A "Cool Show-- Rhinebeck Rocks"

May 28th, 2017

Antiques at Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck, New York

The quoted praise in the title above is about as good as it gets, especially coming from a young exhibitor. An older member of the club said, “The best in every category of collecting is here.” Exhibitor Michael Friedman stated, “Terrific show, like the old days––active and fun.” Dazzling, daring, curious, and compelling, the booths at Barn Star Productions’ Antiques at Rhinebeck on May 27 and 28 drew you in.

Antiques shows in Rhinebeck, New York, a historic town on the Hudson River north of Manhattan and south of Albany, have attracted crowds for decades to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. Promoter Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Productions and his exhibitors have given the current show an injection of fun, color, art, design, knowledge, and inspiration, so that young collectors are coming, families are coming, and, as always, interior designers. What a source for anyone who wishes to make a statement about his/her eye for collecting. Nothing is too far out or too far in.

Barbara and Charles Adams of South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, greeted me like old friends. (They are.) They have done shows together since 1976 and are well known to show managers, show patrons, and show reporters. Their specialty is Bennington ware, and they are indeed specialists.

This airplane propeller, $365, and a set of mini dress dummies, $2250, were from Debbie Turi of Roseland, New Jersey.

This sold shortly after we took its picture. Who would not want a miniature boat with sails of red, green, and yellow “strings/cords” and a bright yellow hull. It was tagged $250 from Francis Crespo of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The boat was found in Mississippi.

“We love it; we have shopped it, and ten years ago we did it. But then things changed and we stopped. But today we are doing it, and the show is very strong,” said an exhibitor with The Back Roads, Sea Cliff, New York.

We too have visited the show through most of its decades, and we cannot recall seeing any identical object twice. The latest show was almost in a class by itself, with shades of the old Stella Pier shows and colors of Sanford Smith’s New York City Modernism shows, mixing into a palette that is purely Rhinebeck.

Over 120 dealers, all inside, were eclectic to the max—formal and funky, classic and comic, wild and conservative. Yes, you can find that “whatdoyoucallit” for the corner of the room, the fireplace, the bedroom, or the kitchen. It all blends yet stays apart. Formal brown period furniture meets homemade painted wooden furniture for the college dorm; oil portraits meet trade signs.

The elk head mounted on the rear wall was $1700, and a dog statue in the foreground was $1900 from Craig McElroy of Kingston, New York.

Stephen Score of Boston, Massachusetts, offered an elegant booth that looked like this at opening. Three hours later, tiny red circle sold tags were on almost everything—the pillars, the Garden of Eden sign, the chest, and the circular wire pieces on the right rear wall.

“Just like the old Stella shows,” said David Bell and Tom Preston of Washington, D.C. “High quality, something for everyone, heavy buying at setup.” Their pool table montage was $2200, and the wicker table under it, $680.

Was there selling? Yes, both preshow and during. The first three hours on the first day we saw sold tickets on a wood and “string” miniature boat; a red, green, and white coverlet; a pair of tables; a half-hull boat form on a panel; a Windsor settee; an early lantern; architectural columns; a theorem; and many trade signs.

Gaglio usually has a special show display, and this year it was black-and-white photographs taken in the 1960s and 1970s by exhibitor Michael Friedman of Weston, Connecticut, who patiently and pleasantly talked to passersby. At the ripe old age of 26 or so, Friedman had the good fortune to work for Albert Grossman (1926-1986), who managed some of the hottest musicians of their day—Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and my personal favorites Peter, Paul, and Mary. Friedman’s camera was ready.

Those of you who know Friedman have asked, “What, you were into that kind of music? Why did you wait so long to tell us? Why didn’t you exhibit these photos before?” It is a very short and understandable answer: he lost track of the negatives. They were in a box someplace in his home. Years rolled by, but in January of this year his wife was poking around in the attic, and in a big long envelope among old business papers were the lost negatives.

Michael Friedman of Weston, Connecticut, is shown in front of several of his black-and-white photos of 1960s and ’70s rock stars. Many had sold tickets on them, and the price range was from $350 for the 9" x 14" pictures, from $550 for the 16" x 20" ones, and then $1200 for 25" x 35" examples. Friedman told us after the show that he had sold over ten from his booth and has had many calls since for purchases.

“It was a stunning moment,” admitted Friedman. In those long, narrow, dark negative strips with numbers on them to identify the pictures were 1500 to 2000 shots in pretty good shape after all those years. So what does one do in this digital age? Scan them, enlarge them, mat, and frame them. (I may be leaving out some steps, but you get the—excuse the pun—picture.)

“The photos of iconic rock stars of the 1960s were extremely well received,” said Gaglio after the show, as were two wonderful food trucks (in addition to the fairgrounds’ food stalls). Gaglio also introduced a mini farmer’s market and a new and expanded show program that included not only the four-building layout and exhibitors’ contact information but also local group shops, retail stores, and professional services in Rhinebeck and nearby Hudson, which has become a mecca for the arts and antiques market.

Kristin Grievo of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey—yes, daughter of dealer James Grievo—is shown with lots of affordable smalls from the 1930s and 1940s. This was her first Rhinebeck, but we do not think it will not be her last.

Hutch table, $1475; game cock vane, $3450; the eagle vane on a curved quill, 45" wide (eagle), and 55" wide (quill), from the 1860s, found in a school library, $8500: all were from Holden Antiques, Sherman, Connecticut, and Naples, Florida.

One of the largest pieces of furniture in the show was this 76" x 73" x 12" walnut apothecary, $16,800 from Heller Washam Antiques, Portland, Maine. In two parts, the 1790-1800 cabinet was from Dorchester, Massachusetts. The fish was $875 and 50" long.

Gaglio noted a 14% increase in attendance over last spring’s show. “Very positive,” he said. Gaglio said the fall show will include another special show exhibit, another food truck, more mini farmer’s market booths (fall harvests), and even more diversity in specialty fields, such as ephemera.

For more information, call (845) 876-0616 or check the website (www.barnstar.com)

Matthew Rydedwski (left) and Christopher English of Adirondack Store and Gallery, Lake Placid, New York, with their version of Noah’s ark. For $3050, you get all of it, but we hasten to say that the beer cans were empty.

If you want a rare piece of Weller pottery, Jane Langol of Medina, Ohio, had this shiny glossy squirrel with a “wet look” that makes it seem alive. It was $1350 and made for a garden but would also be attractive inside.

Carol and John Waldman brought mariner signal flags and did a red, white, and blue theme. The Back Roads, Sea Cliff, New York, and Cornwall, Connecticut, asked $450 for the set of eight flags, which came from Long Island, New York.

Originally published in the August 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest

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