Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Tour of The Metro Antiques Show in NYC January 24-27, 2013

The Metro Show was a dazzling and impressive event beautifully staged by top dealers from nearby as well as faraway places. Full of energy and creativity provided by the knowledgeable, enthusiastic specialists in art and antiques, this event is a welcome breath of fresh air, replacing the show formerly sponsored by the Museum of American Folk Art. The show has come into its own under the guidance of a professional team of organizers, retaining the best of past shows plus making new additions and greatly expanding the antiques and art show experience. Each of the various January show events in NYC has its own distinct, unique look and feel - this one is up there with the best.

The antique world's answer to Hollywood glam couples, Tim & Pam Hill,  Hill Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan, welcomed a fellow (former) Midwesterner to their outstanding gallery. Among the rare and intriguing pieces featured are a delightful painted carved folk art figure standing near an amazing pair of  carved limestone lions, circa 1870, from Southern Indiana.
Items that are guaranteed to make one smile are always a treasure to discover at antiques shows.  Also in the booth of Hill Gallery,  Bill Rauhauser's 1960's photograph entitled "Stone Burlesque, Woodward Ave, Detroit" is one of the funniest yet endearing images we have seen in along time.  

Stephen Score, sporting his all-checked ensemble, announced he had just returned from the Czech Republic. We quickly recovered our composure and admired the exciting late 19th-Century one-of-a-kind "Circles" quilt, a universe of appliqued and embroidered round motifs.
Jurassic Park was not nearly as intriguing as the enchanting booth of Il Segno Del Tempo of Milan, Italy
 whose mind boggling exhibit was both amusing and amazing.  When a dealer with imagination and a quirky eye puts together a collection of such unusual items, one is transformed way beyond the ordinary - exciting, oddball objects like a giant vintage black telephone, industrial lighting fixtures artfully hung from the ceiling to form a diagonal line, large metal letters which once lit up (and could again) to advertise "Service", an enormous carousel figure looking somewhat prehistoric - a wonderland of surprises.  Each item, some of rather humble origins, reflects the care with which it was chosen, and somehow conveys a positive message of simple, unadulterated cheer. 

Amy Finkel, the eponymous proprietor of  M. Finkel & Daughter, Philadelphia, PA, seems to have discovered the fountain of youth.  It seems like we have known Amy for many years, but looking at her today, that's impossible. Maybe being around all that school girl needlework keeps her looking like a vivacious recent graduate.  One of her numerous sold pieces was an outstanding New Jersey Sampler by Kiziah Sharp, 1825, Burlington County, complete with family history.

Jeff Bridgman of Jeff Bridgman American Antiques American Flags,  has raised the bar of historic, patriotic textile collections to extraordinary heights.  His lavish exhibit was museum-like, except better because the items were all for sale.  Detailed research information accompanies each piece, such as the elaborate silk banner with George Washington's famous "Prayer at Valley Forge" with gilded text and spectacular bullion trim in mint condition.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

A visit to the Antiques at the Armory Show, NYC, January 25, 2013

A big event in antiques and the arts week in New York City is opening day at the Antiques at the Armory Show near Gramercy Park. This Stella managed winter extravaganza did not disappoint. Always exciting and energetic, the event was jammed with visitors from all over the country, eagerly checking out the fantastic line-up of wares from some of the highest quality dealers in the business. This show differs from many others in that it has elegance, charm, and glamour at, if you look carefully, affordable prices. Here are some of our favorites.
I ordered a pastrami sandwich at this booth before I realized I was in the stall of old friend, dealer Victor Weinblatt.  Victor always manages to come up with wonderful Americana objects, especially his trade signs in old paint that offer sheer delight.

The textiles in Michelle Fox's extensive collection never fail to cause a stir, particularly with her patriotic items including historic flags and antique quilts, all in pristine condition.
Celebrating her birthday today, Country Living magazine columnist and appraiser Helaine Fendelmen chose a festive venue well suited to an expert in all things antique and art, the booth of Scott Bassoff-Sandy Jacobs Antiques. Left of Helaine is her husband, the famous vintage necktie collector, Burton, and to the right, a big admirer of both Fendelmans for four decades(!),  Partner Blanche Greenstein was behind the camera for this tour.

OK, so you wanted to be in shoe business? Sorry, couldn't resist, but this giant shoe in beautiful blue paint, presumably a trade sign for a shoe store, was irresistible in the booth of our old friends, Judy and Jim Milne, NYC.

Two killer hooked rugs and an architectural bird house in old white paint were just part of the knockout display presented by Jewett-Berdan Antiques, New Castle, ME.  

An outstanding collection of Grenfell hooked rugs were featured in the booth of  Robert Snyder-Judy Wilson, Wiscasset, ME. Music provided by antique figural andirons at bottom right. For more information on Grenfell mats, see Silk Stocking Mats written by our old friend, Paula Laverty, whose husband, Bill, is known for his superb taste in serious classic bow ties.

A striking Art Deco-style 4-panel screen painted by renowned painter and architect Richard Haas in 1983 becomes a chic abstract architectural element in the treasure filled booth of our pals, Joan and Harvey Weng.

Monday, January 21, 2013

1st Dibs Celebrates New Book Signing

One of the best things about New York City is - if it's January 17, 2013 - how easy it is to jump in a taxi and in 10 minutes or so you are at 1st Dibs' 5th Avenue digs sipping cocktails in celebration of designer Eric Cohler's new book, Cohler on Design. Ace photographer Blanche Greenstein caught Financial analyst Dawn Wright and me checking out the glorious photographs of rooms created by the well known designer, whose fabrics are currently enjoyed in The White House. The amazing honcho of 1st Dibs, Michael Bruno, once again showed his high style as the sponsor of the very festive event.