NEW YORK CITY — Time after time we hear people comment about events that run annually, saying that “it never looked better” or “‘it is much grander than last year.” Without question, both comments apply to the 59th Winter Antiques Show. The show reflects nothing but good taste, from the beautifully designed loan exhibition to the elegant new fascia boards and dealer signs to the rare and wonderful things the dealers have saved for this show, which is really the reason for its success.
The only show in this country with a ten-day run, the Winter Show opened on Thursday evening, January 24, with a gala preview party attended by more than 1,600 collectors and the big names who enjoyed the feast of antiques and food and drink. Mayor Michael Bloomberg led the way into the show, followed by many of the regulars, including Martha Stewart, Caroline Kennedy, Bette Midler, Drew Barrymore, Will Kopelman, Ric Ocasek and David Rockefeller.
Two of the most important parts of an antiques show were very positive; the gate, which showed a daily increase of 25 percent over last year, and sales registered in all fields of collecting, including Americana, folk art, antiquities, midcentury Italian glass and Twentieth Century fine and decorative arts.
“We did a remake of the show this year, which has given it a new and exciting look,” Arie L. Kopelman, chairman of the show, said. It included new fascia boards complete with a design of the East Side House Settlement at the limits of each booth and on the corners, as well as greatly improved booth signs for the exhibitors and an improved light palette. “This new look was the work of designer Daniel Meeker of Portland, Oregon, and each piece, when taken down after the show, fits into a rack and can be easily stored for future use,” Catherine Sweeney Singer, executive director of the show, said.
This year’s loan exhibition, “Newport: The Glamour of Ornament,” celebrated The Preservation Society of Newport County and was sponsored by Chubb Personal Insurance. The Preservation Society of Newport County is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and present an exceptional collection of house museums and landscapes in one of the most historically intact cities in America.
Designed by Jeff Daly, the exhibition featured a beautiful, 28-foot-long photographic scrim backdrop of the interior court of The Breakers and includes more than 50 works from The Breakers, Hunter House, Marble House, The Elms, Chepstow, Chateau-sur-Mer, Rosecliff and Kingscote.
Peter H. Eaton and Joan R. Brownstein of Newbury, Mass., combined their two interests and filled a booth with folk paintings and works of art, along with a fine selection of American furniture, including a Queen Anne drop leaf table of rare small size, walnut, original stamped hinges, probably Boston, dating circa 1750–1760. The table is 27 inches high, with a top measuring 29½ by 27¾ inches when open, 10½ inches when closed. A Rhode Island gate leg table with well turned legs, stretcher and scrubbed top, black painted base, circa 1720, measured 28¼ inches high with a 50¾-by-57-inch top. On the back wall hung two portraits by Ammi Phillips, Ashbel Stoddard and Patricia Bolles Stoddard, measuring 24 by 28½ inches each. Ashbel Stoddard was printer and publisher of a newspaper in Hudson, N.Y. Both the portraits and the drop leaf table sold early into the preview Thursday evening.
Just up the aisle a bit was the booth of David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles of Woodbury, Conn., where a paint decorated Windsor double settee from Baltimore, circa 1815, hickory, poplar and maple, with worn original yellow paint, was shown. The entire back wall was consumed by the Chrysler-Garbisch monumental floral hooked rug, American, circa 1890, that was a highlight in the 1980 sale conducted at Pokety Farms in Cambridge, Md. Exhibited over a full-size decorated blanket chest was a fine miniature paint decorated lift-top blanket chest with two drawers, probably New England, circa 1820–1840. It was of basswood with the original wire hinges, brass knobs and measured 12 by 10 by 6 inches.
The booth of Frank and Barbara Pollack of Highland Park, Mich., was neat, well lit and filled with one choice piece after the other. “I try to find pieces that are not just fine examples and rare, but objects that I would like to have in my home if I were the collector,” Barbara Pollack said. Among the pieces that she took out of her home for the show was a painted Amish secretary-desk that was found in Colon, Mich. It is all original except the brasses, circa 1850, and retains two signatures, those of Daniel Klich and Noah Lisy, on the interior. It was shown against the back center wall and measured 86¼ inches high, 39¼ inches wide and 22¾ inches deep.
Also taken from the house was a painted and decorated one-drawer lift-top blanket chest of New England pine and dating circa 1836–1850. An inscription on the lid reads “Made by Samuel G. Reed about 1830” and it measured 37 inches high, 38½ inches wide and 19½ inches deep. The provenance lists John Walton. Hanging right at the front of the booth was “one of the best pictures I have ever owned,” said Barbara. It was a school girl drawing signed by Hannah P. Badger, 1811 & 12, watercolor and pencil on paper depicting an interior scene of the Atkinson Academy in Atkinson, N.H. The school was founded in 1787 for boys, and girls were admitted in 1791. It measured 107/8 by 15 inches sight, 16 by 19½ inches framed.
“We have some outstanding samplers this year, possibly the rarest examples we have ever offered at the Winter Show,” said Stephen Huber, who with wife Carol run a shop in Old Saybrook, Conn. Well displayed on the back wall was a fishing lady sampler, Boston, circa 1760, depicting a fishing lady, flutist next to a resting dog, another dog chasing a stag, and a large parrot eating a cherry. In the background is a red brick house with walled garden, plus an outbuilding. This work of silk and wool on linen, 165/8 by 24¾ inches, descended in the Murdock family of Boston. A Susquehanna Valley, Penn., sampler was worked in 1825 by Phebe Ann House of Washington Boro at the age of 12 and inscribed “To Be Good Is To Be Happy! Phebe Ann House’s Work 1826.” Silk, wood and spangles, with a spangled ribbon border on linen, it measured 21¾ by 24 inches.
Thomas Colville Fine Art of Guilford, Conn., and New York City filled the walls of its booth with paintings, including Eastman Johnson’s (American, 1824–1906) “Choosing Sides,” an 1861 oil on canvas measuring 11¼ by 9¼ inches, signed and dated lower right. Hanging at the front of the booth was “Biddeford Beach, Coast of Maine” by William Frederick de Haas (American, 1857–1927). This work was painted in 1875, an oil on canvas measuring 38 by 58 inches, and signed and dated lower right. Irving Ramsey Wiles (American, 1861–1948) was represented by a circa 1925 oil on canvas, “Sterling Basin, Greenport, N.Y.” It was signed lower left and measured 201/8 by 29¼ inches. Works by Eastman Johnson, Thomas Sully, Everett Shinn and George Inness all sold.
Booth number one, just to the left at the front of the show, was home to C.L. Prickett of Yardley, Penn., a rather small space, but one filled with fine furniture and works of art. A still life with fruit, attributed to Paul LaCroix, New York City, circa 1865–1869, retained the original frame and stretcher. An oil on canvas, it measured 30½ by 25¼ inches. This work hung over a Chippendale mahogany marble top pier table, Philadelphia, circa 1755–1760, with the carving attributed to Nicholas Bernard. The “Almshouse of Berks County,” an oil on canvas by Charles Hofman (1820–1882), was signed and dated July 1877, lower right.
Associated Artists, Southport, Conn., was located at the front of the show and offered the Vanderbilt carved frieze designed by John LaFarge (1835–1910), executed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907), in oak and extensively carved with figural cherub, lion and hound motif, as well as foliate and floral arabesque relief, in four sections. A tall case clock was made by Tiffany & Co., (1837–present), circa 1883, with a case designed and fabricated by Herter Brothers (1865–1905), New York City. The case is in French walnut, arched beveled glass door with brass astragals, bronze dial and progressive Westminster chime. The dial is signed “Tiffany & Co. Makers” and the movement is marked “Tiffany & Co. Makers 220.” Sales over the first weekend included a Christopher Dresser tray, a Benham & Froud table lamp, a Wedgwood Dragon Lustre bowl and a William H. Jackson & Co. brass fire tool set.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries of New York City showed a fine pair of four-drawer elliptic bureaus with columns and Egyptian faces, attributed to Joseph B. Barry (1759/60–1838), Philadelphia, about 1815, in mahogany with Sheffield silver on copper knobs filled with lead. Among the pieces of sculpture was “The West Wind,” 1874, in marble and measuring 48 inches high. It was signed and dated and on the original marble pedestal measuring 33 inches tall. Shown against an outside wall of the booth was a pair of gatepost roosters, 1932, 34 inches tall and of terra cotta. Each was signed and dated on the base, Wheeler Williams, 1932. Among the pieces sold from this booth was a 12-piece set of Cable pattern flint glass goblets, circa 1860, by Boston and sandwich Glass Company.
The focal piece of furniture in the booth of Shaker experts Suzanne Courcier and Robert W. Wilkins, Yarmouth Port, Mass., was a Shaker case piece from Canterbury, N.H., with two cupboard doors on top over an arrangement of 20 drawers, with chrome yellow painted surface. It dated circa 1840 and measured 78 inches high, 60 inches wide and 16½ inches deep. Another Shaker piece was a worktable made at Hancock, Mass., circa 1850, in pine, cherry and butternut, with a wide overhang and classic turned legs. It measured 27½ inches long, 36 inches wide and 30¾ inches high.
An interesting diminutive paint decorated pine chest of Pennsylvania origin, dated 1820 with the initials “MF” on the front, measured 14 inches high, 27½ inches long and 13½ inches deep. All sides were decorated with stars numbering 196.
There always seems to be a portrait of George Washington hanging in the booth of Schwarz Gallery, Philadelphia, and this time the 30-by-25-inch oil on canvas portrait was by Bass Otis (American, 1748–1861). An Eighteenth–Nineteenth Century drawing of George Washington by Rembrandt Peale (1778–1860) that reveals the process by which Peale standardized his numerous Washington portraits, was sold to Mount Vernon. James Peale (American, 1749–1831) was represented with a still life — peaches and grapes, 1824, oil on paper measuring 145/8 by 183/8.
Herman Herzog (American, born in Germany, 1832–1932) painted “Fisherman’s Bay, South Farallon Island,” in 1875, an oil on canvas measuring 33½ by 44½ inches. It is signed and dated H. Herzog 1875 lower left. Frank Waller (American, 1842–1923) did an oil on canvas, 13¼ by 20¼ inches, depicting the entrance hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art when it was on 14th Street, circa 1880.
Allan Katz of Woodbridge, Conn., a longtime exhibitor at The American Antiques Show benefiting the American Museum of Folk Art, and last year an exhibitor at the Metro Show, moved his folk art into the Park Avenue Armory this year as one of the new dealers at the Winter Show. And he put on quite a grand display of folk art, including a large shoe store trade sign that sold over the first weekend in the form of a tall, laced shoe in white with brown tip. It was of wood and tooled leather, complete with a leather heel, circa 1915 and originally in Albany, N.Y. It measured 24½ inches high, 42 inches long and 13 inches deep. Other sales, among seven made in the first three days of the show, included a salesman’s sample of a barber chair made in 1910 and a Lady Liberty plaque, 1915.
Katz also offered an arrow back Windsor settee of Philadelphia origin, stenciled and freehand design on a red ground, circa 1825, measured 35½ inches height at the back, 177/8 inches seat height, and 80½ inches long. It was in excellent, original condition. A set of four carved Odd Fellow plaques hung on one panel in the booth, pieces that originated in western Pennsylvania or Ohio, circa 1910. The carvings, a dove, beehive, lamb and globe of the world, were beautifully mounted in deep frames. Among other pieces of folk sculpture was a carved cow, black and white, measuring about 38 inches long.
Elliott and Grace Snyder of South Egremont, Mass., showed a unique Vermont sideboard that was made for Sarah Smith for her wedding in 1817 in Saxton River. The piece, with blocked front and imaginative inlays, was of many woods, including cherry, maple, birch, mahogany, poplar, pine, holly and ebony, and measured 46 inches wide, 48 inches high and 20 inches deep. A leaping deer on a starry night is depicted on a round hooked rug from White Creek, N.Y., measuring 36 inches in diameter and dating circa 1870. This rug, once exhibited at the American Folk Art Museum, is of cotton and wool on burlap. A doll’s ladder back armchair of New Jersey origin retains the original finish and rush seat and measured 11¼ inches high, 6½ inches wide.
A set of six bowback Windsor side chairs in white paint, bamboo turned legs, was shown at the front of the booth of Nathan Liverant and Son, Colchester, Conn. The chairs were attributed to William Seaver, active 1793–1837, and James Frost, active 1798–1807, in Boston. A full-bodied sperm whale weathervane, signed C.V. Voorhees of Old Lyme and Weston, Vt., was of painted Eastern white pine and measured 35½ inches long. Case furniture included a Queen Anne cherry high chest of drawers with double carved fan, and cabriole legs ending in pad feet. The piece was from the Wethersfield School, Middletown area of Connecticut, and measured 72¼ inches tall.
A remarkable group of five Harry Bertoia sculptures, each titled “Bushes,” 11 by 15 by 15 inches, was sold to a single collector by Jonathan Boos, New York City, among the Twentieth Century works offered from his booth. Also sold were a painting by George Tooker, “The Helping Hand”, and a work by American Modernist John Marin. Among other works of art offered was a portrait, “The Prussian,” 1973, drybrush by Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917–2009). It measured 29½ by 21¾ inches and was signed lower left.
Elle Shushan of Philadelphia always comes up with a booth design as interesting as the miniatures she offers, this year duplicating the New Orleans studio of John Westley Jarvis. “I have a wall filled with American miniatures, and a wall of European miniatures,” Elle said. She sold an important Alyn Williams miniature of Consuelo Vanderbilt, aged seven, to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. During the preview a beautiful model in white dress, holding a spray of flowers at the window, sat in the booth and never smiled or blinked. “She can do that for a few hours,” Elle noted.
Throckmorton Fine Art, New York City, got off to a grand start with the sale of a green jade, serpentine, Olmec Mask, circa 1100 BC, and Les Enluminures of Paris, Chicago and New York City, reported sales of several Renaissance rings.
Wonderful architectural pieces keep showing up in the booth of Joe Kindig, York, Penn. This time it was a room of woodwork from Littleton, N.C., including a tall mantel, 8 feet wide, 10 feet 4 inches high, and four walls of wainscot panels. All the pieces are of yellow pine with faux wood graining and faux marbling and date 1815. It appeared on the cover of The Magazine Antiques, December 1931. Also shown was a Boston chest on frame, circa 1700, butternut, maple and white pine, one of the earliest known examples and once part of the Boulles Collection that was given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The use of five legs instead of six reflects the early William and Mary time period.
“I was the first one into the show, Saturday this year, as I needed a fork lift to unload my things due to the excessive weight of garden antiques,” Barbara Israel of Barbara Israel Garden Antiques, Katonah, N.Y., said. She also mentioned that three large gritstone figures arrived on Monday, in crates, delivered to the back door of the Park Avenue Armory on Lexington Avenue. “In order not to make a real mess in the armory, we uncrated the figures on Lexington and washed them off on the street,” she added. One pedestrian stopped, watched what was happening, and asked, “How much is the one in the middle?” All of the figures sold. One of the figures was of Eros, with a full quiver of arrows and a bow in hand, and the other two were Flora and Dionysus, circa 1820, from Castle Rijvissche in Zwijnaarde, Belguin.
A pair of marked Irish cast iron urns, painted green, was from the Cork Foundry in Dublin, “the only marked Iris urn I have ever seen,” noted Barbara. Facing each other at the back of the booth was a wonderful pair of monumental recumbent deer, carved stone with cast iron antlers, on bases, Continental, measuring 68 inches high, 79½ inches long and 23½ inches wide. Each weighed in at about 4,000 pounds, causing Barbara to predict that “if ever the floor of the armory is to give way, it will happen this year.”
Alexander Gallery, New York City, hung an oil on canvas by Robert Havell Jr (1793–1878) of West Point from Fort Putnam, 1848, measuring 28 by 40 inches. The was also a framed copy of the Declaration, reportedly at an asking price of $1.1 million.
Lost City Arts of New York City sold a custom dining table by Paul Evans and a geometric coffee table by Fontana Arte, as well as a goatskin floor lamp by Alda Tura. During the opening days of the show, Glass Past of New York City reported a dozen sales, including a Venini & Co. Tessuto vase by Carlo Scarpa and a Rotellati vase by Ercole Barovier.
A large model of the paddle wheeler passenger steamer Empire State had docked in the booth of Tillou Gallery, Litchfield, Conn., an accurate carved, laminated and paint decorated pine piece that was probably New York State, circa 1865–1875. The original paddle steamer was built in Buffalo, N.Y., 1848. Of Pennsylvania origin was a stepback cupboard with tombstone glass panel doors, grain and smoke painted, circa 1820–1830. A tobacconist trade figure of an Indian princess, Samuel Robb, New York City, circa 1880, with the face attributed to Agnes Robb, wife of Samuel, measured 79 inches high.
“I have never had a swan of that size and I think it is wonderful,” Alan Granby of Hyland Granby Antiques, Hyannis Port, Mass., said of the life-size carved pine swan planter that was shown at the front of his booth. It dated from 1886, retains the original tin bucket inside, and shows the normal outdoors wear. “Note that the swan is in the swimming position,” Alan added. Also at the front of the booth were two paintings by James E. Buttersworth, active 1817–1894, the first of “Yachting off Sandy Hook,” an oil on board, 8 by 12 inches sight, and signed lower right, and the other “American Yacht Clio off Dover,” oil on mahogany panel, 9¾ by 16 inches sight, circa 1883, signed lower right.
A tavern trade sign for “T. Hoag’s Stage House” in Chatham, N.Y., carved, turned and painted wood and iron, measured 67 by 42 inches and hung at the front of the booth of Olde Hope Antiques, New Hope, Penn. It retained the seal of the State of New York. An Index horse weathervane, sold, attributed to J. Howard & Co., West Bridgewater, Mass., circa 1860, was displayed on a bench table with pinned top measuring 8 foot 6 inches by 34 inches. With shoe-foot base, this table was from New York State, pine with the original red painted surface, circa 1820–1840. A chandelier, maker unknown, hung over it, tinned sheet iron and iron wire, 38½ inches in diameter, circa 1820–1850, reportedly taken from a New Hampshire church.
Two pieces of wood sculpture by John Scholl (1827–1916) of Germania, Penn., were in the booth, including a snowflake “Celebration,” 31 inches in diameter, paint decorated. An early sale was a circa 1810 decorated blanket chest attributed to the Otto family of Centre County, Penn.
A lengthy schedule of events ran in conjunction with the show, with all of them taking place either on the floor of the show or in the Tiffany Room. A series of lectures talked about the loan exhibition, including “Great Women of Newport,” “Fine and Decorative Arts in Newport,” “Great Houses of Newport,” “Designing for the Vanderbilts,” “Preserving a Great Newport Room,” and “L.C. Tiffany and Stanford White Create a Newport Room.” Elle Shushan gave a lecture on “Lust & Love: The Eye Miniature in Georgian England” and Kenneth Rendell spoke on “The Western Pursuit of the American Dream: The Challenge of Collecting an Idea.”
“Painters and Paintings in the Early American South: 1735–1780,” was the subject of a lecture sponsored by The Magazine Antiques, and a memorial service for the late Wendell Garrett was on Monday, January 28, in the Tiffany Room. (See article on page 18 of this issue of Antiques and The Arts Weekly).
The Winter Antiques Show benefits the East Side House Settlement, creator of the show, and all profits from the event go directly to the charity. “We are the only major show in New York City that has this policy,” Arie L. Kopelman said.