Photos By Carole Deutsch
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — The Morristown Armory Antiques Show October 31–November 1 was anticipated to be one of the highlight antiques shows of the year. That expectation was amply met when its 50-some dealers showed up with outstanding merchandise that was artfully displayed, many in situ, and individual objects that were well presented. The overall ambiance of the show was one of sophistication, with elite items that would appeal to professionals in the field of interior design and architecture as well as to discriminating collectors.
A steady stream of customers attended the two-day event and they came to buy. Big ticket articles and oversized items sold as well as moderately priced and small collectibles. “We were very happy with the crowd, as well as with the quality and diversity of the antiques dealers, which translated to a tremendous amount of buying,” said Allison Kohler of JMK Shows & Events, which has hosted the event for the past ten years.
Kohler was given high praise by the dealers for her management of the show. “I like Allison’s approach to show management,” said Richard LaVigné, Knollwood Antiques, Thorndike, Mass. “She is flexible and understands the vendor’s needs and has the wherewithal to deal effectively with unexpected issues that occur.”
Knollwood was one of the major attractions of the show. The booth was a decorative mix of high-quality Twentieth Century modern and classic antiques that homogenized well and served as an inspiration for those individuals who enjoy modern but are at a loss as to how to mix the genre with their existing period décor. One woman who attended stated that she would like to buy the whole booth and take it home to live with it as a room in her house. The key item here was a large oil painting by Dominic Besner (Canadian, b 1965) which was reflective of his fresco, “La mécanique des Villes,” at the Montreal headquarters of Cirque du Soleil. Besner is a contemporary artist known for colorful and textured paintings of masked figures, symbolic animals and evocative architectural shapes, all of which are interpreted through the artist’s sense of sweeping movement.
A booth that commanded a good deal of attention was Rita Ford Music Boxes, New Providence, N.J. Owner Gerry Wright is a professional trumpeter. Although he humbly states that he is not quite as good as the angel Gabriel, he is proficient enough to have had a freelance career, appearing at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. In 1984, he combined his love of music with his natural mechanical aptitude and began restoring music boxes for the New York antiques dealer Rita Ford. His booth had many excellent examples of unusual music boxes, including an 1875 Bremond six-bell rosewood music box that was featured in NBC’s primetime network series The Blacklist, a tiny and intricate German-made singing bird enamel box and a 1905 French automation from the house of Vichy that portrayed a man in a top hat teasing his pig with a truffle.
An outstanding selection of original prints was presented by Michael Brailove of Antique Prints and Paper, Highland Park, N.J. His collection dates from the Fifteenth to the early Twentieth Century and included a vast selection of topics. A woodblock, published in Latin in Germany, 1493, by The Nuremberg Chronicles, depicted a city in the Province of Westphalia with the Rhine River running through it. It was a page from a book that documented the six ages of the world, beginning with creation to the period that began following the birth of Christ. A group of pochoir Art Nouveau illustrations, made in Paris in 1896, portrayed a group of illustrations that were made in sets of three and pertained to a single plant. One plate showed the plant in all stages of growth and the other two depicted the many ways in which the images are used in decorative arts, such as wallpaper patterns, pottery, stained glass and designs for carvings.
William Nickerson Antiques, Orleans, Mass., had such a successful show that it virtually sold out. The booth consisted primarily of period English and American furniture from the colonial era to the early Twentieth Century, as well as period paintings and accessories. By the beginning of the second day of show, the booth was noticeably thin in merchandise. Large pieces of furniture were carried off the floor and what was left had red sold tickets on almost every piece. “What can I say? Our truck is only so big,” exclaimed Ann Nickerson, who was scrambling to fill the sizable gaps in the booth.
J&M Antiques, Amherst, N.Y., dazzled the show with a superb collection of high-quality student lamps, a J&M specialty that attracts discriminating collectors from all over the country. One lifetime collector, who traveled from Bucks County, Penn., bought two pieces, one of which was an unusual miniature student lamp that fit on the palm of a hand and was dated October 28, 1879, not electrified, and still in original oil burning condition. Another choice piece that attracted attention before it sold for a handsome price, was an exceedingly rare brass study lamp with two period pigeon blood shades mounted on a base composed of four figural griffins.
The next JMK show will be the annual New Year’s show at Birchwood Manor January 2–3. For more information, www.jmkshows.com or 973-927-2794.
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