Exciting, extensive and exhaustive, the 30th Annual Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, now in its fifth year under the management of The Palm Beach Group, is also a comprehensive, quality-driven event that continues to attract a huge audience of serious-minded collectors.
Leave your heels and dress shoes at the door; running shoes are a must for a show the size of Baltimore, reportedly the largest indoor antiques show in the country. More than 500 dealers take part in this event, September 2 through 5, which covers an expansive area almost 125,000 square feet in size. There are shows within the show as well, including an antiquarian book fair that has been encompassed into the event.
An impressive event, the show offers up a little bit of everything, as well as a lot of some stuff. A ladies’ dream come true, aisle after aisle glimmers with diamonds and jewels by David Webb, Cartier, Chanel and Tiffany, along with select costume jewelry. While many of the men try to cruise right past these hot spots, they, too, often times find themselves drawn in with a vast selection of vintage watches and timepieces by the likes of Rolex, Breitling and Patek Philippe.
Reminiscent of the megafairs of days past, the show is huge. Some of the long aisles in the front of the show seem like they go on for miles, and it can take upward of a half-hour to casually mosey down one row.
A well-managed event, dealers seemed very pleased †right from load-in to packout. Many reported doing a great deal of business, and numerous people commented within an hour of opening that the show was already highly successful for them.
“The Baltimore show was well organized, and despite the economy, well attended,” said Matt Kendall of The Kendall Collection. “I have come to expect an upscale setting, ready assistance and qualified leads from the Palm Beach Show Group †and they did not disappoint.”
Not only was retail business booming at the show, but trade business was thriving as well. Jim Alterman of Jim’s of Lambertville purchased an entire booth of important sculpture, including two Auguste Rodin pieces, “Suzon” and “Tete de Muse Tragique,” an Emile Gauguin sculpture, “Marquisian Man,” and an extremely rare Leo Laporte-Blairsy Art Nouveau lamp, “Les Paons,” that was first exhibited at the 1901 Societe des Artistes Français.
Management would only release an attendance figure that quantified the gate at “tens of thousands,” which is not a figure that is hard to believe. The wide and long aisles were crowded from the front of the show to the back †and even off to the side where hundreds of additional dealers were displaying everything from midcentury furniture to contemporary art. Management also boasted that the huge crowd comprised knowledgeable collectors and respected dealers from around the world who traveled from as far as Dubai, Brussels and Beijing.
Connecticut silver and fine arts dealer Martin Chasin, Martin Chasin Fine Arts, said, “There was a really wonderful mix of dealers at the show and the best clients that I’ve ever had came through this year.”
Chasin reported sales of a sterling silver hand engraved teapot, London, circa 1799, by Solomon Hougham, ovoid in shape with a carved finial and ebony handle. Also sold was a pair of sterling silver serving dishes made in Sheffield, England, in 1838.
There were certainly some high priced ticket items at the show, with paintings by Norman Rockwell and monumental rock fossils seen on the floor. At least one seven-figure item was reported sold, an extremely rare ancient Chinese gold vessel with turquoise and garnet inlay from around the Third Century. The vessel, reportedly from the royal workshop, had an asking price of $1.3 million and was sold by TK Asian Antiquities.
“The selection, quality and attendance gets better every year,” said TK Asian proprietor Michael Teller. “The average buying point was higher than last year, and I met new clients from London.”
New York City paintings dealer Rehs presented an impressive display with a stunning Montague Dawson oil on canvas, “Deep Waters † The Abraham Rydberg ” at the forefront of the booth. Priced at $105,000, it was attracting attention from numerous clients. Eugene Boudin’s “Bordeaux, bateaux sur la Garonne” was offered at $165,000, and a Louis Aston Knight oil, “Cottage Garden” was marked $45,000.
Black Forest pieces were popular in the booth of Denver dealers Martin Kaye and Bill Yellen. A monumental carved eagle was quick seller from the booth, as it was whisked away moments after the show opened to the public.
Bev and Doug Norwood, The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, were pleased with the results of the show, with many of their customers making the trip to Baltimore on Thursday, and then heading west to York, Penn., where the Norwoods were exhibiting at another show that opened there the following day. The dealers offered a good selection of Americana, including a rooster weathervane and a host of smalls highlighted by several watercolors and a theorem.
Jewelry highlights included numerous sales at Camilla Dietz Bergeron Ltd, with the dealer selling a pair of Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and platinum earrings, circa 1965; an Art Deco Raymond Yard platinum and diamond bracelet; and a pair of David Webb enamel earrings from the 1970s, among numerous other items.
John Orban Antiques and Fine Art sold a rare and important pair of George III terrestrial and celestial globes by John and William Cary of London circa 1839 and 1818, each measuring 15 inches in diameter, that were stickered at $85,000.
“I call this our ‘Ode to Ladies,'” stated a representative from M.S. Rau Antiques, where numerous high-end sales were made. The display was topped by an alluring Gil Elvgren pinup girl oil on canvas depicting a puzzled, yet seductive, brunette clad in stockings and a bustier with a blonde wig in one hand and a redhead wig in the other. The lower portion of the display was a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk in pristine condition, displayed in an open position to show off the intact compartmentalized interior. Sales at M.S. Rau included an important piece of marked Paul Revere silver, three of the many paintings on view, an 8.9-carat emerald-cut diamond ring, a Nineteenth Century French surgeons kit, several Russian pieces and a giant carriage clock.
“Best crowds ever,” said Bill Rau of M.S. Rau Antiques.
In addition to the usual assortment of toys and mechanical and still banks offered by Gemini Antiques, the dealer displayed an interesting assortment of folk art, including a rare rooster-form target from a shooting gallery and an unusual folk painting of a Civil War prison in Anderson, Ga., that was opened by the Union Army to hold Southern prisoners of war.
Significant sales were reported by many of the dealers, with Robert Lloyd and Spencer Marks both coming away from the show with impressive results. Silver dealer Robert Lloyd was a popular spot, with numerous local Baltimore items displayed, including a Liberty Brown footed presentation bowl, circa 1800, and an Andrew Warner chalice, circa 1810. Another highlight at the stand was a large cann by New York City maker Simeon Soumaine, circa 1730, that the dealer termed “one of the finest New York tankards in existence.” Sales at Robert Lloyd were led by a large pair of sterling silver candlesticks made in London in 1764 with the maker’s mark, “NH.”
Spencer Marks sold a very important sterling silver Art Nouveau coffee and tea set by Orivit, a significant German metalware firm that only made silver for a few years between 1901 and 1904. The dealer commented that there is an identical example of the service in the collection of the Rijksmuseum.
Carlson & Stevenson Antiques and Art sold an album done in 1877 in Rome showing illuminated manuscript skills and forms, and a set of five late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century carved wooden puppets. In addition, the dealer received interest from an academic institution in some of its Nineteenth Century hand-done copy books.
Janet Drucker, Drucker Antiques, sold the first sugar muffineer ever made by Georg Jensen. The unique, hand-hammered sterling silver muffineer was decorated with a poppy motif raised from the inside. Among the other items on display at the stand was a stellar selection of Jensen jewelry, including pieces designed by Torun and Kopel.
Woodbury, Conn., dealer David Brooker Fine Art reported the sale of 14 paintings, all going to new clients. The dealer said marine paintings were among the more popular items that he displayed.
A good selection of marine paintings and nautical items were also of interest at Port N’ Starboard. A William Stubbs oil of the “Schooner Jonathon Bourne ” was displayed alongside a handsome patriotic eagle plaque attributed to Pennsylvania maker George Stapf.
In addition, many attendees also enjoyed the show’s complimentary lecture series. Well attended, they included talks by Grant Walker, education specialist at the United States Naval Academy Museum, and Robert Mintz, associate curator of Asian art at The Walters Art Museum. Other lectures were presented by Janet Drucker of Drucker Antiques; Robert Lloyd of Robert Lloyd, Inc; Timothy Stevenson of Carlson & Stevenson Antiques and Art; Jacqueline Smelkinson and Marcia Moylan of Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room; and John Forster of Barometer Fair.
The dates for Baltimore will be changed for next year, moving forward one week to August 25′8, as a Grand Prix race will be conducted in the streets of downtown Baltimore over Labor Day weekend in 2011. For information about the show, or upcoming events managed by The Palm Beach Show Group, 561-822-5440 or www.baltimoresummerantiques.com .