This week marks the official beginning of New York's Antiques Week. As many readers of this blog will recall, every January New York City hosts a week-long bazaar of antiques shows, auctions, and exhibitions that attract buyers and dealers from the world over. The centerpiece is the New York Winter Antiques Show, with satellite shows held throughout the city, and Americana auctions at the major auction houses. Antiques Week is one of the highlights of Reggie's winter—the Holidays are over, the cold weather has (finally) settled in, and one's attention hungers for something new. Well, at least in the case of this writer, one hungers for something old.
|We kicked off our Antiques Week with a delicious lunch|
at Orsay Restaurant at Lexington and 75th Street.
The place was hopping!
This year I'm taking a different tack to my usual postings about New York Antiques Week. In seasons past I've mostly focused on what we've bought at the shows, reporting after the fact. This year I'm going to write about the shows themselves. That's because I'm planning on keeping my pocketbook firmly clasped this year, and I'm determined to buy nothing. You see, Dear Reader, we've run out of space—there's no more room at Darlington House! We are more than thoroughly furnished, our walls are blanketed with pictures, and our cupboards are full to bursting. While I've approached previous Antiques Weeks with a similar resolve, this year I really mean it.
Wish me luck, Dear Reader, in keeping to my resolve . . .
|The highlight of our meal at Orsay was a shared|
plate of profiteroles—some of the tastiest I can recall
While Antiques Week officially kicks off on January 24th with the gala opening of the Winter Antiques Show, the auction houses begin previewing their Americana sales beforehand. Today's post focuses on the preview held at Christie's, with the Sotheby's preview to follow.
|The entrance to Christie's showrooms at|
Rockefeller Center . . .
After fortifying ourselves with a lunch of steak frites and profiteroles at Orsay Restaurant we took a cab to Rockefeller Center to see Christie's preview of their upcoming Americana sales being held January 24th though 28th.
|. . . where one is greeted by Robert,|
the affable Christie's doorman
I was most interested to see a pier table in the Christie's sale, ca. 1815-1819, by Charles-Honoré Lannuier (1779-1819). Lannuier was one of New York's greatest classical cabinetmakers and a contemporary and competitor of Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854). As readers of this blog may recall, we own a number of pieces of furniture attributed to Phyfe (or one of his equally competent competitors).
|The Lannuier pier table at Christie's, one of the|
relatively few Classical pieces on display
($40,000 to $80,000 estimate)
The pier table is exceptionally rare in that (a) it is stamped by Lannuier, and (b) the columns and table top are made of green veined marble, as opposed to the white or black marbles one typically encounters. Even though the pier table is in "as found" condition and is missing some of its original elements, it is a work of sublime beauty and dignity.
|The showrooms at Christie's were relatively sparely furnished,|
with plenty of room to see the furniture and art on view
Most of the furniture and decorative arts displayed in the Christie's preview date from the late eighteenth century, with heavy emphasis on ball-and-claw footed pieces.
|Weather vanes and folk art are featured|
prominently in the sale
There is rather a lot of American folk art, too, for those who collect such things.
|The Ganes-attributed Queen Anne armchair|
($200,000 to $300,000 estimate)
One of the highlights of the sale is a Queen Anne carved and turned maple armchair, ca. 1735-1743, attributed to John Ganes (1704-1743) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Christie's has done a lot of research on the chair, and it is featured prominently in the auction's catalog. The chair is highly attenuated and gutsy. It is impossible not to admire it.
|Pretty schoolgirl needlework|
from the Stonington Collection
(top: $20,000 to $30,000 estimate;
bottom: $8,000 to $12,000 estimate)
Collectors of needlework will find lots to love at the Christie's sale, as the auction house is selling the Stonington Collection's extensive holdings of schoolgirl needlework.
|I rather fancied the large Verte-Imari covered jar on the left|
($10,000 to $15,000 estimate)
There is also a good showing of China Trade art and ceramics at the Christie's sale, as one would expect, given its Americana focus.
|A substantial service of armorial export porcelain, |
ca. 1790, made for the American market
($25,000 to $40,000 estimate)
|A large orange FitzHugh service, ca. 1805-1810|
($70,000 to $100,000 estimate)
The highlight of the Chinese export porcelain is a subtantial service thought to have been commissioned for Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). It is consigned by a direct descendant of the nation's third president and is being sold off in pieces with astronomically high estimates, given its association.
|A platter in the Jefferson Service at Christie's|
(a pair is estimated at $25,000 to $40,000)
Next: Sotheby's Abundant Americana Sale Preview
Photographs by Reggie Darling