Review & Onsite Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
NEW YORK CITY — There are those who lament how much New York City’s Americana Week has changed, even in the last decade. The American Antiques Show, which benefited the American Folk Art Museum, folded in 2011. Its placeholder — the Outsider Art Fair — now takes place in late February and early March and the New York Ceramics Fair has not been revived since Covid. The Winter Antiques Show, which just celebrated its 70th birthday January 18-28, dropped the word “antiques” from its name in 2019 and now hosts a broader coterie of modern fine and decorative art. However, all is not lost! To those people who want to see what many consider traditional antiques and fine art, we heartily encourage a trip to the corner of Park Avenue and East 84th Street where a small but quality antiques show awaits dealers and collectors alike.
The Wallace Hall Antiques Show last took place in the basement of St Ignatius Loyola Church in January 2020. Previously managed by Brad and Vandy Reh, who have shifted their focus to their New Canaan, Conn., store, the show is now under the auspices of the Antiques Council. Always considered an invaluable bridge to collectors and dealers that offered the same high-caliber fine and decorative arts as seen at other shows and auctions in New York City, the show returned January 19-21 with a few new faces.
The Antiques Council and individual dealers did a lot to spread the word, but chillier than normal weather the weekend of the show likely discouraged some shoppers, though many dealers reported high praise from visitors who braved the cold, and several exhibitors confirmed they had good shows.
“There used to be so much going on [in New York City in January] that when we started discussions with Brad, we felt there was a hole in the market. It’s a great opportunity for our dealers and it gave us a chance to be back in New York City,” said Kaye Gregg, the Antiques Council’s director of shows. She confirmed they had advertised the show in The New York Times, Maine Antiques Digest, The Magazine Antiques, Architectural Digest, CT Cottages & Gardens and this publication. Noting that a good part of the show’s client base comes from the neighborhood — New York City’s Upper East Side, she concluded, “we are working to make the Wallace Hall show more visible to patrons of The Winter Show,” which takes place about 20 blocks south, at the Park Avenue Armory.
Artur Matuszewski, Gallery amArt House in Bantam, Conn., was doing the show for the first time. He brought a nude photo by Paul Steinitz, a patinated bronze by Ed Smith, a modern still life by Patrica Udell, an abstract composition titled “Malibu East” by Emelia Dubicki and a vibrant blue powder-coated aluminum sculpture by Richard Pitts.
Roberto Freitas was also doing the show for the first time. He sold a shellwork obelisk, a melon-form wooden tea caddy, a pair of lamps and a little Chinese japanned cabinet that was “really beautiful.” He sold to clients in New Jersey, Texas and Florida that he had worked with before and made a sale to a new client in New York City. “I’m waiting to hear back on a Wyeth that, if it sells, would make it a great show.”
“Wallace Hall was a fantastic experience for us!” enthused Sheryl Ann Dunleavy of The Ann Parke Collection. “Since we hadn’t done the show before, nearly everyone we met was new to us. We made some great connections with people, mostly from the Upper East Side, but also from Westchester County and Connecticut, and even a few Washingtonians whom we had met at the Washington (DC) Winter Show the week before. The shoppers were quite knowledgeable, love antiques and enjoyed chatting about their own collections.”
Dunleavy reported sales of a circa 1840s English painted chest of drawers, an 1840s German hand-carved oak framed mirror, a circa 1930s stone hound that will going to a new home in Connecticut, and a set of Murano glass pieces that had delicate Art Deco styling.
“It was great to see this show come back after the four-year hiatus,” said Jasmine Doussiere of Silver Art by D&R, Dunleavy’s across-the-aisle neighbor. “I believe the diversity of dealers was wonderful, with great offerings and variety of pieces. The overall feedback from visitors was that the show was beautiful, and offered many treasures, giving the guests the choice between antiques, Americana and more contemporary art, with a focus on quality items.” She confirmed that for her and husband Thierry, the show ended on a positive note, with several pieces sold, including quite a few French gilt bronze pieces and sets of silver. “It was great to see our New York clients again and meet new ones!”
Across the aisle from the Doussieres, Brad and Vandy Reh had a beautiful selection of jewelry. Afterwards, Brad confirmed it had been a good experience for them. “We were quite pleased with the show. We sold a bunch of nice pieces, including two pairs of Angela Cummings earrings, a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet, a Verdura gold bracelet and a few other items. I felt the energy at the show, which was great!”
Paul Vandekar and Deirdre Healy have not been able to show at Wallace Hall together because, previously, Vandekar manned a booth at the New York Antique Ceramics Fair. In their first time exhibiting together, Vandekar reported they had done very well and were very happy with the show, reporting several sales of pottery and China trade paintings. He observed that many designers and decorators who usually come to the show were in Paris for an event that took place at the same time.
On the other side of the show’s floor, Ron and Joyce Bassin had several interesting and unusual treasures, including an eye-catching bronze family of partridges by Alfred Dubucand (French, 1828-1894). For rarity, it would be hard to beat a set of a dozen 14K gold demitasse spoons that were made by Shreve & Co of San Francisco that replicated the spade used in 1911 by President William Howard Taft to broke ground on construction of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition.
“I sold the best decoy I had, a bronze dog with a turtle, some Grenfell things, some birds and some pigs. I usually sell about 20 things; this year I sold 12. I did make a few new clients, including one who walked in off the street and bought a weathervane from me,” reported Ron Bassin.
Ann Wilbanks of Find Weatherly, whose booth is around the corner from the Bassins, sent her feedback to Antiques and The Arts Weekly by email. “We sold the large folky painting of the hunting hound crossing the stream done in trapunto style to a NYC decorator who fell in love with it at the Washington Show last week. We also sold the make-do Depression era child’s carousel on hand crank Victrola base, a few ship paintings, some trench art and a few textiles. Except right after lunch each day and in the late afternoons, the crowds were very light. It’s a jewel box of a show, so it’s sad to see it sparsely attended. Customers kept telling us that they couldn’t believe the depth of categories and the quality of the pieces on display. We all missed seeing many design customers who were at the Paris symposium.”
Lotus Gallery comes all the way from Austin, Texas, and shows squarely in the center of the show. Joathan Tung provided the following feedback: “Overall we did ok. It was really nice being back at Wallace Hall, seeing old friends and customers, and making new ones. Unfortunately the weather was not in our favor, with snow on opening day, and bitter cold the rest of the weekend. It definitely affected attendance. Although traffic was a bit light, it was overall steady.”
“The show has always been a neighborhood show, and the neighborhood did come out to support it. We had so many local attendees tell us how delighted they were to have the show back, and that the show looked better than they remembered from years past. They were impressed with the level of the dealers and the quality of the merchandise. Our sales were a good mix of objects and jewelry. We also sold to a good mix of returning, new and trade clients.” He commended the Antiques Council for doing a great job and noted they were listening to dealers and customer feedback and already planning for next year, which he looks forward to returning for.
Carole Pinto Fine Art had a beautiful wall of mostly landscapes by Jean Pesce, Paul Vogler, Gustave Edouard Le Senechal, Sigismond Jean-Ernest Jeanès, Raymond Thibesart, Francois Joseph Luigi Loir, Jean Patricot and Pierre Wagner, as well as a stunning portrait of a child in white in oil on cardboard by Anton Filkuka.
Gary Sergeant was set up in the first row of the show, opposite the main door, and had one of the showstoppers of the show, a large New York City overmantel mirror that dated to circa 1830. He had discovered it in a garage but didn’t know it had a large maker’s label on the back until he got it back to his shop. He noted a few of the designers they work with came through the show and were very complimentary.
Susan Stone’s mother, Eve, started Eve Stone Antiques in the 1960s, at one time doing 35 shows a year. A standout among her gleaming selection of copper was an English or American filigree quillwork coaster that dated to circa 1810. Their booth at the back of the show featured objects in a large variety of price points, to appeal and tempt every level of collector.
“We’ve been doing the show for many years and have a lot of customers in New York City; they were happy to be back at the show.” Jacqueline Smelkinson told Antiques and The Arts Weekly when we reached her after the show. “Most of our sales were jewelry but we also sold some ceramics. A client from Texas who hasn’t bought from us in maybe 15 years saw us and bought something. It was a good show.”
Always eclectic and always interesting, Essex, Mass., dealer Adam Spindler was deep in conversation with several different visitors when we came through the show. Among noteworthy mention was a set of large format sepia RCA Victor publicity photos of famous opera singers, a George II-style cockfighting library chair upholstered in a deep green velvet, a candelabrum by Bruno Paul and designed for the Vereinigte Werkstatten in Munich in 1901, a French Art Deco wrought iron console table with porto marble top, circa 1925, a silver and lapis lazuli box that may have been from an early Seventeenth Century English salt and a pair of late Eighteenth Century Swedish Neoclassical gilt bronze mounted porphyry candlesticks.