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Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Best Bits: International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show

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Thin was not in in Thessaly 7,000 years ago.  In fact, this voluptuous marble sculpture represented the height of female beauty in the Aegean region of the Neolithic period. Only five inches tall, this tiny totem was a major find at Phoenix Ancient Art of New York. Thin was not in in Thessaly 7,000 years ago. In fact, this voluptuous marble sculpture represented the height of female beauty in the Aegean region of the Neolithic period. Only five inches tall, this tiny totem was a major find at Phoenix Ancient Art of New York.
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Anna and Brian Haughton were back at the Park Avenue Armory from October 21 to 27 to stage the International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show. Seems like yesterday that this London duo took Manhattan by storm, ushering in a new brand of showmanship marked by impeccable presentation, rigorous vetting and a cosmopolitan array of art and antiques offered by some of the world’s leading dealers.
The Haughtons have streamlined their Anglo-American portfolio and now offer two top general-line fairs, the International Show in October and Art Antiques London in June. The latter is planned for June 13-20 at Kensington Gardens .
But do not expect glitz.  Haughton fairs are aimed squarely at collectors. Says Anna Haughton, “We are interested in showing the things that real collectors want.”
It may be more old guard than vanguard after 23 years, but the International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show has not lost its wow factor.  Check out our best bets below:
#1 Fertility Goddess
Thin was not in in Thessaly 7,000 years ago.  In fact, this voluptuous marble sculpture represented the height of female beauty in the Aegean region of the Neolithic period. Only five inches tall, this tiny totem was a major find at Phoenix Ancient Art of New York.
#2 Chinoiserie Chimneypiece
If there was ever a piece to write home about, it was Ronald Phillips’s George III carved giltwood chimney piece, a monumental ten and a half feet tall and dripping with rococo ornament.  The London dealers were asking $1.3 million for the architectural artifact made around 1755, possibly by Matthias Lock, whose original drawing survives at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
#3 Bow Owls
Resting on twentieth century ormolu bases, this rare pair of realistically rendered owls was made by the English firm Bow in the 1750s. Brian Haughton Gallery of London offered them for just under $300,000.
#4 Scarlet Secretary
English art and design was anything but boring at Thomas Coulborn & Sons, show newcomers who brought only the highest octane examples. Forget brown furniture, this George II secretary desk was japanned in eye-popping scarlet and gilt. The West Midlands, U.K. dealers wanted $375,000 for the case piece attributed to London cabinetmaker Giles Grendey and dated about 1735.
#5 Mosaic Table Top
Best known for European sculpture from the medieval through Neoclassical periods, Tomasso Brothers dazzled with this micromosaic table top made in Rome in the early nineteenth century with bits of ancient Roman glass.  The dealers, whose headquarters is a nineteenth century villa in Leeds, U.K., priced the table top at $140,000.
#6 Regency Commode
This is just a wonderful piece from H. Blairman & Sons, Ltd., the London purveyors of fascinating nineteenth century British furniture and objects.  Regency in style, it was designed and manufactured about 1818 by George Bullock, who ornamented the exotic goncalo alves hardwood case with ebony, parcel gilt and brass. The English cabinetmaker topped his creation with marble.
#7 Jade Dagger
Marketplace consolidation eliminated great specialty fairs like the stunningly elegant International Asian Art Fair, which, in retrospect, seems ahead of its time. Fortunately, a few exhibitors from that Haughton enterprise now do the International Show. One is Samina, the London specialist in antique Indian jewelry from the Mughal and Deccan courts.  Samina’s star lot, a jade-hilted eighteenth century dagger, sold to a buyer on behalf of a Middle East museum. The price was said to be around $65,000. The timing coincided with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s grand reopening of its Islamic art galleries.
#8  Royal Dwarf
Born in 1619, Sir Jeffrey Hudson, a dwarf who gained fame as “Lord Minimus,” was given on his seventh birthday to the Duchess of Buckingham, who subsequently presented him to England’s queen. This cast stone and lead sculpture of Minimus was made by Austin & Seeley in 1844 and offered by London dealers Apter-Fredericks at the show. Longleat House in Wiltshire owns a very similar model in lead.  Even more extraordinary, a silver “Lord Minimus” turned up at Koopman’s, adjacent to Apter-Fredericks at the International Show.

#9 Wisteria Lamp
Wisteria lamps are the holy grail of Tiffany collectors – one sold for $762,400 at Bonhams in June - even though they are not the rarest thing the Studio produced. This example is one of about 125 originally made, says Arlie Sulka, owner of Lillian Nassau LLC, who offered the trophy dating to around 1906. Lillian Nassau retails American and European decorative arts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Marine arts specialists Hyland Granby Antiques are the fair’s only Americanists.
#10 Rockefeller Center Sculpture
Martin du Louvre packed a punch with early modernist sculpture. The centrepiece of the Paris dealer’s display was this eight foot tall atelier plaster, “Elegance,” by Alfred Janniot. The circa 1933 sculpture is a detail for the monumental bronze relief “Friendship between America and France,” made for the La Maison Française at Rockefeller Center in New York. One of Janniot's most important works, it was commissioned by David Rockefeller, at Aristide Maillol's suggestion, and descended in the collection of Rockefeller Center’s architect, Wallace Harrison.
#11 Resin Table
“We reflect the taste of our clients,” says James Harrison of H.M. Luther Antiques. Founded in 1947, the Manhattan-based firm has gradually introduced more twentieth century fare into its grand but richly eclectic offerings.  For drama, nothing beat this circa 1970, amber-colored French resin and steel dining table by Marie-Claude de Fouquières, the wife of an industrial plastics producer who created pieces for the Emir of Qatar, David de Rothschild and David Hicks, among others.
#12 Chinese Ink Painting
Flexible datelines have allowed the Haughton shows to change with the times. As Anna Haughton says, “Date is less important than quality. An object needs to stand on its own.”  London dealer Michael Goedhuis started as an antiques dealer but is now chiefly interested in contemporary Chinese ink paintings on paper.  This 2007 painting, “Scholar’s Rock,” is by Liu Dan, a Nanjing-born artist steeped in Chinese tradition. Goedhuis paired the work, sold for around $250,000, with nineteenth century Japanese bronzes.
#13 Tory Burch’s Kit
Let’s be honest. Half the fun of preview night is people watching. Fashion designer Tory Burch’s kit was definitely one of the most interesting ensembles. Casual with a retro vibe. Definitely not the helmet-haired society matron of past openings at the Park Avenue Armory. And check out those hunky rings.
Write to Laura Beach at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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