New York's signature Americana Week continues through February 2, with a number of fairs, auctions, gallery and museum exhibitions and events centered on American art and antiques, and other categories, offering a mix of historic period objects deftly combined with contemporary works to reflect tastes today.
2020 already started off strong with outsider art. One, the master artist who rose from slavery, Bill Traylor (circa 1853-1949) had his star rise further with a record auction price of $507,000 at Christie's Jan. 17 sale. His rare red-hued and double-sided work, “Man on White, Woman on Red” and “Man with Black Dog," had provenance as a gift from Steven Spielberg to Alice Walker after the film adaptation of The Color Purple wrapped. While long admired, and championed by Outsider Art Fair exhibitors (earlier this January, at Hirschl & Adler Modern), Traylor's place in art history got a huge boost with a major retrospective in DC, a current show at David Zwirner and recent media buzz from critic Jerry Saltz and others.
1. The New York Antique Ceramics Fair evolved from the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair. This "boutique" gathering of top-tier dealers at the Bohemian National Hall (3rd floor; from Jan. 23-26) offers complimentary admissions to browse a creme-de-la-creme selection of fine ceramic pieces from Staffordshire teapots to majolica platters.
2. The Winter Show (Jan. 24-Feb. 2) is the grande dame of Americana Week. At the Park Avenue Armory, discover the 'best of the best' across collecting categories. Hob nob with dealers, designers and celebs at the Opening Night Party on Jan. 23 (ticketed levels). Range and vetted quality are the Winter Show's draws, expect a diverse selection from contemporary works like Sam Gilliam’s Ray VI (1970) at Gerald Peters Gallery's booth to antiquities such as an Egyptian green basalt bust of a seated nobleman or scribe from the Late Dynastic Period at Charles Ede.
Since artists outside of the mainstream are on the rise check out the booth of miniature portrait specialist Elle Shushan exhibiting recent paintings by self-taught artist Andrew LaMar Hopkins, whose work depicts daily life in antebellum New Orleans. Also, Hirschl & Adler Modern will feature several works by outsider artist Frank Walter.
The Winter Show's programs and panels, such as Opportunities and Perspectives in Collecting Asian Art (Jan. 26, 2:30 pm), offer educational opportunities and collecting insights.
3. Head downtown to Fisher Heritage (by appointment; email: email@example.com) in Chelsea to discover a trove of eye-catching, soul-enriching handmade American antique quilts, coverlets, hooked rugs, samplers, needlework, shawls, and more from the many well-edited groupings amassed by specialist Laura Fisher.
4. Discover pieces once hidden away in private homes with a suite of Americana sales that take place this week at Christie's, Keno, Doyle and Sotheby's. Doyle has a 400-lot private collection of antique toys and folk art, while Keno will offer a New York collection with superb examples of American craftsmanship and folk art.
5. Make a detour to Boston (or go online) for Skinner's American and European Art sale, with Fine Paintings & Sculpture on Jan. 24. This auction is full of finds, among them, a charming Fantin-Latour floral still life, Frank W. Benson watercolors including his gorgeous Snowladen Trees, a peaceful starry night scene by Charles E. Burchfield and an oil on canvas by Hudson River School master Sanford R. Gifford. Recently surfaced from a private collection, Gifford's Sketch of the Lago di Nemi is an exquisitely rendered study for one of the artist's greatest masterpieces (Toledo Museum of Art). Don't miss the dog painting by Boston-native and premier canine portraitist Alexander Pope (American, 1849-1924), in a carved frame with doggie-face details by Charles Prendergast (American, 1863-1948) and Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American, 1858-1924), titled Blue Ribbon Winners at Lawson Kennels.
For a listing a public events during Americana Week, see AntiquesandtheArts.