Mid-20th-Century Style is trending these days and there is a definite fever going around for the super glamorous look of the period. This is evidenced by the popularity of Mad Men, the highly successful hit TV show on AMC, and the revival of the 1960s musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway-not to mention clothing lines from Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers that evoke the Swinging Sixties. There is no better place to catch mid-century fever than at the New York 20th Century Art and Design Fair (NYC20), where 36 top-tier dealers all from 1stdibs, the world's largest online marketplace for quality antiques and vintage design will exclusively showcase the best in 20th century art and design. On view will be a highly curated selection of furniture, lighting, sculpture, paintings, jewelry, silver, glass, ceramics, photography, textiles, tapestries, prints, and vintage clothing and accessories. Many of the items at the fair are new to the market, and will debut simultaneously at the fair and on 1stdibs.
Among the highlights of the inaugural NYC20 are:
From England's Caira Mandaglio comes a pair of hanging bookcases designed by GioPonti, one of the preeminent Italian architects and designers of the 20th century. Representative of post-war Italian design at its best and designed in the early 1950s, the bookcases were purchased directly from the Ponti family. The twin bookcases-exquisitely crafted in natural and painted maple-have shelves that taper, giving them a distinct aero- dynamic quality that makes these functional pieces of sculpture look as if they're ready for takeoff.
Trinity House, from London, will feature Magic Trick, a painting by the Scottish artist Alan Davie called "Magic Trick," signed and dated 1968. Davie's painting style owes much to Jackson Pollock. Like Pollock, his works have been executed by standing above the painting, which is laid on the ground. He adds layers of paint until sometimes the original painting has been covered over many times. "This exceptionally dynamic oil painting displays all the powerful influences of Miro and Pollock that Davie experienced at Peggy Guggenheim's pavilion in Venice in the 1950s," says Simon Shore.
A highlight from Paul Donzella is a bold sculptural console table by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne. "I do not exaggerate when I say that this particular table, from 1968, is one of the two or three best pieces I have ever seen," says Donzella. "The market for pieces by the LaVernes has been taking off in a big way and when new markets develop for artists like them, amazing pieces begin to appear from the original owners, pieces that were bought from the artists and then never seen again. This is one such piece. I bought it from the original owner who bought it directly from The LaVerne Gallery back in the late '60s."
Titled "Metamorphosis," the table
was hammered, torched and sculpted completely by hand.
Patrick Dragonette of Dragonette Ltd. from Los Angeles will bring a very rare set of four curly-walnut hostess chairs designed by William Haines for the home of Jack and Anne Warner. This is only the second time a set like this has come on the market and the only other time was at the estate sale of Armand and Harriet Deutsch six years ago. Recently restored to the highest standards, the Haines chairs are upholstered in supple white leather.
Ed Koren of Bridges Over Time brings to light an unusual pair of mid-century wingback chairs. Though no dealer has yet been able to identify the designer, they were probably custom-made and feature highly stylized sleigh legs. The cant (or angle) of the chair provides a very agreeable seating position. Says Koren: "Some mid-century chairs look great but are not terribly enjoyable to sit in. Whoever designed these chairs managed to produce a sleek and elegant redesign of a classic wing-back chair and at the same time make it extremely comfortable."
Exhibiting works solely by Mexican design masters of the 20th century, the Los Angeles-based gallery Downtown is especially proud to present a complete set of four fiberglass lounge chairs by Mexican designer Arturo Pani that date from 1965. Other Mexican designers represented in Downtown's offerings include Robert and Mito Block, Don Shoemaker and Pedro Ramirez Vasquez.
Lobel Modern from New York unveils an exceptional work by the American designer Karl Springer: A free-form coffee table in polished steel and thick black glass. From the 1980s, the table is seamlessly welded and considered one of Springer'smost iconic designs.
R 20th Century is introducing an exceptional example of Brazilian design from the early 1970s: a monumental desk by Jorge Zalszupin. "Rich in patchwork panels of jacaranda, the details of this piece-with four drawers on one side and a vanity screen-make it not only beautiful but also fantastically functional," says Zesty Meyers of R20th Century from New York.
Vojtech Blau brings out Le Lezard et le Tetard, a bold 1970s tapestry by Alexander Calder. The artist's deliberately restrictive palette and bold, simplified forms are exemplified in this wool piece manufactured by Ateliers Pinton in France. The three colors and
one repetitive biomorphic motif on the tapestry, woven with Calder's signature on the lower left, makes it especially unique and impactful.
From Katy Kane Vintage & Couture Clothing arrives a 1960s black silk evening dress designed by the haute couture house of Madame Grès. Trained as a sculptress, Grès confected gowns for most of the 20th century's style icons, including the Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The classic column silhouette offered by Katy Kane stands the test of time, as chic and stylish today as it was when created more than 40 years ago.
Coming from La Lampade is a design in lighting that owner Alessandro Di Tosto proclaims "as rare a lamp as I have ever had to offer": An Arredoluce floor lamp. The vertical brass rods of this extraordinary lamp have a dark, matte patina and are in the shape of spears. Decorated with three frolicking muses, the shade is the
color of bone enamel and evokes the Dior silhouette of the 1950s.
Sally Rosen 20th Century Collections from Dallas puts forward Romboide, a highly textural bronze sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro, with geometric formations that reveal "shattered" interiors comprised of repetitive nodules. Milan-based, Pomodoro is a world-renowned artist whose works are in the collections of the UN in New York, the Vatican, and the Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington, D.C. Romboide is titled, signed, and dated on the base, No. 28 in an edition of 30.
Among the other participants from the United States are: Camilla Dietz Bergeron Ltd.; Christopher Anthony; Collage-20th Century Classics; Framont Fine Art; Gallery 47; Good Design; Joyce Groussman; Glen Leroux Collections; Liz O'Brien; Mark McDonald; Michael Kanners; Neil Marrs; Reform Gallery; and Steve Newman Fine Arts. From London: The Silver Fund. From Milan, Italy: Il Segno del Tempo.
The fair kicks off with an early-buying preview party for NYC20: New York 20th Century Art and Design Fair on Thursday, April 12 from 6 to 9 PM, in the Tent at Lincoln Center in Damrosch Park. Co-chaired by Michael Bruno, Brad Ford, Julie Hillman and David Mann, the preview will benefit the Bard Graduate Center:
Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture. Ticket prices are $500 for entry at 6 p.m.; $250 for entry at 6:30 p.m.; and $150 for entry at 7 p.m.
The New York 20th Century Art and Design Fair opens to the public on Friday, April 13 and runs through Sunday, April 15. NYC20 takes place in the Tent at Lincoln Center in Damrosch Park, West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Admission is $20.
For more information, visit www.nyc20.net.