Published: November 16, 2010
“Fall is in the air&†Autumn Hartford is here,” proclaimed show manager Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Promotions in the days leading up to the Autumn Hartford Antiques Show. Now in its second year under Barn Star’s management, the show took place over Halloween weekend, October 30-31.
The fall antiques show in Hartford, begun more than 50 years ago by Frances Phipps and Betty Forbes, was once the pinnacle of all Americana antiques shows. After falling into disarray a few years back and ultimately disbanded by its hereditary successor, Linda Turner of Forbes and Turner, the popular tradition of an October Americana show in Hartford was successfully revived last year by Gaglio.
All was not rosy in Hartford over Halloween weekend, however. In fact, at times it was almost scary. And the potential for horror was apparent in the face of the promoter during setup and the early pre-show hours on Saturday morning. What was going to happen? There were only 49 exhibitors compared to 96 displaying at last year’s inaugural event. Worse yet, there was the “dealers list issue,” as one participant so aptly termed the situation, which allowed dealers onto the floor that the original managers never would have considered as exhibitors.
Like Halloween, though, the horrific masks were removed at the end of the night and a cheerful face was revealed.
Overall, the show was attractive and the mainstays who have been participating in the fall season Hartford shows for decades certainly added an air of elegance to the event, pulling the show up by its bootstraps.
For the most part, Gaglio’s trepidation and worries proved for naught, with the manager calling it a “better show than anticipated.”
“Nearly everyone we spoke with said they liked the smaller-sized show,” commented Gaglio, a sentiment echoed by many of the dealers on the floor.
Close to 2,000 “quality” people attended the show over the weekend, according to management †and as the promoter was quick to point out, it is not only the number of people coming through the show that makes or breaks an event, it is the quality of the shopper.
“The people that attended Hartford were seriously interested in antiques,” said Gaglio, “and that resulted in sales, which is the best part; the dealers did business and almost everyone made some money.” Sales are a good thing at shows, and perhaps the “smaller sized pie” and the diversity of merchandise (a/k/a fewer “Hartford quality” dealers) made for good pickings.
Participating in Hartford since the inception of the original Hartford Fall Antiques Show, Nathan Liverant and Son reported a good show. The dealer reported a Daniel Burnham tall case clock, a cupboard and a Windsor chair moving from their stand. And a sideboard had been placed in a customer’s home on approval.
Bob and Claudia Haneberg reported a “great show,” writing 16 tickets over the course of the weekend. “No heavy-duty furniture sold,” commented the dealers, but among the sales were numerous pieces of Chinese Export porcelain, a folky theorem depicting a basket of flowers, a pair of Hepplewhite side chairs, a painting and a couple pieces of Chinese Export silver †which the dealers commented has been “a hot thing of late.”
The Hanebergs also reported sales to distant travelers, selling a tea caddy to a Texas buyer who had visited the Vermont shows and was antiquing the way back home. The dealers also reported a sale to a couple from Nebraska.
New Jersey dealer Jim Grievo reportedly did well, with a tavern table from his booth finding a new home and a tall case clock selling to a collector soon after the show opened to the public on Saturday morning.
Karen Wendhiser had good things to say about the show. “It was great for me, and furniture was selling as well as smalls,” she commented after the show. The Ellington, Conn., dealer has expanded her assortment of wares to include jewelry, and numerous sales were made from her wide selection that included everything from Mexican silver by makers such as Antonio Pineda to timeless classics such as gold bracelets. While the jewelry was hot, the first item sold from the booth was a nice large sawbuck table in old blue-green paint, followed shortly thereafter by an early mantel.
Newbury, Mass., dealer Joan Brownstein commented that she was pleased overall with her sales, which ranged from Eighteenth Century portraiture to Twentieth Century pottery. Among the sales that the dealer listed was a pastel study for a later important folk art pastel portrait. “I also sold a Rufus Porter portrait, and a portrait by the artist I specialize in known as the ‘puffy sleeve’ artist.” With portraits occupying the exterior walls of the booth, Brownstein’s stand was diversified and handsomely presented with an 1960s Eames table centrally displayed between a pair of Twentieth Century Wassily chairs. On the side wall was a selection of Scheier ceramics, from which the dealer reported numerous sales.
Bill Union, Art and Antique Gallery, Worcester, Mass., was one of several paintings dealers participating in the show. “We had a great show,” commented the dealer. “We sold seven paintings over the course of the two days and we made a couple new customers. One customer came from Virginia and she purchased a large Victorian interior scene with a lady and her dog, and she was going home to measure for another work that she was interested in.” Union reported a Chauncey Ryder painting and a Henry Ranger painting as other items sold.
A special exhibition, presented at the entrance to the show, attracted attention from the crowds. On display was a collection of painted artist’s palates by contemporary artists that are used to decorate the Christmas Tree at the Florence Griswold Museum in nearby Old Lyme.
The October show in Hartford has been playing calendar leap-frog for many years in regard to show dates, originally conducted early in the month, and as of late at the end of the month. And, it may be about to change again as Gaglio announced a mid-September date for 2011, squeezing into a slot that falls a couple weeks prior to the ADA show in Deerfield, Mass.
For further information, contact Frank Gaglio at Barn Star Promotions, 914-474-8552, or view www.barnstar.com .
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