Published: February 16, 2016
Review And Photos By Andrea Valluzzo
MIAMI BEACH, FLA. — Befitting Miami’s cosmopolitan nature, a contingent of 215 international dealers from 30 countries were right at home as they settled in at the Miami Beach Convention Center during the January 28–February 1 run of the 55th annual Original Miami Beach Antique Show.
Featuring nearly 1,000 exhibitors, the show had quite a global flavor. Dealers from London routinely make the trek stateside and are commonplace at major antiques and art fairs in New York and other big cities, but this show boasted a handful of dealers from Argentina as well as dealers hailing from Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Italy and even Nepal.
The show filled Halls C and D at the center as well as a smaller ballroom housing about 100 jewelry dealers, and the ongoing construction in Halls A and B didn’t affect this year’s show. Planned renovations, however, will force the convention center to close for a few months early next year. US Antique Shows is thus moving the show out of Miami Beach and into the city of Miami, where it will take place at the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center two weeks later than normal next year, February 10–13.
“With such a storied history, it is regrettable that 2017 will be the first time in which we will not call Miami Beach home,” said Dan Darby, vice president and group show director for US Antique Shows, adding that after researching many venues in southern Florida, they are excited about this new venue and believe visitors and dealers will be also.
The show performed well in its most recent edition, with the gate holding steady and increasing a few percentage points. More notably, next year’s edition is already 80 percent rebooked from its dealer list.
The show began in 1961 under show promoter DS Clarke, with just 200 booths, little signage and no carpeting. As Miami was a popular winter destination, the show grew over the years and was bought in 1982 by glass collector and antiques collector/author Ray Grover and Miami antiques dealer Lou Baron. Under their management, the “Beach Show” as it came to be known, saw a second exhibition hall open in 1987 to accommodate more dealers. In 2010, the show added another 100 dealers in what is known as the Jewelry Ballroom.
Besides the international flavor of the show, it was also notable for the showstoppers that dealers had saved for this show, which were placed strategically throughout. During set-up Wednesday, many people were talking about “the eagle,” which was a larger-than-life bronze eagle sculpture with outstretched wings in the booth of Eduardo Cohen of Miami Beach.
A purple rhinoceros head attracted much attention at Ineke Peskin, Beverly Hills, Calif., where it was prominently mounted in the center of the back wall, while a palace-sized Chinese covered vase or urn with dragon handles and dragon finials (it was likely around 7 feet tall, including the stand, as it was taller than the booth walls) was a standout at Altair-Norwood, Norwood, Mass.
Another rarity seen here was one of only ten known Walter Dorwin Teague “Nocturne” radios for Sparton, 1936, offered by Deco Days Gone By, Prague, Czech Republic. Six of these radios are in museum collections. The Deco masterpiece of glass in the “midnight blue” hue, debuted at the New York Radio Exposition in the fall of 1935. It was described as “the ultimate icon of modernity, one dramatically ahead of its time” by Alastair Duncan in his book Modernism (1988).
Owing to Miami’s strong Art Deco architecture tradition (the Deco hotels along Ocean Avenue in South Beach are worth a visit), Deco items were plentiful at the show. Musee Deco LLC, Riverdale, N.Y., featured several cases of cold-painted bronze and ivory figures of women by Demetre Chiparus; and New York City-based dealer European Decorative Arts, which specializes in European ivory, had a pair of 1930s Rosenthal, German, flamenco dancer figures on offer.
European Decorative Arts was one of a cadre of 20 dealers having exhibit space at the Manhattan Art & Antiques Center that headed south to this show. Fellow dealers at the center included Robert Lloyd, whose lobster figure/business card holder was a hit and Meissen purveyors Bella Antiques and Alexander’s Antiques balanced fine art and covered porcelain vases with ornate furniture practically dripping with gilt.
Tiffany specialist Ophir Gallery, Englewood, N.J., created a stunning and warm booth, filled with gorgeous Tiffany table lamps, while Bonacolta Gallery, Fort Lee, N.J., featured several signed Handel lamps in its booth, including a boudoir lamp in a butterfly and rose egg design and an artistic lamp vividly painted with a blue macaw.
Other pieces included French artist Gustave Loiseau’s “Pontoise, le Coteau de l’Ermitage,” oil on canvas, on offer in the low six figures at Gladwell & Patterson, London; a French dore bronze neoclassical clock, signed Graux-Marly Paris, 34½ inches tall from Antique Elements, Roslyn, N.Y. From McMillan Fine Prints, New York City, was a signed, people-filled etching by renowned printmaker Jacques Callot titled “Vue de Pont Neuf.” Paris’ “New Bridge,” which was completed in 1607, shown in its entirety in this work while the foreground emphasizes the Tour de Nesle and the associated Hotel de Nesle.
The show was well laid out and though the halls were large and the dealer list a tad overwhelming, there were benches on which to rest and consider purchases, as well as a food court in which to recharge oneself. On opening day, Imagination Unlimited, Miami Beach, set out a tray of homemade chocolate chip cookies in its booth. The cookies were just right — soft in the middle with buttery-crisp edges — for customers to sustain themselves as they trekked up and down the many aisles.
For additional information, www.originalmiamibeachantiqueshow.com or 239-732-6642.
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