January 22, 2010

56th Annual Winter Antiques Show

It's an antique lover's favorite time of year again! It's time for the 56th Annual Winter Antiques Show now on at the Seventh Regiment Armory, Park Avenue. Until January 31st, casual visitors and serious collectors alike can stroll the aisles and enjoy the splendid displays of antiques and collectibles from across the centuries and around the world.

This is always a marvelous show with elegant stands and a plethora of unusual and precious objects. Every item is vetted for authenticity and dealers are usually quite happy to discuss a piece and answer questions even with incidental observers like me.

Some of the more fabulous works for sale included an ebony box carved in the form of a crab on the stand of Peter Petrou, London. Created in India or Ceylon circa 1870, this harmless crustacean measured 16" across and was priced at $24,500. The booth of Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, was dominated by a massive pink marble vase carved with a relief sculpture of American Indians on horseback by the artist Paul Howard Manship. When I say massive, I'm not kidding - the overall height, including stand, was 110" with a diameter of 51"! Also monumental in scale were two glass lamps at the entry to the stand of Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York. Created at the Sandwich Massachusetts glassworks in 1865, one example was white overlay cut to cranberry and the second cut to green, both measured 28" in height and carried price tags of $125,000 and $145,000 respectively. Smaller but charming was a 19th Century set of 33 pieces of velvet fruit and vegetables in a wire compote at Frank & Barbara Pollack American Antiques, Illinois, and an 1850 brass mounted campaign bed converted for use as a coffee table base that made for an interesting conversation piece at Associated Artists, Connecticut. My very favorite work of art was an easy choice - an exquisite painting by James Tissot entitled "Les Emigrants", 1879, at The Fine Art Society, London. However, the price of $375,000 means that unless I win the lottery, I will be sticking with Tissot etchings rather than oils!

I found the booths of Elle Shushan Fine Portrait Miniatures, Philadelphia, Les Enluminures Illuminated Manuscripts, Paris, and Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz Antique Wallpapers, New York and Paris, to be exceptional in their overall presentations. I also very much enjoyed the special exhibit by Historic New England who presented a selection of treasures culled from the 36 historic properties the organization manages, from the 1693 Arnold House, Lincoln, Rhode Island to the 1938 Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

So if the January blues are getting you down, I would suggest a trip to another time and place, right here in New York City, with a visit to the Winter Antiques Show!

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