Americana Week in New York City is an experience unlike any other in the world of antiques. The shows are big and beautiful, and the attendee list is a veritable Who’s Who of American business, entertainment and art.
Make no mistake, though, it is the antiques that are the star of the show.
From auctions of rare furniture and art at Sotheby’s and Christie’s to the opulence and magnificence of The American Antiques Show and The Winter Antiques Show, and all the other shows and events in-between, the name of the game is Americana, the best the nation has to offer.
Elle Shushan. Portrait Miniature of Sarah Bernhardt, by Edith Karuth. c. 1900. Set on ivory. Depicts Sarah Bernhardt in the role of Duke of Reichstadt, Napoleon’s 17-year-old son. 3 1/2 length x 2 5/8 wide.
While it is a rare buyer that can go and afford the goods at TAAS and WAS, Stella’s Antiques at the Armory offers a somewhat less exclusive, though equally classy, alternative. The good news for everyone that can get to Manhattan somewhere between Jan. 19 and 27 is that the shows are open to all for admission, and the enjoyment of being around such amazing stuff is well-worth that price.
What follows is a breakdown of the principal events of the week.
The American Antiques Show
The American Antiques Show (TAAS), now in its seventh year, features a distinguished roster of 45 of the country’s finest dealers in folk art and American antiques offering the “Best of America,” including 19th century portraits and landscapes, furniture, historic needlework, American Indian art, tramp art, decoys, weathervanes and whirligigs, quilts, hooked rugs, pewter, gameboards, idiosyncratic works of art and other decorative works from the 18th through the early 20th centuries.
Olde Hope Antiques, Inc. Chalkware Cat. c. 1860. Original polychromed and "smoked" decoration. 15" high.
TAAS is an annual benefit for the American Folk Art Museum. All net proceeds from the Gala Benefit Preview, Educational Series, special events, and general admission support the museum’s exhibition and educational programming.
At The Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York City (between 6th and 7th Avenues). Show hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19, from noon–8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 20. from noon–5 p.m.
Daily admission is $18, includes show catalog and two-for-one admission to the museum. For more information about the museum or museum hours, call 212-265-1040, or go online to www.folkartmuseum.org.
The Winter Antiques Show
The Winter Antiques Show celebrates its 54th year in January as America’s most prestigious antiques show, providing museums, established collectors, dealers, design professionals and first-time buyers with opportunities to see and purchase rare and exceptional pieces showcased by 75 exhibitors specializing in American, English, European and Asian fine and decorative arts.
Kentshire Galleries, Ltd. Bracelet, French, c. 1930, Signed R. Boivin. Art Deco gold cuff bracelet of swirled design, terminating in two cabochon emeralds with Old European pave set diamond crescents in 18k.
This year, new specialists in Delftware, European sculpture and Americana join, or re-join, this fully vetted show, Jan. 18-27. The show is regarded as the standard of excellence by which all other antiques shows in America – if not the world – are measured. All net proceeds from ticket sales support the East Side House Settlement, a non-profit in the South Bronx providing social services to community residents.
The Winter Antiques Show is held at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue.
Show hours are from noon to 8 p.m., daily, except Sundays and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.
General admission to the Show is $20, which includes the Show’s award-winning catalogue.
For more information, go online to www.winterantiquesshow.com.
Antiques at the Armory
Stella Show Promotions will hold Antiques at the Armory from Jan. 18-20.
Launched in 1995, Antiques at the (Other) Armory has become a mainstay of Americana Week in New York. Featuring 100 select exhibitors of fine and affordable American and European antiques, period furniture, Americana, folk art, garden and architectural artifacts, fine art and prints, and on. Stella offers free shuttle service all weekend between this show and the Winter Antiques Show.
James and Nancy Glazer Antiques. Tramp Art Desk. c. 1910, Northeastern United States. Intricately carved tramp art desk with multiple drawer arrangement. 30" W x 58" H x 20" D.
Antiques at the Armory is at the 69th Regiment Armory located on Lexington Avenue at 26th Street.
Hours are Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission is $15.
Stepping in to fill a small part of the gap left by the absence of Stella’s Pier Antiques Show, promoter Barry Cohen has put together Antiques Manhattan, Jan. 17-20, right next door to TAAS.
The show is being kept purposefully small – Stella’s Pier show normally features more than 250 dealers – with just 25 high-end dealers dealing in primarily non-American antiques.
Hours are Thursday, 2-8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Admission is $10 with unlimited returns.
For more information, go online to www.b4rtime.com.
The Outsider Art Fair
While not an antiques show, The Outsider Art Fair is a tremendous amount of fun and is a true Mecca for collectors of Outsider work.
The show opens on Thursday, January 24 with a preview party, and continues through January 27 at the Puck Building, 295 Lafayette Street at the corner of Houston.
The show is produced by Sanford Smith for the American Folk Art Museum, which has planned a number of events, including a symposium and a panel discussion.
Hours for the show are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission is $20.
For more information, go online to www.sanfordsmith.com.
Christies Auction House – A series of significant collections.
Important American Silver ~ January 17
Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Prints and Decoys ~ January 17 – 18
Property from the Collection of George and Lesley Schoedinger ~ January 18
The Collection of Marguerite and Arthur Riordan, Stonington Connecticut ~ January 18
Leading the Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Prints and Decoys sale is the Stevenson family scalloped-top tea table (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000). This season of American Furniture and Decorative Arts features a range of rare objects — from waterfowl decoys to a collection of thoroughbred racing trophies.
The centerpiece of Christie’s Americana Week celebrations is the Stevenson family scalloped-top tea table (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000).
Following the recent record-breaking sale in October 2007 of the “Garvan” carved pie-crust tea table, the focal point of the various owner sale is the Stevenson table.
Conceived and executed as a masterpiece, this tea table survives in a remarkable state of preservation. Its old, largely undisturbed surface reveals a magnificent mahogany grain and the full depth of its exuberant carving. The table descended from the Stevenson family of Philadelphia and was sold by a direct descendant at Christie’s in 1990.
A collecting area within Americana that has taken flight in recent seasons is waterfowl decoys. Held in partnership with Guyette & Schmidt, the world’s largest decoy auction firm, the January 18 auction will feature more than 70 decoys with estimates ranging from $1,000 to $600,000.
For more information, go online to www.christies.com.
Sotheby’s Auction House – Americana Week event to feature “The Acme of Perfection” tea table, Jan. 18-19
During Americana Week 2008, Sotheby’s New York will offer one of the greatest masterpieces of American furniture, the McMichael-Tilghman Family Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany “Acme of Perfection” Tea Table, attributed to the “Garvan carver,” Philadelphia, Penn., circa 1755, as the centerpiece of its sales on January 18-19th, which will include American furniture, folk art, silver, ceramics, prints and rugs. The table is estimated between $2-6M.
Sotheby’s will offer the McMichael-Tilghman Family Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany “Acme of Perfection” Tea Table, attributed to the “Garvan carver,” Philadelphia, Penn., circa 1755, as the focal point of its Americana Week sales.
Called “The Acme of Perfection in American Piecrust Tables” by William MacPherson Hornor in Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture (plate 223), published in 1935, it is a rare document of the “Garvan” carver, the finest native carver working in America during the eighteenth century.
Another cornerstone of the January sale will be an Historic Ship’s Figurehead from the Prow of the Clipper Nightingale, which navigated the world during the 19th century. The full-length, beautifully-carved figurehead depicts the famed Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind (1820-1887), a figure of worldwide renown at that time.
Sold as “a scarecrow” to the owner of a Swedish farm, the figurehead was rediscovered by Swedish collector Karl-Eric Svardskog who, through 13 years of unfailing research, sought to determine her origins and recreate her story. It is estimated to bring $100/150,000.
For more information, go online to www.sothebys.com.
The presale exhibitions at both auction houses begin on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Previews continue on Sunday, from 1-5 p.m., and Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., except on sale days, when the hours are 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Check the Web sites for complete details or call Sotheby’s at 212-606-7000 or Christie’s at 212-636-2000.