It took a while, but I finally was able to visit the Winter Antiques Show. The $20 admission cost seems like a lot to dish out, especially when re-entry costs another $20.
I’ve been to a number of high-end shows, among them the Armory Show and the Philadelphia Antiques Show and I expected something similar from the Winter Antiques Show. I was immediately struck however by the elaborate nature of the booths. Doorways, wainscoting, crown molding, wallpaper and the like were the norm at this show. It’s apparent the set-up time is significant, and a good reason the show runs longer than most others.
There’s definitely a wealth of items to look at, including lots of Americana. A painting by James Earl (brother of Ralph) featured in an article in American Art Journal (Smithsonian) in the 1980s was of note, as was the booth of China Trade artwork Patrick Conner. We left with a signed copy of his book, The Hongs of Canton: Western Merchants in South China 1700-1900, as Seen in Chinese Export Paintings.
A few more observations were an unusually large amount of aesthetic furniture from the Victorian era, more classical furniture that at the other previously mentioned shows and a significant amount of furniture in general. Maybe the mass of New Yorkers don’t have a space for a center table, but this upper-crust crowd may be more able to find a nook.
There were many items that list for more than a year’s worth of Brooklyn rent, in fact I might venture that most fall into that category. However I did notice some that are in the range of a month’s rent, like the set of ten circa 1820 English wine glasses for $1,200 offered by Tyler Williams of Chicago, IL or the pair of blue and white armorial ware offered by Cohen & Cohen of the UK for $3,000.
The show catalog looks shiny and expensive, the coffee seems to have been free, plus we left with a fabric Chubb insurance bag. Perhaps these give some additional value to the admission. In any case, it’s not much more than a movie and the hall is filled with museum-quality paintings, furniture and decorative art. There are far worse ways to spend and evening and $20.