Published: December 27, 2011
All the right people were on hand at JMK Shows’ launch of its newest fair, the Antiques & Fine Art Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion, but there were not quite enough of them. The gate was a bit slow at the show’s inaugural edition December 9‱1, and management reported that some dealers did quite well. Show promoter Allison Kohler and a handful of dealers surveyed after the event were optimistic and looking forward to next year’s show.
“We were on the radio, we were on the TV, we had live coverage&o many people told us they saw our ads,” Kohler said, noting there was good response after a preshow marketing blitz, and the show did do well for its first time out. Kohler did say she is looking for a date change a week or two earlier to improve attendance by moving the show further away from the Christmas “holidaze.” She also noted that load-in and load-out was smoother than she expected for a New York City show, and smoother than some of the other buildings she has used outside the city.
In the hours before the show’s noon opening on December 9, Kohler was smiling as she stood on the show floor, chatting with dealer Andrew Vogel of Wellesley House and other dealers as they put the finishing touches on their booths. Dealers’ booths were at their ready, a violinist and keyboard player were set up in the lobby to perform music amid a loan exhibition of items from the National Christmas Center’s museum in Paradise, Penn., and the show was picture-perfect. Aisles were wide and booths elegant and spacious, making for an attractive debut.
The show itself exuded a cool sophistication with a good mix of different styles and dealers, many of whom are well known to regular attendees of her shows across the Hudson, but there was a pleasing amount of new faces here, too. JMK Shows is perhaps best known for its long-running Morristown Armory Antiques Show and the Birchwood Manor Antiques Show in New Jersey, as well as a Sarasota, Fla., antiques show, but with this show, Kohler has proved she can make it in New York City, too, and has a solid foundation on which to build before next year’s show.
Howard Price of Howard Price Fine Art, Boynton Beach, Fla., was among the dealers who reported a good show, which must have been a huge weight off his mind. Having been loath to do a show in New York City for some time, Price tested the waters with this show, driving up from Florida with a big truck and after loading in, it took two hours to find a parking space. During setup, he was hoping aloud that his efforts would pay off.
They did. “I did quite well at the show. I sold five of the David Roberts images and got orders for four more when I find them. That was the highlight of my show,” he said. He also sold several paintings and got a request to find a Havell Audubon print for a collector. “I look forward to the next time I am in New York with JMK Shows,” he said.
Terra Mare, Sharon, Conn., did not have quite as long a drive to do this show and set up glass cases filled with elegant pottery that attracted many an eye. “It was a beautiful show, and for a new show, I found the customers were more the serious collectors than casual wanderers,” said dealer Lisa Gaffney. Standouts among her sales were two items she displayed in her preshow mailings: a monumental Austrian Art Nouveau vase with high relief dandelions and an Aesthetic Movement copper fish plate. The octagonal plate was done in the Japoniste style.
Marion Harris, New York City, also reported the show was fine, selling several pieces of Nineteenth Century Scottish jewelry (her native country) to husbands purchasing Christmas gifts; a rare naturalist book on English dragonflies, circa 1930, to a famous contemporary artist who specializes in such subjects; and a pair of finely carved Dieppe pieces to advanced collectors.” Most of us agreed the right people were there, even if there could have been more, and we would likely do the show again,” she said.
Also selling wonderful jewelry pieces were Anita S. Taub, New York City, who was pleased with her results, selling mainly earrings and rings, while L&Z Antique & Estate Jewelry, Farmington Hills, Mich., reported that the customers who came, spent and spent well. L&Z sold a Baccarat decanter and six glasses from 1960, and an Art Nouveau locket was the first item to fly out of the booth on opening day.
Nancy Steinbock Vintage Posters, Chestnut Hill, Mass., has been doing shows for well over 25 years and always finds December shows a mixed bag. While conceding that the gate was slow, the dealers did say they had several sales among posters featuring American literary travel and food themes.
Furniture offerings at the show ran the gamut from an American child’s five-drawer chest in tiger maple, circa 1820‱830, in the booth of J&M Antiques, East Amherst, N.Y., to a late Nineteenth Century Anglo-Raj armoire in solid figured rosewood with hand carved sunburst panels at Knollwood Antiques, New York City.
Highlights among the elegant items seen in dealers’ booths were a fine oil painting by Antonio Gasparo Jacobsen of the steamship Castilian Prince , dated 1893, in the booth of Roberto Freitas, Stonington, Conn., and a rare English woolwork of a Great Eastern Railway steam train #165, circa 1885, offered by Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, Maryknoll, N.Y.
New Jersey dealer Only Authentics, which specializes in original vintage purses and handbags, offered fine designs from Hermes (a trio of iconic orange boxes was displayed above a glass case filled with bags), Chanel and other top names.
Southport Gallery, Southport, Conn., is a small gallery in a quiet village, but its acquisition of a collection of works by Robert Hyman Bizinsky, who painted plein air in Paris after serving as an American soldier in World War II, has put it on the national map. The archive of paintings was acquired from the artist’s widow in 1989 by auctioneer Gene Shannon, whose art auctions are well known to our readers. Shannon and the gallery are at last presenting these works to the art world in their public debut, both at this show and in the gallery. A catalogue raisonné has just been published to document Bizinsky’s Paris works.
Barometer Fair, Sarasota, Fla., wrote up two fine examples of antique stick barometers, as well as a handful of smaller items, while two doors down, Tradewinds Fine Art, Naragansettt, R.I., had more interest than sales.
Dealers Steve and Doris McKell were excitedly showing a Howard Connolly painting of Marilyn Monroe that they acquired directly from the well-known New York illustrator when he moved to Rhode Island. The painting did not sell here, in its public debut, but it did attract lots of attention, and Steve said he has a few follow-up calls on it. The dealers did sell a bronze of a young boy standing that was cast in France in 1878 and an American Impressionist painting from 1912. “I thought Allison [Kohler] did a great job for the [show’s] first time,” he said.
Gary Bardsley Antiques, Sudbury, Mass., sold a few smalls, and noted there was interest in some of his bigger pieces with lots of measuring and discussion.
Whether they sold a lot or a little, nearly every dealer surveyed agreed the show was a good-looking show and were eager to return next year.
JMK’s next shows are this weekend in Sarasota, Fla., and then January 7‸ at the Birchwood Manor Antiques Show. For more information, www.jmkshows.com or 973-927-2794.
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