It’s a Wonderful Town with VIP

Carly Berlin, one of our Winter Antiques Show dealer guides, showed Trust members this secretaire abatant by Duncan Phyfe. It was part of the Phyfe show at the Met last year and is arguably Phyfe’s greatest masterpiece.

The 2013 VIP Antiques Weekend in New York was a day longer than usual and full of excellence. The Winter Antiques Show, our focus for the weekend, filled us with delight, inspiration and awe as we made our way around the floor with our charming and very knowledgeable “dealer guides,” before the show opened to the public.

Sara Donnem, a Trust member from Charleston and Cleveland, was our hostess for this special event and she is on the board of the East Side House Settlement, the very deserving recipient of our contributions. Lunch, easy and delicious, brought Trust members to the Tiffany/Stanford White room and surrounded them with history of the Armory as well as architecture and decoration of the period.

Continuing on Friday to the Metropolitan Museum, Curator and Trust Board Governor Peter Kenny welcomed us and introduced exhibit curator, Wolfram Koeppe, the Marina Kellen French Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, who guided us through the extraordinary exhibit of Europe’s highly esteemed 18th century cabinetmakers, Abraham and David Roentgens (see Books).

Helen Fioratti (l.), in her foyer with Trust Governor Margize Howell, welcomed Trust members to her lovely apartment on Sunday morning. An extraordinary visit. Many Trust members visited her shop, L’Antiquaire and Connoisseur, to see the exhibit of old masters drawings and paintings.

On Saturday afternoon, Trust members were hosted by The Classical American Homes Preservation Trust at the historic George F. Baker House, to hear Gil Schafer speak about his new book, The Great American Home, Tradition for the Way We Live Now, (see Books). Afterwards, Trust members enjoyed a glass of wine and a view of the lovely Baker House rooms while books were being signed.

Through the weekend, Trust members had made their way to L’Antiquaire & the Connoisseur, the Fioratti shop, to see the Masters Drawing exhibit. But on Sunday morning, the extra day of this year’s VIP, Trust members gathered at Helen Fioratti’s Park Avenue apartment for orange juice and tea sandwiches and a look round one of the most beautiful apartments in New York. Her European collections of furniture, paintings, drawings, ceramics, and books and her knowledge of the art as well as various associations with the pieces made for a incredibly interesting visit.

Afterwards, Trust members gathered at the studio of Ralph Harvard, Inc. In his inimitable fashion, Ralph was ladling syllabub, an 18th-century favorite, from a big punch bowl into silver julep cups for everyone who arrived. We were surrounded by wonderful early Virginia furniture, botanical specimens, fabric and wallpaper swatches, several walls loaded with architecture and decorative arts books, and plenty of smiling family photographs looking like the smiles on wife Clifford and son Rafe who were in attendance. It was a celebration finish to a wonderful VIP!

David Schorsch, one of our Winter Antiques Show dealer guides, at Elliott and Grace Snyder’s booth, shows a doll’s chair made in Bergen County, NJ, with its original paint.

 

 

In the Kindig booth, David Schorsch points out the extraordinary mantel and wainscot panels from Littleton, North Carolina, dating to 1815 and made of yellow pine. It was first shown on the cover of Antiques Magazine December 1931. Over the mantel is a Peale portrait of Washington.

In the Rebollo booth, David Schorsch, observed by Susan Stein of Monticello, talks about the Thomas Affleck chair that belonged to Gov. John Penn in Philadelphia. He says that it is so upscale that it looks English to some people, but, was really reinterpreted from English pattern books in an American way. He told us that his mother, a great antiquarian, told him that “American furniture had dirty underwear,” and in this picture he is pointing out the tool marks and the rough corner blocks on the underside.

 

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Trust members were welcomed by Trust board governor, Peter Kenny (right), the Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator and Administrator of the American Wing. Wolfram Koeppe, curator of the Met’s department of European sculpture and decorative arts, introduced Trust members to his exhibit, “Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens.” Wolfram continued around the Exhibit with Trust members, talking about the various pieces and demonstrating the mechanical parts of this extraordinary 18th century furniture.

 

Gil Schafer, architect and author of The Great American Home, Tradition for the Way We Live Now, with Trust Director, Penny Hunt, after Gil’s talk at The Baker House, headquarters of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust.

Ellie in the Lost City Arts booth, specializing in the 1950s–1970s, showed us this desk and chair, c. 1965, made by Wendell Castle sporting a price tag of 1.2 million.

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