Published: December 16, 2003
From the Museum of the City of New York
A new exhibition at The UBS Art Gallery brings the holiday spirit to midtown Manhattan through a presentation of extraordinary antique toys from the Museum of the City of New York’s renowned collection of more than 10,000 classic playthings, dating back to as early as 1820.
On view through January 2, “Toy Stories and Winter Scenes from the Museum of the City of New York” will also celebrate New York’s holiday spirit through paintings, photographs and prints of winter cityscapes.
“Toy Stories and Winter Scenes from the Museum of the City of New York” will offer a historic view of New York City in the holiday season, as well as children’s prized possessions from past eras. Through images of classic New York scenes and landmarks, the exhibition will contextualize the toys, showing contemporary New Yorkers the city in winter over the last 100 years and the toys that children of the past yearned to receive as holiday gifts.
A selection of more than 100 classic toys of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century will be on view, including toy soldiers, cast-iron vehicles, carved wooden animals, blocks and puzzles, cloth and porcelain dolls, teddy bears and stuffed animals.
In addition to the display of antique dolls, the exhibition will celebrate the recent centennial of a classic toy — the teddy bear. The exhibition honors this history with a broad array of teddy bears from the early Twentieth Century.
Other early antique toys on view include carved horses and a lion from the 1820s, owned by the Clarkson family, notable New Yorkers who were leaders in state government and business. An intricately carved and detailed Noah’s Ark, made in Germany in 1890, will also be on view, featuring miniature pairs of animals. Wooden blocks and puzzles, circa 1900, created by the McLoughlin Brothers toy company of New York, will be another exhibition highlight, as well as cast-iron horse-drawn vehicles, circa 1900, and a brightly colored toy train from the 1890s.
Setting the scene for the toy collection, some of the museum’s celebrated New York paintings, watercolors, prints and photographs will also be on view. Paintings in the exhibition depict all five boroughs in wintertime, including a snow-dusted view of Queens painted from atop the 59th Street Bridge; Staten Island Ferry passengers on deck, dressed for the cold commute; the Brooklyn Bridge rising above white streets; and a quiet corner of the Bronx in a silent snowfall.
As part of UBS’ sponsorship of the 12th Annual “Holiday Train Show” at the New York Botanical Garden, a sample display of two model trains will be exhibited in the front windows of The UBS Art Gallery.
The UBS Art Gallery is at 1285 Avenue of the Americas (between 51st and 52nd Streets). For information, 212-713-2885.
The writers, editors and staff of Antiques and The Arts Weekly wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
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