Published: April 3, 2012
It was St Patrick’s Day, a Saturday nonetheless, and New York City’s sidewalks were jam-packed with people reveling the day away during one of the most lively and popular holiday parades to take place in Manhattan. It was also opening day for Stella’s Pier Show and despite initial concerns management had regarding just how St Paddy’s Day might negatively impact attendance at the show, it proved for naught as The Pier Antiques Show was also packed.
Taking place over the weekend of March 17‱8, the two-day show boasted a huge attendance with one of the longest lines that we have seen at a Pier Show opening in recent memory. Filling the indoor foyer and with the lines extending in two directions across the parking lot, one line snaked its way through Pier 94’s neighboring park on the uptown side and the other traveled in the downtown direction under the Passenger Terminal Piers at street level.
“When we realized that the show was going to open on St Patrick’s Day, my initial reaction was ‘Oh No.’ We thought there might be a problem with people not wanting to come into the city,” said Jeanne Stella a few hours after opening. “My biggest problem right now is that there is no more parking available upstairs on the piers.”
While the parking situation was indeed a problem for the Stellas, it was one that most any manager would welcome, as it told of capacity crowds in attendance at the show. And while wearing green on St Paddy’s Day might have prevailed in the streets outside, there was a different type of green that was prevalent at the Pier Show. Show manager Irene Stella reported in a postshow follow-up that “the most expensive item sold was $65,000, and a handbag was sold for $44,000. Dealers saw more cash sales than they have seen in a long time,” she said.
Business was brisk for many of the dealers as an anxious crowd rushed onto the floor of the show, with cast iron cookware collector Joel Schiff leading the charge. Departmentalized, the show features regional shopping. There is a book fair of sorts, known as Book Alley, at the furthermost points on the Pier, conducted alongside the extremely popular vintage clothing displays that make up Fashion Alley. There are general antiques throughout the central region of the Pier, and Americana and folk art dominate the front rows leading up into the foyer where art and art pottery rule the rows. Twentieth Century dominates the booths to the right of the show’s entrance, while off to the left are classic, Continental, jewelry and Asian antiques.
Midcentury furnishings, sculpture and art dominated the booth of Bridges Over Time, Newburgh, N.Y., with a selection of leather sofas and chairs attracting attention from shoppers as they rushed into the show, while leaded lamps and vases by Galle and Daum Nancy were selling on the other side of the show’s entrance at Philip Chasen Antiques, Oyster Bay, N.Y.
Zsolnay porcelains were featured at Terra Mare Antiques, Sharon, Conn., with a slender vase with nude and leaves by Jeandelle Rambervillers attracting interest, as was a Clement Massier bowl in the form of waves with stylized sea nymphs.
At From Here to Antiquity, Cheshire, Conn., David Smirnoff was busy rearranging the walls of his stand after several paintings sold, including a large landscape that was centrally located and left an obvious bare spot in the display.
A Hunt Diederich weathervane in the stylized form of two polo players was at La Tropical Deluxe, New York City. Just down the aisle was a good selection of Twentieth Century glass displayed by Dan Ripley of Auction Helper, Indianapolis, Ind.
Sleek handmade Modernist gas-powered tether cars in both aluminum and wood filled an entire showcase at Ray Kisber Art & Design, Hampstead, Quebec. “You just don’t see these around,” stated the dealer, who sells to collectors from around the world. “They really are exquisite art forms,” he said of the futuristic designs.
A 6-foot-tall wire wine rack in the form of a wine bottle was attracting looks at DeLuxe, New York City. In a similar vein, a metal wire-form bar with festive outlines of booze bottles as part of the minimalist supports was also available at the DeLuxe stand.
Erwinna, Penn., dealer Jim Hirsheimer brought along his usual selection of folk art sculpture, although included in the display was a set of six milk glass hanging adjustable lamps with rippled shades. Reasonably priced and with an extremely inviting Modernist look, it was surprising that the set was still available a couple hours after opening.
Judith and James Milne, New York City, displayed some nice colorful game boards, a sheet metal goose stickup decoy, unusual carved corner shelf and a neat-looking cast iron tripod table. Across the aisle was an unusual large easy chair constructed entirely of baseball bats, displayed alongside a wingchair adorned with college varsity letter logos at D.R. Wyant Antiques, Cassopolis, Mich. The dealer also offered a neat set of painted cast iron croquet wickets in the form of splay-legged men, and standing guard at the front of the booth was a line of cast iron frogs.
Two vintage campers and a plethora of vintage camping gear were part of a “special guests” exhibition in the central area of The Pier presented by Sisters on the Fly. The 1950s-style campers are used to traveling the United States by a “group of women who challenge ourselves in all that we set our minds to do. We have no age or color. We represent no religion or political group. We welcome all women who want to share the adventures of ‘sisterhood.'” The sisterhood has grown to more than 2,000 camping women who say “it is all about participating in outdoor adventures with women of the same mindset. We have more fun than anyone,” they proclaim.
New to the show this year was The Best of France, Mechanicsville, Penn., who filled its double-wide booth with bronzes, garniture clock sets, candelabra and marble statuary. It was one of many dealers to report a superb show to promoter Irene Stella.
Paintings of all sorts and sizes were offered by Bill Union, Art and Antiques Gallery, Worcester, Mass. The dealer featured a Modernist selection of oils that appealed to the New York City crowd, along with traditional art, such as a large and impressive John Whorf watercolor depicting a hunting scene.
Jewelry was featured in numerous booths with gold and diamonds prevailing at most of the stands. Unique and important works of jewelry art, however, were in the booth of Drucker Antiques, Mount Kisco, N.Y. Not only was there a stunning selection of silver pieces by Georg Jensen, the dealer also featured four exquisite and intricate Wiener Werkstätte beaded necklaces in bold colors.
Tiffany and other select leaded glass lamps were seen at Aleta and Harvey Weinstein, New York City, including a vibrant blue, green and red tulip shade, displayed along with a nicely colored hanging shade with turtleback tiles and retaining the original hardware and chain.
A small group of people were gathered around a Ribbon chair by Pierre Paulin for Artifort, circa 1966, nicely presented with a golden colored burlap fabric at Showplace, New York City.
Modernist pots by Mary and Edwin Scheier dominated a selection of pottery in the booth of Antiques Underground, Syracuse, N.Y. Also on view were two aluminum sculptures by Wayland Gregory, large abstract female forms titled “The Temptress” and “The Listener.”
Plymouth, Mass., dealer Bruce Emond, of the Village Braider, put together a stunning booth flanked by two classical wooden columns and filled with a wonderful massive worktable with fancy scrolling cast iron legs, Modernist paintings and wooden sculpture and vibrantly painted country store signs.
Pictorial advertising matchbooks were being shown by George Brady of Gregory Brady & Co., New York City. Advertising on these highly collectible books was not limited to the front and rear covers; it also adorned the matches themselves. Studebaker, Mr Peanut, Pabst and Shyster fishing lure manufacturers were among the more popular examples offered, along with some peep show, erotica and “cat house” matchbooks.
Akron, Ohio, dealer Chuck Auerbach, was pleased to be in town to do the Pier Show, bringing along his usual eclectic assortment that ranged from a unique Mickey Mouse wooden cutout and painted table to American Indian blankets. Auerbach was pleased to be in the Big Apple on more than one front, however, as the dealer commented that he had received a phone call from his son Dan earlier in the month inviting him to Madison Square Garden where he was performing as one of the music business’s latest sensations, the Black Keys.
“Going into Madison Square Garden to watch your son perform is a pretty awesome thing,” said Auerbach of the sold-out concert that took place just a few days prior to the Pier Show. The younger Auerbach’s performance even warranted a glowing review in The New York Times .
The next event for Stella Show Mgmt Co. will be the Chicago Botanical Gardens Antiques and Garden Fair opening on April 20. Stella’s Pier Show will return November 17 and 18. For information, www.stellashows.com or 973-808-5015.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm