Today's post is a continuation of my most recent one about attending the gala opening of the Winter Antiques Show. But before I get into the subject matter at hand, Dear Reader, Reggie must acknowledge that he's rather behind in his reportage on this and other shows of the New York Antiques Week that was. What with a demanding day job that requires frequent out-of-town travel (he's writing this from the Admiral's Club lounge at JFK), an over-scheduled social life, and the need to get in a full night's sleep (how do some people get by with just a few hours of shut-eye at night, he wonders), Reggie hasn't had much free time to sit down and do what he really wants to do, which is to blog away to his heart's content, reporting on this and that, discussing the finer points of ceramics, and sharing what some might consider to be his persnickety rules for what he deems to be civilized living in a world of wretchedly disintegrating standards.
"Yes, I will have another cocktail, please . . . and this time, don't bother
with any tonic—just make it gin on the rocks, thanks!"
In any event, and back to the subject at hand, one of the more pleasant aspects of attending a party such as the Winter Antiques Show gala opening is the access one has at such an event to quality alcoholic beverages of one's choice and delicious finger food, seemingly at every turn. Not only that, but one is not discouraged from walking around with said liquour-filled glass in one's hand and drinking from it while visiting with one's friends or touring the dealers' booths. Just don't put your glass down on that very fine and very rare early eighteenth-century lacquered table, please!
Mr. Ronald Bourgeault
While pausing for a much-needed refreshment to one's cocktail, we chanced upon and spoke with Mr. Ron Bourgeault, the owner of Northeast Auctions and a regular on Antiques Roadshow. We met Mr. Bourgeault many years ago while attending a Williamsburg Antiques Forum and liked him immensely. He is a very pleasant and affable fellow, and it was nice to see him again at the Winter Show.
A view of the Barbara Israel booth
One of the booths that I enjoy seeing at every Winter Show is that of Barbara Israel Garden Antiques, which specializes in truly magnificent garden statuary. I especially admired the monumental footed urn shown in the preceding photograph.
|The flower arrangements at the Winter Show|
are always a delight
My next stop at the show was the booth of Hostler Burrows, who deal in twentieth-century furniture and decorative arts. I thought their display of art pottery as seen in the following photograph was very handsome, indeed, and I loved the way it was massed on the table.
A grouping of art pottery on display at the Hostler Burrows booth
While on the theme of modern, naturalist objects, Dear Reader, I also very much enjoyed a series of metal sculptures made in the early 1970s by Harry Bertoia, in the booth of Jonathan Boos, of what appear to be small shrubs.
I was quite taken with these Bertoia sculptures
in the Jonathan Boos booth
Not far from that I was further taken with an early twentieth-century painting in the booth of Thomas Colville Fine Art. I think the painting, titled Vertical Construction and painted by the American artist Werner Drewes in 1938, would look marvelous in our city apartment, which we have decorated with furniture and art from the 1930s through the 1960s. However, our walls there are already covered with paintings and—besides—I wasn't in a buying mood, at least not at those sticker prices.
I would be very happy to live with this painting
. . . under such circumstances as would allow it . . .
At Darlington House, on the other hand, our collecting is firmly rooted in the early decades of the nineteenth century. To that end, I thought the large landscape shown in the following photograph would be right at home there, hanging on our walls. And, Dear Reader, it is being shown by the same dealer, Thomas Colville, as the preceding modern abstract that Reggie so admired! No wonder I coveted it . . .
. . . and this one as well!
But one doesn't attend the Winter Show merely to gaze upon the gorgeous and precious objects offered there, Dear Reader, but also to enjoy the beauty of the design of the show and the creativity with which the offerings are artfully arranged and displayed in the booths.
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall . . . "
I thought the placement of the mid-nineteenth-century American sculpture in Gerald Peters Gallery's booth of a young lady staring into a mirror, as seen in the preceding photograph, was teddibly clever.
|The Cohen & Cohen booth|
One booth that I am sure to linger in at the Winter Show is that of the London-based dealers Cohen & Cohen, who specialize in magnificent Chinese export porcelain made for the European markets. This year their booth was dramatically done up to resemble a porcelain display "cabinet" room in a princely palace, with suitably princely offerings.
|"Be still, my heart!"|
One of the highlights of the Cohen & Cohen booth (if not of the entire show), in Reggie's view, was an enormous punch bowl (it is large enough for a baby's bath) commissioned in the first years of the 1800s by States Morris Dyckman (1755-1806), an immensely rich (well, for a time at least) American living in London. Mr. Dyckman was the builder of Boscobel, one of the finest Federal houses in this country, and he spent a fortune in England outfitting it with the best goods and decorations that money could buy. Acording to the dealer Michael Cohen, shown lifting the bowl in the preceding photograph, the bowl is thought never to have actually found its way to Boscobel, for Mr. Dyckman apparently died before the bowl was completed in China and sent to the agent in England who had brokered its commission for (the now deceased) Mr. Dyckman. I hope that Boscobel House and Gardens, which owns and manages the house today, was able to buy the punch bowl—for it is at Boscobel that the bowl truly belongs.
One of the most creatively decorated booths at the Winter Show every year is that of Ms. Elle Shushan, this country's leading dealer in fine portrait miniatures. Every year she and her dear friend, Mr. Ralph Harvard, the noted classical designer and architect, create an enchanting and whimsical booth in which to display her offerings. This year Mr. Harvard created a fantasy of the New Orleans studio of artist John Wesley Jarvis (1780-1840), who apparently shared a studio in the Crescent City for a time with John James Audubon (1785-1851). The booth was a tour de force!
|Ms. Susan Stein, Mr. Ralph Harvard, unidentified, and Ms. Elle Shushan|
We had a jolly time in Ms. Shushan's booth, speaking with her and her charming friends, and taking it all in. While we were there we enjoyed meeting Ms. Susan Stein, the Richard Gilder Senior Curator and Vice President of Museum Programs at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and sharing with her that we were the proud owners of a geranium that purportedly came from a cutting of one at Mr. Jefferson's house, given to him by Rubens Peale of the illustrious Peale family of Baltimore. She knew exactly what we were talking about, and good-naturedly humoured us.
Hyde Park's booth of superb English furniture and decorations
By this point we were beginning to wonder about the whereabouts of the friends we were to meet for dinner that evening. We thought that one of them, Ms. Emily Evans Eerdmans, might be at the Hyde Park Antiques, Ltd., booth, so we checked there. No luck, so on we scurried . . .
A delightful painting of a naughty kitty
I paused at the booth of David A. Schorsch & Eileen Smiles American Antiques to admire a nineteenth-century American painting of an adorable, mischievous cat wreaking havoc upon a lady's sewing box, shown in the preceding photograph. Isn't it charming? Hello kitty!
|This fellow had many admirers at the show|
After fortifying ourselves with another round of cocktails at the commodious bar at the rear of the Armory, I stopped (in my tracks, actually) to admire the very well-formed posterior of this classical statue in the booth of Safani Gallery, as seen in the preceding image. And believe me, Dear Reader, I wasn't the only one doing so! I could barely get close enough to get a good photograph for you, given the mob scene of ogglers surrounding it, oohing and aahing while gulping down their drinks and mopping their brows with excitement.
|The Peter Pap Oriental Rugs booth|
My next stop, directly across the aisle from said saucy statue, was the booth of San Francisco-based Peter Pap Oriental Rugs. Mr. Pap can be seen standing inside the booth, to the right, in the preceding photograph. I stopped to say hello to him, as we share a dear friend in common, the noted California decorator Guy "Pickles" Gurquin. Not only that, but Mr. Pap and I have another connection, as our mothers were dear friends many years ago.
|Even though Tiffany lamps may not be to one's taste, |
one cannot help but admire them
Nor were our friends in the Macklowe Gallery booth, admiring the Tiffany lamps on display.
|The Keshishian booth|
"Excuse me, have you seen either Ms. Maureen Footer or Ms. Emily Evans Eerdmans?" I asked at the Keshishian booth, where this lovely carpet and tapestry were on view. Unfortunately, to no avail.
|Fanciers of photography in the Fetterman booth|
Perhaps they were in the Peter Fetterman Gallery booth, admiring its arrangement of the masters of modern photography? Nope.
|"I'll take it!"|
Nor were they at the Philip Colleck, Ltd., booth, admiring this wonderful painting, as I did. Don't you love the juxtoposition of the vibrant twentieth-century painting with the buttoned-up Regency commode?
|Mr. Michael Henry Adams|
I briefly interrupted my search for our pals and introduced myself to man-about-town Mr. Michael Henry Adams, whom I recognized from Facebook, where we are "friends." The charming Mr. Adams proceeded to tell me a most amusing story about dancing with Pat Buckley at a birthday party given for Bobby Short at Mortimer's years ago. Hilarious!
|A madly Rococco-Revival-patterned English luster jug |
and an array of Criel et Montreau Faience
in the Taylor B. Williams booth
Just paces away I noticed the booth of Taylor B. Williams Antiques and the display cases within, packed with ceramics and snuffboxes. Hmmmm, I thought—better check this out, Reggie!
|Mr. Taylor B. Williams|
And it was there, Dear Reader, that my resolve to keep my wallet firmly closed and in my coat pocket finally evaporated. For I found a superb example of an early nineteenth-century English pearlware figure of the type we collect at Darlington House and which I have written about previously. When confronted by the pristene condition figure of this hunter, circa 1810, shown in the following photograph, I was helpless. I had to have it!
|An English pearlware figure of a fowler, |
ca. 1810, now in the collection of Yours Truly
It is fortunate, Dear Reader, that I was able to acquire the figure of the little hunter at a most reasonable price, at least as these things go once they've swum upstream to places such as the Winter Antiques Show. I am thrilled to have it and most grateful that Mr. Williams was willing to accommodate me in acquiring it.
|Ms. Maureen Footer, Mr. Mario Buatta, and|
Ms. Emily Evans Eerdmans
And who should I then be so fortunate to find immediately upon exiting said booth, but our dinner companions, Ms. Footer and Ms. Eerdmans, having a cozy chat with that amusing bon vivant, Mr. Mario Buatta!
|Ms. Maureen Footer, a modern-day Boldini!|
Before leaving the Armory with the ladies I insisted that the supremely elegant Ms. Footer allow me to photograph her posing in front of the Boldini portrait of Mrs. Elizabeth Drexel Lehr exhibited in the Newport pavilion. Doesn't Ms. Footer look ravishing? Would that Mr. Boldini were alive today, I am sure he would clamour to have Ms. Footer allow him to paint her portrait, don't you?
|A view into the dining room of Sel et Poivre|
And so you have it, Dear Reader: Reggie's big night out at the enchanting opening party for the Winter Antiques Show.
Won't you please join me there next year?
All photographs by Reggie Darling