Purchase Story

The Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show

The 56th Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show has new support. The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) and Penn Medicine have become joint beneficiaries of the show, and the PMA will gradually assume full responsibility for the show’s organization and management in the following years and apparently become its sole beneficiary.

The show’s 61 dealers will fill its purpose-built tent pitched on a field at 11th Street and Kitty Hawk Avenue at the Philadelphia Navy Yard for three days: Friday, April 20, through Sunday, April 22. The preview party will be on Thursday, April 19. (Note: this is a new location at the Navy Yard, two blocks nearer the water, with more convenient parking and lots of signage.)

The show features furniture, silver, pewter, folk art, ceramics, paintings, prints, jewelry, textiles, and crafts from pre-Colonial days to the present, all of which is exhibited by leading dealers in their fields. The show is designed to appeal to traditional antiquarians and sophisticated art collectors who come every year from all parts of the country and to a new and broader young audience.

The show was founded in 1962 to support the work of Penn Medicine. This year’s show will also benefit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, marking the beginning of a new era. The loan exhibition Philadelphia Collects, assembled by PMA curators, will include art made in Philadelphia in past centuries to the present, including some recent acquisitions.

“It is exciting to be partnering with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, whose purpose is to share the splendors of the past and make us aware of the art of today,” said Diana Bittel, who with Karen and Ralph DiSaia manages the show.

“The Philadelphia Antiques Show has long been regarded as one of the best of its kind in the country, and we are expanding the offerings in 2018 to accommodate new and broadening audiences,” said Anne Hamilton, who with Nancy Taylor is cochair of the show.

Tours, panel discussions, and lectures will add to the show experience. Martha Stewart is the lecturer on Friday at 11:30 a.m.; she will be talking about her new book, Martha’s Flowers. Tickets are $50 and include show admission.

At 2 p.m. on Friday, Alexandra Kirtley, the PMA Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts, and Elisabeth Agro, the PMA Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts, will discuss collecting Philadelphia’s decorative arts past and present.

On Saturday Emelie Gevalt, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware, in cooperation with the Decorative Arts Trust, will give a talk at 2 p.m., “Buying and Selling Philadelphia: The Story of the Legendary 1929 Reifsnyder Sale,” which will explore the market forces, personalities, and mystique behind the sale that occurred just before the stock market crash in 1929.

On Sunday at 2 p.m. Stacey C. Peeples, the Pennsylvania Hospital’s curator and lead archivist, will talk about the hospital’s historic collections in its historic building, which is still operating as a modern hospital. Pennsylvania Hospital, part of Penn Medicine, is a beneficiary of the show.

The show is open Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission tickets are $15 online from the website (www.philadelphiaantiquesandartshow.com) until March 16, and general admission is $20 at the door; the price of admission includes a catalog and admission to the 2 p.m. lectures. Discounted tickets are available for youths 13-18, students, and seniors; children 12 and under receive free admission; and groups of ten or more may also arrange for a discount rate by calling (215) 573-2247. Well-informed guides will offer tours of the show an hour before opening time (10 a.m. daily); the fee is $25 a ticket. The Bull Dog Café, sponsored by Pook & Pook, Inc. and catered by 12th Street Catering, got accolades last year, and it will be back.

Tickets for the preview party on Thursday, April 19, are $600 for 5 p.m. arrival, $300 for 6 p.m. arrival, and $150 for “young collectors” (people younger than 40).

On Friday, April 20, the Antiques Dealers’ Association of America (ADA) will present its Award of Merit to Peter Kenny, co-president of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. Tickets are $95 and can be purchased by sending a check made out to ADA to PO Box 218, Northwood, NH 03261. Kenny is well known for having been a curator for 30 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he oversaw the design and renovation of the American Wing’s Classical galleries and the installation of the New York Dutch Room. Kenny was responsible for two major exhibitions at the Met accompanied by prize-winning books: Honoré Lannuier: Cabinetmaker from Paris and Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York.


Originally published in the March 2018 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2018 Maine Antique Digest

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