January 19, 2008

54th Annual Winter Antiques Show

Aficionados of antiques and fine art rejoice! It's time again for the always spectacular Winter Antiques Show at the newly renovated Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue in New York. Now in its 54th year, this event continues to be the premier venue for fine art and antiques in America, and the opening benefit for East Side House Settlement is de rigeur for a certain social set in the City!

I found this year's presentation even better than last year's with a little less emphasis on Folk Art and Americana and a more diverse selection of international dealers and specialties. Of course, a few of the stands are always fabulous like Elle Shushan's exquisite collection of miniature portraits in a jewel box setting, A La Vieille Russie's magnificent Fabergé objects and jewelry and Peter Finer's imposing medieval arms and armor, and all lived up to expectations this year.

It's fun to dream about what one would buy with unlimited resources of funds and space, just for the sheer pleasure of owning. My top three list for this year's fair would be, in no particular order (1) A magnificent 18th Century Venetian chinoiserie and floral decorated secretary/bookcase on the stand of Philip Colleck, Ltd, normally known for their fine English antiques, (2) A pair of almost photo realistic oil paintings by Henri Harrison depicting "Telescopic Picture of the Moon", 1878, and "Solar Eclipse", 1880, on the stand of Alexander Gallery, and (3) A wallpaper panel designed by Thomas Couture and manufactured by Desfossé in Paris in 1855 and entitled "Les Prodigues, ou, Le Souper de Pierrot" at Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz a specialist in antique papiers-peintes in Paris and New York.

This year's special loan exhibition "An Eye Toward Perfection" presented by The Shaker Museum and Library in Old Chatham, NY, was also superb. A concise and excellent selection of furniture, baskets, textiles and ephemera emphasized the Shakers' proficiency in design and craftsmanship. Especially interesting was a chair with metal "tilters" on the back legs, and 2 very rare and very sculptural babies' high chairs.

The Winter Antiques Show runs until January 27 and is the perfect way to beat the winter doldrums by getting out of the house and surrounding yourself with beautiful things!

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