Monday, January 23, 2017

WINTER ANTIQUES SHOW Through January 29: Review by Polly Guerin

Washington and Lafayette at the Battle of Yorktown
Why are antique fairs important? The great folk art collector and patron of the arts summed it up succinctly in 1926 when she said, "To me (art) is one of the great resources of my life...I feel...that it enriches the spiritual life and makes one more sane and sympathetic, more observant and understanding, as well as being good for one's nerves."  Indeed the fair may just be the perfect tonic as the statement is even more relevant today.
      However, do not let me mislead you, the Winter Antiques Show's focus on folk art, is but one of the major highlights. The fair primarily features 70 renowned experts in the fine and decorative arts from around the world with a breathtaking array of curated presentations, booth collaborations, modern/contemporary art and design, as well as masterworks of American Art to a wide range of work by artists such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, John Singer Sargent, and Harry Bertoia. The show includes leading experts in ancient through contemporary art and design including 17th-19th English furniture and silver, Italian postwar, Wiener Werkstatte, Art Deco, British Aesthetic Movement, Scandinavian modernist, artists' jewelry, Asian, tribal and Oceanic Art, Old Masters, antique maps and armor and garden ornament.
THE FOLK ART CONNECTION As the Winter Antiques Show celebrates its 63rd year as America's preeminent art, antiques and design fair, its run through Sunday, January 29th provides ample time to visit the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue. The Fair's major focal point is the 2017 loan exhibition, Revolution and Evolution, which pays homage to the folk art collection of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum (AARFAM), one of the Art Museums of Colonial Willamsburg in Virginia.This colorful painting , featured above, created by the Massachusetts folk artist Reuben Law Reed in the mid-nineteenth century, circa 1781, depicts commander in chief George Washington and his French General Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, surveying the land segment of one of the decisive engagements of the American Revolution. The battle ended with the surrender of a British army under General Charles Cornwallis, first marquis Cornwallis, and proved to be the last major engagement of the War. Family members claim that the image "was painted from a description of the battle of Yorktown given by eye witnesses, who it is said congratulated him on the likeness." Reed had ancestors who had fought in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, and he maintained a lifelong interest in the war. Image: Created 1860-1880, Courtesy AARFAM, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Art Deco silver leaf panels and Mattia Bonetti table
EXHIBITOR COLLABORATIONS This year, the Winter Antiques Show offers to important collaborations by exhibitors. One such collaboration, the David Gill Gallery and Carolle Thibault-Pomerantz are showing furniture by Mattia Bonetti. For this unique collaboration designer Mattia Bonetti has created an exclusive wallpaper entitled "Carolle Line" for Carolle Thibaut Pomerantz. Silk-screened gold and silver metallic striations on digitally printed background is presented on the overall walls of the stand and vintage Papier Peints--the art of illusion and trompe l'oeil---hand over it as "works of art."  The antique wall panels, Les Mois, one panel from a set of 5, individually depicting five months, April, July, August, October and December, are outstanding wood-block printed works of art by Joseph Dufour, 1808, he hand brushed the background in pale blue, the design by the French artist, Alexander Evariste Fragonard, the son of Jean-Honore Fragonard.
     Then, too, there is a fine pair of Art Deco over-door panels, wood block dsign highlighted in silver leaf, France ca. 1925, Charles H. Geoffory manufacturer.
JOHN SINGER SARGENT Take note, although the highly accomplished painter of landscapes and genre scenes, some of Sargent's society portraits are displayed at this year's show. Though he spent most of his life abroad, his American ties brought him numerous portrait commissions including the portrait of Kate Haven, 1903, one of his many portraits of children at exhibitor Adelson Gallery, New York, one of the country's foremost experts of the works of John Singer Sargent.  
Mrs. Hugh Jackson by John Singer Sargent
Yet you will find Sargent elsewhere in the show. From exhibitor Michael Altman Fine Art, comes a widely published and exhibited work by John Singer Sargent from 1907, portraiture of Mrs. Hugh Jackson (known throughout her life as "Tiny" because of her small size at birth, oil on canvas.
      Stop of at Didier Ltd and view a Salvador Dali, unique Surrealist hand ring with a pair of hands with cut ruby fingernails holding a globe encrusted with mine-cut diamonds.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! Important to know. Every object at the Winter Antiques Show is vetted for authenticity, date and condition by a committee of 160 experts from the United States and Europe. Net proceeds from the Show benefit the East Side House Settlement which provides quality education and technology training as gateways out of poverty to students in the South Bronx.
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