Published: November 12, 2007
High-end antiques shows are almost as much about how as what. From its founding in 1987, the meticulous room-setting and gallery-style vignettes of the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show (IFAADS) have offered novel inspiration for living with the rare, important and beautiful.
Debuting just two years after the National Gallery of Art’s landmark 1985 exhibition “Treasure Houses of Britain,” the flagship Haughton fair †which opened for its 19th time at New York’s Seventh Regiment Armory on October 18 and continued for eight days †was early on a splendid homage to the ancient, aristocratic interiors of England and the Continent.
IFAADS has evolved. Its au courant ambience is discerning, eclectic and well-traveled, not overly studious, fussy or busy.
The fair’s worldliness is sometimes literal. A handful of the show’s 65 exhibitors produced globes: a pair of Seventeenth Century Roman terrestrial and celestial globes at Perrin Antiquaires of Paris; a pair of George III 18-inch globes, ex-collection of Princess Margaret, by John and William Cary at Ronald Phillips of London; a pair of mid-Nineteenth Century 36-inch globes by James Wyld at Mallett; and more examples at Didier Aaron and at Kentshire Galleries, whose sales included a pair of Newton’s pocket globes in mahogany cases and a cream-colored George II breakfront bookcase.
Axel Vervoordt, a dealer and designer, is a leading exponent of IFAADS’ global style. Blending old and new, East and West, the Belgian dealer cultivated mood in his tripartite booth, an earthy, dimly lit, high ceilinged suite of rooms sparsely furnished with Greco-Roman antiquities and Twentieth Century works of art by Kazuo Shiraga, Lucio Fontana and Alberto Burri.
“People don’t want the weight of historicism. They are interested in sculpture and like classical design, but don’t know how to incorporate it into their lives. I am trying to show them that you can have period furniture without having period rooms,” said Carswell Rush Berlin. The New York dealer’s arresting, asymmetrical arrangement mingled 1950s Abstract Expressionist paintings by Stephen Pace with early Nineteenth Century New York classical furniture. Chicly upholstered in gray flannel, a Grecian couch attributed to Duncan Phyfe was $85,000.
Outdoor sculpture at Jeffrey B. Henkel and Thurston Nichols included a pair of terra cotta mythological urns manufactured by Galloway of Philadelphia; a signed Harris & Co. of Boston horse and rider weathervane, $38,000; and a George Washington cast iron stovetop by Mott of Brooklyn, N.Y., $65,000, ex-collection of Colonial Williamsburg.
“I want to show younger people how they can mix styles and periods,” said Collier Gwin of Foster-Gwin. The first-time IFAADS exhibitor from San Francisco is known for Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Italian painted and early walnut furniture. Strikingly, Foster-Gwin matched a Venetian rococo red chinoiserie fall front desk with classical sculpture and contemporary Bay Area abstract painting by Nathan Oliveira and Ernest Briggs. Like exhibitors Axel Vervoordt, Douglas Dawson and Kentshire Galleries, Foster-Gwin was heading back to California for the opening of the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show on October 24.
The International show’s other new exhibitors included Stephen Ongpin and Yvonne Tan Bunzl, London dealers in Old Master drawings; and Phoenix Ancient Art, whose prize offerings were a Third to Second Century BC Greek bronze statuette of Hermes and a First to Second Century AD Roman marble statue of Aphrodite with Cupid riding a dolphin.
“The Aphrodite was auctioned in Paris in 1965 and has been in an old French collection. We’ve just had it cleaned a bit,” explained Phoenix’s head, Hicham Aboutaam.
“It is one of the most important pieces we have ever handled,” the fair’s other antiquities dealer, London dealer Jamie Ede, said of his “Lonsdale Dionysos,” a circa 50‱50 AD Roman marble figure priced in the mid-seven figures. As a backdrop to the statue, Ede showed a large Roman mosaic panel, $95,000, probably from Syria and dating to circa Third Century AD.
In the classical taste was James Henry Haseltine’s allegorical portrait bust “America” at Hirschl & Adler Galleries. Honoring Civil War dead, the marble dated to 1865.
The traditional English furniture specialist Mallett showed its modern side, fronting its stand with a pair of late Twentieth Century lipstick-red lacquered cabinets, framed gelatin silver prints and steel lighting by the multitalented Willy Rizzo. Mallett’s New York showrooms recently closed a successful solo show of the late Twentieth Century designer and photographer’s work.
It was the art world’s increasing internationalism that initially launched the Haughton fairs, which currently number five, four in New York and one in London. Having investigated Moscow and Shanghai, other burgeoning art centers, the Haughtons decided to launch their next fair in Dubai, the gilt-edged Persian Gulf resort that became a Christie’s outpost in April 2005. Spearheaded by the younger Haughtons, Emma Jane and her brother, Giles, Art & Antiques Dubai will open at Madinat Jumeirah on February 21, 2008. American exhibitors Alistair Crawford, Maison Gerard, Cristina Grajales, Pfurniture, Jason Jacques, Boccara and Bernard Goldberg have already agreed to take part.
While the Haughtons have not yet ventured into Russia, some of IFAADS exhibitors have been doing business there for years. Founded in Kiev in 1851, A La Vieille Russie of New York, along with its London colleague Wartski, are the world’s leading specialists in Russian-made Faberge gold, silver and jewelry, a rich selection of which was featured here. A La Vieille Russie’s Peter Schaffer says that hugely affluent Russian buyers are rapidly gaining confidence and experience. Schaffer awaits with interest Christie’s November 28 sale of the Rothschild Faberge Egg, made for the imperial family. “A La Vieille Russie has known about this egg since the 1980s,” confided Schaffer.
Twentieth Century art and design remains on an uptick at the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show. Lillian Nassau, Inc, which on November 17 unveils an important exhibition on Tiffany Favrile glass and an authoritative new book on the subject by Dr Martin Eidelberg, showcased Paul Manship’s 1932 bronze “Lying Doe,” a study for one of 22 animals the sculptor included in the Paul J. Rainey Memorial Gateway at the Bronx Zoo. The figure was $350,000.
French Art Deco specialist Maison Gerard parted with a pair of Jules Leleu rosewood tall chests and a suite of seating furniture by Paul Follet.
“This is a real find,” New York dealer Bernard Goldberg said of a set of three pale, sinuously leaded Poppy glasses designed in 1905 by George Washington Maher, a Prairie School architect, for the Winton House, Wausau, Wis. The house was demolished in 1976 but some of the decorative elements were saved.
Sales around the floor ranged from a rare Meissen covered milk jug at Brian Haughton Antiques to an Eighth Century Sancai pottery egg at Blitz Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art and sculpture by contemporary artist Li Chen at Michael Goedhuis.
More than a thousand people attended an opening night gala that raised $1 million for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Representatives of nearly 100 museums visited the show before its close. For information, 212-642-8572 or www.Haughton.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm