Published: January 27, 2009
“The Fragile Art” may be the title of the 2009 Winter Antiques Show loan exhibition from the Corning Museum of Glass, but 75 far from fragile exhibitors demonstrated resilience and resourcefulness in their cutting-edge display of treasures from around the world.
The 55-year-old fair, which opened with a gala preview Thursday, January 22, and continues at the Park Avenue Armory through Sunday, February 1, was notable for its spit and polish.
With hundreds of rarities to choose from, a few favorites included the 1816 Sunrise Tavern sign, tucked away in a Hillsborough, N.H., attic before its appearance at Courcier & Wilkins; a one-drawer coastal Maine or New Hampshire stand with exceptional schoolgirl decoration at new exhibitor Nathan Liverant and Son; a scrimshaw wool winder to end them at Elliott and Grace Snyder Antiques; a striking black background Marblehead, Mass., sampler by Jane Bird at Stephen & Carol Huber; and Schwarz Gallery’s pair of Charles Willson Peale portraits of Christopher Hughes, a prosperous Baltimore silversmith, and his wife.
Kudos for display go to Les Enluminures, whose lime- and persimmon-colored booth enhanced a selection of jewel-toned illuminated manuscripts. New to the show, Hans P. Kraus Jr re-created Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery, showing early photo masterworks by Stieglitz, Steichen and others. Jan Whitlock surrounded herself with shrimp-colored stenciled plaster walls decorated by Moses Eaton. Inspired by a Francois Gerard painting at Malmaison, Elle Shushan recreated Empress Josephine’s boudoir.
The Modernist design firm Vignelli Associates set the pace, installing more than 50 pieces of ancient through Twentieth Century glass from the Corning Museum’s 45,000-object collection behind a transparent gauze scrim, visible from the hall’s entrance.
In keeping with the Winter Show’s newly relaxed dating restrictions, which allows exhibitors to bring material made before 1970, dealers accented their booths with Twentieth Century works of art. Leigh Keno sold his Leonardo Cabinet, a circa 1965 walnut and bronze chest of drawers by Fabio de Sanctis and Ugo Sterpini. Antik, a new exhibitor specializing in Scandinavian Modern design, unveiled a dining suite by Axel Einar Hjorth. Joan Mirviss arrayed modern Japanese pottery, including iconic works by Kawai Kanjiro and Hamada Shoji.
“The Winter Antiques Show is unto itself,” executive director Catherine Sweeney Singer said at the weekend’s close. “It has been absolutely thrilling to see steady crowds and sales here. We hope it carries through the week.”
Show hours are 12 pm to 8 pm daily, except Sunday and Thursday, 12 pm to 6 pm. The Park Avenue Armory is at 67th Street and Park Avenue. For additional information, www.winterantiquesshow.com or 718-292-7392.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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