Winter Antiques Show 2012
A look at some of the garden antiques and nature-inspired pieces at this year's 58th Annual Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory.
Last week, I had a chance to attend the press preview of the Winter Antiques Show here in New York, which is celebrating its 58th year in 2012. The show runs until this Sunday, January 29, at the Park Avenue Armory. The show is a wonderful event, with all proceeds benefiting the East Side House Settlement. I spoke with Barbara Israel, the owner of Barbara Israel Garden Antiques, and she summed up why the show is so great, saying, "If you're not buying, you're learning."
I've put togther a short slide show of a few of the garden- and nature-related items that caught my eye at the show and some additional information about some of the events and lectures that are being held in conjunction with the show.
Left: Barbara Israel Garden Antiques. Figure of a Young Lady in the Guise of the Winter Season, cloaked and carrying a flame-filled urn. French, c. 1880. Terra-Cotta. 56 ½ in.
Winter Antiques Show
Park Avenue Armory
67th Street and Park Avue
Hours: 12:00 to 8:00 p.m., except Sundays and Thursdays, 12:00 to 6:00 pm
Daily admission is $20, which includes a catalog.
Barbara Israel, whose booth is centrally located at the show, has three separate pieces that she bought from a home in Harding Township, New Jersey, of which this sarcophagus-form planter was one (along with a bench and a large urn).
Israel points out that one of the great features of the show is that all of the antique dealers are manning their own booths, which means that it's easy to talk with them and learn about all of the different pieces and even touch some of the antiques, making the show the ultimate interactive museum. She gave me a great short talk about this planter, which depicts the fall of Phaeton, when he tried to drive the chariot of his father, the sun-god. It was commissioned by Stanford White, of McKim Mead and White, in Italy, and Israel showed it filled with water and a few water plants, laughingly explaining that she didn't want to fill the planter with dirt and worry buyers that there were cracks or other secrets inside.
Barbara Israel Garden Antiques. A Monumental Sarcophagus-form Planter, depicting the Fall of Phaeton. Italian, c. 1900. Marble. 37 h. x 88 w. x 32 in. d.
Some of the paintings, wall paper, and other wall hangings at the show reflected botanical themes throughout the centuries and a lovely reminder of the way different cultures have brought the outside in.
Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz. Chinese panel with flowers and bird design in vivid colors. Canton School, early 19th century. Hand-painted, mounted on Japan paper. 11ft 3in. x 3ft 8in.
At Michele Beiny's booth, a large porcelain vase for bulbs stood on a pedestal planted with tightly massed hyancinths in bloom. It was a wonderful example of seeing an antique being used for its purpose, rather than simply serving as a decorative relic.
Michele Beiny, Inc. A Soft-Paste Sevres Porcelain Vase for Bulbs. 1757-8 (Vase Hollandois, 1st size). 8 3/5 h. x 11 2/5 w. x 6 4/5 d. in.
Several booths also had china, either in single pieces or entire sets, painted with botanical motifs.
This Saturday, January 28, as part of the lecture series that accompanies the antiques show, Kathleen Eagen Johnson will present Star Ceramics at Historic Hudson Valley, exploring pottery and porcelain as a way to better understand the collecting interests and daily lives of New Yorkers during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. This year's loan exhibition at the show is "Celebrating Historic Hudson Valley at 60: Rockefeller Patronage in Sleepy Hollow Country."
Michele Beiny, Inc. Worcester Lozenge-Shaped Dish, Botanical. c. 1765. 10 1/2 x 7 in. Inspired by Chelsea Hans Sloane-type decoration. Similar example in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
All of the items in the show are verified by a panel of independent experts and museum curators, a way of ensuring the authenticity of every piece that is sold at the show.
Arader Galleries. Audubon, John James (1785-1851). Mallard duck from The Birds of America. Engraved by Robert Havell (1793-1978), London, 1834. Aquatint engraving with original hand coloring.
Some of the students from the Mott Haven Village Preparatory High School, one of the beneficiaries of the East Side Settlement's funds, were also at the press preview, learning about the antiques, like me. I had never attended the Winter Antiques Show before, assuming that everything available was out of my price range, but I didn't realize that the show serves as a sort of museum exhibit as well, offering something for everyone, whether or not you choose to buy something. (And certainly, though there are six-figure and up pieces available at the show, there are also many more affordable pieces as well.)
Joan B. Mirviss, Ltd. Hiroshige, Utagawa (1797-1858). Numazu from Gojusan tsugi meisho zue (Famous Places of the 53 Stations). 1854. Ukiyo-e wood-block print.
In a nice bit of inter-generational cooperation at the Winter Antiques Show, Barbara Israel's daughter, Emily Israel Pluhar, is a co-chair of tomorrow night's Winter Antiques Show Young Collectors Night, along with Courtney Booth and Stephanie Clark. Tickets are $175 and available at the door, subject to availability.
Barbara Israel Garden Antiques. A Recumbent Greyhound, with head looking straight forward, collar around neck, front paws gently crossed, and with tail sinuously looped around haunches. English, c. 1920. Marble. 35 ½ in.