Published: November 27, 2012
Fate seemed to conspire against the Salon Art + Design fair, which made its debut at the Park Avenue Armory November 8‱2, between Hurricane Sandy, a presidential election and a major drop in the Dow a mere day before the show opened †but in the end, the show was set up on time, looked gorgeous and attracted a contingent of what smiling dealers called “the right people.”
Indeed, the show drew serious collectors, primed to appreciate †and buy †serious pieces. “It was phenomenal, we had an 80 percent reply from dealers who want to come back †and that’s before we got to everybody,” said veteran show promoter Sandy Smith, whose firm Sanford L. Smith & Associates managed the show along with Syndicat National des Antiquaires.
Many marveled at the show’s look, which was predominantly Twentieth Century art and design, but also offered other genres from ethnographics and classic French furniture to Asian art and antiquities, as well as Old Master paintings and jewelry. Smith’s long tenure in managing American shows, particularly his Modernism show, a predecessor of this show and in which he was the first to promote the genre, makes him uniquely qualified to launch such a new show. In collaboration with the Syndicat, which features some of the best European dealers, the show featured several leading dealers making their debut on this side of the pond and the offerings were top-notch and the look was bold and luxurious.
A decorators luncheon held Thursday attracted more than 50 decorators who toured the show, and many were sufficiently wowed to bring back their clients over the next few days to shop the show.
“Sales were steady all weekend, the big sales were on Monday, a lot of heavyweight material went out,” Smith said, noting in a meeting Monday with the Syndicat, everyone was pleased and looking forward to next year’s show. “They are definitely back in and want to do it forever.”
Spanning the range of merchandise seen at the show from tribal arts to fine art and Modern design were a Bayeta First Phase Navajo chief’s blanket, circa 1840, at Donald Ellis Gallery, New York City; Giovanni Boldini’s charming portrait of Anne Elizabeth Bean Hansen from 1902 offered by Robilant & Voena Gallery; and at Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London and Paris, which is known for showcasing striking and iconic design-art pieces, the gallery did not disappoint with Lonneke Gordijn’s and Ralph Nauta’s “Fragile Future 3.11,” a scintillating creation of phosphorus bronze, dandelion seed heads, electronics, LED lights and Perspex.
Old Masters specialist Galerie De Jonckheere’s offerings were all museum quality, and ranged from the diminutive but sublime oil on panel painting by Jan Mandijn (Haarlem, 1502‶0) titled “The Temptation of Saint Anthony in a panoramic landscape” to the larger work, “The Harvest” by Pieter Brueghel The Younger (1564‱638). A nice counterpoint to the sumptuous oils in the booth was a canvas work was by Surrealist Rene Magritte (1898‱967) titled “Berenice,” 1948.
Lillian Nassau, LLC, New York City, is instantly recognizable as its booth usually showcases a handful of choice Tiffany Studios lamps, which it did here, but another standout instead hung on the wall. It was a set of four cast iron elevator panels from the Chicago Stock Exchange made by Louis H. Sullivan, 15 by 73½ inches, circa 1894. In what Sullivan called “organic architecture,” the panels integrate function with form and elegant detailing. When the building was slated to be demolished in 1972, the panels and other ornamental architectural pieces were first salvaged and sold.
Among the dealers showcasing design was Modernity, Stockholm, Sweden, which started off the week slowly, in terms of sales, but finished well. “We sold the Henningsen high backed wing chair for $78,000 and a Carl Milles sculpture for $38,000, among other things. We met many new and existing clients and were very happy with the total result,” said gallerist Andrew Duncanson.
Kraemer, Paris, offered several sublime Louis XVI pieces in its booth. A rare vernis martin and Japanese lacquer chest with a veneer of ebony was stamped by the master cabinetmaker Carlin in 1766. A similar cabinet, also stamped by Carlin, is on view at the Musee du Louvre. Also on offer here was an early carved, molded and pierced giltwood console table, set on eight legs, having a white veined marble top, circa 1760.
French Art Deco furniture specialists Galerie Vallois sold pieces to past collectors and to new clients. “In our opinion, this fair was absolutely magnificent and we felt that it has been much appreciated by the visitors. We’ll come back next year,” the dealers said.
Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts LLC, New York City, had a good showing here, noting the clients who came were serious collectors. “We sold Hanna Orloff, Jacques Lipchitz and Birchfield. We did well; it was one of the best shows we did, we’d go back in a minute,” said Goldberg.
Also pleased with sales was Vivian Horan Fine Art LLC, New York City. “The show was very successful for us,” Horan said. “I enjoyed it so much and thought it was a very elegant and well-organized fair. I enjoyed the mix of French, English and American dealers who brought furniture, jewelry, antiques and contemporary art.”
Jason Jacques, New York City, sold about half his booth. “We sold ceramics by Adrien Dalpayrat and Ernest Chaplet, wrought steel Kreature shelves by John Haley III, a masterpiece encaustic painting by Martin Kline, and a large and important work by Wangechi Mutu. We had a fabulous show and expect massive follow up,” Jacques said.
Sladmore Gallery, London, also reported having a good showing here. Dealer Edward Horswell saw repeated interest in sculpture, with particular emphasis on Rembrandt Bugatti and the gallery’s contemporary sculptor Nic Fiddian Green.
Still without telephone service (at presstime) in its lower East Side gallery from the hurricane, Primavera Gallery traveled uptown to the fair and was pleased to engage with customers in person. “We were very satisfied with the show. This is a very exciting fair †many great dealers with top pieces, and a very interesting mix. I think this will quickly become one of the major fairs in New York, and even in the country,” said gallerist Audrey Friedman, noting sales of very fine and expensive jewelry, a wonderful set of Surrealist illumination and an important piece of Nakashima furniture.
While sales were “lukewarm” for Moderne Gallery, Philadelphia, dealers Bob and Josh Aibel said with the contacts they made at the show, they will pick up some new major clients. “The show itself was incredible †the best that I’ve seen in NYC †with amazing merchandise. Anyone who missed it, missed a wonderful opportunity to see the best of the best.” The dealers noted strong excitement in their booth for work by Israeli artists Geva/Goldner and said that the Museum of Art and Design acquired one of their bracelets to be shown in an upcoming exhibition.
For additional information, www.sanfordsmith.com or 212-777-5218.
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