An enthusiastic crowd descended upon New York’s Park Avenue Armory for the preview night of the inaugural Spring Show NYC on April 27. Organized by the Art and Antiques Dealers League of America, the show features 65 leading dealers and is open through May 2.
Just the right amount of differentiating style, varied period offerings, and price ranges, starting under $5,000 and reaching upwards of $5 million, helps this show to feel fresh in Manhattan's satuarated antiques show scene.
Swedish-born designer Lars Bolander says he has “always loved the structure” of the armory’s gargantuan vaulted ceiling which he emphasized with spotlights to create an airy feeling.
The cavernous, 55,000-square-foot armory was further transformed into an inviting space by a cheery palette. Aisles are punctuated with a tangerine-tinged obelisk and yellow zebra-striped fabric seats. The traditional yet modern look perfectly sets the tone for the diverse works of art on view.
Many pieces, especially those with an animal motif, sported tags indicating that their sale proceeds would support the show’s preview night beneficiary, ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Amongst these designated critters, a pair of cat-like shrine figures, made by the Akye Culture of the Ivory Coast, was offered at $12,500 by exhibitor Douglas Dawson.
The ASPCA-inspired theme prompted animalistic offerings across the floor, including a rare Chinese figural group of a man riding a tiger, dating from 1281 AD ($12,500; Vallin Galleries); Herbert Haseltine’s stylized gilt bronze Shire Stallion sculpture of the 1930s (Graham); and a whimsical cat-form tea caddy (the tail acts as a lever to open the lid) priced at $15,000 from Earle D. Vandekar.
Focused displays also made an impression. For one, Paul Vandekar of Earle D. Vandekar was eager to point out his wall of woolies---sailor-made textile ship portraits---anchored in the center by a handsome circa-1865 Royal Navy Ship depiction ($28,000). Across the aisle, Jeff Bridgman makes an impact with his collection of early American flags. Notably, he has a Civil War period 34-star American flag reversible quilt ($65,000) and Sheridan’s 1862 personal headquarters flag (mid-six-figures).
Avery Galleries grouped four lovely charcoal drawings by Boston School artist Lilian Westcott Hale (1881-1963), including a new one to the market depicting her grandson. A small gem was “Portrait of Young Girl” by little-known artist Marian Greene Barney, who was a student of Philip Hale.
Another overlooked female artist was shown by Mark Brock. Two works by Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe (1889-1961), one of a mushroom and the other of a lighthouse and seagull, demonstrate how well this younger sister of Georgia could paint, and perhaps why her famous sibling did not want her sister’s work to also be shown in Stieglitz’s gallery.
Centering Daphne Alazraki’s booth, two pastel-hued Marie Laurencin paintings of little girls flanked Corot’s softly rendered landscape “Prairies au board de l’eau” from 1870, one of the finest Barbizon School works on the market today and priced in the mid-six-figures.
English and Continental furniture was a well-represented category. One intruiging piece was an Adam period gesso console table with a Shelly limestone top embedded with oysters and marine fossils at Philip Colleck. Clinton Howell offered a Dutch 18th c. Chinoiserie leather screen depicting scenes from a dramatic love story, a simplified version of the famous Chinese opera the Peony Pavilion.
Carlton Hobbs created a serene space with a focal point of an enormous, 77-by-92-inch tile picture of liveried servants from Valencia, Spain ($220,000).
Priced at $6 million, the François Linke tulipwood and gilt bronze grande bureau offered by Charles Cheriff drew onlookers throughout the evening. This extraordinarily ornate piece from 1900 was exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universalle.
A rare pair of unusually large Sevres beau bleu potpourri vases dazzled at Dalva Brothers while the nearby booth of Vojtech Blau sported a fine selection of antique to modern tapestries, including a bold Calder workshop wool rug.
Works by Heade, Hassam, and Bricher illuminated Questroyal’s booth alongside early modernists such as Bluemner, Burchfield, and Marsden Hartley, represented with “Migration,” a 1943 oil of brightly-hued, stacked fish (mid-six-figures price).
Also, in the American paintings category, Kendall Collection had a Frank Benson watercolor of 1937, “Setting out the Decoys” and Thomas Colville featured an expansive William Hart landscape of the White Mountains and two small John LaFarge watercolors, including "Himene at Fara. Tahiti. Midday. At the Queen’s Home, 1891."
Drucker Antiques showed a splendid “King’s Bowl” from their extensive cache of Georg Jensen silver which includes pieces (and prices) that would appeal to the novice or seasoned collector, a hallmark of the show.