Published: February 7, 2012
A highlight of Americana Week, Stella Show Mgmt Co.’s Americana & Antiques @ the Pier show offered a compelling and diverse presentation January 21′2.
While the show, staged this time at Pier 92 with some 200 dealers, is known for its diversity, folk art was well represented by many a dealer. Latcham House Antiques, Waterville, Ohio, offered several folky hooked rugs with two fine examples featuring a house with trees. A set of four painted pew doors from a church in Auburn, Maine, probably dated to the early 1820s and each door was numbered. While stadiums sell reserved seating today, many early New England churches sold pews in the 1800s and families had their own reserved pews waiting for them.
Also embracing a folk art look was D.R. Wyant Antiques, Cassopolis, Mich., which showed a painted tin shield with an American flag motif, while RGL Antiques, Pittstown, N.J., filled an entire case with fetching redware; chargers, a large rectangular deep dish and even a reclining four-point buck. The showstopper at RGL, however, was a large wooden scale model of the No. 999 steam locomotive in black paint with gilt lettering and accents. Set on a track and a raised display, the train was pure eye candy. Designed by William Buchanan, the real No. 999, which was part of New York’s Empire State Express train, set a world speed record at 125 miles per hour on May 10, 1893, a record it held for a decade.
Pioneer Folk Antiques LLC, Ellsworth, Maine, set a primitive and folky tone to its booth with a variety of fetching vintage trade signs. A large Elm Street Steambath was a beauty, as was one advertising the services of Strouse & Holden House Painter and Paper Hanger.
Firehouse Antiques, Galena, Md., is known for its advertising campaign for this show, called “Faces of Folk Art,” and eagle-eyed viewers could pick out the face closeups seen in the ads a few weeks ago well represented in its booth.
Among the compelling “faces” at Firehouse was an open-mouthed, upturned face belonging to a cast iron rooster sculpture designed by Prosper-Jean Lecourtier. Modeled after the sculpture Lecourtier did for a French war memorial, “Coq Gaulois sur Terrasse,” #621, was featured in a period catalog by the company that produced this and other cast iron sculptures.
Firehouse’s next-door-neighbor, Gladys Spare, Baltimore, Md., was showing some of the faces pictured in the ad, including a lovely pair of horse-head hitching posts that were appealing. A two-drawer farm table, circa 1800, with original red paint and a scrubbed top was also appealing. The table was held together by sliding dovetailed batons over two drawers.
Susan & Rod Bartha Antiques, Riverwoods, Ill., perfectly captured a rustic look in its booth, where standouts included a twig oak standing dressing mirror that was nearly 6 feet tall and a glass-front dresser of pine construction with multiple panels set off with birch bark and willow trim. A stag vane completed the booth theme.
High up on a back wall, Susan Wechsler of South Road Antiques, Stanfordville, N.Y., showcased a massive lunette wood panel that read “A World’s Fair Wonder Show,” as well as a pair of folky iron garden ornament stands, 65 inches tall, Twentieth Century. Other good finds here included a late Nineteentharly Twentieth Century punched tin pie safe with pinwheel patterns and a vintage uncut “Punch and Judy” cloth doll that had been framed and now measured 41½ by 31½ inches. The doll was made by The Art Fabric Mills, New Haven, Conn., circa 1900.
London antique jewelry dealer Pat Novissimo was frantically trying to set up her booth in the one hour block of time Saturday morning between when dealers got on the floor and when patrons arrived, so it can be understood she had precious little time to talk. As she pulled out and displayed one item after another, each more gorgeous than the previous, she did say American buyers appreciated the “quality of workmanship” in the pieces she has brought here for more than a dozen years. She mainly features English and European jewelry.
Christopher Evans Antiques, Waynesboro, Va., always seems to find appealing stoneware crocks and jugs. A sizable 3- or 4-gallon crock was cobalt decorated with a house with three smoking chimneys, while another had a blue bird perched on a leaf. A folky quilt on white ground featured a geometric pattern of six columns of small triangles set atop one another, more than 20 per column.
Ayscough Antiques, Chadds Ford, Penn., was offering a Shaker feather duster made of peacock feathers that were expertly woven together near the end and tucked into a turned wooden handle. The circa 1850‶0 duster was in great shape and the feathers were in fine form, with only the silk rosettes tied around the handle showing some aging.
A standout in the booth of Robert N. Hockaday Jr Antiques, Baltimore, Md., was a Remington banner that was used to advertise Remington guns and ammunition. The cloth canvas banner from the 1920s″0s measured about 30 by 56 inches and depicted Native Americans on horseback hunting buffalo.
Mary and Josh Steenburgh, Pike, N.H., always have an eclectic look to their booth. Minutes after the show opened, Josh was pleased to be putting red dots up on a set of four panel paintings of ships at sea. Circa 1920s, the whimsical †and folky †paintings were recent acquisitions. The tall and skinny panels, almost the same size as window shutters, likely came from a restaurant.
Specializing in photography, botanical images and unusual ephemera, Winter Works on Paper, New York City, filled its booth with just three items, but each massive poster took up one entire booth wall. The captivating images shown were a drink with a red heart, an ad for Hellman’s Mayonnaise, and the centerpiece read “Don’t Forget to Change to Summer Gulfpride Oil.”
Marianne Stikas, New York City, also showcased the visual in her booth, featuring a set of four photographs by architect Charles Gwathney (1938′009) of his designs, including his first commission, the home he built for his parents in 1968. The framed works measured 36 inches square each.
If a ribbon was awarded to the largest item on display here, Yew Tree House Antiques, New York City, would sail away with it. The dealer featured a Nineteenth Century scale model of a China Trade schooner that measured around 8½ feet tall and nearly 9 feet long. The dealer found it in England and acquired it from the person who bought it from the family it had been made for and which owned a shipping company.
The Pier Antiques Show will move back to Pier 94 March 17‱8. For more information, www.stellashows.com or 973-808-5015.
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