Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Antiques Week 2013 At Last!

Christie's Americana Preview
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)

There are several extensive sets of Chinese export porcelain on display.

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)

Although I was quite taken with the Jefferson service, I will not be bidding on any of it.  I already have more Chinese export porcelain than I know what to do with, most of which I have stored away for fear of careless housekeepers.  Besides, given the high estimates, the Jefferson service is rather pricey for this writer's china budget.  I hope that Monticello is feeling flush these days, as that is where the service belongs, in my view.

Next: Sotheby's Abundant Americana Sale Preview

Photographs by Reggie Darling


  1. Hello Reggie:
    What a marvellous reason to visit New York in January. If any, that is, were needed. So much of such wonderful quality and provenance, we doubt that you can keep your resolve to the bitter end.

    As for us, no matter the lack of space a treasure can always be squeezed in. We are fairly certain that should a gem appear, Darlington House will find a space too!!

  2. Sounds like a lovely time...Chinese porcelain and cream puffs, oh my! xx

  3. No purchases? As sportsman...I'll wager you cannot control yourself and make some aquisition...no matter how small. I will wait for follow up posts to see if I was correct. Good luck!

  4. A lovely post dear RD. I'll take the profiteroles!


  5. Like everyone else, I'm convinced you'll come home with something!

    But those profiteroles...they could be reason enough for a trip to New York.

  6. Profiteroles and porcelain, Antiques Week looks like so much fun.
    I won't be seeing anything as beautiful as that Lannuier table at the Miami Beach Antiques show that I will be going to at the end of the month.

  7. My mother and I used to go to NY every year for that show, and adored it. Did they combine it now with the American Folk Art show, which used to be separate? Those profiteroles are addicting, I used to live very close by to them.

  8. Dear Reggie,
    Thank you for this beautiful post! I am unable to get there this year, and, thanks to your beautiful photos, I feel a tiny bit less sad for having missed it. That FitzHugh service is incredible-- enjoy the rest of the week!
    Warm regards,

  9. It is too much fun, isn't it. And those profiteroles. They were my ex's favorite as they were his fathers. I got pretty good at putting them together. Now for the perfect plate to put them on....

    Like you, my house is stuffed and I must say NO or start releasing things (yeah, like that's ever going to happen!).

  10. Way over my pay grade, but beautiful nonetheless to look at. Your post was a pleasant reminder of the tasty profiteroles I ate in Paris last fall. I'll be very interested in knowing if you were able to stick with your no-buy resolution once the shows are over. Good luck on that one!

  11. Reggie, it seems that Antiques Week is always the coldest week of the year in NYC and that this time will not be an exception. I too love the Lannuier pier table, and like BdV am headed to the Miami Beach show instead this year.

  12. Hello Reggie,

    So glad you'll be taking your loyal readers on a journey through this week's activities in New York. I'd love to attend any of these shows if I were there (one day, one day!). Your choice of restaurant looks divine, and straight out of the Left Bank.

    I do very much hope that Monticello is in with a fighting chance to bid and win even a few of the Chinese export porcelain pieces, that rightly belong there. When I visited last summer, The Thomas Jefferson Foundation had just acquired a table at a local auction that was originally displayed in the parlor at Monticello. The very clever fellow that spotted it (one of the historians/researchers working
    at Monticello), obviously knew what is was from the very detailed furniture itinerary that Jefferson kept, but the auctioneers did not.

    I look forward to reading more on your adventures this week.

    1. Oops…I meant to type inventory, not itinerary. I fear a senior moment may have hit me.

  13. I can't wait to see what you buy Reggie...

    So much to admire even in the small viewing here ..that mirror above the Lannuier and I dont mind schoolgirl needlework. I have my great great grandmother's effort duly framed.

    Finally I don't ever recall seeing an orange dinner service before a la the FitzHugh.

  14. Come on Reggie, the antiques trade needs us all to go out and buy, I'm sure you will find a little something

  15. Great post, as always! By the way, remember Bruce Budd's extraordinary apartment in the World of Interiors a couple years ago? I just read an interview with him on another blog (one I rarely visit) at the suggestion of a colleague. You MUST read it -- and I trust you'll be as moved as I was! It's no wonder the likes of Paul and Bunny Mellon kept him so close! The images of his apartment are no less than gorgeous. Visit www.markdsikes.com ... Part One.

    1. The Budd interior in WOI is one of my all-time favorites. I had the pleasure of meeting him one afternoon, when a mutual friend brought him to Darlington House for a visit. He was most charming. Reggie

  16. What lovely pictures and I do enjoy your narrative!

    I agree that these beautiful items belong in their original homes!

  17. I'm catching up on my blog reading, as I've been away. Do you know what the China Trade picture, (of Hongs at Canton, I think), shown in your 4th last picture fetched? I must try and see if I can find it on the website.

  18. Oh, I've found it. The auction is on the 28th January. It's of Singapore USD25-40k. Nice!

  19. Ooh, it did rather well - USD86,500. I'm going to link a post about it to your blog and this post.

    1. Dear Columnist: Yes, most lots go above their estimates. Methinks most estimates are, in general, determined to "reel 'em in." RD

  20. Actually, may I have permission to copy your photo of the China Trade painting?

  21. Activity may be a assortment of individuals, work items, communications, and processes that represent a cooperative effort to realize a goal.Thanks for this beautiful idea!
    Activities in New York


Please do comment! I welcome and encourage them, and enjoy the dialogue.

Related Posts with Thumbnails