Despite the frigid temperature on the evening of January 18, a record attendance of 1,400 people streamed into the inaugural Metro Show opening at Chelsea's Metropolitan Pavilion to preview the brand-new incarnation of the former American Antiques Show. Throughout the exhibition hall, superlatives for the event reverberated from the 35 participating dealers, and everyone else-collectors, contemporary artists, curators, and interior designers-all proclaimed the show a smashing success. In fact, the dealers declared the packed crowd to exceed any preview-show attendance they had witnessed in years. Over 6000 people continued to flow into the Metro Show right up to its close on January 22.
"We are very pleased that we have been able to establish a vibrant new fair like the Metro Show in this tight economy," said Caroline Kerrigan Lerch, who worked with the original American Antiques Show for seven years and was delighted by the overwhelmingly positive outcome from the new Metro Show. "Many exhibitors had exceptional sales, many to new clients," said Kerrigan Lerch. "This highly upbeat development bodes well for the future!"
Among those spotted at the Metro Show were Jerry Lauren; Stephen and Wendy Lash; Mario Buatta; Mariette Himes Gomez; Jamie Drake; Ellie Cullman; Martin Wolf; Audrey Gruss; Christopher Boshears; Harry Heissmann, Jean Shafiroff; Victoria Wyman; Geoffrey Bradfield; Jack Lenor Larsen; artists Donald Sultan, Philip Pearlstein, Jene Highstein, Glen Goldberg, and John Newman; filmmaker Ken Burns; auctioneer Leigh Keno; Phillip Zea of Historic Deerfield; Lahikainen Dean of the Peabody Essex Museum; and Patricia Kane of Yale University.
"This show has taken on a new vibrancy," said Jerry Lauren, the noted folk art collector.
Added interior designer Mario Buatta: "The opening had great energy. I haven't seen crowds like this in years."
"The opening night was sensational," said Tim Hill. "It was an exciting mix of familiar and new faces interested in a wide range of things," he said.
Allan Katz said the opening was everything he hoped it would be. Referring to the crowds, Katz said: "They're overwhelming. Everyone seems refreshed by the changes."
"We never anticipated the amount of people who would attend this show," said Frank Maresca of the Ricco Maresca Gallery, which sold seven objects, three of them to new clients. "The people were focused on buying and asking the right questions," he noted.
Arne Anton of American Primitive used the words "the best energy at a show in a very long time. The energy in the room was palpable."
"This was the best opening I've had since the Nashville Show thirty years ago," said Garthoeffner Gallery Antiques' Pat Garthoeffner, who was back at 8:30 a.m. the next day to restock her stand.
"We were very pleased to see many new faces," said Gary Sullivan, who also reported significant sales on opening night.
Arlie Sulka of Lillian Nassau had the most people she's ever had in her booth. "It was amazing!" she said.
"The opening was beyond anything I could ever imagine," said Jeff Noordsy of Jeff and Holly Noordsy Art and Antiques. "We loved the opening," he said, and compared it to the crowded opening of the New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Show.
Native American specialist John Molloy thought the show had "fantastic vitality and a diverse mix of specialties that make it one of the most exciting in New York."
Tramp art specialist Clifford Wallach reported that one of his biggest clients flew in from Los Angeles on his private plane to pick up a few important pieces of tramp art. "This was the best show preview I've experienced," said Wallach. "I sold fifteen pieces on opening night, one of which was the most expensive in the stand."
Here's a survey of some of the items sold during the five-day run of the Metro Show:
Allan Katz Americana: A rare Julius Melchers Tobacco Store Trade Figure, circa 1875, and Captain Jinx, an American Tobacconist Trade Figure attributed to Thomas J. White (1825-1905), a master carver in the shop of Samuel Robb, New York, N.Y.
Tim Hill Gallery:
Man in Blue Suit and Red Dog, each by outsider artist Bill Traylor, and each circa 1940; Millerite Teaching Banner, 1854; a carved and painted Standing Nude with Dove, circa 1930, from Duluth, Minn.; and a 19th-century Navaho sampler.
An African-American Pictographic Kirkwood Plantation Desk/Secretary from Mississippi, circa 1870; Untitled Arches by Martin Ramirez, 1960-63; a mid-late 19th-century American erotic cane; a Caryatid Figure, artist unknown, 1870-80, probably American; a pair of Coney Island Painted Panels, 1930-40; a Quilt pattern-cut paper stitched with white thread onto a sheet of Freemans Journal, dated March 18, 1844; a blue French robot vending machine, circa 1950s.
Stephen Score: A tin- and metal-based umbrella, circa 1950
M. Finkel & Daughter: A Pennsylvania Sampler by Mary Roberts, 1802, Bucks County; a
pair of Massachusetts samplers by Sally Wilder, 1816, and Nancy Wilder, 1809; a fine Massachusetts sampler by Sally Paine Hemenway of Shrewsbury, Worcester County, 1814; West Virginia or Ohio Sampler by Margaret A. Duff, 1832; and a walnut three-drawer stand, Glasgow, Ky., circa 1835
Jeff and Holly Noordsy: A selection of traditional New England Antiques, including a very special cedar side-top box, circa 1800; a hanging set of drawers from the Midwest, circa 1830; birth record from Rensselaer County; miniature portrait on ivory; and several chestnut bottles
Garthoeffner Gallery Antiques: A 32-piece collection of velvet fruit; weathervanes; quilts; two hooked rugs; an 18th-century American inn trade sign; numerous samplers; mochaware; redware; and baskets.
American Primitive: A 19th-century cowboy shop sign from a haberdashery in Wichita, Kan.; a hollowed, carved wood-sculpture folk art Peacock, circa 1900; and Lady and Cat circa 1920, a folk sculpture.
Lillian Nassau LLC: A Tiffany Favrile Glass Calyx Flower Form Vase, circa 1899; a Tiffany Studios Seven-Light Lily Table Lamp, circa 1910; and Metropolitan Museum Sidewalk, 1983, a print by Charles Martin for a cover of The New Yorker Magazine.
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques: A star-spangled-pattern patriotic quilt, 1876, and several 13-star flags of varying sizes.
Maxwell Projects: Along Riverside Drive and Hosiery All Sizes, colored-pencil and graphite drawings on lined note paper by Pearl Blauvelt (1940-50).
Samuel Herrup Antiques: Several pieces of important American redware from the first quarter of the 19th-century as well as a mid-19th-century folding Valentine on paper mounted on a two-sided frame.
Steven S. Powers: The "Washington" Lafayette Presentation Gold Button, created by Leavenworth, Haydon & Scovill of Waterbury, Conn., in its first display in the United States in 187 years.
Gary R. Sullivan Antiques: A Goddard Townsend Newport chest-on-chest, circa 1770s; a chest of drawers by Joseph Rawson (a similar example is in the White House); and a candle stand attributed to Duncan Phyfe.
Just Folk: An oversized store display in cast iron with chrome plating and turned-wood handles, circa 1928.
H.L. Chalfant: A pair of 24-inch turquoise Galloway pots, circa 1930s.
Dalton's: The Cloud, a color woodblock print by Francis Gearheart, circa 1925
Worthington Gallery: Self-Portrait by Eva Boch, Noah's Ark by Eva Blum, and a Haitian village scene by Seymour E. Bottex.
In addition to the dealer offerings, private evening receptions for members of the Whitney, Cooper-Hewitt, and American Folk Art Museum took place. Booth talks and book-signings at the individual stands, where dealers discussed their specialties, were held throughout the duration of the Metro Show.
Next year's Metro Show opens Wednesday evening, January 23, and runs through Sunday, January 27, 2013.