Published: November 8, 2011
A more compact showcase greeted visitors to the fall edition of the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, and while the calendar indicated that the weekend was October 8 and 9, summerlike weather kept a tenuous grasp on the New York landscape over the two days. The show marked the last of the fair’s 35th year, and, as it did last fall, once again drew a large crowd of enthusiastic antiques hunters.
With 140 dealers, the show, managed by Bruce Garrett and his staff, was smaller than the 170-plus exhibitors gathered in 2010. In years past, that number was in the neighborhood of 180 dealers or better, and the smaller numbers may just be a sign of the times. Garrett said that in speaking with other show promoters, they are experiencing the same environment. “Overall, I was very pleased [with the weekend],” he said. “There was a good crowd, identical in size to last year’s fall gate, and when compared to the past May, it was up a bit from that. Saturday was pleasantly busy and nice, with temperatures at 79‸0 degrees, so we didn’t have to run the fans. It definitely helped the mood.”
The smaller number of dealers brought the show’s footprint almost entirely within three main buildings, A, B and C, with a small annex of additional dealers and restoration services providers (dubbed “Restoration Row”) just off Building C.
At his usual spot at the entrance to Building C was Plymouth, Mass., dealer Bruce Emond of the Village Braider, who set up an eye-catching display that included a most friendly looking articulated alligator pull toy from the 1940s, a massive hardware display bin from the Syracuse, N.Y., area that had a least 100 cubbies and what Emond described as an “industrial strength” easel. On a cast iron base that rested on whimsical feet complete with toenails, the easel was a likely place for someone to install a large-screen television, opined Emond.
Kocian DePasqua Antiques, owned by Frank DePasqua and Meg Kocian DePasqua, has a shop in Woodbury, Conn., but exhibits at shows throughout the Northeast. Frank DePasqua said he likes the Rhinebeck show because he can bring some of his stock that will appeal to design-minded shoppers, such as the New England splayed leg, scrubbed top table. With a dry old surface, the Eighteenth Century table, measuring 47 inches with its leaves extended, had some restoration to its stretcher base. Surrounding it was a set of six rod back Windsor chairs, circa 1805.
Design mavens would also salivate over a wool pictorial hooked rug by James and Mercedes Hutchinson, New York, circa 1920s‱930s, and for weathervane fans there was a large (42 inches) “Dexter” running horse weathervane, circa 1880‹0, with an early cast head to place additional weight to the front of the vane, thereby shifting the center of gravity forward and allowing the horse vane to spin easily heading into the wind.
In the same building just a ways down, a California scene of waves crashing on rocks and beach by Richard Kruger adorned the booth wall at Michael & Lucinda Seward, Pittsford, Vt. A choice furniture piece was a mahogany four-drawer bowfront desk, 1815‱825, and a Nineteenth Century full-bodied cow weathervane with requisite bullet holes was another booth standout.
Just off Building C, in the annex were several dealers, including Jennings & Rohn Antiques, Woodbury, Conn., and Nicholas DiBennedetto & Co., East Quogue, N.Y.
The Woodbury dealer was showcasing an interesting collection of Woodstock, N.Y., art, with four artists represented †Doris Lee, Arnold Blanch, John Ernst and Fletcher Martin. Co-owner Dana Jennings Rohn said the collection came from her grandmother, who had represented these artists. A lot of five metal masks with Modernist expressions added to the booth’s artiness.
More traditional art was on display at Nicholas DiBennedetto, with a Currier & Ives lithograph depicting “American Forest Game,” circa 1866, in a large folio size by artist Fanny Palmer, and Man’s Best Friend as depicted by Arthur Tait (American, circa 1819‱905) in an oil on canvas, “Portrait of a Dog,” 16 by 16 inches. A collection of cast iron doorstops, circa 1900s‱940s, ranged in form from baskets to animals.
South Hadley, Mass., dealer Victor Weinblatt took his usual spot at the entrance to Building A. His booth is always a colorful carnival ride through early America as seen through signs and pieces of folk art. This time out, he mounted a sign proclaiming “The Movie: Entertainment at its Best. Education and Comfort Combined with Rest.” The 1930s marquee, which was designed to be covered with a movie poster during engagements, touted the virtues of the cinema when it was still a historical novelty. In 2011, it would make a nice addition to someone’s media room. In addition to the many signs, Weinblatt also brought a circa 1870 Vermont sorting counter/dry sink, a classic country store piece, and a vestige of the early days of photo processing, a 1940s-era film drop-off box boasting “Quick Photo Service” with a “Drop Film Here” slot and a padlocked bottom compartment into which the roll of film would drop.
“The gate was quite strong, with excited and active buyers thronging our booth, ” said Weinblatt after the show. Trade signs sold very well, he said, including a trompe l’oeil muscle car sign, a Dutchess County piece from the Larry Ashmeade collection, a Sandwich, Mass., (Cape Cod) lighthouse sign and a Midwestern sign reading “Choice.” “An oversize mid-Nineteenth Century weaver’s skarn had three potential buyers decide within five minutes of each other to pull the trigger,” added the dealer.
Painted furniture also sold from Weinblatt’s booth, including a large chest of painted drawers in a creamy old white, a diminutive Connecticut dry sink and a one-drawer stand.
A pair of Hal Robertson paintings of Old Lyme river scenes were displayed at Jenkinstown Antiques, New Paltz, N.Y., along with a Wickersham day bed patented 1857, a nice Hudson Valley painted blanket box with cartouche, circa 1780, and a pair of Bergen County, N.J., chairs in olive green.
Chairs of an altogether different vibe beckoned buyers at the Rathbun Gallery, Wakefield, R.I. They were in the form of an Art Deco three-piece matching set, two chairs and a settee, made by the Priscilla Company in New York City in the 1930s. Gallery owners Richard and Nancy Schneider did not know much more about them than this, but were drawn to their deep salmon color accented by green tenoned wood hoop arms that were secured with nuts and bolts to the frame.
Also in Building A were South Road Antiques, New York City, and Perkins & Menson Antiques, Ashby, Mass. South Road had an intriguing surgeon’s teaching aid from the Nineteenth Century, “White’s Physiological Manikin,” circa 1889, a 5-foot-9-inch chromolithographed “man” comprising multilayered panels that could be peeled back to reveal his innards. Designed for the surgeon on the go, it could be folded up for carrying.
Perkins & Menson featured four panel shutters with dimensional ship decoration, each with a red border, a sky-blue background with each ship “floating” on a patch painted sea-blue. A view of Lake George with an inscription on the lower right indicated that it was painted for Barrett Schemerhorn, and a pair of cast iron trellis panels with an acorn and oak leaf motif, painted white, further decorated the booth.
The middle building, Building B, housed 40 or so dealers, among them Worden Select Objects, Burr Oak, Mich., known for industrial merchandise and objects that show the intersection of the natural world and human art and ingenuity. In addition to the industrial carts and tables, zinc barn vents, storage containers and scientific vats, there was the more human side of art expressed in a tramp art box either by or for “Alfred Cortis,” 1914, featuring three small slide-out drawers with lion’s-head pulls and a heart crafted in the center of the front panel. The box’s lid, when opened, revealed a mirror-inside top and a felt lining.
Just down the same row, William E. Lohrman, New Paltz, N.Y., assembled a booth full of American antiques, such as a four-door cupboard in old red paint, a selection of stoneware crocks and jugs, and the showstopper †a muslin or canvas banner extolling Kansas “Ad Astra Per Aspera” (Through Difficulties to the Stars). Enlivening the folky and patriotic piece was a primitive scene of a farmer plowing the fields with his team of horses while cowboys lassoed cattle in the background and a ship made its way up a river.
It was not the first time out for a color engraving of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by F. Leutze at Maile Allen. The Poughquag, N.Y., dealer did, however, pair the 1853 print with a map of New Jersey depicting the battle lines of British and American forces before and after Washington’s famous cross-river trip in 1776‷7. The map was dated 1853. An original map of the southern tip of Manhattan as it looked in 1908 was by G.W. Bromley & Co., and a series of original Edward Curtis portfolio plates of Cheyenne Indians were additional booth highlights.
The Rhinebeck Antiques Fair will return for its 36th year on May 26 and 27, with a Saturday only show on July 28 and the fall Columbus Day weekend show set for October 6 and 7. For information, www.rhinebeckantiquesfair.com or 845-876-1989.
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