Published: March 16, 2004
Park Avenue’s Seventh Regiment Armory was host to The New York Armory Antiques Show for a five day run from March 3 through 7. Conducted by Diane and Meg Wendy, the show featured a diverse offering of materials from a long list of dealers who had traveled to the show from throughout the States, as well as London and France.
Attendance was moderate at the opening on Wednesday with a steady crowd making their way through the show. Management reported better crowds as the show progressed with heavy attendance seen over the weekend. Just under 60 dealers take part in the show with materials offered ranging from fine art to Orientalia. Many of the stands serve up a polished look with English and Continental furniture popular among the Park Avenue crowd, although swank specialties also generate quite a bit of attention.
Bond Street, London dealers June and Tony Stone, offered a stunning selection of antique tea caddies with pieces ranging from the usual apples and pears to exquisite tortoise shell and fruitwood inlaid examples. Pieces in the booth ranged from a low of $5,000 to a top level of $82,000. Highlighting the selection of tea caddies was an extremely rare Eighteenth Century painted satinwood urn shaped example with panels of painted flowers and an ivory top finial. The piece, circa 1770, rested on an octagonal base with tulipwood and boxwood string inlay. Other tea caddies of interest included a red tortoiseshell example with decagonal tented top, circa 1790, that carried a $36,000 sticker, along with similar examples in green and white.
Another highlight of the booth was a rare pair of George III serpentine front flame mahogany knife boxes with original interiors. The pieces, priced at $63,800, were embellished with elaborate silver filigree mounts and ball and claw feet hallmarked by James Wiburd, 1763-1765. The boxes were thought to be by John Lane, the preeminent knife box specialist of the late Eighteenth Century, “Whose work was considered to be of the ‘best taste’ by Thomas Sheraton,” according to Tony Stone.
Rare books and manuscripts were attracting attention in the booth of The 19th Century Print Shop, Baltimore, Md. Among the rdf_Descriptions offered by the dealer was an Eleventh Century Hebrew complete panel Torah scroll sheet of Exodous. 10:10 to 16:15. The piece, a manuscript in ink on vellum was written in an Oriental square script and is one of the two earliest known Torah scroll sheets. Also offered was what the dealer called “one of the greatest treasures of western civilization and culture,” the volume De Humani Corporis Fabrica by Vesalius, 1555.
Nineteenth Century fireplace fixtures were overflowing from the booth of North Norwich, N.Y., dealer James Gallagher. The dealer had dozens of pairs of brass andirons, stacks of fenders and a huge assortment of fireplace tools from makers in Boston and New York City.
Cold Spring, N.Y., dealer Sally Orent was receiving quite a bit of attention with her snappy looking booth. The dealer displayed a huge French iron clock face in a weathered white paint that measured more than five feet in diameter. The piece, with ornate hands and faded black roman numerals, dominated the rear wall of the booth, while a selection of attractive furniture filled out the booth. The dealer was especially proud of an Irish Eighteenth Century tea table with cabriole legs ending in trifid feet and a carved fluer-de-lis drop pendant on the skirt.
Another unusual piece of furniture in her stand was a petite French lady’s writing desk with a tambour rolltop that automatically receded into the tap when the drawer was opened. In a rosewood and mahogany with brass inlays and mounts, the desk was quite attractive.
Paris dealer Elsa Halfin offered a selection of French Country rdf_Descriptions including a wonderful exterior door in a dry old white paint with a bold pinwheel carved upper panel, a neat papier mache head possibly from a carnival, a nice selection of cement garden furniture in rustic stick form and an unusual free-form wooden slab table with nicely patinated metal chairs around it.
Les Temps Passes, also from Paris, featured a selection of French Art Deco furniture and accessories in their stand. A nice walnut and sycamore circular game table with four pentagon shaped sections comprising the top that lifted to reveal the interior. Several fruitwood inlaid cabinets and a secretaire were also offered along with a nice dining table and a set of elegant and stylish chairs in upholstered white fabric. Accessories included a silvered tea and coffee service with stylish Bakelite handles by Kirby Beard, and a wrought iron mirror in the style of Brandt.
Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century Continental furniture was offered by Le Trianon of Sheffield Mass., including an Eighteenth Century Louis XVI tulipwood and purple wood marble-top commode marked Jovenet. The dealers also displayed a Roman neoclassical Italian painted and parcel gilt console at $14,500, a French painted and parcel gilt marble-top buffet with two paneled doors and a carved frieze at $16,500, and a Seventeenth Century Louis XIII buffet a deux corps with carved cornices and carved paneled doors that was marked $18,000. The dealers also offered a Carl Kahler oil on canvas, $18,000, depicting a woman with a dog that had been exhibited at the 1880 Columbian Exposition and also at the Art Institute of Chicago as recently as 1950.
Amaury Goyet, a Paris fine art dealer was busy making sales as the show opened to the public. One piece at the forefront of his booth that was attracting attention was a Rachel Ruysch attributed late Seventeenth Century Flemish School entitled “Flower Still Life” that was priced at $45,000.
Jewelry is always a popular rdf_Description on Park Avenue and no one serves it up better than Joan Grober. The dealer offered a wide selection of glimmering pieces ranging from a platinum and diamond flora-form necklace made up of 31 carats of white diamonds surrounding 14 carats of fancy yellow diamonds. A pair of matching earrings were also offered. One of the star attractions from the booth was firmly lodged on the dealer’s finger, a 27 carat fancy yellow diamond ring that was surrounded by smaller white diamonds.
“I really don’t want to take it off and let someone else have it,” stated the dealer, “but, if challenged I will,” she said with a laugh. Gruber commented that she fancies “outrageous jewelry” at all different levels pointing out stylish Deco pieces by Oscar Heyman and Arts and Crafts style pieces by Seaman Schepps.
The New York International Art and Antiques Show will be the next Wendy managed show on Park Avenue. It takes place April 23-28 with a benefit for Kids of NYU on April 22. For further information call 914-698-3442.
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