Brandywine River Museum of Art Antiques Show, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
“It was amazing to see so many dealers at the forty-sixth annual have a decent show, at a time when the market for Americana is the worst it’s been during my lifetime,” was the comment of one longtime dealer who sold pretty well.
The 46th edition of this long-running antiques show filled empty spaces at the Brandywine River Museum of Art with antiques for sale on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29. Those who shopped had the added experience of spending time in galleries filled with works by three generations of the Wyeth family, plus a permanent collection of Pennsylvania landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. The presence of art at hand gives those contemplating a purchase a chance to experience excellence, giving them a point of comparison and an opportunity to see how N.C Wyeth incorporated antiques into some of his illustrations to give them added authenticity. Moreover, Jamie Wyeth and his wife, Phyllis, are enthusiastic supporters of the show and always come to look carefully and buy.
The Brandywine Antiques Show has always been a show for discoveries. Dealers know it is in the backyard of affluent Wilmingtonians and not far from Philadelphia’s Main Line, so they save some fresh things for this show. The Friday night preview party is attended by the faithful supporters who appreciate having a first-class museum in their neighborhood with changing shows, a good restaurant, and stimulating programs.
Michael Weinberg of West Pelham Antiques, Pelham, Massachusetts, asked $325 for this 18½" diameter creamware feather-edge platter, circa 1800. The horse and rider weathervane of sheet iron was $1900, and the 33½" long wooden trencher, circa 1850, bore a $1650 price tag. The peonies had been arranged by the show’s talented flower committee.
In addition to the usual mostly country furniture, English ceramics, and weathervanes, there were some special treasures. Hilary Nolan of Falmouth, Massachusetts, a first-time exhibitor at this show, brought a very appealing “Ranger” setter weathervane by L.W. Cushing. The large hunting dog vane had an untouched surface and was priced at $32,500.
Philip Dubey of Dubey’s Art & Antiques, Baltimore, Maryland, was in the hospital, but he sent a member of his staff to stock his stand with a broad selection of China trade porcelain and this impressive mahogany New York sideboard with bellflower inlay and fitted bottle drawers, priced at $12,500.
Scott Ferris of Boonville, New York, offered a 15' long ink and watercolor panorama of a late 18th-/early 19th-century horse race that retracts into a 6" high wooden cylinder. It shows the crowd arriving by coach in time for the parade of horses and then the race itself. Some vehicles are in such a hurry, they have accidents on the way, and it is all recorded. It is like resetting your DVR for the Kentucky Derby. It was priced at $595.
Harley Trice of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, another exhibitor new to this show, brought along some Pittsburgh glass with loops of red, white, and blue. This high-quality early glass, which has not appeared at this show for a long time, was priced from $3800 for a pair of red, white, and blue witch’s balls in vases to $5000 for a covered sugar bowl with white loops and $13,000 for a red, white, and blue pitcher—a glassblower’s masterpiece.
Harley Trice brought a selection of Pittsburgh glass. The pair of Wheeling, West Virginia, or Pittsburgh witch’s balls with vases in red, white, and blue looping, circa 1840, was $3800. The rare pitcher with a cobalt-blue bowl, white looped spout, and red, white, and blue handle was $13,000. The covered sugar bowl with white looping, circa 1860, was $5000.
Scott Ferris offered Modernist paintings: a watercolor by Jane Peterson, a watercolor of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, by William Zorach, and a striking oil painting, Red Rocks, New Mexico, by contemporary artist Jamie LaFleur (b. 1975), clearly influenced by Mardsen Hartley, in a stunning contemporary frame.
What sold? Garden furniture. Brennan & Mouilleseaux sold three cast-iron urns: a pair and a single. Aileen Minor sold a gazebo, urns, and lots of smalls. James Kilvington sold a millstone. Rare creamware sold, but delftware did not.
Aileen Minor of Centreville, Maryland, sold the gazebo. The wrought-iron and painted tin orange tree with bamboo trellis in an oval metal pot was $1800. The pair of American steel garden benches, circa 1880, repainted light green, was $3900 for the pair.
Some furniture sold, including two benches: a Pennsylvania Windsor settee for two and a Pennsylvania plank-seat bench in green paint. A dressing table and numerous stands sold, as did a Federal drop-leaf sewing table. One mahogany serpentine-front chest of drawers sold from Philip Dubey’s website, even though he was in the hospital and had a colleague man his stand. James Kilvington sold a curly maple chest at the preview. Among the chairs that sold were two Philadelphia “Boston” chairs (Boston designs copied by Philadelphia chair makers), a Rhode Island ball-and-claw-foot chair, and a set of five straight-leg Chippendale chairs, probably made either in Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia. A hanging corner cupboard was going to be shipped to Texas.
Dover House Antiques, Louisville, Kentucky, asked $1950 for the stack of painted firkins, which is on a circa 1830 Chester County, Pennsylvania, hutch table, priced at $3300. The two youth-size painted pillow-back chairs, circa 1840, were probably from Connecticut and were in fine condition ($650). The 19th-century Colonial Revival fanlight was $950, and the green-painted Pennsylvania bench had sold.
Clarence Smith of Dover House said he and his partner are opening a shop at the Grafton Inn in Grafton, Vermont, on the Fourth of July weekend and will spend the summer there, offering antiques and crafts by Vermont artisans.
Dan Olson of Olson Antiques asked $2400 for the assembled set of six Queen Anne rush-seat chairs. In front, the scrubbed-top table with a wide overhang, its base taken down to the original red paint, was $3800.
Frank Shaia sold some Oriental scatter rugs, and a few hooked rugs found new homes. Jewelry helped to pay the booth rent for several dealers, and a Model T weathervane and a small Jewell flying horse vane helped the bottom line of another. Dealer-to-dealer business was brisk.
Frank Shaia hung scatter rugs and offered 15 room-size rugs on the floor and rolled up—a huge stock. He sold some of the scatter rugs. “I bring my best rugs to this show and make prices as reasonable as I can,” Shaia said.
View of Poestenkill, New York by Grandma Moses, signed lower left, was painted in 1952. Numbered 1540, according to the label on the back, the title is given as “Poesenkill” (spelled incorrectly) and followed by “The copyright of this painting is the property of / Grandma Moses Properties, Inc. / 46 West 57th Street, N. Y. C.” The painting is signed again on the back “To Helen and Roland with Love, / Grandma Moses.” Helen and Roland Beers lived in Troy, New York, according to correspondence that accompanied the painting. Priced at $190,000, it was sold by Steven White of Skaneateles, New York.
The biggest sale was a well-documented Grandma Moses oil on board View of Poestenkill, New York, shown by Steven White of Skaneateles, New York, a first-time dealer at the show. He had exhibited it at the York, Pennsylvania, show in February but sold it to a collector at the Brandywine show. It was priced at $190,000. “It wasn’t a winter scene, like the one on view in the Brandywine Museum’s permanent collection; it is a spring view of a town, but I like it every bit as much,” said White. The painting came with letters from the first owners, Helen and Roland Beers. It had been a gift to them from the artist, Anna Mary Robertson Moses.
Most of the 26 exhibitors, even those who said business was slow, said they look forward to coming back, hoping that the current uncertainty in Washington, D.C., will be resolved and that more people will be in a spending mood. As one dealer put it, “One day, more people will realize that antiques are a bargain.”
For more information, call (610) 388-2700 or visit the website (www.brandywine.org).
Stitched in Burlington, New Jersey, this rare Westtown School sampler depicting the school building in Chester County, Pennsylvania, about 1820 was $16,500 from Joseph Lodge of Lederach, Pennsylvania.
The theorem on velvet by Pennsylvania schoolgirl Susanna Hook, born in 1791, was $3900 from Bev Norwood of The Norwoods’ Spirit of America, Timonium, Maryland.
Michael Corbett of The Federalist Antiques, Kenilworth, Illinois, asked $1200 for this embroidered man’s summer vest, circa 1810. It had been found in an attic in New Castle, Delaware, and mounted by a textile conservator.
Bill Shaeffer of Glyndon, Maryland, offered Staffordshire cats and dogs. The largest dogs, 15" high, were $750; the cats, 8" high, were $475; and the figure of three poodles, one of a pair, was $650.
Originally published in the July 2017 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2017 Maine Antique Digest