Published: November 3, 2015
Review and Photos By Laura Beach
NEW YORK CITY — With much of the art world consumed with the trendy and evanescent, the classics, paradoxically, seem more timely than ever. The trick is to make the old look new or, more precisely, to show historical works of art in a Zeitgeist-friendly way. Anna Haughton, co-director of the International Show, puts it more elegantly: “Everything has to be freshened. The challenge is to make the International Show look subtly different.”
Chicly rebranded the International Show: Art, Antiques, Design, this 27-year-old favorite returned to the Park Avenue Armory October 23–29 looking all the better for its age. Business has changed over the past three decades, Haughton admits, noting, “The market is much more fluid. People collect in a more eclectic way. They are not afraid of buying an antique British table and putting a Modern picture over it. We’ve responded, adding more Modern and contemporary material. It gives the show a freer, less restrictive feel.”
Never truly encyclopedic, the fair is more than ever a collection of arresting vignettes orchestrated by auteur specialists. Where Haughton and her husband, Brian, now joined in business by their adult children, Giles and Emma Jane, have excelled is in creating a polished showcase but not dictating its contents. Flexibility has allowed the International Show to evolve with changing tastes while maintaining its clear and distinctive identity.
The 65-dealer show opened with a benefit preview for the Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on Thursday, October 29. In a play for younger buyers, the Haughtons organized the International Circle Young Patrons Party on October 27, patterning the gala after Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball.
“We had over 700 extremely well-dressed young people enjoying the party and communicating their enjoyment to their friends through social media. When they are ready to buy art, they will have already begun looking,” noted Anna Haughton.
A tally of early sales at the show included roughly a dozen pieces at London dealer Peter Finer, who parted with a set of German equestrian jousting armor attributed to the workshop of Ernst Schmidt, Munich, circa 1900, and a gilt Spanish-style morion, or helmet, from Milan, circa 1580–90. Lost City Arts sold a 1960s bush-form bronze by Harry Bertoia.
Among H.M. Luther’s transactions were a circa 1946 Italian rosewood cabinet with patinated bronze mounts by Lucio Fontana and Osvaldo Borsani and a pair of Murano glass lamps for Venini. Specializing in Mughal and Deccan Indian artifacts, the London dealer Samina sold a set of four Eighteenth Century marble carpet weights.
Galerie Ary Jan of Paris, Seattle-area dealer Kagedo Japanese Art, Holden Luntz of Palm Beach and Manhattan dealers Hollis Taggart and Rosenberg & Co. were new to the show. Returning exhibitor Leslie Kehoe, an Australian gallerist best known for contemporary Japanese screens, was another welcome addition.
With a nod to the floor-to-ceiling porcelain displays of baroque-era Europe, Brian Haughton, best known for Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century English and Continental ceramics, installed a wall of porcelain by the contemporary Swedish ceramist Gunilla Maria Akesson.
Richard Schillay, a dealer in American and European art, took two booths, one for fine arts, the other for contemporary porcelain by the Chinese American ceramist Cliff Lee. Japanese art expert Erik Thomsen also mixed old and new, showing contemporary porcelain by Fukami Sueharu alongside a Showa-era screen by Iketani Hiroko.
Transatlantic exchange remains a foundational principle of the International Show, exemplified by Rosenberg & Co., offering provocative pairings of Modern and contemporary American and European art.
The tug between European influence and American independence is constant at Thomas Colville Fine Art, whose highlights included a Degas-influenced James Carroll Beckwith portrait of a woman in a bath, a portrait by Mary Cassatt from her Spanish years and a John Singer Sargent painting of the Villa Torlonia garden in Frascati, Italy. In a nod to Charles H. Davis, the Mystic art colony painter feted in a current Bruce Museum retrospective, Colville featured a moody Tonalist landscape inspired by Davis’s sojourn in France.
To his mostly European offerings, Paris dealer Martin du Louvre added a rare plaster maquette for an early version of “Liberty Enlightening the World (Statue of Liberty)” by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, circa 1876, and the 1950 semi-abstract oil on board “Uncle Sam and the American Eagle” by Duane Hanson, better known for his hyper-realistic sculptures of people.
Sounding a uniformly American note, Bernard Goldberg mounted the special exhibition, “New York…As They Saw It, 1900–1950,” featuring outstanding work by Reginald Marsh and his Modernist contemporaries Storrs, Davis, Glackens, Sawyer, Shahn, Lewis, Joseph Stella, Kuniyoshi and Manship.
“The gourd is so crazy modern,” Lillian Nassau LLC managing director Arlie Sulka said of the pebble-enclosed plant form decorating the circa 1885-90 Tiffany window transparency in her booth. Sulka said the early, experimental masterpiece relates to important Tiffany commissions from the same period, notably the entrance doors of the Henry O. Havemeyer home.
“There is nothing like its Berkeley Square location,” said Hicham Aboutaam, fresh from the October 3–9 PAD London Art + Design show, where Phoenix Ancient Art sold 13 pieces. In New York, Aboutaam’s impeccable display showcased an early Second Century BCE marble sculpture depicting the young Dionysus trouncing a panther, black-figure Attic amphorae and ancient Etruscan gold and agate jewelry.
In what may have been a first at the International Show, New York dealer Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz and Paris dealer Jean David Botella paired a circa 1900 duck decoy attributed to Shang Wheeler with a 1940s Jacques Quinet writing table and two French Metenier stoneware vases of circa 1910.
Next up for the Haughtons is Art Antiques London. The 70-dealer fair returns to its purpose-built pavilion in Kensington Gardens, opposite the Royal Albert Hall, from June 24–30.
For information, + 44 20-7389-6555 or www.haughton.com.
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