Published: October 16, 2012
Rarely is the “new” so openly welcomed at an antiques show than at this year’s Washington Connecticut Antiques Show, which, due to lingering damage at the Bryan Town Hall from a gas explosion earlier this year, was forced to relocate from the town hall to a new venue †the Washington Primary School †a mere two minutes away.
Except, the location is not so new; the show debuted here as a fundraiser for the town’s museum in July 1982 and ran for four years until the show was revamped and moved to the town hall where it has remained.
Celebrating its 26th annual edition October 5‷, the show, which benefits the Gunn
Memorial Library & Museum, offered an attractive and select presentation of antiques and fine art from 20 dealers. A generous sprinkling of the modern aesthetic from several dealers was a nice addition to the mix this year.
Walking into the show and immediately to the left, dealers Duane of New York City and George Champion Modern Shop set a modern tone to their booths. Specializing in vintage furniture, lighting, seating and case pieces, Duane offered such standouts as a gold metal Art Deco chandelier with leaf motif, a red lacquered table/bench with Chinese characters, a pair of tall black wrought iron floor lamps, early Twentieth Century, and a bleached pagoda-style chest of drawers with brass hardware, circa 1940.
George Champion Modern Shop, which carries modern furniture and Twentieth Century objects, displayed a Wepman side table designed by George Nakashima, circa 1960, in American black walnut; a Bong coffee table designed by Giulio Cappellini, limited edition; and a CEO cube cabinet designed by Lella and Massimo Vignelli for Poltrona Frau, Italy.
Walking around during the preview gala Friday, Roberto Freitas, Stonington, Conn., a longtime veteran of this show, was among many overheard offering high praise for the new venue and hoping the show would return here next year. In his booth, he offered a sublime late Chippendale carved cherry candlestand with a single drawer, from the school of Eliphalet Chapin (1790‱810), central Connecticut, and a gem of an oil painting by master maritime painter James E. Buttersworth, “American Frigate off Gibraltar,” 8 by 10 inches.
Another veteran dealer, Marianne Stikas, New York City, showed a pair of Nineteenth Century carved and painted Italian urns, a sleek bronze and glass coffee table, an early trunk with good paint and a Dutch settee, Nineteenth Century. An amusing etching, “Marcel Duchamp Plays Chess in the Bathtub” was sure to elicit a smile.
Black Swan Antiques, Washington, Conn., offered a glass sphere from a lighthouse, Twentieth Century, American, displayed on a polished steel base, 7 inches tall; a Nineteenth Century cast iron table base with glass top, 29¼ inches tall. Standouts included a French wool and silk tapestry dating to the Seventeenth Century, 9 feet tall and 6½ feet wide, and a carved Native American figure in walnut, 33½ inches tall, probably made by the Demetz family.
Continental offerings were the hallmark in the booth of C.M. Leonard Antiques, where a pair of English cast iron horses, circa 1920‵0, flanked the entrance of the South Salem, N.Y., dealer’s booth. Also on view was a French oak round table, circa 1900′0, Paul Cesar Helleu’s drypoint “Femme au chapeau de plumes,” and from this side of the pond came a pair of American chairs, circa 1930‵0, attributed to Billy Haines.
Fine jewelry set Brad Reh’s booth sparkling. The Southampton, N.Y., dealer showcased such choice pieces as a Van Cleef & Arpels midcentury bracelet, a Buccellati ruby and gold ring and a Van Cleef fleurette diamond necklace.
R.T. Facts, Kent, Conn., is known for its collection of garden antiques, which it featured at the show, but the dealer also offered a charming pastel portrait of a schnauzer, circa 1937; a French enamel clock tower face, early Twentieth Century; and a Nineteenth Century water gilded and ebonized neoclassical mirror having laurel and ribbon details.
Hotel Silver, Darien, Conn., revisited the golden age of the Grand Tour when hotel silver was functional and beautiful. The dealer presented fine examples of “mix and match” flatware, teapots, serving dishes and plates.
Cooltiques, New York City, offered a set of six original oil on canvas advertising proofs for Guinness from the S.H. Benson agency, titled “Two Heads,” John Gilroy, 1952, and a copper repousse lion, American, circa 1890‱930, that was mounted in a custom shadowbox with backlighting. An attention-grabber was a large and early Twentieth Century carving in the form of great blue heron, that was found in Niskayuna, N.Y., likely used to scare off other great blue herons from a fish pond.
Hunter Bee, Millerton, N.Y., offered up an eclectic booth, ranging from a double cupola birdhouse, late Nineteenth Century, to an interesting distressed wood sign in the form of an oversized nickel with a large 5¢ in the center and the words In God We Trust above and Liberty below.
Fine artworks ran the gamut from photography to paintings and sculpture. The Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, Conn., offered a pair of Sol LeWitt gouaches titled “Squiggly Colored Lines” and John Ross Key’s oil on canvas “The Louvre from the Seine,” while KMR Arts, Washington, featured photography.
The Behnke Doherty Gallery, Washington Depot, Conn., featured a grouping of photorealist oils on board by Peter Poskas III, a fetching untitled mixed media work on paper by Charles Cajori and Nozaki Hoisei’s Rimpa-style two-panel screen done in ink and color on gold leaf, dated 1893.
Rounding out the show was Matthew Solomon, Narrowsburg, N.Y., with his nature-inspired handmade porcelain and stoneware creations, Nemeti Collection with its curated selection of fine Oriental rugs, and a pair of Ammi Phillips portraits in the booth of Eckert Fine Art, Millerton, N.Y.
For more information, www.gunnlibrary.org or 860-868-7586.
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