Published: August 17, 2012
Long a destination for summer residents and those seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life on the mainland, this small, quaint and history-laden island has also proven to be the perfect spot to wile away the days at an antiques show. For the past 35 years, the Nantucket Historical Association has been providing island residents, both permanent and temporary, an outlet for such relief with the Annual August Antiques Show, held this year on August 3‶.
For much of the past decade, the show has been conducted under the leadership of the Antiques Council, conducted first at the local high school, for a couple years at the New School and more recently at Nantucket’s landmark flower and farming site, Bartlett Farm. Conducted under a monumental tent, the show has remained constant in size and scope, although the 40 dealers taking part in this year’s event came from further afield, with two exhibitors in attendance from London and one from San Francisco. This year’s show was also expanded to include Monday, a day local businesses recognize as a “busy shopping day,” as residents have often bid their guests farewell and resume their regular island schedules.
“The preview party was a big success,” stated council show manager David Bernard, “the crowd was up significantly and there was lots of buying going on all around the floor.” With a raw bar to the right of your booth, oysters being shucked at a frenzied pace in an adjacent space and a libations bar directly in front of it, one might think that the distractions would be sufficient to impact activities in a booth filled with antiques. South Hadley, Mass., dealer Victor Weinblatt found the exact opposite to be true. The dealer finally resorted to stacking the whimsical signs, for which he is so well known, in corners with sold tags protruding from all sorts of angles. Weinblatt reported an excellent opening with a plethora of signage sold.
Bernard also commented that the special events conducted throughout the weekend were well received, including “Bloody Mary Sunday” where everyone visiting the show was awarded a free liquid treat. Special events at the show included a Designer Panel on Friday that featured five New York decorators, a President’s Reception on Friday evening for philanthropists and founders, and a cocktail party and antiques show dinner conducted after the show closed on Saturday evening.
“The show was very good for us, and on top of it all, we caught some fish,” stated East Lyme, Conn., dealer Bob Haneberg. The dealer reported the sales of paintings, porcelains and nautical items.
Aside from the usual selection of quality Americana, the booth of Stonington, Conn., dealer Roberto Freitas was sprinkled with a stellar selection of Western themed art. An iconic oil on canvas by Joseph Henry Sharp, “Bawling Deer by Firelight,” was featured on the side wall of the booth and was marked $285,000, and below it and resting on a Connecticut Queen Anne slant front desk was James Earle Fraser’s bronze “Cowboy at Rest.”
Also with an atypical display of art was Paul Vandekar, where several paintings by Ralph Cahoon were featured. Trading as Earle Vandekar of Knightsbridge, the New York dealer offered “A Mermaid in Canton,” $49,000, an oil on Masonite depicting a mermaid seated before a mirror atop a Chinese lacquered desk with a sailor behind her covering her eyes. Also offered was a rare trade sign in the form of a pocket watch with the face painted with Cahoon’s scene of a mermaid and sailor outside of Shreve’s Watch Shop, Boston, $40,000.
One of several new exhibitors at the show this year was Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York City. A pair of unglazed pottery horse and riders from the Sixth or Seventh Century, Tang dynasty, were standing guard at the forefront of the booth, $28,000, while a similarly priced cloisonné vase from the Decheng workshop was displayed nearby. Also offered was a pair of Eighteenth Century famille rose eggshell porcelain dishes, Yongzheng period, $34,000, and an exquisite pair of Kangxi period famille verte teapots of bamboo form with floral and butterfly decoration, $32,000.
A “very good show” was reported at Vose Galleries, Boston. A wide selection of paintings were displayed ranging from nautical themes such as “Off Barbados” by James Buttersworth and “Seascape with Boats Offshore” by Alfred Thompson Bricher to Hudson Valley artists such as Jasper Cropsey, Worthington Whittredge and Asher Durand. One painting attracting major attention was “Off to Play,” a charming oil by Jesse Wilcox Smith, circa 1922, depicting a mother buttoning the winter jacket of her young daughter.
The next show under the management of the Antiques Council will be the Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show opening October 19. For more information, www.antiquescouncil.com.
For information on the Nantucket Historical Association, with 22 historic properties on Nantucket, including the Whaling Museum, visit www.nha.org or call 508-228-1894.
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