Published: February 4, 2020
Review by Laura Beach, Photos by Josh Nefsky and Laura Beach
NEW YORK CITY – Longtime Winter Show exhibitors Olde Hope Antiques stepped away from the show scene for a moment to welcome lovers of American folk art to its new permanent establishment on Manhattan’s East Side. While headquarters for Patrick Bell and Edwin Hild remains at their gracious farmhouse in Bucks County, Penn., Olde Hope’s partners now have an open shop with regular hours at 115 East 72nd Street. The street-level quarters were formerly occupied by Alexander Gallery.
“We wanted to be available to our established clientele while also connecting with new audiences, including members of the design trade,” Bell told Antiques and The Arts Weekly. Bell and Hild undertook several months’ work on the 750-square-foot space before quietly opening in September and hosting their first reception in October. They kicked off New York’s Americana Week with a January 20 reception that drew collectors from around the United States. They followed on January 24 with a party for American Folk Art Museum trustees and members of the museum’s Traditional Folk Art Society.
The 100-plus objects currently on view are part of a new exhibition that includes selections from an important Texas collection Olde Hope helped assemble over the years, plus additions from other sources. As the images here suggest, furniture, paintings and drawings, sculpture, including weathervanes, ceramics and textiles are among the offerings.
Show highlights include a Mahantango Valley, Penn., chest of drawers attributed to Johannes Braun, with painted decoration attributed to Johann Valentin Schuller Jr, 1830-40. The chest is exceptional in its combination of palette, moldings and painted details, including ribbons, rosettes, birds and angels.
Formerly in the collection of Sandy and Julie Palley, a Montgomery County, Penn., schrank of circa 1780 is notable for its age, preservation and unusual configuration of drawers and doors.
An appealing primitive portrait of two sisters was painted around 1830 and is probably from Vermont. Noted folk art dealer Hillary Underwood first brought it to the public’s attention. The painting later belonged to collectors Claude and Alvan Bisnoff.
Prices for the works on view range from the low-four to mid-six figures.
“We had a parade of clients and interested parties come through during Americana Week, particularly after each auction let out. We’ve made some very good sales,” Hild told us midweek, anticipating further business during the Winter Show’s final weekend. Sales so far include a rare miniature banner, shield and flag wall plaque by John Haley Bellamy; a dated 1780 Lehigh County dower chest, formerly in the Sittig and Shelley collections and inscribed to Hanna Eister; plus an abundance of smalls and fraktur.
New York once boasted a half-dozen important shops and galleries devoted to American folk art. Most have since closed. As Bell recalls, “There was a time when these beacons were all over town. You could spend a day in Greenwich Village hitting shops and galleries, then head uptown to see more.” Olde Hope’s New York City debut is a welcome one.
Olde Hope’s inventory is available for viewing in Bucks County by appointment, and during regularly posted hours in New York City at 115 East 72nd Street. For hours and other details, go to www.oldehope.com, call 215-297-0200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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