Published: November 28, 2006
Brian and Anna Haughton’s five shows in New York and London encompass everything from Asian antiquities to contemporary American design. But it is their flagship fair, the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show in New York, that hews most closely to the couple’s mission of creating unsurpassed showcases for the world’s most exceptional objects.
IFAADS is the fair by which all other Haughton events are judged. In its eighteenth edition at Manhattan’s Seventh Regiment Armory from October 20 to 26, the 65-exhibitor show this year reaffirmed its place as a bastion of classic good taste, ancient to modern.
Benefiting Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a gala preview on Thursday, October 19, raised nearly a million dollars for the charity and welcomed 1,100 revelers. Lanky and mop-topped, radio shock-jock Howard Stern and girlfriend Beth Ostrosky strolled the floor, as did Donald and Melania Trump, Martha Stewart and Alexis Stewart, Lydia and Anne Hearst, Jay McInerney and Steven Spielberg. Over the next eight days, the show was visited by staff from nearly a hundred different museums around the world.
The visitors were easier to spot, thanks to a revised floor plan that did away with all cross aisles except the center one and widened walkways. Booths were built out to different depths, giving aisles a notched profile that enhanced the view, added visual interest, and incorporated pockets of space for loitering or catering. Additionally, many exhibitors raised their ceilings to 12 feet, adding to the show’s gracious mien.
“No exhibitor can be overlooked on a side aisle now and traffic flows a bit better,” explained Brian Haughton, chief architect of the plan.
Alistair Sampson Antiques and Jonathan Horne, which merged in July to become Sampson & Horne, were still sorting out their new arrangement. In London, the firms have consolidated under Sampson’s old roof at 120 Mount Street. At the armory, they faced one another from across the aisle. Long known for English vernacular furniture, painting and ceramics, Sampson featured a collection of a hundred primitive watercolor portraits, many of them inexpensive compared to their American counterparts. A charming double portrait of two children with their dog and toys, circa 1830, was $6,400. At English pottery specialist Jonathan Horne, an oversized molded Staffordshire jug, $9,000, joined smaller pieces of creamware, pearlware and delft.
Twentieth Century design remains a best-seller.
“France used the Normandie to showcase the best of its design,” said Benoist Drut of Maison Gerard Ltd, recommending a group of robustly graphic verre-eglomise panels recovered from the great ocean liner’s 1934 “Chariot of Thetis” mural by Jean Dupas. The French Art Deco specialists from New York paired the panels with a Jules Leleu palisander and gilt-bronze cabinet, side table, and pair of armchairs. The circa 1945 suite sold to a private collector.
Another dealer in French Art Deco, Vallois of Paris, sold a 1921 Jean Dunand vase in patinated metal and silver, a chic Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann library cabinet and pair of lamps, and sculpture and furniture by Diego Giacometti.
“I always wanted the business,” said the show’s lone specialist in American Art Nouveau artifacts, Arlie Sulka of Lillian Nassau Ltd, New York. Hired 25 years ago by the late Lillian Nassau, who did much to inspire the Tiffany revival, Sulka recently acquired the firm, also known for European, especially French, art glass and pottery. A highlight of Nassau Ltd’s display was a large, iridescent, relief-modeled Clement Massier ceramic plaque, $125,000. More modern was an Edward Wormly for Dunbar stand inset with Tiffany tiles, $32,500.
A handful of Americana dealers were prominent for their scarcity.
“It’s a little earlier than what I normally handle but it’s just so spectacular,” Carswell Rush Berlin said of a New York inlaid mahogany serpentine front bureau, or “dressing drawers,” $45,000, directly drawn from the pages of George Hepplewhite’s The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide of 1794.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries of New York City featured classical and Gothic Revival furniture. A pair of grain-painted benches made by Isaac Vose for the Sears family of Boston was $65,000. Because the show lacks a dateline, the firm also represented its Modern division by bringing Andrew Wyeth’s “Sparks,” a tempera on panel of 2001.
Other American master paintings dealers included Hollis Taggart Galleries, which wrote up Romare Bearden’s “Lady and the Blues” and Hugh H. Breckenridge’s “The Schooner Seagull.” New exhibitor Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts featured Guy Pene du Bois’s “Portrait of Yvonne” and Edward Steichen’s “Moonlit Landscape.”
A repository for all things marine, Hyland Granby Antiques showed John Hale Bellamy carved and painted eagle plaques, including a rare one, $97,500, brandishing a “Merry Christmas” banner. Among outstanding nautical paintings was Robert Salmon’s 1836 “View of Lamlash,” $225,000, picturing an American ship off the coast of Scotland, and Antonio Jacobsen’s 1889 “Santiago.” Prices in the Cape Cod dealers’ booth started at about $2,500 for vintage yachting photographs.
The show’s central court was devoted to outdoor sculpture offered by Jeffrey Henkel and Thurston Nichols. A Mercury weathervane deaccessioned from the Mary Merritt Museum in Reading, Penn., and auctioned by Pook & Pook last year was $195,000.
The International Show is an unsurpassed trove of English and Continental furniture.
Hyde Park Antiques of New York celebrated the publication of its new book, Classic English Design and Antiques: Period Styles and Furniture (Rizzoli), commemorating the firm’s 40th anniversary, by featuring a circa 1750 George II ebonized and parcel gilt side table, $180,000, supplied to the 1st Earl of Chichester and published in Country Life in 1932.
Kentshire Galleries of New York City showcased a spectacular Regency penwork cupboard.
A pair of delicate giltwood Robert Adam settees graced an outside wall at Pelham of London and Paris, while a rare pair of circa 1720 red-japanned bureau bookcases by English cabinetmaker John Belchier anchored London dealer Ronald Phillips’s large stand.
Under the name of F.P. Fine Art, Frank Partridge, great-grandson of the eponymous London dealer, featured an inkstand, $115,000, made for Ostankino, a palace museum outside of Moscow.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic circa 1897 side chair for the Argyle Tea Rooms in Glasgow was $520,000 at H. Blairman & Sons Ltd. Roughly 20 of these famous chairs are thought to survive.
John Alexander, Ltd, of Philadelphia partitioned its booth, devoting half its stand to selections from its big fall gallery show, “Modern Pastoral: Cotswold School Design, 1890–2006,” and the other half to a more general selection of work by Liberty of London, Morris & Co., and British Arts and Crafts masters. One rarity was a Scottish Arts and Crafts beaten-metal jewel casket, $25,000, by woman artist DeCourcey Lewthwaite Dewar.
Two Brueghels studded Colnaghi’s blue chip assortment. “Panoramic Landscape with Travelers” by Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568–1625) joined a spectacular Abraham Brueghel (1631–1697) still life of fruit with flowers, priced in the high six figures.
Pictures were bestsellers at Jill Newhouse, Kate de Rothschild, Mark Brady, Browse & Darby, Brame & Lorenceau, and Agnews. Newhouse parted with Henri Matisse’s charcoal on paper “Carla in a Linen Dress,” marked $1.8 million. Browse & Darby sold a Degas charcoal and pastel on paper in the mid-six figures.
A standout at Ralph M. Chait Galleries of New York was a Chinese blue and white Ming porcelain jar powerfully decorated with dragons and waves. It was from the J.M. Hu Family Collection.
Blitz Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art of Amsterdam sold a set of Chinese pottery wall tiles dating to the Twelfth or Thirteenth Century to a new private collector.
Like Asian art, antiquities and ethnographic art are sparsely represented in this forum. Charles Ede Ltd, of London, sold a Roman marble torso, $200,000, of an athlete to an American client. Galerie Gunter Puhze of Freiburg, Germany, parted with a Fifth Century vase, $45,000. A large, carved limestone commemorative stele from the Sumba culture of Indonesia governed Chicago dealer Douglas Dawson’s stand.
The Haughtons return to New York March 22–28 for The International Asian Art Fair. For information, 011-44-020-7734-5491 or www.haughton.com.
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