Art and antiques devotees rejoice! It's time again for the Winter Antiques Show now open to the public at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue at 67th Street. Long considered the finest show of its kind certainly in New York and probably the entire United States, the 55th edition of this annual event does not disappoint!
Once again the 75 dealers assembled have brought the finest examples of a wide variety of articles from around the world - all vetted, and all for sale! A few changes to the roster of exhibitors kept the presentation fresh and interesting. This year's event features works ranging from Remington cowboy sculptures to Persian rugs, from Maori flax bags to Delft porcelain plaques, from a Civil War era hand written letter signed by Abraham Lincoln, to an Art Nouveau Austro-Hungarian diamond and sapphire brooch of a stag beetle. Everything and anything you can possible desire, and then some!
There were many beautiful booths and wonderful objects but a couple were real standouts. Elle Shushan's portrait miniatures were even more exquisite in the gorgeous gazebo created of papier peinte with faux birds alighted on the trees. And Hans P. Kraus Jr., a first time exhibitor, faithfully recreated Alfred Stieglitz's famous "Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession" at 291 Fifth Avenue right down to the wasps' nest objet trouvé resting on a shelf.
Likewise, the quality and variety of the antiques on view made almost every item enticing but there were a few pieces that were real attention-getters. If I had to chose one piece to save from a burning building I think it would be the 1829 English "Mummer's Costume" already marked "Sold" on the stand of Cora Ginsburg, LLC, renowned specialists in the field of costume, textiles and needlework. This exceedingly rare artifact of British folk tradition is both historically significant and aesthetically charming. Made of linen with wool appliqués and fringe decorations, this three piece outfit was worn in the Mummer's traditional sword dance performed during the season between Christmas and Plough Monday (the first Monday after Twelfth Night).
Every year the Winter Antiques Show invites a museum to make a special presentation of a few select pieces. This year the honor went to The Corning Museum of Glass whose mini-exhibition "The Fragile Art" highlighted some very special examples from the museum's 45,000 piece collection covering 3,500 years of glass making. Included were antiquities from Mesopotamia through contemporary works from the Studio Glass movement intended to whet our appetites for the art of glass and perhaps inspire a visit to the Finger Lakes to visit their stunning new facility.
A visit to The Winter Antiques Show is a wonderful respite on a cold January day. To paraphrase the immortal words of the Bard..."Get thee to the Armory", and enjoy!