Puttin’ on a NYC Spring Show
Press releases for middle and top drawer fine and decorative art fairs usually fall in one of two categories: those that highlight dealers’ big guns and jaw droppers; and those that emphasize reasonable, even relatively modest price points, and thereby put a premium on “accessibility.” In their orthodox forms, both quickly wear thin.
Which is why The Spring Show NYC’s angle seems not just fresh and fun, but an enjoyably educative experience as well. Opening tomorrow in Manhattan at the Park Avenue Armory and running through Sunday, the fair acts as platform for 50-something dealers specializing in 20th-century decorative arts, English, Continental and American 18th and 19th furniture, tribal and Native American art, Asian art, paintings, sculpture and prints, maps and posters, even “garden ornament.” Hoopla, wir leben! (as the German collectors and connoisseurs might say.)
But what really makes the fair’s press release pop is how it’s framed. As the release says, “Astute organizers of art and antique fairs pursue a dual mission. On the one hand, they must appeal to museum professions and seasoned buyers, and on the other, they want to welcome neophytes. No art and antiques fair anywhere in the world fulfills those two goals with more aplomb than the Spring Show NYC.”
Back to the release: “Spring Show NYC dealers were asked to select two highlights: one for a hypothetical museum curator, and another for the novice collector.” Might this be perceived as a gimmick? Sure. What escapes it from actually being a gimmick? The quality of dealers and the seriousness with which they addressed the request.
Following are examples of picks, which are shown in order in the slideshow below: Dalva Brothers goes full throttle with an entire stand comprised of antiques with a royal French provenance, such as this late 17th-century baroque sleigh made for the heir to the French throne. Keeping to the museum curator-novice collector rubric, the über-erudite Carlton Hobbs proposes a mid 18th-century Anglo-Indian writing box made for Warren Hastings, first governor general of India, and a brass mounted 1930’s library cabinet by Alfred Porteneuve (nephew of Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann). Craig Van Den Brulle gives props to a Riemann cast-stainless-steel chair (also pictured above, priced at $120,000), and a etched bronze coffee table with inlayed agate stones by Jean Claude Dresse. Snappy dresser Jason Jacques highlights a vase in “budding style” by famed Danish ceramic designer Axel Salto, and a collection of collotypes on handmade Japon paper from the portfolio Das Werk Gustav Klimts, printed between 1908 and 1914. Lawrence Steigrad Fine Art selects Chacun Pour Soi by Philippe Rousseau, originally shown in the Paris Salon of 1865, and MacVicar Anderson’s Thames panorama Somerset House, St. Paul’s and Waterloo Bridge, London. Thomas Colville Fine Art picks La Psyché, a circa 1871 work by Belgian painter Alfred Stevens, and Evening Among the Ruins by early American Modernist A.B. Davies. And Douglas Dawson underscores an early 19th-century gilt-bronze casting of the Thai monk Phra Malai, and an enormous terra cotta African pipe from the 1920s, once owned by the queen of the Cameroon and positively smokin’.
After that, need anything more be said?
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