Published: December 4, 2007
The address was the same. Ditto several of the nearly 40 antiques dealers. The inaugural JMK Shows New York Antiques Show, November 2‴, at Wallace Hall, Park Avenue at 84th Street, however, was a novel beachhead for Allison Kohler.
Kohler, daughter of veteran show promoters Rona and Jesse Kohler, said she had been approached by several dealers who wanted to revive the show formerly managed by Wendy Show Management. Back then, it was known as the Park Avenue Antiques Show and was conducted during January’s Americana Week in New York City. Kohler checked out the venue and its logistics, possible show dates and dealer availability †held up a forefinger to gauge the winds of the market †and boldly introduced another Big Apple show. This event opened at 11 am on Friday and continued through Sunday at 5 pm.
“My first thought was, 37 vendors in room setting booths †are you kidding?” said Kohler, recalling her first look at Wallace Hall, tucked below the imposing Church of St Ignatius Loyola and accessible by a pair of gated stairways. The fact that one of the previous show’s dealers, jeweler Brad Reh of Southampton, N.Y., had encouraged her to take it on did not assuage the logistical concerns †after all, she said, “Brad carries his inventory inside a couple of jewelry cases.”
In the end, however, Kohler decided to move forward. “November is a strong month, and I wanted to get it done before the holiday shows. I called Brad and said, ‘It’s done,’ and wouldn’t you know, a day or so later I got calls from about a dozen other dealers asking to get into the show.”
With dealer load-in on Wednesday and Thursday, the well-edited show certainly looked squared away on Friday morning. “Overall, it turned out well,” said Kohler, who, contacted after the show, estimated that just under 1,000 people came in to browse and buy over the three-day event. About half the gate was enticed inside by the bright yellow banners deployed outside the church, meaning that show patrons were mostly Upper East Side residents, according to show management, “but they were exactly the right clientele,” said Kohler. And while some exhibitors also noted that attendance seemed lighter than expected, several reported doing well over the weekend and added that the show has great promise.
“The show has loads of potential,” said Jerry and Marsha Ritch, East Amherst, N.Y., dealers. The Ritches pointed out that the show had a diverse mix from which shoppers could choose. “Allison is perceived as a very hard worker and cares about the dealers she invites and wants to develop the right chemistry for a great show,” they said.
Specializing in Nineteenth Century American lighting, mainly 1850‱880, the Ritches sold an American tiger maple server, a Federal side chair, circa 1810, and “lots of smalls †no surprise here.”
“The show was a success for us,” said Ed and Betty Koren of Bridges Over Time, Newburgh, N.Y. “Although we didn’t have many sales, those that we did have were high value. Of particular note, we sold a pair of Hungarian Art Deco chairs and a beautiful surrealist painting by a Connecticut artist. Most of what we sold was Twentieth Century, as is our focus. We were concerned that the Upper East Side is considered more traditional, but it seems like Modernism is beginning to catch on everywhere.”
Across the floor from the Korens, the traditional Upper East Side formality was deftly captured by Glenbrook Antiques. The Walden, N.Y., dealers †who include Arlene and David Komathy and their son, Jason †were showing an American classical period sideboard from Albany, N.Y, circa 1820, attributed to Meads & Alvord. A mahogany classical period dresser, circa 1820, and an oil on canvas woodland scene by Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Pena (French, 1808‱876), a landscape painter of the Barbizon school, who is known for numerous Romantic depictions of the Fontainebleau forest, were additional highlights.
Jeweler Reh reported being very pleased with the show and echoed the comment that it has a lot of potential. “Considering it was a first-year show in a tough climate, it was a big success,” he said. “I sold a pair of beautiful diamond earrings, a strand of South Sea pearls and some other items. But most important, I think the show was worthy of the Park Avenue address at which it was conducted.”
A French country deux corps of unusual size and with excellent carved details, circa 1800‱810, awaited show patrons in the booth of Olivier Fleury, Malvern, Penn. The open framed top of the piece from the Normandy region made it a perfect display case for china or pottery and the bottom section provided great storage. Also on offer was a French enfilade from the Picardie region, circa 178090, made of cherry wood with a rich deep color and carved and pierced decoration. Its glazed divide light door looked in on adjustable shelving, making the piece useful as well as striking. “The show went well, with a nice flow of educated customers,” said Fleury afterward. “A French comtoise sold and a set of four French fauteuils. I believed this is going to be a nice show as the economy improves.”
Roseland, N.J., antiques and collectibles dealer Debbie Turi came with a folky scale model of a yacht with a 48-star flag on the back and a selection of art, mostly unsigned, which she said she loves to collect. “I feel the show was well received,” said Turi, adding that it was well rounded †”just the right number of jewelry, art and case dealers.” Turi said most of her sales over the weekend went to local Upper East Side residents.
For Malvern, Penn., antique clock specialist Gordon Converse, the three-day event only yielded a few sales. Highlights in his booth included a mid-to-late Eighteenth Century double paneled gum wood and pine blanket chest on bracket feet attributed to the Oyster Bay or Hempstead, N.Y. area, an oil on canvas, “Shooting Gallery,” in an Art Deco frame by American artist Muriel Wilson whose work was prolific in the 1930s, and a scene of “Honfleur Harbor” by French artist Maurice Courant (1847‱926) that was signed and dated 1917. “The management made a good effort to help the dealers and worked hard,” said Converse.
“While attendance was light, we did see a number of good clients and sold a number of good items, including a fine garniture of Derby porcelain mayflower vases, some First Period Worcester Blue scale porcelain items and a set of 12 China Trade watercolor pictures of flowers,” said Paul Vandekar of Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge Inc. The New York City dealer featured a selection of life-sized engravings of water birds by Prideaux John Selby (English, 1788‱867), ornithologist, botanist and artist who Vandekar described as “an English Audubon.” The illustrations were called remarkable for the delicacy of their execution and their truthfulness to nature. One example, an image of a great black-backed gull in winter plumage, indeed seemed nearly monumental on the elephant folio (27-by-21½-inch) sheet.
Herbert and Deborah Meiselman’s specialty is period photo frames from about 1860‱920. Their business, Circa Antiques and Decorations, is based in Rockport, Mass., and they also collect antique furniture, accessories and lighting. “Better stuff is selling,” said Herb Meiselman when asked about trends in vintage photo frames. For example, he pointed out a horizontal or “landscape” frame of gilt bronze with basket crest decoration and swagged flowers. “These are at a premium because they are hard to find,” he said. In addition to photo frames, the dealers presented several pieces of Bavarian Royal Bayreuth, including colorful red examples of lobster items and some rare poppy designs. “Again, red is hard to find,” said Herb Meiselman.
Mark Foster and Nattley Veenstra, Yardley, Penn., had an advantageous layout in the hall’s stage area where they displayed a range of furniture and decorative accessories. “It was one of the most attractive shows ever held in the building, with an incredibly wide range of items to meet every taste. There was literally something for every taste, budget and category of collecting,” said Foster. “We had a good gate on Saturday, and sold many smalls, including a pair of French Louis XV tole painted and parcel gilt trophy-form sconces, silver, lighting, porcelain and glass.” The pair also sold a midcentury chrome and marble two-tier low table and matching bookcase.
James Gallagher and Ruth Zager specialize in antiques for the hearth and home. In addition to their usual wealth of fireplace equipment, including sets of tools and andirons, the North Norwich, N.Y., dealers were showing a New England hall tree of rosewood and walnut, circa 1830-40, which featured a lidded trinket box and a shell-shaped cast iron shelf for umbrellas, a brass and leather fireplace fender, circa 1860, and a Boston mahogany classical secretary desk, circa 1830.
Rare vintage handbags were on parade in a booth set up by Nula Thanhauser, Philadelphia. The specialist of antique and signature purses and accessories showed a carved and double-sided sailor man purse, circa 1920, among many others.
“It was an enjoyable weekend and a beautiful show,” concluded Kohler, who said she is considering returning twice in 2008, possibly in either March or April and again in the fall, although perhaps not on New York City Marathon weekend, as was the case this year. For information, 973-927-2794 or www.jmkshows.com .
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