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The International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show 2013

Julie Schlenger Adell | October 25th, 2013

This Imperial Russian porcelain and gilt bronze centerpiece jardinière with an underglaze blue cipher mark for the reign of Emperor Nicholas I, 1825-55, was a highlight of European Decorative Arts Company’s booth. The upper four jardinières depict allegories of the arts and humanities, after paintings by 18th-century Dutch artist Jacob de Wit. Lavish objects such as this were produced on behalf of the emperor as presentation gifts for heads of state and other European royal families, explained Scott Defrin of Roslyn, New York, who asked $2.5 million for the centerpiece.

Fabien Mathivet of Mathivet Galerie, Paris, was a first-time exhibitor at the show. He and his wife, Céline, worked the show and brought their young daughters to New York City with them. This rare circa 1932 commode of cherrywood and silvered bronze pulls, 41 1/3" x 49" x 25¾", designed by Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann for his country home, was available for $400,000. On the chest is a box by Danish silversmith Christian Fjerdingstad, who lived and worked in France and designed for Christofle; priced at $90,000, it had belonged to Yves Saint Laurent and was in the couturier’s library. The pair of Jean Despres silvered and hammered candlesticks, 13¾" tall, circa 1940, was $38,000.

Daniel Crouch Rare Books, London, sold a rare set of four ink and watercolor wash manuscript maps of the Texas coast, 1829-30, printed by Jean Louis Berlandier. The pair of globes, terrestrial and celestial, by Willem Blaeu, Amsterdam, circa 1645, was priced at $1.92 million.

The Gladstone dinner service by Paul Storr, London, 1824, was one of the highlights of the show. Koopman Rare Art, London, asked $2.8 million for the 57-piece silver service that was commissioned by the people of Liverpool and presented to Sir John Gladstone to celebrate his role in promoting trade and commerce in the city.

These five watercolors, pastels, and pencils on linen and paper by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) had been acquired over a period of a few years by Thomas Colville Fine Art, Guilford, Connecticut. They ranged in price from $50,000 to $550,000.

A pair of contemporary bronze sconces by Hervé Van Der Straeten, France, 2004, flanked “Three Graces,” a French wallpaper panel, the floral basket designed by Malaine and the woodblock printed by Zuber, 1792-1803. Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz of New York City and Paris asked $6000 for the sconces and $35,000 for the panel.

Ariadne Galleries, New York City, displayed two Egyptian limestone fragments and a Roman marble head. The Egyptian fragment on the left, 1475-58 B.C., was $25,000, and the 12th Dynasty Egyptian fragment on the right, $27,500. The 6¼" high Roman head of a bearded man, 1st century B.C. to 1st century A.D., was $175,000; it sold.

S.J. Shrubsole Corp., New York City, asked $95,000 for this medieval St. Philip apostle spoon, circa 1500, part of the collection of legendary spoon dealer Jane Penrice Benson How that was dispersed in London at Christie’s in June 2013. Timothy H. Martin, president of Shrubsole, which deals in antique English and American silver, sold several silver items, plus a 1790 necklace of pink topaz.

New York City

When a woman enveloped in fur asks her decorator whether the bronze sconces are perfect for her Paris apartment, one can only be at the opening preview of the International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show (IFAADS), held at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, October 25-31, 2013. The preview party benefited the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, raising almost a million dollars, and New York society attended in full splendor.

“Everyone’s in town” for this show, exclaimed a downtown New York City dealer whose booth was spilling over with patrons sipping champagne. “My Upper East Side clients told me to do this show,” he explained. “The dates are right. Architects and designers bring their clients. This is not the ‘one-time walk-through’ show.”

IFAADS celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013, and “Dealers pulled out extraordinary pieces [for it],” said Brian Haughton, who, along with his wife, Anna, created and runs the show. A veteran London ceramics dealer whose large booth is front and center, Mr. Haughton reported that “there are at least thirty major museum pieces on the floor.”

This a serious show with serious collectors, and several major museums sent their directors and curators to view the offerings. The show’s vetting committee of curators and dealers who donate their services “only gets better” with time, said Haughton. “Like wine.”

The pedigree of the show became apparent upon entering the vast and usually drafty armory, which was warmed by a sea of enormous white floral arrangements, soft gray carpeting, sheer ceiling coverings, and an easy-to-maneuver traffic flow. Even the café exuded elegance, with waiters in starched white shirts serving patrons at tables with starched white tablecloths. The ambiance in the café resembled that of a private club—all the better for dealers to converse and make deals with collectors and curators and among themselves.

So what sold? Bernd Goeckler Antiques, New York City, sold a pair of Edgar Brandt wrought-iron andirons with fire stand on opening night and continued to sell strongly during the run of the show. “First night sales break the ice,” said the Greenwich Village dealer, who added, “There’s a lot of energy at this show.” Two Fontana Arte chandeliers, four ceiling lights, and a pair of Max Ingrand sconces sold on the first night. In addition, Goeckler sold an Ado Chale circular bronze table and a Paule Ingrand glass-paneled screen, circa 1942.

Todd Merrill of Todd Merrill 20th Century and Studio Contemporary, New York City, explained, “This show has the allure that people will find something to buy,” and many people did. He sold a Gareth Neal five-drawer George chest on which he’d had a couple of offers before the show officially opened; a Joseph Walsh low table of olive ash with a white oil finish and glass; and a pair of origami table lamps and a chandelier by Irish artist Niamh Barry.

Brian Haughton sold a rare Meissen rooster modeled by J.J. Kändler, a large pair of Medici lion vases, and several 21st-century white porcelain cylinders. The show was “an enormous success,” he declared.

Bill Drucker of Drucker Antiques, Mount Kisco, New York, said he had a “really good show” and that he sold a set of four Calder drawings early in the show and continued to sell throughout the week. He also sold two important sets of Georg Jensen flatware, a service for 12 in the Acorn pattern in a custom box and a service from the “parallel” set, plus a Constance Abernathy netsuke necklace from the 1960’s.

Art sold. Richard Schillay of Schillay Fine Art, New York City, who said he “had an enormous amount of action” at his corner booth at the far end of the show, sold a Robert Rauschenberg cloth and paper collage early in the show and had a reserve on Tête de Madeleine by Pierre Auguste Renoir, for which he was asking $1.25 million. He also sold an early Maximilien Luce from 1896 and a Henri Martin.

The portrait of Princess Cécile Murat Ney d’Elchingen, a 1910 oil on canvas by Giovanni Boldini, attracted lots of admirers to the booth of Enrico Gallerie d’Arte, Milan. The asking price was $1.8 million, and it sold.

Michael Goedhuis, London and Beijing, sold a bronze sculpture and a large ink and acrylic on paper. Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, New York City, sold an oil by Raphael Soyer and two small watercolors by Arthur Dove early in the show and ended the show having sold eight works of art.

Thomas Colville Fine Art, Guilford, Connecticut, sold several paintings. F. Turner Reuter Jr. of Red Fox Fine Art, Middleburg, Virginia, said he sold well in both paintings and sculptures.

W.M. Brady & Co., New York City, sold a circa 1830 Corot oil painting of an “early view” of Rouen in Normandy. It had been in the same family for 80 years and was in beautiful condition, said Laura Bennett, director of the gallery. Three-quarters of the way through the show, Brady & Co. had sold seven works, including Etude de Danseuse, a charcoal drawing by Edgar Dégas from 1878-79.

Ariadne Galleries, New York City, sold two Egyptian fragments and a Roman marble head. Asked whether young collectors were buying antiquities, John Demirjian, co-president of the gallery, replied, “There is a new breed of collectors, and they’re younger. I met with three [during the show] who are less than fifty years old, and they’re enthusiastic. They collect across the board; it’s great to work with them and see how our things fit in.”

A mix of the old with the new was effectively displayed in the booth of Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz of New York City and Paris. Flanking a late 18th-century French woodblock-printed wallpaper panel by Zuber of a floral basket designed by Malaine were a pair of contemporary bronze sconces by Hervé Van Der Straeten. “I mix them, so you know they’re not frozen in time,” said Thibaut-Pomerantz. By the end of the weeklong show, she had sold the centerpiece of her booth, vintage wallpaper panels of Les Metamorphoses d’Ovide, Paris, circa 1785, to an American collector who plans to donate them to a museum. Thibaut-Pomerantz asked $110,000 for the panels.

Douglas Dawson Gallery, Chicago, which offers ancient and historic ethnographic art, including ceramics, textiles, and sculptures, sold some items to designers and some items to existing clients. “We’ve met a lot of new people this time,” said Wally Bowling of the gallery, which moved to South Michigan Avenue in November.

H.M. Luther, New York City, sold two wing chairs, a small chair, a side table, and a pair of large Italian chestnut cabinets, among other items. Martin du Louvre, Paris, sold a black Belgian marble sculpture of a cat. H. Blairman & Sons Ltd., London, sold a coffret à bijoux manufactured by Frederic-Jules Rudolphi, a large round plaque, a number of French pots, and a 1915 canterbury that a gallery assistant had “just returned from delivering to a private home.” The booth was noticeably bare on the show’s second to last day.

Apter-Fredericks Ltd., London, sold a Chippendale wine cooler and a Regency stool. Ronald Phillips Ltd., London, sold two items on opening night. “The room is full of people. They’ll be back with their designers, and they’ll measure the larger items,” said the dealer. By the show’s end, the London firm had parted with eight items and had several more going out on approval.

Collectors did return with their designers and decorators in tow. “We’re buying that one,” declared a woman whose decorator was pointing to a Franco Deboni glass vase, while several interested buyers hovered around. The vases commanded lots of attention in the booth of Bernd Goeckler Antiques.

S.J. Shrubsole Corp., New York City, an original exhibitor at IFAADS, sold its “second-best necklace,” a 1790 pink topaz rivière, as well as several silver items, including an English ear trumpet, a pair of wine coolers, a pair of salt cellars, a teapot, and some salvers, according to the firm’s president, Timothy H. Martin.

The jewelry counters were busy, sometimes three deep, at the booths of New York City and London dealers exhibiting magnificent gems and antique and period jewelry. At James Robinson Inc., New York City, Victorian bracelets and drop earrings were in demand, as were diamonds and colored stones in Art Deco earrings and bracelets.

There was a palpable sense of camaraderie between the dealers and collectors at this show. There was lots of hugging and kissing and pats on the back, along with discussions about family and travel plans.

“I’ve lost my wife,” declared a well-dressed gentleman to a dealer one evening at the show. “Oh,” replied the dealer, “they do turn up eventually.”

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Originally published in the February 2014 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2014 Maine Antique Digest

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