Published: November 8, 2011
Organized by London promoters Anna and Brian Haughton, the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show (IFAADS) returned to the Park Avenue Armory the week of October 21′7. Judging by the who’s who at Thursday evening’s preview benefiting Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the show has not lost its luster in the 23 years since it took New York by storm, introducing vetting, breathtaking international fare and impeccable production values.
Thanks in part to the International Show, vetting and professionally designed booths are now the norm at the world’s top fairs. Competition has accelerated over the years, culminating with the jaw-dropping European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht and, more recently, Masterpiece in London.
The Haughtons’ original genius was to create an ultra-refined but unified backdrop for the best quality art and antiques, then ask exhibitors to fill in the details. This flexibility has allowed IFAADS to adjust over time to the natural ebb and flow of the marketplace. In retrospect, the fair’s first decade may have been easier than its second. Shifting tastes, aging collectors, the 9/11 attacks, recession, the real estate collapse, the information revolution and globalism have altered buying habits and shuttered some high-end specialty fairs. The Haughtons’ schedule now consists of two major, general shows: one in New York, one in London, both aimed at collectors. But for all the talk of change, only four of IFAADS’s 65 exhibitors were new this year.
The International show enjoyed record attendance over its six-day run, attracting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the king and queen of Sweden, the prince of Qatar, the princess of Hyderabad and that Hollywood prince of princes, Steve Martin.
This is an Anglo American enterprise, evenly balanced between American and British dealers. An additional ten exhibitors are from Continental Europe.
An interesting addition was Luis Alegria, a dealer from Porto, Portugal. His small stand near the cafe showcased a circa 1760 Chinese Export porcelain goose tureen emblazoned with a Spanish coat of arms and a pair of Seventeenth Century Italian pietra dura panels, $240,000, similar to panels from the chapel of a Medici villa in Florence. Alegria, a TEFAF exhibitor, saves his Eighteenth Century Portuguese furniture for the fair he does in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Among this year’s newcomers was the Paris firm Galerie du Post Impressionnisme, with paintings by artists such as Emile Friesz (1879‱949) and the Fauvist Henri Manguin (1874‱949); Anne Autegarden, a Brussels specialist in Italian modern design; and Thomas Coulborn & Sons. The West Midlands, UK, dealer dazzled with a George II scarlet and gilt japanned secretary desk attributed to Giles Grendey, circa 1735, and a portrait of a lady by Joseph Wright of Derby. Coulborn’s sales included a pair of George III ormolu cassolettes, $25,000, and a Gillows rolling map stand, $75,000.
Americanists no doubt spotted Coulborn’s handsome pair of Bilbao mirrors. Made in Spain around 1800‱809, the mirrors bear the label of the importer Bernard Cermenati, who opened a looking glass shop in Newburyport, Mass., in 1807. Mirrors with Cermenati’s label are in the collection of Historic New England. Coulborn’s pair once belonged to New England collectors Judge Arthur Beane and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Clarke. Skinner auctioned pieces inherited by the judge’s son, Arthur Beane Jr of Duxbury, Mass., in November 2010.
IFAADS’ only full-fledged Americana dealer, Hyland Granby Antiques of Hyannis Port, Mass., served up nautical fare. Dealers Alan Granby and Janice Hyland are hard at work on a five-volume compendium on the art and artifacts of the America’s Cup. Arranged chronologically, the first and second volumes are due out in 2013, so stay tuned.
“It’s been in a family out West for a long time,” said Arlie Sulka of Lillian Nassau LLC, who unveiled a Tiffany Studios Wisteria lamp, on every Tiffany collector’s wish list. Tiffany made so many of them (about 125, in all) that the original brass templates had to be replaced.
Silver specialist S.J. Shrubsole, which tends to bring English silver to the International Show and American silver to the Winter Antiques Show, included in its sales an important American silver teapot, circa 1780, priced in the mid-six figures.
Sculptural renditions of the royal dwarf Sir Jeffrey Hudson, born in 1619 and known as “Lord Minimus,” surfaced in side-by-side displays at Apter-Fredericks Ltd and Koopman Rare Art. Apter-Fredericks’ version was crafted of artificial stone by Austin & Healey in 1844. Koopman’s silver example dated to about 1880.
A smattering of art from the ancient eastern Mediterranean struck a chord with buyers, primed by the recent opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia. New to the show, Samina Inc, a London dealer in jeweled objects from India, sold a jade-hilted Mughal dagger, $65,000, to a Middle Eastern royal, who bought it for a museum. The dagger was illustrated on the cover of the 2011 IFAADS catalog.
“The study of South Arabian civilizations is a recent branch of archaeology,” Hicham Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art in Manhattan said of an imposing South Arabian ibex, carved from a large block of pink limestone between the Sixth and Fifth Centuries BC. Ariadne Galleries of Manhattan sold a Neolithic Syrian or South Arabian female idol from the Fourth Century BC. The guide price for the idol was $250,000.
The only dealer in Japanese art, Erik Thomsen Gallery of New York, sold a pair of six-panel screens, $180,000, decorated in ink and gold wash with scene of pines in snow. Thomsen paired the circa 1920 screens by Muramatsu Ungai with a “Stripe” painting by his wife, Cornelia, whose current show is on view through November 23.
Twelve painted porcelain caddies, all by Meissen and dating to the first half of the Eighteenth Century, dazzled at Brian Haughton Gallery. The treasures included a rare example in the Kakiemon palette and another depicting miners, a favorite motif of Augustus the Strong, whose extensive mining interests helped finance his porcelain collection. Prices ranged from $16,000 to $56,000 a caddy.
Ronald Phillips Ltd’s piece de resistance was a carved and gilded Chippendale chimney piece. Attributed to Matthias Lock, circa 1755, the asking price exceeded $1 million.
Tomasso Brothers of London paired a jewel-toned Roman micromosaic table top, $140,000, with an arresting pair of Roman lapis lazuli vases, $675,000, and an Italian giltwood console table with an alabaster top, $150,000.
Mallett of New York and London produced a rare Carlton House writing table of 1795 made after one supplied to the Prince Regent, later George IV. Mallett’s updated stand combined Eighteenth Century English decorative arts with mid-Twentieth Century Finnish furniture and a marble dining table from its own line of contemporary design.
Other Twentieth Century design highlights included Martin du Louvre’s Art Deco “Elegance,” a circa 1933 atelier plaster detail by Alfred Janniot for his monumental bronze relief “Friendship between America and France,” installed at Maison Francaise in New York. Also of note were lacquered doors commissioned by Jules Leleu from artist Pierre Dunand in the early 1950s, at Bernd Goeckler Antiques; and “Fantasy, Young Women with a Gazelle,” a 1929 oil on canvas exhibited at the 1929 Salon des Artistes, on offer at Gallery Lefebvre, Paris.
“We reflect the taste of our clients,” said James Harrison of H.M. Luther Antiques, which topped a dramatic circa 1970 French resin and steel dining table by Marie-Claude Fouquieres with circa 1924 Royal Copenhagen bronze-mounted vases in cobalt blue.
The Haughtons’ next event is Art Antiques London, to be staged at Kensington Gardens June 13′0.
For additional information, www.haughton.com , 212-642-8572 or +44 20 7389 6555.
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