The 39th annual edition of the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show was held over Labor Day weekend, August 29-September 1, at the Baltimore Convention Center. Officially named the Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show, the event is staged and managed by the Palm Beach Show Group. Following its format from the past three years, the show consisted of three components: traditional art and antiques exhibitors; an antiquarian book fair; and a section featuring the creations of contemporary ceramics and woodcraft artists.
Regardless of how the show is configured, fine art, however it may be defined, is clearly the main attraction at this show. Traditional framed artwork, statuary, fired clay and porcelain, and examples of ornamental sterling silver artistry were conspicuous throughout the show.
The Art Nouveau era is often considered the height of European poster art. This example by Henri Privat-Livemont (Belgian, 1861-1936) was published in 1896 by lithographer J. L. Goffart of Brussels. The advertisement is for Absinthe Robette, a drink of choice among the social elite and artists at the turn of the 20th century. It was offered by Galerie Fledermaus, Chicago, for $22,500.
Again this year, the Palm Beach Show Group developed an outstanding lineup for its popular booth talk series. Each day a series of informational talks and discussions were offered by knowledgeable dealers on a wide variety of specialty topics. A total of ten wide-ranging talks were scheduled, from “The Most Important Women of the Roman Empire As Seen on Coins” to “Chinese Textiles: Ming to Ching” and “What Are Your Old Diamonds Worth?” This reporter stopped by Carole Pinto’s well-attended and quite interesting tip-of-the-iceberg primer course, “What Constitutes Value in a Work of Art?”
One thing that was a noticeable difference from last year’s show was that while there was still not an abundance of traditional Americana, there appeared to be more offerings this year, and those items were distributed among many dealers. Perhaps last year’s lack of items in the category prompted some to add a few pieces to their show inventory.
Another more concerning observation was the obvious reduction in the number of participating exhibitors. In a post-sale press release, the Palm Beach Show Group announced that there were 280 exhibitors at this year’s event. That is a further reduction from last year and a continuation of a steady decline over the past four years. That said, foot traffic did seem to be up as compared to our visit in 2018. In the same press release cited above, a total attendance figure for the weekend was announced as over 25,000 visitors.
The 2020 Baltimore Art, Antique & Jewelry Show will again be held over the Labor Day weekend, August 27-30. For additional information, see the website (www.baltimoresummershow.com).
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was arguably one of the most influential statesmen and political figures of the 20th century. His considerable talent as an artist is also well established. Few of his paintings, however, appear on the open market, and M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans, was pleased to offer one of them at the Baltimore show. The 1930s oil on canvas, A Village Fete, St. Georges-Motel, depicts partygoers along a bridge and retaining wall associated with a moat-like water feature surrounding the chateau. This is one of several scenes that Churchill painted while visiting the chateau located in the Normandy region of France. The 20" x 24" (sight size) painting is initialed “WSC” lower right, and price was $1,385,000.
Don Selkirk of Past Pleasures Moderne, Annandale, Virginia, offered a wide range of vintage and one-of-a-kind items. The 1930s copper and chrome industrial style desk lamp by Faries Manufacturing Company, Decatur, Illinois, was tagged $850. The figural lamp also dates from the 1930s and was assembled from a period base, with the top three graduated shade elements added. It was priced at $1295.
Marco Astrologo’s Philadelphia firm, Branded Luxury Unlimited, stocks specialty items from several luxury goods makers, primarily Louis Vuitton. Steamer trunks, briefcases, suitcases, and hatboxes are his stock in trade. This large, vertically configured Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, once the property of mid-century entertainment legends Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, was priced at $47,000. The various furniture pieces covered in Louis Vuitton’s trademark fabric were upholstered using discarded garment bags and the linings from other Vuitton items that could not be salvaged.
Ken Kelleher of Kelleher Fine Art, Turlock, California, is a regular exhibitor at the Baltimore show. This brightly colored oil on canvas depicting the interior of a greenhouse being attended to by a gardener is by Ernest Jean Joseph Godfrinon (Belgian, 1878-1927). The eye-catching post-Impressionist painting, titled Begonias and dated 1921, was priced at $22,000.
The Best of France specializes in not-your-everyday garden art and accessories. There was a “sold” tag attached to this 12' tall giraffe. Ed Crimi, owner of the Mechanicsville, Pennsylvania, firm, allowed that the giraffe had found a new home in Maryland. Delivery may be a challenge.
With over 30 years of experience, Mark McHugh and Spencer Gordon of Spencer Marks, Ltd., Southampton, Massachusetts, are well respected within the fine silver world. This circa 1875 sterling silver Tiffany punch bowl, marked as having a five-quart capacity, displays a gilded interior and rests on a pedestal base. The bowl is 8¾" high overall and 14½" across the handles and is 63.55 troy ounces. It displays bands of decorative foliage at the rim and on the pedestal base. The bowl’s most distinguishing features are the unusual, finely detailed walrus mask handles. The punch bowl was priced at $22,000.
This display of 1870-1925 cameos was in the showcase of Richard W. Bell Antiques, Orange, California. Most are carved from shell or stone, with one coral example. The mounts are intricately fashioned gold, platinum, or silver, and several of the figures are enhanced with diamond necklaces or earrings. The prices of this group ranged from $300 to $3200.
The large mermaid bowl and the tall crane or egret vase by Van Briggle are 1960s editions of older factory designs. The mermaid was priced at $695, and the vase at $505. The Arts and Crafts-era sterling silver on bronze candleholder and small vase by Heintz Art Metal were priced at $395 and $195 respectively. These decorative items were offered by John Holley of J. Holley & Associates, St. Petersburg, Florida.
Mary and Terry Eletheriou are from Norwalk, Connecticut, and trade as M.T.E. Antiques. The entrance to their booth was dominated by this fierce figure. The art of doll making is an integral part of Japanese history, dating to prehistoric times. This so-called “living doll” from the late 19th century is an approximately 24" tall nude male warrior figure—an unadorned Musha Ningyô—carrying a naginata. The doll is carved from a single piece of wood. The body was decorated with elaborate tattoos and then lacquered. The unusual figure was priced at $16,000.
The late 18th- or early 19th-century mahogany butler’s desk was offered for $6500 by Jim Butt of Butte’s Antiques, Thomasville, North Carolina. The desk has the expected fall-board top, which opens to a fully fitted interior of cubbies, short drawers, narrow document drawers, and a prospect cabinet. The desk is raised on slightly flared French feet. There is extensive lightwood inlay, with large urn forms on the faces of the document drawers and various bands along the edge of the top and above the scalloped apron. Several compass rose-like inlays are also prominently displayed.
At the Baltimore Fine Craft Show, the work of ceramic artist Anna M. White begged for close examination. White describes her pieces as “cut and sculpted.” The clay bodies are indeed sliced, then folded and twisted. Shown above left is a small (3¾" x 5") example from her “Natural Series,” $1400; on its right is a piece from the “Stitched Series,” $780. The large “Natural Series” bowl (at right and in detail) is titled Washed Up and measures 8" x 23" x 21". Its price was $15,000. The seaweed-like decoration on the “Natural Series” pieces and the fine “stitching” threads are applied before firing. Anna White operates from the Feldspar Studio & Gallery, Savage, Maryland.
Bradley Bloom of Gryphon’s Nest, Kalamazoo, Michigan, offered this five-piece miniature Dutch faience garniture from Der Drei Klokken (The Three Bells) factory, Delft, Netherlands. The factory was in production about 1671 to 1841. Each of the pieces displays the blue three bells mark. The covered jars stand 8" high. There is some age-related wear and staining, and one of the lids has been repaired. The group was tagged $1350.
Do any of these plates look like one you recently dropped? If so, a visit to Replacements, Ltd. may be in your future. The McLeansville, North Carolina, firm is well known as the place to find a missing piece of a specific china or glassware pattern, but it is also a source for accent pieces and fine estate jewelry. Replacements offers a “Find This For Me” service, along with access to in-house restoration and repair specialists.
This case of miniature figural articles was found in the booth of Christine Magne, Antiquaire, Philadelphia. The two heads of young men, Italian and from the 18th century, are made of terra cotta and were likely parts of crèche figures. They were offered for $1400. The carved alabaster sleeping putto is also Italian, 19th century, and was tagged $850. The gilded bronze figure of a reclining child, perhaps Cupid, dates from the 16th century and is thought to be German. It was $6000.
Malcolm Magruder of Millwood, Virginia, packed his booth with an array of smalls. These two collector/curiosities cabinets were meant to hold such items. The cabinets date from the late 18th or early 19th century and are likely Italian. They are similarly constructed, with stacks of short drawers flanking a central section with a prospect door that opens to reveal a stack of small drawers. The faces of the drawers are framed and decorated with inlaid scenes. The upper cabinet has figural scenes; the lower has birds. Although similar in design and function, the cabinets are not a pair. Each would likely have rested on a table for display. They were each priced at $8400.
Patricia Funt of New Canaan, Connecticut, always offers an eclectic mix in her booth. She arranged a needlepoint portrait of a proud King Charles spaniel nestled on a tasseled cushion, priced at $495, and a French Foreign Legion kepi tagged $85. The five-tier nesting Japanese lacquerware boxes are shown with the top of the case removed and at the right. They were tagged $850.
The Federal mahogany slant-front desk, from Baltimore, circa 1790, features a fully fitted interior, with eight pigeonholes, eight small drawers, and a locking prospect cabinet. The lower section displays four graduated long drawers above a shaped apron and slightly splayed French feet. Extensive satinwood line inlay and fan decoration is used throughout. This fine piece of Baltimore furniture was $4800 from David and Mary Lee Snuffer of Bedford on the Square Antiques, Pittsburgh. The bull bookends were priced at $1500, and the bronze figural bookends were $2800.
This copy of Cram’s “Rail Road and County Map of Texas,” published by George F. Cram of Chicago in 1890, was offered for $3500 by bookseller Jerry N. Showalter of Ivy, Virginia. The map was published the year following the so-called Oklahoma Land Rush, but the entire area of that neighboring state was still labeled as “Indian Territory.” The map folds to a pocket-size booklet.
Here is a menagerie of cold-painted miniature bronze figures displayed in the booth of Kozloff & Meaders, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There are tiny lizards, pigs, dogs, and dancing cats. In the lower center is a mini mouse. Mark Meaders priced the little figures from $75 to $2250.
Carole Pinto of New York City covered her booth’s walls with fine examples of colorful Impressionist artwork. An oil on panel (top), only 6½" x 9" (sight size), may have been the smallest piece exhibited, but it was certainly eye-catching. The artist is Raymond Feuillatte (French, 1901-1971). Pinto’s description notes that Feuillatte’s creativity encompassed many post-Impressionist styles. The painting, Village in the Mountains, has an undeniable Cubist feel and likely dates from the 1930s. It was executed on the back of another work or study (bottom), and Pinto has had the piece floated in the frame to allow viewing the images on the reverse. This little painting was priced at $9800.
Although traditional Americana items, especially furniture, were in somewhat short supply, Mark Besche of Baltimore offered this nice sugar chest on frame for $3600. The 1815-30 chest is likely from Kentucky or Tennessee and is constructed of cherry, with poplar as its secondary wood. The top features an applied shaped molding. The dovetailed case is set on a frame with short, turned legs and has a single long drawer with brass pulls. The interior divider is missing.
Harrington Antique Toys, Baltimore, was a first-time exhibitor at its hometown show. Among the cast-iron offerings was this circa 1890 clockwork firehouse with its horse-drawn pumper, manufactured by Ives, Blakeslee & Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Russ Harrington demonstrated the toy, which has a key-wind mechanism that when activated rings a fire alarm bell, opens the firehouse doors, and allows the pumper to roll down an incline and out of the building. According to Harrington, this is one of very few clockwork cast-iron toys. The firehouse with pumper was tagged $7500.
Originally published in the November 2019 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2019 Maine Antique Digest