Published: January 31, 2017
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
NEW YORK CITY – A couple stepped slowly down the stone steps leading beneath the Church of St Ignatius and into a vaulted stone corridor that fed into Wallace Hall. Through the doors, they stopped inside and peeked at the publications and fliers before walking through the second doorway and stopping at the ticket counter to gladly pay their entrance. “We got the good weather this year,” said the man, a nod to the torrential snowstorm that blanketed the city for the show’s run last year.
From the raised entrance, attendees were greeted with an elevated view of what was in store: a diverse show, housing more than 30 dealers with offerings that ranged from antique and Art Deco furniture, fine art, glass, Americana, jewelry, ethnographic and Asian arts, silver, sculpture, Oriental rugs, books, modern design and more.
For its third installation, there would be no snow in sight for the Art, Design & Antiques Show at Wallace Hall as the January 20-22 exhibition offered visitors an eclectic mix of antiques from both near and far, spanning styles, continents, mediums and tastes.
“Each booth has an intrigue to it,” said Brad Reh as he sat next to his wife, Vandy, at the show entrance. The Rehs reintroduced this show in Wallace Hall three years ago to a universally positive response. “To bring an eclectic nature, that’s the challenge,” said Reh. “Fitting into a show like this doesn’t mean you’ll have the same material as everyone else.”
Although mourning his first day as a bona fide “elderly man,” Paul Thien of Firehouse Antiques, Galena, Md., was still spry and light on his feet with a fresh booth of Americana and fine art. The dealer featured a set of 15 papier mache, lacquer and shellac masks made by George Roether in the 1940s for Disney Studios. The prototype masks were made for character illustrations that ultimately got rejected. “They’re so engaging,” said Thien, each featuring a stylized emotional expression that only an illustrator could capture. On a pedestal in front was a large Ed Hurley Rookwood vase, as well as artworks by Charles Courtney Curran and C.S. Garner Jr.
A lush, green booth stuck out from the corner, owing to none other than James Butterworth of Antique American Wicker, Nashua, N.H. He exhibited a selection of French green wicker with beautiful shading on the frames that made the pieces jump off the floor. A pair of early Joseph P. McHugh wing chairs sat beside each other, both made of willow and from the Arts and Crafts era. On the back wall was an Asian triptych depicting koi fish swimming on a teal background with a matching set of aged, gilt-wicker frames.
“We always have a little of everything,” said Jim Gallagher of J. Gallagher Antiques, North Norwich, N.Y. Gallagher exhibited his mainstay fireplace equipment, including brass andirons, coal hods, screens and fenders, but made mention that he was starting to branch out, pointing to a pair of Art Deco dolphin-form side tables from the 1930s.
Chic style from the Seventeenth Century to the 1970s was on offer by Babou, New York City. This is Catherine McCarthy’s second time doing the show and she was thrilled to be back, bringing with her a mix of Modernism and French style. The dealer featured a black lacquered bombe chest of drawers with gold appliques that she envisioned in a Modern interior. On the wall behind was a pencil on paper drawing of dancing women by Mariano Andreu, titled “Bacchanal,” while the dealer had just sold a bold-lined Charles Levier painting of two women in a street scene.
Melody Rodgers, New York City, offered a case full of fine jewelry from the Eighteenth Century to present day. The dealer showcased a garnet ring from the estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe. The stunning ring featured a foiled back garnet surrounded by rose-cut diamonds in silver on a gold back.
A three-panel Max Kuehne screen sat beside the booth of Andrew Spindler Antiques, Essex, Mass. The dealer set up a mix of pieces, including framed silhouettes, a carved folk art mirror, Czech glass, a Nineteenth Century American black painted pine and tiger maple one-drawer table with boldly turned legs, Art Deco lounge chairs, a Robsjohn-Gibbings ottoman, Modern sculpture and even a still bank.
“Oftentimes they have a plain, simple geometric pattern on the back,” said Spindler of the 1930s Kuehne screen. “But this is double-sided and reversible, it’s a work of art on both sides.” The dealer said he had the silver-incised screen for more than 20 years and fielded considerable serious interest in the opening hours of the fair. By the time this reporter had walked through the show, a red dot graced the placard – sold.
Nora and John Knight of Bizarre Bazaar, New York City, were found wrapping up an Italian mechanical orrery, circa 1910, for a happy collector. The duo featured a French wooden artist’s model of a man on a horse, about 15 inches tall, with strong joints and in good, complete condition. “Women like the jewelry,” said Nora Knight as she motioned over to her case full of fine Modernist and signed pieces. “Men tend to gravitate towards the objects,” a collection that spanned Art Deco model cars, instruments and more edgy material.
“I carry statement jewelry,” said Eleanor Abraham of Eleanor Abraham Asian Art, New York City. Long Rajasthan silver bracelets went from her wrists on up her forearms and a bold, geometric Turkmen necklace hung from her neck. “I used to start out looking for sculpture,” she said, as she explained her material. “And then I saw these beautiful textiles and I could not resist them.” Tibetan and Indian bronzes from the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth Century sat poised in Abraham’s booth while shawls and other brightly colored textiles graced the walls.
Barbara Rew Antiques, Towson, Md., was busy at work in her booth, one of the few dealers selling antique furniture at the fair. Rew carried an 1820s New York cherry worktable, a mahogany Pembroke table attributed to Henry Connelly, a Philadelphia cabinetmaker, and a George III English chest in quartersawn oak, circa 1840.
Glenn Leroux Antiques, Inc, Westport, Conn., brought a mix of jewelry and Modern style to the fair, sitting in the far back of the hall on a pronounced stage. The dealer featured a pair of heavy chrome lounge chairs by Milo Baughman, a curved Stendig sofa in soft velvet, a Gaetano Sciolari rod chandelier hung overhead and a Jay Spectre dining suite, four chairs and a table, sat nearby.
Attendees walked casually through the show, bags in hand and eyes looking forever forward, searching for that one particular thing. The certain thing was, with such varied and quality material, they were sure to find it.
Art, Antiques & Design at Wallace Hall will return for Antiques Week in 2018. For more information, 203-920-1755 or www.rehshows.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm