Manhattan is perennially short of venues for antiques shows, let alone venues with plenty of foot traffic. So when several of his regular dealers asked Beverly Hills, Calif.-based promoter Marty Ellis to consider creating a New York City event, he obliged.
The venue Ellis found was St Paul the Apostle Church at Columbus Avenue and 60th Street. The church is not exactly on the beaten bath, but it is not far from it, either. One block from the new Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and two blocks from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Auditorium at St Paul’s is in an area endowed with plenty of public transportation.
Now in its second year, the Fall Antiques & Fine Art Fair, also known as the West Side Show, set up in the church’s ground level auditorium facing Columbus Avenue, October 5–9.
“The show got off to a slow start, but it picked up. It attracts a good clientele. The exhibitors like the venue. We will be back next year,” Ellis said afterward.
Although the five-day show coincides with Brian and Anna Haughton’s International Art + Design Fair across town at the Seventh Regiment Armory, there is little similarity between the two events. The former emphasizes modernist Twentieth Century design while, with only 30 exhibitors, the West Side Show is small and, on the whole, traditional, arraying Eighteenth Century American furniture, opulent jewelry, rare Chinese porcelains and exquisite Old Master drawings and paintings.
“It’s an intimate show with many beautiful things,” Westport, Conn., dealer Glen Leroux said with an appreciative look around. His stylish display, arranged in a cozy nook that opened onto a private room, mingled an oversized Lido cabaret restaurant poster with an Art Deco sofa that once belonged to actor John Barrymore and a table designed by Frank Lloyd Wright associate Edgar Taffel.
The Fall Antiques & Fine Art Fair got a windfall when the Connoisseurs Antiques Fair, organized by the Art and Antique Dealers League of America, was canceled this year. Several league members —among them Gary Sergeant Antiques of Woodbury, Conn., Bibi Mohamed of Imperial Fine Books in New York City, Mostafa Hassan of Imperial Oriental Art in New York City, Mia N. Weiner of Norfolk, Conn., Robert Simon Fine Art, Tuxedo Park, N.Y., and Peter Rosenberg of Vallin Galleries, Wilton, Conn. — enhanced this year’s West Side Show.
American furniture and decorative arts were represented by Robert Freitas of Stonington, Conn., Heller Washam Antiques of Woodbury, Conn., and Portland, Maine; and Ed Weissman of Portsmouth, N.H. Freitas was just back from the Theta Charity Antiques Show in Houston, Texas, where he said he had his best selling event ever. For New York, he featured a Liverpool jug decorated with a full masted ship flying an American flag; a mahogany and satinwood work table, $4,800; and a double portrait of a Newburyport, Mass., mother and child, $18,500.
Robert Simon, an Old Masters paintings dealer, and Mia N. Weiner, an Old Masters drawings specialist, used their adjoining booths to mutual benefit. Simon’s varied offerings included Cuzco School Peruvian paintings, whose primitive qualities appeal to contemporary audiences. “These paintings are really an amalgamation of two cultures, indigenous South American and European,” explained Simon. An Eighteenth Century Cuzco School painting of an archangel was $65,000.
Weiner’s treasures included a “Life Study of The Bust of a Boy,” attributed to Ventura Salimbeni (1568–1613) and “Jupiter Abducting Ganymede” by Piero Francesco Mola (1612–1666), a drawing relating to another at the capo di monte in Naples that is a decorative scheme for a ceiling in the Palazzo Pamphili in Valmontone, southeast of Rome.
Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century American and European landscape views were handsomely shown in the salon-style stand of Bruno Francois Framont of Greenwich, Conn.
Among several exhibitors of English and Continental decorative arts was clock specialist Gordon S. Converse of Malvern, Penn. A Langley Bradley tall clock in a walnut veneered case with three trains, $38,000, was a highlight of his stand.
Bringing the dateline into the Twentieth Century was Nicole Sultan of Les Temps Passes. The French Art Deco furniture specialist from Miami Beach, Fla., and Paris featured a Louise Majorelle bedroom set decorated with powdered silver.
A rich assortment of Asian art included Ningyo, or Japanese dolls, at Michael Ayervais of New York City; a pair of Ming dynasty porcelain lions and a late Nineteenth Century silk embroidered court robe at Vallin Galleries and a rare pair of square Kangxi blue and white covered jars decorated with warriors, $65,000, at Mostafa Hassan of Imperial Oriental Art in New York City.
Colorful Kashan and Serapi carpets dating to circa 1915 lined the walls of Shaia of Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
Another textiles specialist, Brigitte Nioche of Your Image Plus, New York City, arrayed brightly patterned jacquards, damasks, hand painted paper and framed embroideries.
“I get carloads of New Yorkers coming to see me by appointment in Philadelphia,” said Michael S. Haber, a Philadelphia area jewelry dealer who sells directly to collectors as well as through Manhattan retailers. Several cases of antique and estate jewelry included Buccellati gold pieces made between 1960 and 2000 and always popular Art Deco jewelry. A circa 1920 platinum and diamond necklace was marked $89,000.
Said Ellis, “We wanted to get back to show-business basics and keep things simple. The Fall Antiques & Fine Art Fair is the way shows used to be.”
Ellis’s other events include Art International in Santa Monica, Calif., in October, the New York/New Year Antiques and Fine Art Fair in Manhattan, and the Redondo Beach International Antiques Fair in Los Angeles.
For information, 310-287-1896 or www.theosatco.com.