Published: August 13, 2015
By Laura Beach
MANCHESTER, N.H. — It was icing on the cake. Hilary and Paulette Nolan were on the verge of selling a pair of primitive portraits depicting Mr and Mrs Crandall of West Dorset, Vt., but it was not until Suzanne and Michael Payne walked into their booth at Antiques in Manchester that the Falmouth, Mass., dealers learned the identity of the painter, Ira Chafee Goodell (1800–1877).
Goodell is documented in new research published by the Paynes, scholar collectors from upstate New York, in their article in the latest issue of Antiques & Fine Art. The Paynes say the Crandall portraits are fine examples from Goodell’s earliest itinerancy between 1826 and 1831. With the researchers’ blessing, the portraits sold to Anita and Lou Schwartz, Michigan collectors of American folk art who were as delighted with their newly documented purchase as the Nolans were with Antiques in Manchester.
“It was our best yet,” Paulette Nolan later confirmed. “We loved the new facilities, as did our customers.”
Everything seemed to click for Antiques in Manchester, which celebrated its fourth year on Wednesday and Thursday, August 5–6. Beautifully installed in the Sullivan Arena at St Anselm College, the destination show drew a national audience to town for a choice selection of American fine and decorative arts, much of it early, folky and from New England.
Show manager Karen DiSaia took a risk by moving the event to the untested facility. In a residential neighborhood, the fair might have been hard to find were it not for management’s excellent signage, which, combined with electronic navigational systems, worked for most, though not all, visitors.
With 53 exhibitors, about a half dozen of whom were new to the show, Antiques in Manchester was the right size and a good fit for its new home, which offered wide aisles and amenities such as ample, secure parking and a well-stocked café. The DiSaias assign numbers to early birds, then encourage them to be seated in the air-conditioned, indoor waiting room prior to the show’s opening. Roughly 500 shoppers were in line when the gate opened at 11 am. A palpable energy on the floor translated into robust selling over the next several hours. While attendance was lighter on Thursday, important sales were transacted up until closing.
“I was quite pleased with the turnout,” said Missouri dealer Sheridan Loyd. “The quality was fantastic, so what more could you want?” added Massachusetts dealer John Hunt Marshall III.
“Bottom line, Antiques in Manchester is a successful, high-energy show. The venue is fabulous. I sold 20 pieces, some of which I could have sold multiple times. The biggest problem will be restocking,” said Rochester, N.Y., dealer Don Olson.
“I went home pleasantly surprised. While most business was done on Wednesday, Thursday did produce some good sales. The show was well attended with collectors and dealers eager to make purchases. For the most part, all of the dealers did well,” said Dennis Raleigh, a first-time exhibitor who attracted notice with a 1930s Betty Boop gate, $4,500, and a cast iron Owl Tuxedo trade sign, $6,500, from Claremont, N.H.
“We made 27 sales. The show is really on an upward trajectory. The facility is wonderful and Karen does an amazing job,” said Massachusetts dealer Grace Snyder.
“I was busy for several hours after opening selling furniture and smalls, “ said Wallingford, Conn., dealer Jane Wargo, another first-time exhibitor. “The show is very well organized. We were pleased to be a part of it.”
“It was my best Manchester so far. I was in the five figures during setup,” said Village Braider’s Bruce Emond, whose eclectic sales ranged from early furniture to curvaceous Modern armchairs by Salterini of New York and a primitive painting of the Worcester Lunatic Asylum.
The show attracted prominent collectors and curators. A magnet for serious buyers of early New England furniture, Peter Eaton arrayed choice, intriguing specimens. Historic Deerfield snapped up an extraordinary “make-do” — a Seventeenth Century caned back armchair, much mended over the centuries — from the Newbury, Mass., dealer, who also sold an unusual Sheraton valuables chest, a Windsor high chair, a Queen Anne candlestand and a decorated Sheraton worktable, newly discovered, from North Shore, Mass., or coastal New Hampshire.
“I’ve had lots of interest in two early, ball footed chests,” noted Eaton. His partner, Joan Brownstein, counted among her sales an important early Nineteenth Century fireboard depicting the Mary Jarvis family homestead in West Virginia and a Seventeenth Century embroidered casket.
Around the corner from Brownstein, needlework specialists Stephen and Carol Huber wrote up a choice Adam and Eve sampler, circa 1788, by Eunice Pilsbery of Newburyport, Mass., and a dated 1820 Burlington County, N.J., sampler by Ann Borton. Multiple parties were interested in a pair of silk embroideries, also sold, and one depicting Mount Vernon by Mary Welles, the daughter of a prominent Connecticut family. The buyer told the Hubers that he might eventually donate the embroideries to Historic Deerfield.
“It was probably made for a house warming. I love the tiny house with a heart coming out of the chimney on the border,” Merrimacport, Mass., dealer Colette Donovan said of a vibrant, early patchwork and broderie perse album quilt. Stretching across her back wall, it was probably made by a Chelsea, Mass., society.
At opening, a crowd gathered in the stand of Mary and Norman Gronning, Vermont dealers who are a first stop for furniture buyers. “It’s the biggest one I’ve had,” said Norman Gronning, who promptly sold a 61½-by-51-inch western Rhode Island or eastern Connecticut gate leg table. The dealers had interest in an undecorated, two-drawer Hadley chest, $14,500, and a rare Susan Waters landscape painting, $25,000.
Samuel Herrup and Derik Pulito offered distinctive examples of Rhode Island furniture, as well. Herrup featured a four-drawer cherry chest with graceful inlays. The circa 1800 piece was tentatively attributed to the school of Thomas Haywood. Pulito unveiled a seven-drawer bureau in red wash, circa 1770, with a high foot and dimensions that are hallmarks of the region.
Preliminary sales by Delaware dealer James Kilvington included a corner chair and a colorful architectural landscape by Pennsylvania painter Franklin Watkins. Taking a similar approach to display, Pennsylvania dealer Chuck White hung a fresh-to-the-market winter view of Green Street in Sellersville, Penn., by Walter Baum, 1917, $17,500, over a circa 1730 ball foot blanket chest in original blue paint, $15,500.
John Keith Russell amped up his presentation of Shaker furniture and accessories with an important Mount Lebanon, N.Y., turning chair of circa 1860, $25,500; a Hancock Bishopric sewing stand, circa 1840, $17,500; and a Sabbathday Lake, Maine, pantry cupboard, circa 1860, $14,000.
Furniture also performed well for Dan and Karen Olson, who wrote up an Eighteenth Century New England sawbuck table, a shoe foot table, a New England Queen Anne drop leaf table, paint decorated blanket chests, a New England pewter cupboard and Windsor chairs, along with accessories and jewelry.
“I just sold my None-Such pumpkin advertising lantern,” said Gary Langenbach, an early furniture and lighting specialist from Kingston, Mass.
“We sold across the board — Americana, folk art and Mexican jewelry,” Connecticut dealer Karen Wendhiser reported.
“It’s the best one we’ve ever owned,” Pennsylvania dealer Greg Kramer said of a circa 1900–20 red, white and blue Uncle Sam whirligig, about 2 feet tall.
A cast iron Mr Peanut trade figure and a carved ceiling medallion from a Baltimore lodge were highlights of Charles Wilson’s display.
Late Nineteenth Century trade signs for Barney & Berry Skate Works, Springfield, Mass., and the bootmaker W.T. Gibney were on offer at Pat and Rich Garthoeffner, Lititz, Penn.
In a monumental tribute to American marketing pizzazz, James and Nancy Glazer showed a winged wheel — zinc and 84 inches wide — that once capped the Baltimore plant of the Rochester, N.Y.-based Bartholomay Brewing Company. The Maine dealers’ sales included an 18½-inch-tall stoneware commemorative urn. Made by Doulton and dated 1871, it was ex-collection of Malcolm Forbes.
American glass specialists Ralph and Gretchen Franzese of R.G.L. Antiques called attention to a pair of Boston Sandwich vases on hexagonal stands, displaying the rich green glass with a swan decoy, one of two in the booth by Long Island, N.Y., carver Thomas Langan.
Mad River Antiques sold six pieces of stoneware, numerous smalls and had interest in a circa 1931 Dartmouth College fraternity cane carved with the head of a Mohegan Indian.
Paintings and portraits spanned the gamut. Robert Snyder and Judy Wilson sold a full-length portrait of a girl in red, Samuel Forsythe featured Zedekiah Belknap’s portrait of a girl in a blue shawl, and Elle Shushan arrayed wax portraits and tableaux, from old to new, by John Christian Rauschner to contemporary craftsman David Guilmet.
Don Olson’s centerpiece was a full-length portrait, recently discovered and signed and dated 1850, of Mary S. Gardner of Hubbardston, Mass., by Joseph Goodhue Chandler.
“Have anything great in snuff boxes?” asked a man, poking his head into Steven Power’s stand, where showstoppers included a Joshua Shaw landscape painting and a masklike dovecote or bat house.
Antiques in Manchester even makes way for Modernism. Kevin Rita of Garvey Rita Art and Antiques featured “Birds in Flight,” a large, rare B.J.O. Nordfeldt canvas, painted after the artist moved to Lambertville, N.J., in 1937.
For all things Rockwell Kent, look to authority Scott Ferris, whose fascinating display included two circa 1918 reverse paintings on glass of the type Kent retailed through Wanamker’s in New York City; “Northern Exposure (a.k.a. Campfire Girl),” a circa 1932 oil on board that relates to two larger Kent paintings; and Inuit dolls from Greenland whose style of dress Kent accurately reflected in his paintings.
Karen and Ralph DiSaia had every reason to be pleased with Antiques in Manchester. “Exhibitors worked to bring great things. This was our fourth year and we have really come into our own. Dealers are already committing to next year.” DiSaia’s expanding waiting list is just the kind of problem that managers love having.
For additional information, www.disaiamanagement.com or 860-908-0076.
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