Published: February 2, 2010
Not everyone attending the press preview on Thursday, January 21, at noon for the Winter Antiques Show is well versed in the field of antiques. Sometimes the coverage falls into the hands of a cub reporter, which happened to be the case in one instance this year. In an off-the-cuff remark, however, he seemed to grasp the environment he was in, exclaiming, “This is like going to a fine museum.” How true, for it really is a sprinkling of the best the 75 exhibitors in the show have to offer and the range of interests is unrivaled.
This year visitors could go home with a 6-foot-tall urn, carved from a single block of pink Tennessee marble, encircled by a frieze of Indians hunting buffalo, weighing seven tons, offered by Gerald Peters Gallery and requiring truck delivery, or a silver American tablespoon, once used by George Washington, from Shrubsole, that would easily fit into any pocket.
The show welcomed six new exhibitors, one of them CL Prickett from Yardley, Penn., who was returning and had not done the show since 1994. The dateline for the show was also pushed forward a bit, now limited at 1969 and thereby allowing several new interests to be offered. And it is interesting to note that one-third of the exhibitors have shops in New York City.
The loan exhibit, always presented at the front of the show, this year paid tribute to Historic New England, the oldest and largest organization with 36 house museums, dating from the Seventeenth Century to 1938, and with a collection of more than 110,000 objects. Founded in 1910 by William Summer Appleton, and first known as the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, the organization is celebrating a century of collecting.
There is a new look at the front of the show, with different dealers in place. There is no more brown furniture to the right, as Leigh Keno has left the show and James and Nancy Glazer of Bailey Island, Maine, have moved in. The booth is more open this year and the prime spot is filled by a large copper figure of an elk, close to 8 feet tall, that once stood in front of an Elks lodge. Standing in the middle of the booth is a trade sign, the figure of a man made from wicker, painted, and once attracting furniture buyers. A highly figured and sculptural live edge curly maple three-piece set, sofa and two chairs, was of Pennsylvania origin, circa 1920. And during the preview, the majority of three shelves of redware sold to collectors.
The booth on the left, last filled by Sumpter Priddy III, is now home to CL Prickett, offering an impressive selection of American furniture. Fronting the booth were two lolling chairs, both of the Federal period, mahogany, Massachusetts origin, circa 1790, with serpentine crests. One measured 25 inches wide, 43¼ inches high, with H stretchers; the other was 24 inches wide and 46¾ inches high, with flared back. And among the pieces sold was a Chippendale blockfront chest-on-chest in mahogany, circa 1775, Boston origin, measuring 76½ inches high.
Another booth visible from the entrance of the show was filled with folk art from Fred Giampietro, New Haven, Conn. Prominently displayed was a large fish weathervane, steel and iron with old painted surface, French, circa 1925, and standing just inside the booth was a tobacco trade figure of an Indian leaning on a stump, Thomas Brooks (1828‱895), measuring 57 inches high. “We have done very well, selling from the preview opening right through the first weekend,” Fred said early in the show. Listed among the sales were a zinc tea figure, three game boards, a cast and wrought iron Gabriel weathervane measuring 41 inches long, a stove plate, a large cow weathervane and a pig weathervane, circa 1890, 30 inches long.
“I was really fortunate to acquire some important paintings just prior to the show,” Thomas Colville of Guilford, Conn., and New York City said. He offered a view of Hudson, N.Y., 1849, an oil on canvas by William Hart (1823‱894), 261/8 by 361/8 inches, signed and dated lower right, W. Hart 1849, and inscribed on the stretcher, and a Winslow Homer (1836‱910) charcoal and white chalk on gray paper, “Stormy Sky,” 1884, and measuring 13½ by 23 inches. The work was signed Homer, lower left, and it had been in storage for the past 30 years.
It is easy to spot the booth of Taylor B. Williams Antiques, Chicago, as there is always a large glass top cabinet table filled with numerous small porcelain boxes. And generally seated behind it you will find David Bernard, who was celebrating his birthday at the show on Sunday, January 24. A longtime exhibitor at the Winter Show, David said, “This is the 33rd birthday I have celebrated in this building; in fact, I have had more birthdays here than out of here.” Among the furniture he offered was a neoclassical breakfast chiffonier of Boston origin, circa 1815‱820, possibly by Thomas Emmons and George Archibald, mahogany, measuring 74 inches long, and a George III overmantel looking glass, English, circa 1706, gilded pine frame measuring 76½ inches wide.
Two portraits with family ties hung on the back wall in the booth of Schwarz Gallery, Philadelphia, framed by an opening in the partition across part of the front of the booth. On the left was the portrait of Sarah Smith Logan Clarke in a blue dress by James Peale (1749‱831), circa 1805‱810, measuring 29¼ by 24¾ inches and painted in Philadelphia, and on the right a portrait of Mary Jane Peale (?) by Sarah Miriam Peale (1800‱885), daughter of James Peale. This oil on canvas, dated circa 1840, measured 30 by 247/8 inches.
Jonathan Trace, Portsmouth, N.H., offered many pieces of silver from four cases, in addition to furniture, including an American Queen Anne veneered high chest from Eastern Massachusetts, circa 1720‱730, 66 inches tall.
“We have owned that chest since 1978 and this is the first time we have shown it,” Suzanne Courcier said, referring to a painted pine blanket chest with the original brass pulls and iron hinges, probably Eastham, Mass., circa 1825. It measures 37 inches high, 43 inches wide and 18 inches deep, and stood at the front of the Suzanne Courcier †Robert W. Wilkins, Yarmouth Port, Mass., booth. Taking up most of the back wall was a wall hanging with the inscription “Spring in the village, the more dear to my heart,” designed by Peter Hunt, Provincetown, wool yarn embroidered on muslin, 6 feet high and 10 feet, 3½ inches wide. “We have seen a lot more interest this year over last and people seem more willing to purchase things,” Suzanne said. Sales included an eagle weathervane, a carving with songbirds mounted on a limb, several Nantucket baskets, a Shaker rocker, and paintings.
Portraits of three girls in red dresses hung at the entrance to the booth of Frank and Barbara Pollack of Highland Park, Ill., as if welcoming visitors in for a look. On the right was an oil on canvas, circa 1840, 30½ by 25½ inches sight, 34¼ by 29 inches framed, artist unknown, that descended in a Charleston, S.C. family, and to the left, a pair of portraits, oil on academy board, attributed to William Matthew Prior, circa 1835, ex-collection of Bernard Barenholtz. Painted furniture included a Pennsylvania blanket chest, tables, a yellow painted stand, and a couple of decorated boxes, as well as a few rare doorstops.
Hirschl & Adler of New York City offered a selection of classical furniture, plus paintings, the staring lot a portrait of the Cannor children by Jonathan Budington (1779‱823). This oil on canvas, 457/8 by 361/8 inches, was dated 1795 twice, lower left.
A rare blacksmith sign painted for John Crick by Caleb William Heath (1835‱875), Tamworth, N.H., hung in the booth of David A. Schorsch & Eileen M. Smiles, Woodbury, Conn., so that both sides were in perfect view. Executed on a soft wood panel measuring 24 by 32 inches, it retained the original brass ring hangers. The sign was shown over a large William and Mary square gate leg table with Spanish feet, probably Portsmouth, N.H., region, in walnut, maple and white pine. It measured 29 by 48 by 48 inches, and David said, “It is the first American gate leg table with Spanish feet that I have ever encountered.”
Three walls of samplers were hung by Stephen and Carol Huber, Old Saybrook, Conn., all carefully leveled by Steve but not necessarily straight. “People are drawn into our booth to look more closely at two of the samplers, in particular, even if they have little or no interest in embroideries,” Carol said. She was referring to a silk embroidery by Catherine Pray, 1823, Philadelphia, of Mary Ann Pray, 13 months old, that was worked by her 19-year-old sister. The face and background were professionally painted, silk, chenille and watercolor on silk, measuring 37¼ by 31¼ inches and in the original frame.
The other was a rare and unusual silk embroidery memorial to Enoch Long, aged 6, by Mary Danforth, 1823. It was of silk, ink paper and gold foil on silk and showed 12 figures in a row, descending in size, at the tomb. “After it was sold, we moved it to a side wall where it was not as visible from the aisle as it was drawing too many people into the booth and it was no longer available,” Steve said. By the end of the first weekend they had sold five samplers.
“We could have sold the Prior portrait several times at the preview,” Pat Bell said, noting the popularity of a portrait of a young girl by William Matthew Prior that was signed on reverse “Wm Prior 1848.” An oil on board, measuring 22 by 17 inches, Ed Hild said, “It was originally under glass and is fresh to the market, having just come out of a private collection.” A painted chest of drawers, Mahantongo Valley, Schuylkill or Northumberland County, Penn., circa 1830‱840, retained the original surface and listed in the provenance were the Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum and The Dittmer Collection.
Several groupings of carved birds mounted on Lucite stands, from six to ten per group, were about the booth. “We bought a box filled with early carvings, Gottschall family, Lebanon County, Penn., circa 1900, that contained not only many pairs of carved and painted birds, but a collection of Noah’s Ark figures, but no ark,” Ed said. By mounting the birds in pairs on Lucite stands, full attention was given to the carvings. An interesting circa 1870 arch pediment, Pennsylvania or New York State, 10 feet long with a carved owl and twigs applied to the surface, was among the things sold opening night.
Elliott and Grace Snyder, South Egremont, Mass., labeled their American pictorial and patriotic hooked rug a “folk art masterpiece.” It was signed and dated, “L.S. Sept 29 1878,” and measured 46 by 31 inches. “The Beast of the Jungle,” featuring a large elephant, was the design for another hooked rug, American, 45 by 35 inches, wool and cotton on burlap. “We have found people more active this year over 2009, and have been selling well,” Elliott said, listing a pair of fire buckets, an Eighteenth Century ball foot chest, a Connecticut Eighteenth Century heart and crown chair, a 1670 English brass clock, a double heart iron lighting device, incised stoneware, three pairs of brass candlesticks, a fancy pantry box, fireback and many smalls.
A Queen Anne tray top tea table in maple with scrolled legs, cabriole legs ending in hocked ankles and turned pad feet, possibly Salem or North Shore, Mass., circa 1745‱770, measured 28 inches high with a 30½-by-22¼-inch top, was in the booth of Nathan Liverant and Son, Colchester, Conn. Other pieces included a Federal Newport banjo clock by David Williams, mahogany, circa 1800‱820; a William and Mary banister back heart and crown armchair from the Stratford/Milford, Conn., area, circa 1730‱755; and a McIntyre server with carved and fluted legs. One of the early sales was a stoneware water/beer cooler, scribed and cobalt decoration of bird and flowers, dated July 1830, Taunton, Mass., and measuring 22¾ inches high, 15 inches in diameter. The outside wall of the booth carried a collection of boxes, large and small, and ten of the 41 shown sold before the first weekend of the show.
Adelson Galleries, Inc, New York City, hung two watercolors by Andrew Wyeth on the front wall, “Hatteras,” 1954, 16½ by 29 inches, and “Maud Stone’s,” 1960, 21¼ by 29½ inches.
Forty-five frames were shown by Julius Lowy Frame and Restoring Company, Inc, New York City, including a very important Italian carved, gilt and polychrome frame of reverse profile with inner continuous carving of clustered fruit panels decorated with spread-winged eagles at the corners connected by a scrolled leaf ornament and outer carving of a continuous wing motif. It dated from the late Eighteenth Century and the outside measurement was 57¼ by 48 inches.
Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc, New York City, hung textiles on facing walls including a Nazca poncho with red and green dye, 51 by 67 inches, 400‶00, and a Chancay textile, cameloid wool, 27¾ by 28 inches, circa 1200.
Drawing attention was a colorful needlework valance, Italian and dating from the Seventeenth Century, depicting grand fountains set in a mountainous fantasy landscape, in the booth of Cora Ginsburg LLC, New York City. An outside panel was decorated with a crewelwork curtain with Tree of Life design, English, circa 1700, measuring 87 inches high and 43 inches wide.
Peter Tillou and son Jeffrey of Litchfield, Conn., are together again in a corner booth offering folk art, paintings, furniture and textiles. A striking American folk portrait of James Brown Jr, 17 months old, Oswego, N.Y., was by M. Burroughs, circa 1838, oil on poplar wood panel and in its original maple and mahogany frame. The youngster is in a blue dress with his pet dog and the colorful portrait measures 345/8 by 237/8 inches. Against the back wall stood a fine Chippendale secretary of Massachusetts origin, probably the Boston area, in “plum-pudding” mahogany, ball and claw feet, measuring 85½ inches tall. Sold on preview night was a large carousel horse by Charles Looff, Coney Island, N.Y., circa 1880, carved wood, polychrome paint, glass and horsehair. This horse, from a private collection in Michigan, measured 64 inches long, 62 inches high, and 14 inches deep.
“We are having a good show,” Peter said, and other early sales included a winter watercolor scene with a sleigh in the foreground and a single house in the background. Also a large banner weathervane was bought preview night.
Winston S. Churchill wrote and signed a letter on April 28, 1939, in which he said, “The government reaction to the latest Hitler performance is more robust than I feared.” This framed message was among the many interesting and historical documents hanging in the booth of Kenneth W. Rendell Gallery, New York City.
“Our new background is of a woodland scene, so what could be better than introducing deer into the picture?” Barbara Israel of Katonah, N.Y., said. And what fine examples she had, with two cast iron doe and fawn groups modeled by the animalier sculptor Pierre Louis Rouillard (1820‱881) and cast at the Val d’Osne foundry. These life-size renderings depict a doe grazing with a fawn standing close by, while the other shows a doe looking backward and a fawn nursing. They are French, circa 1870, and the first measures 40 inches high, 67 inches long and 24 inches deep. The other is 58 inches high, 60 inches long and 24 inches deep.
An early sundial in the form of a man kneeling, holding a large sundial on his head, received much attention, especially on Sunday, January 24, when the Jets were in the playoffs. All day, the man was wearing a Jets shirt, number 6, and soon the figure was dubbed “The Sanchez Sundial.” And both the pair of deer sculpture and the sundial were among the 13 pieces sold during the first few days of the show.
The Winter Antiques Show runs a total of ten days, not counting the preview party, and ended on Sunday, January 31. “Selling on the floor has been way ahead of last year,” Catherine Sweeney Singer said five days into the show, “and more good news is that the gate, so far, is up 17 percent.” She was predicting that as many as 3,000 more people could be visiting the show over last year’s total, which ended up a final count of 21,000 visitors. All proceeds from the show benefit the East Side House Settlement.
For additional information, www.winterantiquesshow.com or 718-292-7392.
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