By Lynn Byrne. Larry and I aren’t doing so well on our New Year’s resolution to have a weekly date night. We have only gone out that one evening back on January 6 to the hip SD26.
Thursday night, we were supposed to attend the opening night benefit for the East Side House Settlement at the Winter Antiques Show as our date, but Larry got stuck in DC. In a way (sorry Larry), I didn’t miss him.
I gave Larry’s ticket away to a colleague who is at the tippy top in the art and antiques world. He is web adverse so he shall remain nameless. Suffice it to say that I got a fabulous insider tour.
The opening night benefit for the Winter Antiques Show is as much about getting the first view of the objects for sale as it is being seen doing the looking. And yes, star gazers, we saw some famous people. More on that later.
First, my companion opened our tour by pointing out who was NOT at the show this year. For the first time in 20 years, there is not be a Keno antiques booth.
You may know twins Leigh and Leslie Keno from their column in Traditional Home magazine and their appearances on Antiques Roadshow. Leslie has long been the American furniture expert at the auction house Sotheby’s, while Leigh founded his American antiques gallery in 1986. Well not anymore. Leigh has closed his shop and decided to open his own auction house. Since he is no longer a dealer, there is no Keno booth. Mmm. As a mother of twins, I wonder how that rivalry will play out.
Another evolving feature of the Winter Antiques Show is the age of the objects permitted to be exhibited. This show once was dominated by early American furniture. That is no longer true. Stuff now comes from all different periods and places. Today, objects can be as “young” as 41 years (the cut-off date is 1969) and still be included in this premier “antiques” show. Personally, I love the inclusion of the new pieces, but it can be a bit disconcerting when you realize that you are older than some of the “antiques.”
The first booth that really grabbed my attention was the one hosted by Hostler Burrows. Julie Burrows and Kim Hostler specialize in 20th century Scandinavian design and decorative arts. Their booth is aptly decorated with wallpaper by Swedish designer Josef Frank. It is the perfect backdrop for the studio ceramics that they specialize in. The shelf in the back is by George Nakashima.
The booth that had the entire show aflutter is the one hosted by Gerald Peters Gallery. The gigantic urn dominating that booth is by Paul Howard Manship, a prominent sculptor of the 20th century. The urn is the subject of the lead line in the New York Times story on the opening. In the picture in the Times, you don’t get a true sense of the scale. Here, note the people in the back. The urn is simply massive.
My companion quickly asked its price. Six million, the dealer replied, but he joked that he would let us “steal it” at $5,999,999. The dealer also told us that the urn came from an estate in Cleveland along Lake Erie. It was interesting to us that it didn’t come from out west, because as the detail shot below shows well, the decoration features American Indians.
Manship is probably best known for his 1934 Prometheus at Rockefeller Center. Photo via Cambridge 200.
Another sculpture that caught my eye (vastly different from the Manship pieces) is by Harry Bertoia and found in the Lost City Arts booth. Entitled Dandelion and dated 1964 it is made of brass, gilt steel and slate. Although it stood 90″ and was 44″ in diameter, I found it so graceful that I could imagine a slight breeze scattering the puff.
Lost City Arts already had a quick sale by the time we got to their booth. This Paul Evans work was scooped up by some lucky buyer.
My friend was kind enough to introduce me to a dealer who I follow often on 1st Dibs, Liz O’Brien. She had all sorts of interesting pieces but this little occasional table by John Dickinson caught my eye because of its bone-like legs.
On a more traditional note, I love flowers in the house so I completely covet one of the Delft tulip towers offered by Amsterdam dealer Aronson. Hint, hint.
So as for those famous people we saw. There was Martha Stewart–no surprise there–and Morely Safer. I am sure there were many more notables, but I was too busy looking at the stuff! I did find the gentleman below, however, to have the most interesting outfit. I don’t know who he is, or if it is a coincidence or not, but he sure seems to be dressed very appropriately for the booth behind him.
The show continues until January 31 and is located at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th street. The proceeds from your admission ticket go to the worthy charity, East Side House Settlement. There are so many interesting things to see. If you live in the NYC area, you should go.
Except as noted, all photos by Lynn Byrne for Decor Arts Now.