Published: October 24, 2000
Stella’s Gramercy Park Antiques Show
NEW YORK CITY – “Thursday was the big buying day and Saturday was the largest gate,” Leanne Stella said of the Gramercy Park Antiques Show, which completed a three-day run at the 69th Regiment Armory, 27th and Lexington, on October 14. She noted that this was the norm for the New York shows, with a flood of decorators and dealers on the first day and a large retail attendance on the weekend.
This show, which has an emphasis on period textiles, actually turned out stronger for the exhibitors with furniture, according to the management. However, Leanne noted, “We drew a nice group for the seminar on ‘Rescuing Vintage Textiles’ by Mary Beth Temple, and a walking tour with Fortuny expert Rigo Cardenas was well attended.”
She added, “The people on the tour seemed really interested in the material at the show and certainly asked lots of questions.”
Rounding out the seminar schedule was a visit with Web Wilson, who showed a collection of vintage hardware for the bathroom and spoke on “The Bathroom, Coming Out of the Water Closet.”
Holding down one of the large booths at the front of the show was Bruce Emond of The Village Braider, Plymouth, Mass. His display ran more towards the decorator than his showing in Rhinebeck, as the booth was filled with large pieces of furniture, including a cabinet, glass doors on top, which would fit nicely into a formal library. A few statues, both stone and bronze, rested on the large library table in the front of the booth, and an interesting Chinese temple for prayer, of large size, was displayed against the wall on the opposite side of the aisle. This piece dated from the Nineteenth Century, had holders for candles inside, and had a set of interior lacquered steps, which once held religious statues.
Constance Aranosian of CARA, Langhorn, Pa., pointed with pride to a piece of George Jones pottery in one of her cases. “It is very rare, a picket fence and daisy [pattern] cheese dome, one of the best pieces we have ever owned,” she said. Also among her favorite things was a very rare set of eight plates, Schramburg Art Nouveau, German, circa 1900. When asked about this show she was quick to comment, “We wouldn’t be anywhere else. New York is the place for us and the Stellas run a good show.”
Pieces of painted furniture were offered from the booth of Kenny Ball of Charlottesville, Va., including an Italian desk, yellow grained, circa 1780, with panel carved into the lid. Against the back wall of the booth was a large breakfront, painted off-white, circa 1840, with four divided glass doors in the upper section. Great Barrington, Mass., exhibitor Le Perigord Antiques had an interesting model of a French theatre hung on the back wall, a piece dating from the turn of the century. Decorative rdf_Descriptions included several cast iron table supports and a detailed tin lantern fitted for a candle.
Everything was in its place in the neatly arranged booth of T.J. Antorino Antiques and Design of Oyster Bay, N.Y. A pair of colorful framed Ferragamo scarves, probably circa 1970, hung on the back wall, one depicting the tops and the other depicting the side view of shoes for which the firm is so well known. A pair of white tufted sofas looked very comfortable, and a Japanned desk with tooled red leather surface was ready to be moved into any home office. In the center of the booth was a large pair of scales, brass on a white marble base, which may have seen use in an English confectionery shop.
A beautiful window, about five feet in diameter, hung in the booth of Dan Wilson of Wilmington, N.C., offered along with several cast iron urns, a nice French iron plant stand in old yellow paint, and a selection of six Italian lily vases, circa 1935. The vases were clear glass, slightly ribbed, and measured from 15 inches to four feet. They were void of any flowers, offered as a group, and were striking as a collection.
An interesting set of four mirrored sconces, painted green and white, took up a portion of the back wall in the booth of Deborah Witherspoon of Darien, Conn. A pair of opaque table lamps, circa 1940, was among the other pieces of lighting in the booth, and the largest piece of furniture was a desk, French or Italian, circa 1930, painted all over with a light floral design.
A well-preserved Chesterfield sofa, leather and button-tufted, was in the booth of Stevens Antiques of Frazer, Pa. In addition to other pieces of furniture, such as a pair of mahogany cabinets with grillwork display in the top section, many decorative accessories were offered. Of note was a wonderful child’s wheelbarrow, paint decorated, and a very colorful reverse painting on glass of a bunch of flowers in a yellow urn.
A varied selection of both furniture and accessories was offered by Balsamo of Pine Plains, N.Y. A French tufted chair was of the Napoleon III period, an Italian sofa dated from the Nineteenth Century, and a grouping of three washing tubs were of English origin. A pair of carved stone flames were French, late Nineteenth Century, and a large wine basket once was used to collect grapes. Today it would probably end up a depository for newspapers and magazines.
Katy Kane of New Hope, Pa., brought along many fine examples of vintage clothing from her large inventory, ranging from very formal evening wear to outfits which would be appropriate at a tea or luncheon. In addition she showed a chinoiserie decorated tilt-top table, dating from the mid- to late Nineteenth Century, and a fancy pair of Centennial carved and painted light green hat stands.
What do you do with 260 sponges at an antiques show? HKH, Inc., of Pennington, N.J., having bought this collection at the last Brimfield week, simply wrapped a piece of heavy wire around a post, about three feet in diameter, and filled it up. And it really did look quite well, especially if you happened to have the right spot for such a display at home. Three other wonderful objects from the sea were also offered including two large pieces of coral and one shell.
A five-tier stand once used by a florist was on the right wall in the booth of Howard and Linda Stein, Solebury, Pa. Large pots of painted tole flowers were of French origin, Nineteenth Century, and a cast iron bird bath was from the Kramer Foundry in Dayton, Ohio. A zinc weathervane, circa 1875, was once on the top of an elementary school in Indiana. A diminutive pair of cast iron whippets, Nineteenth Century, guarded one end of the booth of Orkney and Yost Antiques, Stonington, Conn., and a French window grate, verdigris surface, dated from the Nineteenth Century and was backed with a mirror. An English card table with tooled leather top, circa 1760, was of walnut and had ball and claw feet.
Bridges Over Time from Walden, N.Y., had a selection of furniture which included a campaign chest, Aesthetic Movement, circa 1880; a secretaire in satinwood, circa 1920; and a French carved walnut cupboard, circa 1900, with the maker’s mark on the back. Mary Stasik of Darien, Conn., offered a pair of club chairs in white fabric, a pair of French settees in similar upholstery, and a set of seven rosewood and walnut carved side chairs with rush seats.
“The people who come to this show seem to love it,” Leanne Stella said. “We are still looking for more ways to bring out a bigger gate.” She indicated that it is really a show with a focus on textiles, and “we need to get this across to the public.”
Next year Stella Management has booked the armory for three different weekends due to the drill schedule of the 69th Regiment. “We will have Gramercy Park Modern on one of the weeks, and this show will be on one of the other dates,” she said. The third date will be drill time for the army. The way it stands now, Gramercy Park Antiques Show will be the third week of October, off the dates of the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair and at the same time as The International Show in New York.
Meanwhile, Stella Management has turned its attention to its Triple Pier Show scheduled for November 11 and 12 and November 18 and 19. On the second week of the show there is a conflict with one of the piers and dealers for Pier 88 will be set up on Pier 90, and those on Pier 90 will be on Pier 94. Sounds complicated, but it is really very simple. Go and see.
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