Published: February 27, 2001
NEW YORK CITY – The Gramercy Park Antiques and Fine Arts Show was held February 16-18 at the 69th Regiment Armory at Lexington Avenue and featured 100 exhibits of furniture, decorative objects, jewelry and fine art. The President’s Day weekend perhaps had an effect on the overall gate as reported by many dealers, but sales were fairly consistent and dealers were appreciative of the strong Stella management team and the ease of operation afforded by a well organized show.
Last year’s show, held in April, had mediocre results as competing with the weather and tax season produced less than stellar sales and most dealers felt the change to February would have a positive effect on the overall climate of the armory show. Dealers reported a slow gate Friday but a good solid crowd on Saturday and Sunday, though browsing was more the norm than buying.
Providing atmosphere on a cool, rainy day, Celeste Duboise played Beethoven on a restored 1862 Steinway grand piano belonging to dealer Maurice Steiker of M.S. Antique, New York City. The piano carried an impressive tone, a price of $75,000 and was stunning in its recent refurbishing.
Stella Show management reported the show “went very well – it was great to get the February date as it is a strong selling month. Customers liked the mix of antiques and fine arts and felt a good balance was achieved between the two. Friday was strong for decorators, as is typical, strong sales were reported, but the fine arts dealers had their turn Saturday and Sunday. A dealer who usually had fantastic sales on the April dates had “his best show ever” during this new date.
Isabelle Seggerman of Bonsal-Douglas Antiques, Essex, Conn. replied, “I had a wonderful time and a very nice show selling examples of all types of media, several rdf_Descriptions selling to some very important people. I really didn’t notice that traffic was down, as I was so busy with clients that I did not get a chance to really gauge the gate. This was my first New York show in 12 years and I was absolutely impressed with Stella management- they were present every minute of the show and until the last dealer left the floor. The load in was the easiest NYC show ever and all the staff was attentive and extremely organized, simply put, a beautifully run show.”
Arlene Berman of Arlene Berman Fine Arts, New York City, said, “I did okay. Though the show is in its infancy, it still produced a good gate and will gain more stature as a fine arts show – benefiting both the promoters and dealers.” One customer stated she was glad to see so many paintings in one spot and Berman added she would like to see the show grow towards this side and believes most painting dealers would return to the armory show given the chance. “It was a pretty show with nice booths, but overall not the impact I had expected.
“Paintings from the ’20s throughout the ’40s sold well,” she continued, “as did portraits of women. February is a busy month for shows and I feel people don’t have a chance to rest and this takes away from the overall market.”
An oil, “The rehearsal,” by Leonid Geroits was signed on location at the Kyrou Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, was reminiscent of Degas but went home without a buyer. Spanish colonial columns, mid-Eighteenth Century, from the State of Bahia, Brazil, were carved and polychrome with Corinthian tops, plinth bases and carried motifs of birds, grapes and vines.
Marilyn Kemble of Kemble’s, Norwich, Ohio, felt the show was well attended, but did not have any exceptional sales. She sold a small American lamp table and an iron work umbrella stand. There was strong interest on Saturday and Sunday with decorator rdf_Descriptions moving quickly and she “sent home many measurements” hoping to receive some positive feedback in the weeks to follow. Two 29 by 66-inch bronze patinated lions at the entrance of her booth did not sell, though they drew much attention. Kemble had a Federal three-drawer stand with quad leg base rendered in tiger maple and bird’s-eye maple, circa early 1800s, and a 7’9″ Pennsylvania walnut Chippendale tall case clock with a signed eight-day brass movement, John Davis, New Holland, Pa., late Eighteenth Century.
John Lynch and Doug Taylor of Praiseworthy, New York City, who advertise as “specializing in one-of-a-kind, unconventional and fantastic objects from the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Century,” did not disappoint. Items selling were two framed mounted manta rays, virtually all the furniture, Art Deco lamps, a console, and a table with a suite of six leather covered chairs. Displayed were a teaching orery depicting the earth’s orbit around the sun and the fixed position of the moon, statuary, walking sticks, carpets and a three-foot sawfish “nose” mounted to a stand – eclecticism was the word most associated with this great booth. According to Taylor, “foot traffic was fine, Stella always manages a good gate, Saturday and Sunday were great days and we had one of our best shows in the best location.”
Monroe Warshaw of Kunstkabinett, New York City, had museum-quality drawings and has sold to major museums including the Metropolitan, the National Gallery and the Morgan Library. Works at Gramercy included an Old Master red chalk drawing by Jean-Jacques Lagrenée Le Jeune depicting a satyr reviving a nymph. Also available was a collection of Italian, French and northern European drawings from the Sixteenth through the Eighteenth centuries.
Mantiques of New York City featured silver and alligator jewelry boxes, silver corkscrews, Nineteenth Century silver handled walking sticks with carved animal heads, and a selection of cigar and smoking rdf_Descriptions. A 16-inch bronze nude created by WPA artist Henry Schenbauer could be had for $18,000.
The show brought together 100 dealers in a high-quality event and presented to New York City a wide range of styles and antiques, complemented by fine arts. It may take some more time to find out whether the date change provides a better time frame for antique shoppers, but overall the Gramercy Park Antiques and Fine Arts Show produced some strong interest, some strong sales and great rdf_Descriptions from a diverse mix of dealers.
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