Published: October 19, 2015
By Laura Beach
RADNOR, PENN. — People who say there are too many antiques shows have it wrong. When it comes to fairs with distinct personalities serving discrete clientele, there are perhaps too few shows. The Main Line Antiques Show, which returned to Cabrini College the weekend of October 3–4, is a small show with big aspirations, well aimed at its affluent suburban Philadelphia clientele. Exhibitors and customers love the facility. Cabrini College is easy to reach by car and offers convenient parking. Dealers love the no-stress set up. The only unwanted guest this year was Hurricane Joaquin. The storm brought buckets of rain and downed trees on Friday into Saturday, dampening preview evening attendance on October 2.
Now ten years old, the show is mounted in the college’s athletic field house under the direction of Nick Vandekar, son and brother of the dealers Earle D. Vandekar and Paul Vandekar. Anne Hamilton, who is co-chairing the resurrected 2016 Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show with Nancy Kneeland, and Mrs J. Maxwell Moran served as honorary co-chairmen. An active committee supported the Main Line management team.
The cancellation of the 2015 Philadelphia Antiques Show in April was a windfall for Main Line this year. Vandekar told Antiques and The Arts Weekly, “We lost four or five dealers and ended up with about a dozen new ones. We made a big effort this time to appeal to younger people.”
Dealers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland dominated the fair’s 42-exhibitor lineup. A handful of specialists came from as far north as Maine and as far west as Michigan and Illinois. Diana Bittel, Skip Chalfant, Mo Wajselfish and Philip Bradley were among the new exhibitors. Wesley T. Sessa, Ruth Van Tassel, James Kilvington, Dixon-Hall Fine Art and Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge were among those who returned.
“This is the closest show to home I do. It doesn’t take me long to get here and I see lots of local collectors,” said North Wales, Penn., dealer Christopher T. Rebollo, who mixed American portraiture and landscapes with handsome Chippendale and Federal-era furniture. Rebollo called attention to a miniature four-drawer tall chest of poplar and pine, possibly from southern New Jersey.
Philip Bradley anchored his presentation with a Philadelphia tiger maple dressing table of circa 1735 and a circa 1790 Pennsylvania cupboard with an inset panel door and diamond and matchstick dentil cornice. The Downingtown, Penn., dealer hung a diminutive New England Windsor settee of circa 1800 on his wall to emphasize its crisp silhouette.
West Chester, Penn., dealer Skip Chalfant conveyed breadth with a Hepplewhite secretary desk, an oil on copper genre painting by distant cousin H.D. Chalfant and Modernist furniture by Kurt Thut. Seeking to reach younger audiences, Federalist Antiques of Kenilworth, Ill., and Framont of Greenwich, Conn., also included Twentieth Century furniture and paintings.
“This is a nice little show. We see many of our clients here,” said Lori Cohen of Arader Galleries. The Philadelphia dealer featured a rare watercolor and gouache on paper in its original frame by George Jacob Beck (1748–1812). The view by one of George Washington’s favorite artists depicts McCall’s Ferry on the Susquehanna River. T. Cartwright of London engraved and published six American vistas by Beck.
Dominating Schwarz Gallery’s display was the panoramic “Fishermen Unloading Their Boats” by Edward Stratton Holloway (1859–1939). The seascape is thought to depict the Jersey Shore.
Emphasizing the work of artists affiliated with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Dixon Hall Fine Art of Phoenixville, Penn., showed “On The Canal, Venice,” a vibrant circa 1910–15 oil on canvas by Edith Longstreth Wood (1885–1967).
Another PAFA artist, the American Impressionist Henry Bisbing, made an appearance at Federalist Antiques in a circa 1890 spring landscape with cherry blossoms.
Folk art found favor at A Bird in Hand, which hung a portrait of the Civil War-era sloop USS Kearsarge on its back wall; at Diana Bittel Antiques, where a Jurgen Frederick Huge portrait of the ship Harvest joined a Lancaster County, Penn., painted settee with smoke decoration; and at Gemini Antiques, where dealer Leon Weiss featured highly collectible antique toys.
Known for Pennsylvania needlework and its English prototypes, Malvern, Penn., dealer Ruth Van Tassel displayed an appealing English sampler worked in black on natural linen by Maria Blake at England’s Ackworth School. The institution’s curriculum influenced that of Pennsylvania’s famed Westtown School.
Paul Vandekar’s stock ranged from delft pottery to Chinese Export porcelain to modish Fornasetti tableware. A highlight was a mid-Eighteenth Century famille rose bowl painted with large, pink peonies.
Antique jewelry expert Arthur Guy Kaplan showcased a natural pearl, diamond and platinum sautoir. Dating to the Nineteenth Century, the set was still in its original box.
The Main Line Antiques Show will return to Cabrini College in the fall of 2016. Vandekar promises to announce dates as soon as they are confirmed by the school’s busy athletic department.
For additional information, www.mainlineantiquesshow.com, 484-580-9609 or 610-647-6404, extension 11.
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