05 February 2016

Crazy Beautiful

The snow came in gracefully, the breeze was light and the flakes fluttery, but they came and they came…. and they came.

Bustling, brash, bright, busy New York City gradually came to a standstill as nearly three feet of snow settled and piled up over everything.

It began peacefully on the evening of Friday 22nd January, the opening day of the 2016 New York Winter Antiques Show, after two weeks of crashing uncertainty on the world’s stock markets.

In any language, these circumstances did not combine to inspire confidence that the Winter Show would be a massive commercial success, and it possibly wasn’t………...but it was remarkably good.

On the snow ridden Saturday, (traditionally the busiest day of the show, with an average attendance of some 6000 plus visitors), with the city closed to all over-ground traffic, the show management boldly decided to keep the fair open and to welcome any intrepid souls who braved the conditions.
I believe that a total of something just short of 600 were reported to have visited.

The atmosphere was fun, there was a comradery in the hall and of course great tales of how people had made their journeys. The child in all of us was excited by the sheer beauty and drama of it and to witness this hectic, energetic city cloaked in huge billowing clouds of pure virgin white, still and virtually silent……..and yet business was still conducted.

We sold four pieces that Saturday, to three different clients and we were a long way from being alone in our success.

I believe that the show was generally successful. Visitor numbers increased as the snows melted and the second week brought fresh, sunny early spring days. We noted again that vernacular and sculptural works were eagerly sought after by designers, collectors and individual private buyers, but also interestingly that more traditional and formal pieces, of both English and American origin, met with demand and good sales were achieved.

On its own this doesn’t mean very much, as this is the pre-eminent and longest running vetted antiques show in North America, with an established reputation and strong client base, so can be considered as commercial a micro-climate, but it does reflect a shift in taste and dare I suggest “fashion”.

For the first time in its history the Winter Show eliminated their datelines and pieces by modern or living artists, (whose works are represented in multiple museum collections), were allowed to be exhibited and a few new specialist modern and contemporary dealerships, were invited to join the show. It is possible that this drew a slightly new audience to the Park Avenue Armory and it certainly altered the feeling and atmosphere of the show in what we thought was a positive manner.

Respected Art Critic Roberta Smith wrote a long and enthusiastic preview of the show for the Weekend edition of the New York Times for which she kindly selected an inherently primitive vernacular sculpture of ours for the cover photograph and mentioned our stand as one of three “OMG” moments at the 2016 show, which was a considerable compliment and privilege.

Finally on the last weekend Josyane’s flair for creating a composed, balanced and exciting stand was rewarded with the “Most Inspired” Award in the 2016 Booth Design Contest, another huge honour, of which we are very proud.

We enjoyed the trip, were hosted by warm and generous friends/clients, shared conviviality and good food with old friends and conducted successful business in a world that seems to be increasingly interested in the merit and values of vernacular and primitive works and in spite of all the inconvenience it caused, (including delaying Ilse’s return to the UK due to cancelled flights), we loved the snow. It was just so soft and relentless, so deep, white, magical and powerful, simply just crazy beautiful.


Gallery Tour