Contemporary Focus Brings Diversity,
New Buyers To Palm Beach
Published: February 26, 2019
View original article here
Review and Onsite Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
PALM BEACH, FLA. – More than 135 dealers brought an estimated billion dollars’ worth of jewelry, art and antiques to the Palm Beach County Convention Center February 13-19 for the 16th annual Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show. At the gala preview party and Vernissage on opening night, champagne flowed freely and hors d’oevres were devoured by throngs of well-heeled buyers who braved wet weather and turned out in force for what has become a must-attend event on the local social calendar.
After the show wrapped, management reported that approximately 38,000 people attended the show over the course of the six-day run, which was comparable to the turnout in previous years. The opening night and Vernissage events have seen an increase in attendance, however, with about 5,500 attending this year. Speaking after the show closed, Scott Diament, president and chief executive officer of the Palm Beach Show Group, said, “This was one of the best years that we’ve had, with consistent traffic throughout the weekend. Many dealers have said this was the best year they’ve had at this show.”
As with many shows, sales were not universally strong throughout the floor. A few exhibitors told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that buyers were more hesitant and sales lacked an urgency seen in previous years. Some attributed it to an uncertainty spurred by current events or the political climate. Others felt it was a sign of the changing times, when consumers have an unlimited supply of goods available for purchase online, a phenomenon that might encourage looking more than buying.
As with most of the Palm Beach shows, jewelry is a large component. Approximately 30 dealers exhibit jewelry exclusively and many other dealers bringing merchandize in that category to appeal to the clients who come to the show specifically for jewelry. Dates range from antique to contemporary, with a broad variety of price points to tempt every level of collector.
Pat Saling specializes in fine French jewelry and works by Suzanne Belperron, Rene Boivin, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels and Fouquet to name but a few, as well as fine antique and estate jewelry from the Nineteenth Century. The New York City dealer also brought her own line of contemporary jewelry.
Greg Kwiat, the chief executive officer of Kwiat, New York City, was particularly enthusiastic about three pieces. The first was a pair of circa 1970s ruby and turquoise earrings by Bulgari, a pair of circa 1970s earrings by Van Cleef and Arpels that were similar to ones owned by Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis; and a pair of contemporary spinel, garnet, sapphire and diamond pendant earrings by Lauren Adriana, a contemporary designer based in London.
Provident Jewelry, West Palm Beach, Fla., occupied a large booth in the center of the floor and was buzzing with activity from the moment clients were allowed onto the floor. Two show-stoppers that company president, Rob Samuels pointed out were a 147-carat aquamarine necklace priced at more than $500,000, and a Van Cleef & Arpels diamond, lapis, tanzanite and 18K white gold “Zip” necklace that graced the cover of the booth’s catalog. After the show, a representative for Provident Jewelry said they had some great sales, though neither the aquamarine nor Zip necklaces sold during the show.
Contemporary craft jewelry was well represented as well. Sam Shaw, Shaw Contemporary Jewelry, Northeast Harbor, Maine, was exhibiting at the show for the first time and shared booth space with Hughes-Bosca, Gloucester, Mass. Many of Shaw’s creations are inspired by nature: using a process he described as “lost twig” casting, he creates 18K gold jewelry of twig-form which he then encrusts with precious and semiprecious stones. Hughes-Bosca repurpose high-end materials in unusual ways.
The Palm Beach show was the inaugural show for fine art dealer, Piers Davies. The New York City-based dealer formerly worked at Christie’s, where he was a specialist in the Sporting Art, Old Master, British and Nineteenth Century paintings departments. Davies had an iconic and recently rediscovered portrait of George Washington by William Winstanley (active 1775-1806) that is very similar to Gilbert Stuart’s Vaughan portrait, the original of which Winstanley himself owned. Before the show closed, Davies said the Washington portrait had been extremely well received and was a real talking point throughout the fair. He said it was great to be able to display it on Presidents’ Day and that it doesn’t matter what side of the political divide one was on, George Washington is the great historical role model for public service, personal sacrifice and humility.
Celebrating its tenth year exhibiting at the show, Trinity House Fine Art, London, New York City and San Francisco, brought works by Impressionist masters Eugene Boudin, Henri Le Sidaner, Gustave Loiseau and Henri Martin; Modern masters Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Giacomo Balla; Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century masters George Stubbs and John William Godward, as well as Contemporary icons like Andy Warhol. Speaking to the mission of the gallery, Zachary Hall said, “As the appetite for art continues to grow, it is our goal to bring to the marketplace prime examples by those artists who are sought-after on an international scale.”
Occupying a prime spot just inside the main show entrance, Gladwell & Patterson, Knightsbridge, London, brought a large assortment of works that showcased the gallery’s strengths in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century paintings, watercolors and sculpture. A particularly charming feature of their display was a small “booth within a booth” that was furnished sparsely, if comfortably, to show how artwork could coexist within a contemporary home. The gallery has been showing in Palm Beach for 11 years, and it is the only show in the United States in which the Knightsbridge dealer continues to participate.
Howard Rehs, Rehs Gallery, New York City, said “This year we will be displaying a variety of works, including an important Jehan-Georges Vibert, Maurice de Vlaminck, Henry Moret, Jean B.C. Corot, as well as a small exhibition titled “Paris: The City of Lights,” which features 8 to 10 works by Edouard Cortes.” After the show, Rehs said they had sold the Jehan-Georges Vibert, a flower market scene by Edouard Cortes; Stanley Bielecky’s “Summer in New York (The El)”; a lovely Andre Hambourg; an evening landscape by Ben Bauer; and a few paintings by Todd Casey and Stuart Dunkel.
Woodbury, Conn., dealer, Gary Sergeant, furnished his booth elegantly with, among other things, a circa 1740 cream-colored lacquered longcase clock with movement by Robert Player of London, a chinoiserie lacquered cabinet on stand, a dramatic spread-wing eagle weathervane perched on top of a high chest of drawers and a mahogany carved pedestal.
For those looking for American furniture and decorative arts, Roberto Freitas had the booth to visit. The Stonington, Conn., dealer brought several items to tempt buyers of every level, including blockfront and reverse-serpentine chests, a Hartford County, Connecticut cherrywood dressing table with broad overhanging top, a diminutive Federal sideboard with delicate foliate inlay, as well as artwork by Milton Avery, Reginald Marsh, Thomas Chambers, Ralph Cahoon, Antonio Cirino and Edward Willis Redfield. A circa 1760 George III green and gilt japanned longcase clock, the dial signed John Meredith, London, presided over the booth from one corner and a large copper molded sulky weathervane with double team of horses sat on a table in the center of the booth.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans, filled a booth with a diverse selection of offerings. One of the standout pieces – literally – was a 13-foot-tall painting of Cleopatra by Julius Kronberg (Swedish, 1850-1921) that was too large to fit in the booth and was priced “on request.” It did not find a buyer. Speaking after the show, Bill Rau said, “We are very pleased with our experience and the crowds in Palm Beach. Our extensive selection of one-of-a-kind fine art, jewelry and antiques really resonated with visitors. We had a lot of interest in our untreated gemstones, such as our fancy colored diamonds as well as Ceylon and Padparadscha sapphires.”
Formal English and Continental furniture were well-represented at Butchoff Antiques, London, which furnished the back wall of its booth with an impressive eight-door library bookcase attributed to Gillows. Other highlights in the booth included a large music box by Bremond of Switzerland that included four cylinders, each of which played eight songs. A circa 1890 Louis XVI transitional-style vitrine of demilune outline by French cabinetmaker François Linke had a mirrored back and marble top while a side cabinet attributed to Wright & Mansfield closely relates to one exhibited at the 1867 Paris Exposition and now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Early Twentieth Century decorative arts were well represented by both Lillian Nassau and Macklowe Galleries and both had good shows. Lillian Nassau, New York City, brought leaded glass lamps, blown favrile glass and favrile pottery vases, rare examples of Tiffany’s enamels, and two Wisteria lamps designed by Clara Driscoll for Tiffany and Company. In addition to an assortment of Tiffany lamps, Art Nouveau decorative arts and estate jewelry, Macklowe Gallery, New York City, brought a collection of circa 1925 French Art Deco “dinanderie” vases by Claudius Linossier; a rare circa 1925 Polar Bear vase by Emile Gallé; a Tiffany Studios Wisteria Landscape window, circa 1910 and an inaugural collection of contemporary jewelry by designer Neha Dani. Commenting before the show wrapped up, Macklowe said that they had sold all three of the Linossier vases, the Polar Bear vase, as well as four of the Neha Dani pieces.
In addition to the marine paintings and nautical antiques that comprised the majority of works brought to the show by Vallejo Gallery, Newport Beach, Calif., was three pieces of silver presented to two men for their heroic rescue of passengers of the SS San Francisco. The ship, a Pacific Mail Company sail-steamship, foundered off the coast of Charleston, S.C., on its maiden voyage en route from New York City to San Francisco. Lieutenant Francis K. Murray, a United States Naval Officer and passenger aboard the San Francisco, received two of the pieces: a Tiffany & Company ewer and a large lidded compote by Richard & William Wilson of Philadelphia. The third piece, a Ball and Black of New York ewer, was awarded to Captain Robert Creighton, the master of the British sloop Three Bells, a sailing ship that was among those that came to the aid of the San Francisco.
Midcentury Modern furniture was well-represented at Authentic Provence, which had pieces from designers like Paolo Buffa, Osvaldo Borsani, Josef Frank and Christian Krass. The West Palm Beach, Fla., dealer also brought a series of semi-figurative abstract works by French artist, Daniel Clesse (1932-2016). According to the dealer, the artist never allowed any of his works to be sold at any galleries during his lifetime but his death in 2016 made it possible for his works to enter the marketplace. Clesse had studied at the Ecole de Beaux Arts and his palette, which was almost exclusively in oils, recalled the light of Provence.
Pascoe Gallery, North Miami, Fla., brought a large selection of colorful hand painted Ardmore ceramic figural works from Kwazulu-Natal, in South Africa. Tom Munro said afterwards that it is consistently a good show for them. In addition to a broad variety of traditional antiques, the booth of Lynda Willauer Antiques, Nantucket, Mass., sparkled with a large quantity of circa 1930 vintage Czechoslovakian rhinestone Christmas trees.
Collectors of collectibles and pop culture gravitated towards the far end of the fair, where Trading Boundaries and Zack Nation – A Pop Culture Odyssey, Lake Placid, N.Y., were situated. Trading Boundaries gallery represents Roger Dean, who has done album cover art for such bands as YES and Asia. The East Sussex, United Kingdom, gallery had many of Dean’s original works, as well as limited edition prints. Dean gave a lecture titled “The Creative Process” at the show on Saturday, February 16. Zack Nation’s colorful booth featured original art from Brian Garcia and Greg Hildebrandt, as well as comic books, vintage vinyl and pop memorabilia from the late Twentieth Century, including Star Wars and Star Trek.
Asian antiques are not widely represented at the show but those dealers that focus on that collecting category brought an extensive and varied selection to tempt collectors. Chinese and Japanese works of art could be found with Janice Paull Antiques & Design, Greenville, Del., who had brought several framed scrolls, screen panels and prints.
London-based dealers Michael and Ewa Cohen of Cohen & Cohen brought a great selection of Chinese export porcelain, as well as more than 100 pieces from a California collection that featured Chinese Armorial porcelains, very rare European subject pieces and some figures and famille rose utensils, including a delightful lotus-form water dropper and stand decorated with roosters. A famille rose punch bowl from 1780-90 showed the Hongs on the riverfront in Canton, while a bowl from the Yongzheng period in bright famille rose enamels commemorated a Seventeenth Century trade negotiation between Dutch dignitaries and the Shunshi Emperor.
A new feature of the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show was a section titled “Contemporary Focus,” which was devoted to exhibitors specializing in contemporary and modern art, objects and design. The Contemporary Focus section held court over one corner of the floor, and the booths had a fresh, contemporary appearance, with white-painted walls that was optimal for staging the works the exhibitors brought.
When asked what the response to the new Contemporary Focus section was, a representative for the Palm Beach Show Group said, “Overall, the response to the new Contemporary Focus section of the show was very positive. Many visitors mentioned that it brought a fresh and vibrant offering to the Palm Beach Show, as it also introduced many new galleries to the event. Exhibitors noted that the shift in industry change toward contemporary and modern works cannot be ignored, and the new addition to the show added to the diverse reputation of the show.”
McKenzie Gibson is an emerging artist and designer from Warren, R.I., and this was her second show with the Palm Beach Show Group after showing at the January 2019 LA Art Show: Modern + Contemporary. Gibson challenges many conventional roles, including masculine processes versus feminine aesthetics. The primary artistic impetus of her practice represents the physical immediacy between artist, material and the labor of making. Her “Gesture” series, which are pewter alloy abstracted basket forms case onto a steel mold, are stunning
Works by Tigran Tsitoghdzyan, Donald Martiny, Udo Noger, Jane Manus, Lynn Chadwick, Max Steven Grossman, Boaz Vaadia and Metis Atash were available with Sponder Gallery, Boca Raton, Fla. Responding to the interests of the local audience, Steidel Fine Art, St Petersburg, Fla., brought the latest ceramic collections of Debra Steidel and Jennifer McCurdy. According to Maxwell Chapman, both collections had been previously well received at the Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary show and Art Palm Beach, both of which had occurred in January.
The contemporary photographs of Nathan Coe were exhibited by Fritz Gallery, Palm Beach, Fla., as well as Helmut Koller paintings and a work by Salvador Dali. Works from Coe’s “Island to Island” series of artful nudes were popular with fairgoers and were priced affordably, between $2,200 and $8,800.
The 17th Annual Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show will take place February 13-18, 2020. For more information, www.palmbeachshow.com.