By Elise Taylor
Last night, design aficionados descended on Park Avenue Armory for the ultimate Throwback Thursday: The Winter Show, the world’s preeminent antique fair. Helmed by Executive Director Helen Allen and Associate Executive Director Michael Diaz-Griffith, the event celebrated its 65th anniversary this year thanks to its many antiquarian patrons.
The opening night party, which rose money for the East Side House Settlement, lured glamorous New Yorkers like Michael Bloomberg and Diane Taylor. But most importantly, it attracted dozens of best curators and collectors who exhibited their finest decorative arts. And oh, did they dazzle with their décor and treasures; from 18th-century Chinese vases, to embroidered Arts and Crafts screens, to the many sapphire-encrusted engagements rings on offer (this was the Winter Show’s Sapphire Jubilee, after all).
As the Winter Show opens to the public this weekend, here are the stand-out antiques, picked by Features Editor Lilah Ramzi and Living Writer Elise Taylor.
Wallpaper Panel, 18th Century, Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz
Antique wallpaper dealer Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz showcased a resplendent rice-paper wall paper panel, lush with butterflies and thickly-petaled blooms. The panel dates back to the 18th-century, when Chinoiserie reached its fever pitch in Western Europe, but for some (yours truly included) the craze never died down.
Jacques Adnet Chair, French c. 1960, Lebreton
Ugh, I can’t resist a good plaid. I blame my Connecticut upbringing. So this is what I say to Jacques Adnet chair from the 1960s, in all its French modernist glory: to me, you are perfect.
Delftware Vase, Delft c. 1860, Aronson Antiquairs
I always look forward to the booth hosted by Delftware dealers Aronson Antiquairs. Blue and white earthenware abounds, in the space but this vase c. 1680 caught my eye. With individual floral receptacles, it makes floral arranging a breeze! I only wish this particular vase was holding tulips.
Rare Famile Rose Porcelain Vase, Chinese 1723-1735, Ralph M. Chait Galleries
This Yongzheng period vase is adorned with colorful birds and pink peonies. The large size of the flora and fauna is unusual for the time, suggesting that this was made for the European market (likely Spain or Portugal). The craftsmanship is exquisite—and the springtime hues brightened up my otherwise dreary winter night.
Crewelwork Screen, English Late 19th Century, Keshishian
I was struck by this English, late 19th-century room divider at the Keshishian booth. The crewelwork (wool embroideries done on a linen ground) features oversized twisty vines and curled leaves in a divine Arts and Crafts color palette.
Chinese Lacquer Commodes, English c. 1765, Ronald Phillips
Believed to be by English cabinet maker John Cobb, this commodore’s original use was likely for clothes: an inscription found in one of the drawers reads “Lord Shaftsbury’s New Dressing Room.”
The exterior depicts a delightful and detailed Chinese landscape scene, with horses, temples, and conversing citizens.
Paul Colin Lithography Book, France 1927, Thomas Heneage
Head to booth D13 (Thomas Heneage Art Books) for a chat with the ever-knowledge Mr. Heneage. If you’re friendly enough, he’ll let you flip through this book of lithographs from 1927; pages dance with sketches from famed French poster artist Paul Colin. Midway through, you’ll find “Empress Josephine,” that is Josephine Baker, getting jazzy in her iconic banana skirt.
W.A.S. Benson oil lamp, English c. 1900, H. Blairman & Sons
This little lamp caught my eye thanks to its glass shade—which is not only a beautiful turquoise color, but a prime example of the Arts & Crafts decorative movement. It was probably made by famous English glassmakers, Whitefriars, whose design archive is held at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
Bruno Paul Brass Candelabra, Germany 1901
The highlight of the show, for me, was this rotating candelabra from the German multi hyphenate (architect, illustrator, interior designer, and furniture designer) Bruno Paul. Completed in 1901(!!!) this brass candle holder appears decades before its time. What a dream to bring it home, fill it with tapered white candles, switch off all the lights, and swivel its elegant arms around. The Germans really do it best, don’t they?
DeGournay Screen, 2018, for James Robinson
Ok, this one may be cheating. Because while this DeGournay Screen with monkey chinoiserie isn’t an antique—the French brand displayed it at the James Robinson jewelry booth at the show—it is an whimsical homage to the Art Deco designs of yesteryear.
Featured Image: Photo by BFA