By Susan and Al Bagdade
CHICAGO, ILL. – Since the Sacred Heart Schools and Wendy Management were interested in expanding their antiques show, a new location was required since the usual space at the school was too small. Fortunately, the Broadway Armory, located just a few blocks from the school, proved to be an excellent value for the Ninth Annual Heart Schools’ Antiques Show, held October 26-28.
By the time the preview party began, the Broadway Armory was totally transformed into 51 room settings for the excited exhibiting dealers, including many newcomers who could be accommodated due to the expanded format.
Approximately 650 attended the preview party and enjoyed early buying privileges, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent and live auction. This is always a tremendous fundraiser presented by the Parents’ Auxiliary of Sacred Heart Schools. All of the proceeds benefit the academic and scholarship programs of the schools.
The next morning, Capricia Marshall, White House social secretary during the Clinton administration, shared her memories of her low-profile, high-pressure job during the morning tea. A large crowd was on hand for this event. Chicago designer Nate Berkus offered insights on buying antiques for New Collectors Night on Saturday to an interested group of antiquers.
Many dealers who were new to the Chicago antiques show market were anxious to test this arena in the light of the difficult economy, the general malaise after September 11, and the public’s worries concerning security. The Sacred Heart “regulars” were happy to be back and appreciated the new location and the amenities it offered.
Zane Moss Antiques Ltd. from New York City always has a fabulous show in Chicago, and this year was no exception. During the preview, Zane sold a major desk and five majolica birds on brackets. Even though he felt that “attendance is off at shows” and he notices “a slight resistance to buying,” his sales continued all through the next three days. Additional sales included two three-tier servers, a Regency chinoiserie planter, a huge Spode platter, porcelains, books and Staffordshire examples.
Richard Brockway of Ancient Art International from Vero Beach, Fla., loved the new location and “had a dynamite show.” After initial concerns, since his usual gangbusters preview did not materialize, on Sunday he sold well to both his regular Chicago customers and new collectors. Going to new homes were a Chinese Sui dynasty marble torso, a Roman torso, a lot of Chinese ceramics, a lot of Roman glass and an important Greek vase. Richard expected follow-up sales of a Gandharan stucco head.
From Nashua, N.H., Michael Donovan’s display of natural Heywood Wakefield Company wicker was outstanding. The display included a sofa, two chairs, a rocker and two ottomans. Additional matching pieces were a sideboard, a bookcase, a tea cart and lamps.
Jesslyn James of The Gallery of European Art from Paris, France, was thrilled with her reception in Chicago for her first visit. She related she “owes it to the Art Institute of Chicago. People have been taught well. They know the difference between an etching and a dry point. Chicago has a heart for art.”
James sells museum-quality engravings and pastels by Jules Cheret, Albert de Belleroche, Louis Legrand, Edgar Chahine, Manuel Robbe, James Tissot and Paul-Cesar Helleu. All of these artists knew each other and worked in La Belle Epoque period – the three decades before World War I. The general price range of her works is $1,500 to $8,000. Sales included all ranges across the board. James met a lot of new collectors and will definitely be back next year.
Judy Rosenbloom of The Treasure Chest, Highland Park, Ill., was doing a brisk business in American-made retro jewelry from the 1940s, including bracelets and clips. Judy explained that “European designers settled in the Newark, N.J., area, and this first American jewelry by makers such Krementz was called Newark jewelry.”
The price range of these pieces was from $350 to $5,000. It was popular since it is a “more modest price point than Deco and diamonds. It is kind of patriotic jewelry produced during the last war with red and white stars, rubies, and sapphires, kind of a red, white and blue look. Bracelets resembling tank tires are also very timely right now.” There was also interest in South Sea pearls and some of her suffragette jewelry. Art Deco clips made from platinum and diamonds are popular since they can be used as a pin or over a necklace.
From Penn Valley, Penn., Totto dal Mondo was pleased with sales of Scottish jewelry in the form an unusual bracelet with gold and agate work, a pearl and agate Victorian brooch, a circa 1880 gallery, sterling silver, cottage ware, chintz china and suffragette jewelry.
First-timer R.J. King and Company from New York City “thought the venue was fantastic and would definitely come back.” By the conclusion of Saturday, the dealers had sold an English Regency style mahogany wine cellarette and were awaiting some be-backers.
Lynn Rogers from Oakbrook, Ill., was doing well with Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century French Impressionist and European paintings as well as selling a lot of Oriental blue and white porcelain.
Good American paintings, one Belgian painting, two Barbizon paintings, and a few small tables were sold by Saturday at Van Slyke and Bagby from Sandwich, Mass. Almost every exhibitor indicated that many antiquers returned on Sunday towards the conclusion of the show after spending the weekend measuring and considering their purchases. More and more, antique shows in the Chicagoland area are being described as “Sunday shows.”
Majolica dealer Jerry S. Hayes from Oklahoma City, Okla., reported having a “very good preview.” He sold two important garden seats to an old customer, while other good English majolica was also selling. The dealer noted that buyers expressed interest across the board, not in just one particular maker.
Michael Millard-Lowe of Vend d’Est from Ware Neck, Va., “loved the show” for his first time in Chicago. Sales included a large Louis Philippe bibliotheque, a Louis XV buffet, and a lot of small paintings. He will definitely return to Chicago next year.
Strong sales in clothes, purses, and jewelry were reported by Flapper Alley from Milwaukee, Wis. There was also a lot of interest in vintage fabrics this year.
Newcomer Perrisue Silver from Princeton, N.J., related that “everyone has very good taste in Chicago. Ladies were buying their own birthday gifts. People know the designers, they are educated customers.” They were pleased with their sales on signed estate pieces and some diamond bracelets and necklaces.
Fraida Aland of Rare Finds from Northfield, Ill., sold an entire wall of porcelain plates, bamboo furniture, two fireplace screens, a lot of wedding gifts, and anything and everything to do with wine – all by Saturday. “People seem to be nesting by buying objects to make their homes nicer and their tables prettier, especially with the approaching holidays.”
Everyone was thrilled with the new location at the Broadway Armory and is looking forward to returning next year for the 10th Annual Sacred Heart Antiques Show.