By Laura Beach
NEW YORK CITY – The spirit of adventure that Eve Kahn brought to her weekly column on antiques was on full display in “Magnificent Obsessions: Pursuits of a Lifetime,” published December 1 in The New York Times. As part of the broader reconfiguration of its arts coverage, the Times is retiring “Antiques,” a vital conduit for industry news for the past half century.
Kahn, who specializes in art, design and preservation and has written for most of the major art market and design periodicals, took on the Times role in 2008. She succeeded Wendy Moonan, who held the post from 1997. Marvin Schwartz, a longtime contributor to Antiques and The Arts Weekly and former Brooklyn Museum curator, served as the Times “Antiques” columnist between 1966 and 1972. Schwartz was replaced by Rita Reif, whose lavish coverage of shows and auctions bolstered the booming antiques market in the 1980s and 1990s.
Kahn, who was heading out of the country on holiday when we caught up with her, said via email that she will still be filing arts and antiques news items for the Times. She is also writing for publications such as Apollo, an international arts magazine. She is finishing a book for Wesleyan University Press on Mary Rogers Williams (1857-1907), the “forgotten Impressionist” Kahn chronicled in the September/October 2014 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur.
In her last “Antiques” column, Kahn wrote, “I set out to explain why we make what we make and why we buy what we buy, and asked what our possessions express about us, and about the extremes of human folly, greed, experimentation and ambition.” These are questions she will no doubt continue asking.
In a statement issued December 8, the Times, which has also discontinued its “Inside Art” column on the marketplace, said its redesigned arts pages are meant to be “more visually appealing” and provide “better guidance to readers about what is most meaningful and relevant in the arts. At the same time, the digital report will continue to introduce new features and services to help readers better navigate the world of culture online.”