May 03, 2012

Zoomorphia at The Spring Show

If you are in the mood to be dazzled by the endless variety and infinite beauty of centuries of civilization then you must stop by the AADLA (Art and Antique Dealers League of America) Spring Show at the Park Avenue Armory taking place this weekend.

As someone who prefers a Capability Brown approximation of a natural landscape to the real thing, I was in pure heaven. For those of you who might say the same for animals, this post is for you.

The mid-15th century Italian stone creature (crocodile perhaps?) pictured above at L'Antiquaire and The Connoisseur mesmerized me with its jagged teeth even before I saw it was doubly sublime with two heads. The 18th century Piedmontese hand-painted screen behind it is one of the owner Helen Fioratti's favorite things on the stand, and used to be in her own house in Italy. The palette is soft pinks and blues which haven't faded due to it being painted in tempera.

A 17th century cast iron shop sign of a lion passant (within a 19th century wreath) was an unexpected find at Kentshire. It was even more fun to discover that it had once belonged to starchitect Stanford White...

... and can be seen pictured here in his Gramercy Park townhouse, courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

This spectacular French late 17th/early 18th century sleigh pulled by griffins may seem out of a fairy tale but it was designed by Jean Berain for the Dauphin. It is in Dalva Brothers' stand which is dedicated to French royal pieces including a fire screen made for Marie Antoinette.

Three beautifully carved carousel animals - a zebra, stag, and a bejeweled polar bear - at Yew Tree House prove one can collect anything. They all come out of an enormous European collection that was housed in an airplane hangar. I learned that the more ornate animals, such as the polar bear, would be placed in the outer-ring where they were more visible.

This snazzy Murano glass tropical fish, c. 1970, from Mark Helliar, doesn't require a complicated state-of-the-art aquarium or food...

and who needs to eat anyway with this pair of devastatingly chic whippet candlesticks from Clinton Howell - the quintessence of the Regency period. Make sure to step back to enjoy the massive lady slipper...

painted by Anne Harris. Click over here to view her portfolio and be even more wowed.

A pair of massive Ming dynasty porcelain lions from Vallin bade me farewell and are waiting to greet you.

The Spring Show at the Park Avenue Armory continues through Sunday, May 6

Visit for more information.

And for a finale, my personal favorite of the show from Hyde Park Antiques: a pair of Chinese export verre eglomise portraits of two European lovelies, c. 1780 - or could one be a man, as one person believes?

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Saying Goodbye to one of the Finest Rooms in America

When asked to select my all-time favorite American interior, one room has always sprung to mind first and foremost: Mr. and Mrs. John Gutfreund’s “winter garden” sitting room at 834 Fifth Avenue. In this lush oasis of fresh lettuce greens and delicate pinks, the hustle bustle of New York’s concrete streets outside those silk -festooned windows melts away.