The inaugural Palm Beach Jewelry and Antiques Show launched its opening night preview, Friday, February 13, which benefited The United Way of Palm Beach County.
The new Palm Beach County Convention Center, opposite City Place on Okeechobee Boulevard, was aglow from the glint of the fabulous jewels being worn by attending guests and by displays of rare estate diamonds and jewelry offered by the more than 50 jewelry dealers in this new fair. An additional 200 dealers in fine antique and estate furniture, paintings, bronze, silver, china and objets d’art displayed a wide array of antiques and decorative objects.
Over the first two days of the fair many of the 70 dealers attending the fair from the United Kingdom and dozens of others from France, Belgium, Italy, Holland and Germany said they had seen many American clients they knew from overseas fairs, such as Olympia, Maastricht and Grosvenor, but had not seen in recent years as Americans curtailed overseas travel.
On opening night, New York fine arts dealer Robert Simon sold an El Greco painting, “The Penitent Magdalene,” offered at $1 million, while a $120,000 painting by Willy Eisenschitz was sold to the Wertheimer Foundation for its museum in Israel. Mary Wise & Grosvenor Antiques, a London dealer, sold a Meissen plate depicting Fort Snelling to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, while TK Asian gallery sold a trio of early Tang dynasty camels, registering high six figure sales on the first day of the fair, and an $850,000 piece on Sunday.
Good sales were reported by British glass specialist Mark J. West, Japanese arts dealer Erik Thomsen of Germany and Steuben glass dealer Jeffrey Purtell, who found buyers for a complete set of rare flower plates and three Audubon plates, among many pieces he showed. “There’s obviously a large collector following for Steuben here,” he said.
French Art Deco furniture dealer Janet Calderwood was greatly enthused by the reaction to her stand while New York dealer Jason Jacques commented,”This show has been put together beautifully, it’s extremely upscale and inviting.” Antique clocks dealer Gavin Douglas said he had “never seen so many people walking through.” Sallea’s Sally Kaltman said, “This is a terrific show, we’ve doing very, very well. The crowd is loving this show.”
British dealer David Overall noted that there had been a big drop off in American visitors to UK fairs, such as Olympia, and that he had already seen several important clients at this show. TK Asian’s Michael Teller said he saw “no less than 40 of my best clients from every city in the US.”
Charles Plante said he sold “my most expensive painting,” while Jean Hill of French Country Living antiques said, “We are seeing clients from way back. The fair is beautiful.”
A full weekend of lectures and special exhibitions offered attendees the chance to learn about fine art, ceramics, decorating and jewels.
Among top international dealers at this inaugural event were Leslie Smith, the Old Masters dealer from The Hague, and silver dealer Koopman Rare Art of London, each of whom also exhibits at Maastricht; Arts and Crafts specialist Geoffrey Diner, Safani, W. Graham Arader III and Kentshire, who show at New York’s Winter Antiques Show and Grosvenor House, plus Grosvenor exhibitors Mark J. West and Mary Wise and Grosvenor Antiques.
Other dealers included Hancock’s of London, Leo Kaplan Ltd, GMC International, Au-demars Piguet, Erik Thomsen Asian Art of Germany, Earle D. Vandekar ceramics, Bertie Fortescu, The Meissen Shop, M.S. Rau of New Orleans, Chinese Country Antiques, Sebastian Molinari, Skandinavian Porcelain, John Jaffa’s Antique Enamel Company, Nicolaus Boston Majolica, Tony Williams Antique Mirrors, Wakelin & Linfield, Ar’them Gallery of Paris, Sallea Antiques, Jayne Thompson, Charles Plante, Gregg Baker Japanese Screens, Calderwood furniture gallery, Primavera, C and L Burman of London, Derek and Tina Rayment, Janice Paull, Chris Beetles, Brandt Oriental Art, Didier Antiques, Kevin Page, Haynes Fine Art, Italy’s Il Segno del Tempo and ceramics specialist Jill Fenichell.
As reported in Antiques and The Arts Weekly’s February 27 issue from an Associated Press story, a sculpture stolen from a home in England, a miniature version of a life-sized one called “Allies,” depicting President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sitting together on a park bench, was found at the show.
“I had no idea where it would eventually turn up,” said its owner, Peter Tyrie, from Braintree, England, northeast of London. “I guess the rdf_Description being what it was, the United States was a good place to take it.”
The sculpture, worth about $23,000, was spotted by a friend of the man who had made it. Dealer James Wigington said he had obtained the statue from a collector who came to his store in Shipston-on-Stour in central England.
“I’m pleased that it’s going back to the original owner,” Wigington told AP.