Published: September 13, 2011
“We want complete control of our productions and we have developed ways to do just that, even in the face of an earthquake and a hurricane,” Scott Diament, president and CEO of the Palm Beach Show Group, said a few days after the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show. “Our contract with the Baltimore Convention Center let us move in on Monday, August 22, at 6 am, when a crew of 150 started constructing the walls for our 542 exhibitors. The dealers set up on Tuesday and Wednesday, the four-day show kicked off at noon on Thursday, August 25, and the walls were down and packed into trucks by Monday night,” Scott said. The Baltimore Show is now the largest hard-wall show in America.
The Palm Beach Show Group was formed in 2001, and the next few years were the planning stage when every detail for producing a show was put in order. In 2004, the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show was launched, and “we knew four hours into that show that we had a real working company,” Scott said. The group, 12 full-time employees, now produces four shows, the largest in Baltimore.
The firm owns everything it takes to put on the shows, from walls to all the lighting tracks and the thousands of bulbs, which are tested before each show, and from the rugs to the garbage cans. All this is stored, when not in use, in a 25,000-square-foot building in Florida, where the inventory is inspected and maintained. Even the white rugs, a signature of the Palm Beach Show Group productions, are cleaned there. “We buy new carpet each year for the Palm Beach Show and then use it for at least one more show. Very often it cannot be cleaned properly and used again, so it is chucked,” Scott said. For the Baltimore Show, it took seven tractor trailer trucks, 54 feet long, to bring the supplies from Florida.
The dealers were setting up their booths when the earthquake hit on Tuesday and a complete evacuation of the convention center was ordered. Some of the jewelry dealers were reluctant to leave, as their inventory was out and being prepared for display, and took an extra minute or two to pack things back into the safe. But in the end, everyone left the building and were outside for about two hours. There was no damage to the building and, in fact, it is one of the certified hurricane-resistant structures in the city.
The hurricane, which was one of the weekend attractions in Baltimore, did have an effect on the attendance on Saturday. Over the four-day run of the show, close to 20,000 people came out, many ignoring the radio broadcasts urging people to stay at home and coping with closed parking lots and some sandbags. In the end, there was no real damage to Baltimore. Out of the 542 dealers in the show, four feared the storm enough to leave the show on Saturday.
“The only real problem we had was seven leaks that developed over the book section of the show, so on Thursday night about 50 workers moved that section of the show to the location of the food area, and the food area came more into the center of the show. We liked the new arrangement and plan to do the same next year,” Scott said.
The show fills 250,000 square feet of the exhibition area and when you have walked every aisle, and checked out every booth, you have seen thousands of paintings and pieces of jewelry, furniture and objects from all parts of the world, a smattering of Americana, sculpture and fabrics, and just about anything you can name. Read on and you will see.
New Preston, Conn., dealer Dawn Hill Antiques had a very bright booth, with many pieces of white painted furniture set on a white rug, complemented by the wide, white rug-covered aisles at the show. Furniture included a Swedish circa 1820 drop leaf table (slagbord) with traces of old white paint, measuring 69 inches long, 51 inches wide and 30½ inches high, and a late Eighteenth century bridal tall case clock from Angermanland, Sweden, with a crown of roses decorating the bonnet and the original blue-green painted surface. It dates circa 1780‱800 and measures 89 inches high.
Michael Pashby Antiques, one of the New York City antiques dealers at the show, offered a fine amaranth and orangewood octagonal breakfast table, English, circa 1795, measuring 28 inches high and 41½ inches wide and deep, and a large (80 by 104 inches) work by Marc Lambrechts (b 1955, Belgian), oil on plaster on wood, “A Canyon,” 2005.
Jeffrey Tillou Antiques, Litchfield, Conn., showed a partners’ desk, American, probably mid-Atlantic states, circa 1860‱875, walnut, white oak and poplar secondary, with molded base and leather embossed top, and at the front of the booth was a rare, large decorated marriage jug, Shorthose & Co., English and dated 1821. This pearlware piece, with enamel decoration and transfer print, marked the marriage of Richard and Martha Pursell and measured 12¾ inches high.
Ed Weissman of Portsmouth, N.H., mentioned, “I had a very good show in New Hampshire, selling items across the board, but my favorite piece there did not sell, so I brought it down here.” At the same time, he was pointing out a rare dish-top carved piecrust birdcage candlestand from the Connecticut River Valley, circa 1785‱810, with a top measuring only 15¾ inches in diameter. Of cherry and birch, the stand had arched Queen Anne legs ending in “cat paw” pad feet. Shown over a highboy, and a safe distance out of reach, were two Isleta Pueblo Indian ceremonial dance pole tops, mid-Nineteenth Century, from the New Mexico area. These colorful, graphic figures have lighting bolts shooting from the face. And for those who know Ed’s dog Lucky, another knee operation is in the near future.
All of the copper and brass was brightly shined in the booth of Eve Stone Antiques, Woodbridge, Conn., including an oval copper steamer and lid, 12½ inches wide and 10¾ inches high of English origin with the Benhams & Cross mark. It was in excellent condition, as was an English, brass two-light candle lamp with the original green tole shades with red rims. It dated circa 1830, measured 20 inches high and had the Palmers patent. Against the back wall of the booth were two boat models, one under full sail and the other, of large size, carried three masts.
Your Piece of History traveled from Tucson, Ariz., with a load of memorabilia, including an Old Gold cigarette poster featuring Mae West in a flowing blue gown with matching hat, and posters urging you to “Join The Air Service and Serve in France,” go to the combined circus of Ringling’s Bros. And Barnum Bailey, and take in Columbia’s 1933 film Silent Man staring Tim McCoy.
Three Roman bronzes, including a turtle piped for a fountain, were shown by Post Road Gallery, Larchmont, N.Y., and Forge Fine Art of Baltimore had an early trade sign in the form of a mortar and pestle of copper.
Hamden, Conn., dealer From Here to Antiquity showed a large oil on canvas by F. LaRosa, “Young Beauty With Flowers,” Italian, circa 1880‱890, and a tonalist landscape, oil on canvas, by American John Mason (1868‿).
“That piece has everything a corner cupboard should have,” Jerry Ritch of J&M Antiques, East Amherst, N.Y., said of his circa 1810 tiger maple Federal corner cupboard with broken arch and the original finish and glass. Other tiger maple furniture included a four-drawer chest, a five-drawer chest, a child’s four-drawer chest and a pair of two-drawer stands, among other pieces. He also showed about a dozen student lamps, all complete with original shades and burners. He just came off a show in Nantucket, sponsored by the local fire department, where he sold nine lamps and eight pieces of furniture. “I have been doing this Baltimore show for the past 15 years, and always do well as I have no competition in my fields of collecting,” Jerry said.
Spencer Marks, Ltd, Southampton, Mass., had several cases filled with silver, and a few “stars” displayed on a table at the front of the booth. A Paul Storr, London, 1821‱822, English George IV “Warwick Vase” silver wine cooler was given a prominent position on the table, as was an extremely rare pair of Irish silver serving dishes with romantic scenes, William Bond, Dublin, 1788.
M.S. Rau Antiques of New Orleans lined its walls with a most impressive gallery of paintings by some of the world’s best-known artists. Works included “Waiting for the Art Editor,” a large oil on canvas, signed lower right, by Norman Rockwell, to “Varengeville Church & Cliffs,” an oil on canvas, signed lower right, by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841‱919). The painting was dated 1880. Sharing the wall with the Rockwell was “Gentlemen Prefer,” a scantily clad young lady by Gillette “Gil” A. Elvgren (American, 1914‱980). This oil on canvas is signed lower right.
Seaway China/Whitley Collection of Miami had several cases filled with Royal Doulton, each filled with a different form, including character jugs, human figures, animals, series ware and stoneware. More than 15 fossilized murals from southwestern Wyoming, mostly featuring fish, were shown by Eostone of Miami.
Phillips Galleries of Palm Beach, Fla., had several interesting pieces of sculpture made with golf balls and golf clubs, all fashioned into one large ball, and the stand for a glass top table was made from golf club heads, all welded together and shined. Set against striking red walls were a number of paintings, featuring both sailboats and rowboats, on bright blue water.
Bridges Over Time, Walden, N.Y., offered two pieces of sculpture by Edward Fenno Hoffman, both in bronze, one featuring a child holding a turtle with his dog at his feet, the other a seated child holding a rabbit. Furniture included an antler chair and a pair of settees, circa 1950, from Lord & Taylor. An oversized chess set had large, hand-thrown figures.
Jeff Bridgman of Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, Dillsburg, Penn., was using crutches a good part of the time in Baltimore as the result of a fall a few days earlier. Not known for his speed in setting up a booth, he noted, “My sore foot has slowed me down even more.” He was in great shape when the doors opened on Thursday, however, and had a good show, selling a good number of things, including four historical American flags, one a 13-star US Navy small boat ensign made at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, dated 1907. One of the largest flags in the booth dated 1864‱867, with the stars in a great luminary pattern, once the property of Bernard Madoff.
“This is my fifth show here and I really like it because it draws a terrific gate and I meet new people. I missed last year as it conflicted with York, but this year it is a week earlier so I am doing both shows,” Jeff said. He also mixed business with pleasure and went to Camden Yards to see the Yankees play the Orioles. “What could be better?” he said.
Roger D. Winter, Solebury, Penn., had an early Nineteenth Century American sawbuck table in pine with two-board top, breadboard ends, legs with storage well and of wood peg and rosehead nail construction. It measures 96 inches long and 35 inches wide. A three-pedestal dining table in figured mahogany, reeded edge top, vase-shaped column with reeded saber legs, brass castors, English, circa 1825‱830, measures 12 feet 3 inches extended. A Regency single-pedestal dining table, crossbanded in satinwood and rosewood, circa 1820, 78 inches in diameter, was among the pieces of furniture sold at the show, along with a set of eight Hepplewhite dining chairs, circa 1790.
Don Heller of Heller-Washam Antiques, Portland, Maine, did the show for the first time, offering a collection of American furniture and accessories, including a miniature chest of drawers, grain painted, with turned feet and two short drawers over two long drawers. It is from Pennsylvania, circa 1830, and was displayed on top of a tall chest of drawers, cherry, 66 inches tall, circa 1775, from Octorara, Penn. A pair of carved marble recumbent lions, American or Continental, neoclassical style with weathered surface, dated circa 1835‱880. Don was also one of the dealers who traveled on to York, Penn., to do a show the following weekend where he mentioned, “The Baltimore Show was good for me; I sold furniture and lots of smalls, met some nice new people, and weathered both the earthquake and the hurricane.”
The portrait of Joan Becker, a blond lady in a yellow dress, was by Charles Hawthorne (American, 1872‱930) and hung in the booth of McCarty Gallery, Philadelphia. This oil on canvas measured 30 by 25 inches. “Resting in the Sun,” an oil on canvas depicting a young child with flowers in her hand, was by Charles-Auguste Corbineau (French, 1835‱901).
Antique American Wicker of Nashua, N.H., showed a very handsome rattan suite of furniture, American, dating circa 1920. The lot comprised a sofa, pair of gent’s chairs, pair of lady’s chairs, coffee table, large table lamps and ottomans. James Butterworth noted, “We did this show for many years and decided we would try it again. And in doing so, we saw many clients who we have not seen in years.”
Zane Moss Antiques, New York City, had an extra large booth filled with furniture and accessories, including an English partners’ writing table in mahogany with tooled and gilded leather top, octagonal legs, brass castors and dating from the Nineteenth Century. An open breakfront bookcase was of walnut, English, dating circa 1875, perfect for displaying a selection of Black Forest carvings, including several bears, and a large tobacco jar with bird and stag carvings. Among the items sold from this booth were an English Victorian leather swivel desk chair, circa 1880; a leather topped drum table, circa 1860; a Eugene Petit hunting scene, oil on canvas; a small oil on canvas of a King Charles spaniel; a pair of hall chairs and two pairs of gilded wall brackets.
Posters filled the walls and were in stacks on a large table in the booth of Spencer Weisz of Chicago. Two shown were liquor-related, including Ganeia Vermouth Bianco and Contratto, featuring a young woman with an overflowing glass. And to help back up the management’s claim that “You can find most anything at this show,” Atypical Find of Stratford, Conn., offered an all-original 1962 Harley in blue paint.
An iron sculpture of an eagle that originally was on a New England building, circa 1830‱850, came out of a private Vermont collection and was shown in the booth of The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Md. A pair of wedding portraits by Erastus Salisbury Field (American, 1805‱900) depicted Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States, and his wife, Jane Appleton Pierce. Oil on canvas, each measured 33¼ by 27¾ inches.
Kentshire, New York City, had a select grouping of furniture, all shown with plenty of space around them, including a Regency bird’s-eye maple and amaranth marquetry center table with lion’s paw feet, circa 1820 and 48 inches in diameter. A rare George III locust wood cabinet on chest, veneered all over in Lozenge pattern, bracket feet, three long drawers in the lower section, circa 1760, measured 87½ inches.
In addition to the array of exhibitors, each day had a lecture program with some dealers and museum people taking part. Participating were Wendy Cooper, senior curator of furniture, Winterthur Museum; Robert Mintz, PhD, associate curator of Asian art, the Walters Art Museum; Jeff Bridgman, Jeff Bridgman American Antiques; Janet Drucker, Drucker Antiques; Matthew Baer, The Ivory Tower; Timothy Stevenson, Carlson & Stevenson Antiques and Art; and Miller Gaffney, Miller Gaffney Art Advisory.
“We feel the show was very good, even without as large a gate as last year, and we have a strong sign-up rate for 2012,” Scott Diament said. He added, “There is nothing easy about producing an event the caliber of the Baltimore Show, and lots better ways to make money. But we love every phase of it and are going to keep doing it.”
The next show presented by the Palm Beach Show Group will take place in Dallas on November 2‶. For information, www.dallasfallshow.com or 561-822-5440.
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