Published: April 9, 2019
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Things are looking up after the second edition of Barn Star Productions’ Antiques At Morristown Armory Show, which assembled more than 50 dealers for its spring gathering March 30-31 at the Morristown National Guard Armory.
When asked if he was happy with the show, manager Frank Gaglio told Antiques and the Arts Weekly, “In a word, ecstatic.”
The show has a different feeling than others offered by Gaglio’s management company throughout the year. Here we saw a marked increase in dealers offering jewelry, historical prints and Asian decorative arts that added to the mainstay contributions from those dealing in fine art, Americana, continental furniture, silver, American glass, folk art, toys, carpets, Native American material and more.
“It expands the footprint of the kind of shows that Barn Star is looking to promote going forward,” Gaglio said. While remaining committed to the material at his other shows, Rhinebeck and Midweek among them, Gaglio has a different vision for his New Jersey show. “This is what the customer wants and this is what we intend to present to them.”
After the November edition received poor weather, the March 30 opening was graced with one of the nicest days of spring to date, and buyers turned out to produce a 20 percent gate increase across both days.
Among the genres represented, fine art dealers reported some of the strongest sales in the show.
Bill Union of Art & Antique Gallery, Inc, Worcester, Mass., is optimistic about the show’s future. “It looks like the show is taking shape,” he told us in a follow-up call. “If the show continues to be advertised well, I think it will pick up. The show looked a lot better this time.”
Union reported that his sales included moderately priced, high-quality small-scale works, including Nineteenth Century landscapes and genre paintings. His sales included works by Wesley Webber, Arthur Parton, Thomas Robinson and Walther Klemm.
New Haven, Conn., art dealer David Smernoff also reported a bevy of sales. Among paintings, the dealer sold a collection of small Nineteenth Century American folk art still life paintings, a midcentury abstract expressionist painting, a Nineteenth Century American painting of an Indian maiden by Albertus Browere, a landscape by Eugene Smythe and an African American painting by Stephen H. Booker. In sculpture, Smernoff told us he moved a bronze sculpture by Javier Marin, an anonymous mythological winged creature dragonfly bronze from the 1950s and two Midcentury Modern abstract bronzes.
European furnishings did well at the show, with solid sales reported from both Gerard Baerts Antiques and Knollwood Antiques, Village of Thorndike, Mass.
Richard LaVigne of Knollwood Antiques related sales of a large gilded tole and wrought iron Italian chandelier from the first quarter of the Twentieth Century; a Jacobean Revival sofa, circa 1890-1925, on a walnut frame with hand carved detail, custom upholstery, custom trim and custom pillows; numerous smalls; pairs of lamps; ottomans; tables and artwork.
“It was pretty much across the board,” LaVigne told us. His position at the entrance/exit of the show afforded the dealer to see what was being sold. “They are furnishing homes,” he said. “And there are a lot of collectors, I must say I saw more small bags go out of this show than I have in a long time. It was a glorious spring day on Saturday, it wasn’t like everyone had nothing else to do. And a lot of furniture left on Sunday, both large and small.”
Of his buyers, LaVigne said that the clients he had were mostly new, aside from three regulars. Three more of his buyers had never been to the show before.
Even Americana dealer Jim Grievo of Stockton, N.J., reported sales among his European offerings. Grievo sold an English mahogany tall case clock from the 1830s with a moon dial and 8-day movement, the name “Thos Shearman” and the town “Bristol” painted on its face. He also sold a circa 1830s English mahogany chest of four drawers; two decorated stoneware jars; several toys, including a clown nodder and a tin windup horse from the 1830s-40s; wood carvings and a set of decorated juggling pins.
“The show was much more responsive than the first one,” Grievo said. “It had a bigger gate and more interest in things. And Sunday was very busy, there were a lot of people through.”
Dealers offering ephemera and historical prints also reported solid shows.
Maile Allen, Colonia, N.J., was excited to be offering a portfolio of Victorian Persian designs from a book titled Ornaments of Persia, featuring engravings by Jean Francois Albanis De Beaumont and printed in Paris in the 1880s. “These were part of a decorative portfolio that you would use to design a house,” Allen said as she pulled them up, “you would take this book to your decorator and pick the designs that you’d like to incorporate.”
Allen also featured prints from Audubon, botanicals, Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers and English country maps. Following the show, Allen said, “The Morristown Show was full of old friends and new faces, too. I sold New Jersey maps of various counties from 1870 to 1890, and local town maps from the 1870s. I had a wonderful spot and lots of interest in my framed engravings and maps.”
Michael Brailove of Antique Prints & Paper, Highland Park, N.J., featured a selection of fresh material from the Garden State that he had never exhibited before. This included architectural images of Victorian houses from New Jersey, illustrated between 1885 and 1904, from Scientific American Architects & Builders Edition. He also featured lithographs depicting New Jersey’s coast town views that came from an 1878 atlas. There was one sheet in the booth that Brailove held dear and had only handled once before, it depicted scenes of life in the Hebrew colony of Woodpine, N.J., as published in Frank Leslie’s Weekly, 1892. Woodpine was established by the Baron Hirsch Colony Society to attract the Jewish community out into the country to take up farming. “It didn’t work out,” Brailove said. The dealer’s father was from the town and he still maintains contacts with it. He donated the first example he ever found of this page to the town of Woodpine.
Jewelry dealer Brad Reh, New Canaan, Conn., was situated near the show’s opening and reported good sales from his inventory, adding that he also had a fine show in November. In a follow up, Reh related sales of a Van Cleef & Arpels limited edition Alhambra necklace in gold and lapis, a pair of retro period aqua and diamond earrings as well as an Italian chunky gold necklace.
“We were very energized by the number of people that attended and the amount of business that was done,” Gaglio said. It seems like the community finally caught on that this is a new management company, a new show, and people came out. The comments as people were leaving were ‘great job,’ ‘thanks for bringing the show back,’ ‘best in a long time,’ ‘see you in the fall,’ all very encouraging comments from lots of folks.”
The show will be back at the armory November 2-3. For more information, 845-876-0616 or www.barnstar.com.
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