The fourteenth annual New York Ceramics Fair reflected the country’s gradual shift toward a more robust arts economy with a slightly stronger gate, decidedly more active retail sales, and higher lecture attendance than the previous year’s Fair.
The Ceramics Fair once again kicked-off Winter Antiques Week on a bitter cold Tuesday evening with a crowd of 729, the largest in many years. The opening night crowd wisely arrived early and then scurried off in cabs and private cars before the sub-zero wind-chills set in. The lowest temperatures in three years slowed traffic for Wednesday and Thursday, but by Friday and Saturday, hearty antiques collectors boosted the Fair gate toward pre-recession levels.
|Day||2010 Gate||2011||11 from 10||2012||12 from 11||2013||13 from 12|
Dealers across the floor reported improved sales and many also noted that an unusual number of new faces in a crowd that has for several years been a very traditional group of collectors.
English dealer John Howard, reported a stronger show than last year and said among his sales was a rare Ralph Wood Staffordshire figure of a rooster, c. 1785. Another Englishman, Martin Edgell, of Cambridgeshire, included among his sales a Ralph Wood Staffordshire figure of Benjamin Franklin, c.1790 and a Prattware horse, rider and wife. Garry Atkins, London, also reported a stronger show than last year – with an especially busy opening.
For Mark West, London, the Fair started slowly but by end of day on Wednesday, he had sold ten Art Deco pieces by the renown Belgian glassworks Val St. Lambert and five Ban Chiang pottery vessels dating between 3,000 and 5,000 years old.
Glass dealer Ian Simmonds, NY, posted an outstanding show, from opening night on, and included among his sales a 7.5″ sugar bowl with engraved floral decoration by Bakewell, Page & Bakewell, or their successors in Pittsburgh, PA, 1820-35. Another American, John Suval of Philip Suval, Inc., Virginia-based purveyors of Chinese and China Trade Porcelain experienced the best Fair of the past several year’s and said most sales were at the top of their holdings and many to new collectors.
Paul Vandekar of Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, who included among his sales an important pair of Wedgwood creamware fruit coolers, posted a weaker show than in years past, while Anavian Gallery, New York, specializing in ancient Near-Eastern art experienced a stronger Fair than in years past, and like many Fair veterans, commented on the number of new clients visiting the Fair.
English Majolica dealer, Carmen Pattinson, appearing at the Fair for the first time, reported that she saw many new clients and included among her sales a unique Minton Lessore vase, which went to a museum and Nicolaus Boston, now of Limerick, Ireland, a specialist in Aesthetic Movement ceramics returning to the Fair after several year’s absence, reported a successful Fair with most of his business transacted in the mid-range of his material.
Moylen Smelkinson, Baltimore, reported a stronger Fair than last year’s whereas New York’s Leo Kaplan, Ltd. said sales were weaker than in 2012, as did Santos, London. Santos, however, sold his catalogue piece, a very rare Chinese export porcelain plate (one of two) decorated in the “famille rose” palette with the figure of Don Quixote and his servant Sancho Panza immortalized in the work of “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, “El Principe de los Ingenios” (The Prince of Wits), c.1750, Qianlong reign, Qing dynasty. Diameter: 23cm.
First time exhibitor George Kingham, England, included among his sales the work featured in the Fair’s ads, a Martin Brothers ceramic sculpture of a characterful bird, made by Robert Wallace Martin in Southall, London, Dated 1897.
Returning for a second year, TOJ Gallery, Annapolis, MD reported sales to many new clients and included among their sales a rare etched glass vase of leaping deer designed and signed by Charles Catteau, Belium, c.1930.
Delft dealer Antiques van Geenen reported several museum sales during the course of Fair that for them was commercially comparable to 2012. This is the third appearance for the Netherlands concern, showing some of the Fair’s oldest continental works.
On the contemporary side, Martin Cohen of Great Neck, NY, said that he sold nine large sculptures by Jose Arias including the monumental catalogue piece. Ceramicist Katherine Houston of Boston reported that for the second year in a row she has experienced stronger sales in her larger and more elaborate works, this year including a large Flemish centerpiece featuring artichokes. Another working potter, R. A. Pesce, appearing at the Fair for the first time, was pleased with response to his work by an entirely new group of collectors.
The 2013 Fair also experienced it’s largest group of visiting Museum Curators since its 2000 launch. Among the institutions visiting, many of which made acquisitions, were; Art Institute of Chicago, Baltimore Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Colonial Williamsburg, Corning Glass Museum, Detroit Museum of Art, Dorflinger Glass Museum, Dumbarton House, Havasu Art Guild, Hood Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mint Museum, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Museum of the City of New York, New Bedford Glass Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Reeves Collection, Washington & Lee University, St. Louis Art Museum, Trust for Museum Exhibitions, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Winterthur Museum.
The New York Ceramics Fair, produced by Caskey Lees, Topanga, CA, will return to New York City to once again launch Winter Antiques Week in January of 2014.
Media: Walt Borton (505-982-2605)
Caskey Lees: (310-455-2886)
NY Cermamics Fair