Parade weather †sunny with a gentle breeze †greeted antiques lovers at the season opener of the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair. The show, which ran Memorial Day weekend, May 24 and 25, concluded with many of its 200 exhibitors pleased by the knowledgeable crowd that filed through the four buildings at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, according to show promoter Bruce Garrett. “Across the board, comments from the dealers described a ‘nicer’ crowd, more informed, willing to stop and ask questions,” said Garrett.
Like sun-ripened fruit, the inaugural edition of this Hudson River classic at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds is always eagerly anticipated. Suddenly, it seems, the notion of “peaches,” as evoked by some of the folky advertising signs displayed inside the show’s buildings, might be as much a possibility as a twinge of nostalgia.
Nostalgia, of course, is the elixir that keeps the crowds coming back to Rhinebeck year after year. In its 32nd year, Rhinebeck is ably produced by Garrett and a crackerjack staff that consistently gets praise from show exhibitors. “It is a pleasure to do shows for people who are so good at running shows,” remarked Pennsylvania folk art specialist George Allen of Raccoon Creek, Oley, Penn. “They need to be commended for their organizational skills. Dealers love it when it all goes so smoothly.”
For Sanford Levy of Jenkinstown Antiques, New Paltz, N.Y., this Rhinebeck was one of his best shows ever. The diminutive mahogany sideboard, circa 1815, that Levy had advertised in preshow publicity was sold to a customer five minutes after the show opened. “He saw the piece in my Bee [ Antiques and The Arts Weekly ] ad and wanted to see it †happy guy,” said Levy.
Sales that were consistent with other shows they have done over the past ten months were reported by Newburgh, N.Y., dealers Daniel and Karen Olson. “Sunday sales, however, were as strong as Saturday sales,” they said. These included a two-piece glass door architectural Bergen County, N.J., wall cupboard, a Hudson Valley wall cupboard in old paint, an early Nineteenth Century chair table, a folk art stand and a New England bow back Windsor armchair in old paint. Smalls included a stoneware crock with rooster decoration, as well as four other pieces of decorated stoneware. Two samplers were sold, including one with a pastoral scene from Utica, N.Y. Other smalls included mirrors, redware, baskets, a whale bone sewing caddy, early glass and iron.
“Peaches” conjured thoughts of summer abundance in a double-sided old farm sign shown by Maggie Milgrim, New York City. A Hudson River area hat trade sign, circa 1880s, and an Angel Gabriel sign from the same period that was found in Provence, France, but was probably American, were additional highlights.
A stately New York pier table, circa 1825, that was attributed to Duncan Phyfe was the centerpiece at Dolores Murphy, Clinton Corners, N.Y., presided over by an ancestor portrait of a “Handsome Devil” from the mid-Nineteenth Century.
Ron and Sharon Pittenger had somehow sourced a 1920s complete dental rig to showcase. Their business, Dark Moon Antiques, Johnsonburg, N.J., presented the tableau with a placard stating the rig had belonged to Ella E. Smeltz, DDS, who had used it in her practice in Philadelphia until the 1970s.
A tulip garden hooked rug brightened a wall at Thomas R. Longacre, Marlborough, N.H., and a large turn-of-the-century sawbuck table in bright red paint also demanded attention, topped by a green wooden carrier of New England origin filled with wax watermelons.
At Old Village Antiques, Avon, Conn., overseen by owner Stephen Gero and his associate, Dan Hackbarth, the atmosphere and merchandise is more traditional, harking back to the early days of Rhinebeck when serious “brown” furniture was more the norm. Gero said that the traditional aesthetic works to his advantage and reported a “fabulous” show. A young couple furnishing their new home in southern Connecticut stopped by to acquire two major pieces Gero and Hackbarth had brought †a nice size mahogany swell front inlaid Hepplewhite-style sideboard, circa 1875, and an English burl wood cabinet with rosewood legs and trim, circa 1850. “The great thing is that we now have a new client, as the couple expressed an interest in finding a dining table, as well,” said Gero. Busy “in spurts” over the two days, the dealers also sold several smalls, including a good painting by Paul Saling of a shoreline village, china, glass, lamps and a gold mirror.
Alan, June and Eli Goodrich of Langhorne, Penn., showcased American country items, folk art and textiles that were highlighted by an 1840s country Empire chaise from Ontario, Canada, featuring a cut front pierced pine tree carving in its two outer legs.
Collectors of antique prints and maps sought out the booth of Maile Allen. The Colonia, N.J., dealer displayed an original John J. Audubon elephant folio Quadruped print of four-striped ground squirrels, circa 1845, along with smaller Audubons of rabbits, squirrels, ravens and bear.
Costa Sakellarion and Margarita Poutouridou are the young, energetic owners of One Good Eye Antiques, Binghamton, N.Y., which concentrates on American folk art and Mexican jewelry and silver. “We sold a number of the more important things we had brought, including a naive painting of two women kissing, an Eighteenth Century gate leg table and the best of the Mexican silver,” said the couple. “Buyers at the show were well informed and focused, especially on Saturday, where we found ourselves selling effortlessly.”
In addition to the glass case display of vintage silver jewelry from the 1920s to 1960s, including important pieces by Antonio Pineda and Fred Davis, Poutouridou was perhaps the best showcase for her silver, however, and sold off her neck more than once, according to the dealers.
Historic houses being torn down in the Newburgh, N.Y., area contributed to the interesting finds being offered by William E. Lohrman, New Paltz, N.Y. He had salvaged rare chestnut paneling from the late Nineteenth Century from a late Victorian home that was being renovated, along with mahogany library paneling from another home.
Barbara and Charles Adams were encouraging show patrons to “Shop” via a gold script advertising sign, In addition to their usual Bennington pottery, the South Yarmouth, Mass., dealers offered an interesting salesman’s sample case from a defunct Lawrence, Mass., woolen mill. The samples in the case illustrated the process of weaving from raw wool to finished product.
Antique marine art specialist Louis J. Dianni brought a wide range of ship paintings, including a portrait of the steamship L’Amerique by Antonio Jacobsen (1850‱921).
Lorraine and Steve German of Mad River Antiques, North Granby, Conn., expressed amazement with the number of people who made it to the show despite the huge increase in the price of gas since the last Rhinebeck. “All things considered, we were very pleased with the results. We had good sales both days,” they said. Stoneware sales were up compared to the last six months. “We sold three pieces, which made us happy.”
The feel at From Here to Antiquity, fine art dealer from Cheshire, Conn., was international, including 1860 marbles and early Vermont sculpture. From the school of neoclassical American sculptor Hiram Powers was a sculpture of a young boy with a fish in one arm, looking wistfully at another at his feet. There was also a mid-Nineteenth Century garden marble of Hercules.
Explaining that Colchester, Conn., dealer Phil Liverant was away on a shopping trip in Europe, his associate Ann Jones ably oversaw the firm’s display of early Native American objects and artwork. These included a California Mission basket with male and female figures from the Twentieth Century, as well as a Plains strike-a-light, late 1800s, of metal and beaded hide.
A monumental pair of English urns on plinths, circa 1950s, and a pair of English stone planters made somewhat earlier that Bob Baker had filled with a variety of herbs set a garden theme at Poverty Hollow Enterprises, Redding Ridge, Conn. “Rhinebeck continues to be a good show for me,” said a pleased Baker after the show and just before heading across “The Pond” on another shopping trip. “This show remains reliably good and one on which I continue to build. It is also one of the best run shows of the 18 currently on my schedule. Baker said he sold a small kitchen table and chairs, six French garden chairs, two pairs of Staffordshire animals, majolica, glassware, sets of dishes and a great English garden bench from the 1860s, among other items.
A gem of a country table was on offer at Ackerson Homestead Antiques. The Park Ridge, N.J., dealer displayed the early Nineteenth Century New England tavern table featuring fluted and slightly splayed legs along with a set of six fancy painted chairs of Maine origin, circa 1820.
An unusual antique, a Nineteenth Century respect board that had come from a lodge hall †”Briton’s Pride Lodge” †was decorated with gilt lettered names of members from 1880 to 1953. It was just one of the eclectic items that make Village Braider Inc, Plymouth, Mass., a must-see stop for show attendees. Dealer Bruce Emond said that he had not had time to research the board before bringing it to the show.
Rhinebeck is a local show for Dennis and Valerie Bakoledis, who, while not “charter dealers” stretching back to the Bard College days, have exhibited at all the shows staged at the fairgrounds. Highlights on view included a fully rigged ship model of the American Clipper Ship Golden Eagle , circa 1852, a Nineteenth Century trellis with acorn finials, circa 1850, from New York state and a friendly looking cast iron dog from the Nineteenth Century.
“One is near to God in one’s garden than anywhere else upon earth” advised a lichen-covered stone tile’s inscription at the booth of Michael and Lucinda Seward, Pittsford, Vt. The Sewards also brought a zinc-line dry sink/table and an early Nineteenth Century fireboard,
A compelling collection of doll quilts from Lancaster County, Penn., was the main attraction at Raccoon Creek Antiques. The Oley, Penn., dealers had collected the quilts in a wide range of styles and motifs during a 30-year period, and all had been professionally cleaned and mounted.
Joan Bogart, Rockville Centre, N.Y., extended the show’s gardening theme with a nice large pair of wrought iron spring chairs, circa 1940, and a pair of Victorian renaissance revival cast iron urns that had been recently sandblasted and powder coated. For fun, she had set up stoneware and cast iron doorstop menageries of dogs and farmyard friends.
Continuing with the outdoor theme, Judith and James Milne, New York City, displayed a side table with a “Serve Yourself” message and original glass top, a pair of painted chaise lounges and a rare set of eight Adirondack armchairs from a camp with their original webbing.
There was initially much perplexed head-scratching at Seaver and McLellan, Jaffrey, N.H., where a metal planter had been inexplicably filled with leather Chinese bowling shoes. It was later learned that the sneakers, featuring blue uppers and lime green laces, are a popular †and affordable †item among teenage girls, who then talk their boyfriends into buying a matching pair. “Cheap and cheerful,” said the dealer with a grin.
More traditional antiques could be found at Cheryl and Paul Scott, Hillsboro, N.H., and Jan and John Maggs Antiques, Conway, Mass. The former were showing a folky running horse weathervane, probably from AJ Harris & Co., circa 1865, and a quirky mounted collection of American advertising matches, circa 1920. The Maggs showcased an English oak settle with form shaped, fielded panels and an upholstered cushion, circa 1730, and an oak bible box with unusual chevron carving from England around the middle of the Seventeenth Century.
Rhinebeck returns with its popular one-day “Summer Magic” show on July 26, and its fall edition is set for Columbus Day weekend, October 11 and 12. For information, 845-876-1989 or www.rhinebeckantiquesfair.com .