20th Anniversary For Outsider Art Fair

Opening with a preview gala on Thursday, January 26, the Outsider Art Fair will celebrate 20 years as a tastemaker for all genres of non-traditional and self-taught artists at its 20th edition, being mounted in the 7W building on the corner of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue. Under the management of Sanford Smith & Associates, the show will feature 35 galleries  — representing over 250 artists — from North America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, January 27–29.

Eugene von Bruenchenhein, "No. 220. May 3, 1955," oil on art paperboard, 17 by 15 inches.

Dean Jensen Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisc., will feature this oil on art paperboard by Eugene von Bruenchenhein (American, 1910–1983) titled “No. 220. May 3, 1955.”  In the 1950s, the artist was perhaps inspired by the hydrogen bomb testing and began painting on small panels of Masonite or cardboard, vivid semi-abstractions, and working the surface of the paint with his fingers, comb or tools from the bakery he worked at.

Show veteran Marion Harris, New York City, will peel back the layers on the mysterious legacy of A.W. Gimbi (1857-?), a Pennysylvania barber who painstakingly carved hundreds of objects out of peach stones: shoes, baskets, letters, sewing tools, fishing hooks and more.

With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking coming up in April, Henry Boxer will have a timely display that includes several Titanic drawings from artist George Widener, who has long been fascinated with the Titanic’s story and more so since discovering his namesake was a first class passenger who went down with the ship.

Galleries come from near and far to exhibit at this fair and Paris gallery Les Galerie les Singuliers will make its debut here. The gallery, which showcases artists whose aesthetic sense has been shaped by such influences as punk rock, street graphics, and ethnic art forms, will present a one-woman exhibit of Anne Van der Linden.

Dennis Filling, "Nightfall," 1973, mixed media, 14 by 22 inches.

The Ames Gallery, Berkeley, Calif.,  is debuting the drawings of Dennis Filling, who was born in New Castle, Penn, where his father was studying to become a master penman in the field of engrossing, a detailed form of calligraphy used to create certificates and citations. Expose to intricate detailing at an early age, it seems only natural that Filling went on to pursue art. Finding the confines of an art institute not to his taste, Filling went his own way and continued drawing in what was becoming his own distinctive style.

Filling’s abstract drawings show organic forms, some resembling microscopic views of bacteria. The work is distinguished by many thousands of tiny black ink dots, thin lines swirling across the paper filling all spaces. This aversion to blank space is known as horror vacui, a manic compulsion to fill every inch of the available paper or canvas with some kind of marks.

From obsessive mark-making to painting, sculptural works and other three-dimensional objects, the Outsider Art Fair will offer buyers plenty to see.

For more information, www.sanfordsmith.com or 212-777-5218.


20 Reasons To Love Americana, Day 20

Today’s blog marks the final entry in our series of 20 standout examples of Americana that will be offered at the Winter Antiques Show, which opens tonight, January 19, and runs through January 29 at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory. After we recover from the hustle-bustle of covering all the Americana Week shows and auctions taking place this week, we’ll be back to blogging on other topics.

Thomas Colville Fine Art, Guilford, Conn., will feature a variety of fine paintings in his booth and a prime piece of eye candy will be this oil on canvas by renowned landscape painter Jasper Francis Cropsey (American, 1823–1900) titled “Autumn on the Hudson.”

The signed and date painting was done in 1885, the same year that Cropsey bought a home in Hastings-in-Hudson with a view of the Hudson River that provided the subject for most of his later work. The Cropsey home, which he dubbed “Ever Rest,” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in New York and has been preserved by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation.

“ ‘Autumn on the Hudson’ harkens back to the artist’s earlier, more tightly painted compositions,” according to Colville, who writes, “In this intimate scene of a tranquil, secluded cove, one can imagine the figures as the artist and his wife gazing at the distant vista of the Palisades, bathed in the nostalgic haze of autumn light.”

For more information, www.thomascolville.com or 203-453-2449. Make sure to visit the dealer’s booth at the Winter Antiques Show to see this and other fine American paintings. For show information, www.winterantiquesshow.com or 212-987-0446.

-Andrea Valluzzo

Americana Is More Than Child’s Play

With Americana Week well underway, several notable big ticket items have already been sold all over town from paintings to a $500,000+ chest at antiques shows to auctions but let’s instead focus on antique toys. Once the stuff of childhood, well-preserved and finely-crafted toys are highly prized by collectors today. Over at Stella Show Mgmt Co.’s Antiques at the Armory show, at the 69th Regiment Armory January 20–22, several dealers have saved up fine examples to bring to this show.

Robert Snyder and Judy Wilson, Wiscasset, Maine, will offer this Buddy L bus in untouched condition at the show. Measuring 29 inches long, the bus has kept all its decals intact and is in great paint. Buddy L is among the top names in pressed steel toys (mainly vehicles), one might even say the company was the “king of the road.” Fred Lundahl started making toy vehicles in 1921 for the Moline (Ill.) Pressed Steel Company and named the Buddy L for his son. Trains, trucks, buses and construction vehicles were very popular and many early examples were large and tough enough for a small child to ride. For more information, www.snyderwilsonantiques.com or 207-882-4255.

Scott Bassoff and Sandy Jacobs, Swampscott, Mass., will also feature a fine toy in their booth at the Armory show: a Kingsbury toy fire station and fire truck that come with their original box. Kingsbury cast iron toys were produced in Keene, N.H., from about 1880 until 1942 when the production machines switched to aiding the wartime effort. Kingsbury toys were noted for their fine details and seemed so realistic that an early magazine ad touted Kingsbury toys as “so life-like they seem turned small by magic.” For more information, www.SandyJacobsAntiques.com or 603-801-5532.

While we’re talking about child’s playthings, Thurston Nichols American Antiques, Breinigsville, Penn., specializes in fine Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century inches tall. While this horse won’t be in the dealer’s booth this time around, no doubt other fine examples of Americana will. For more information, www.thurstonnichols,com or 610-972-4563.

The show opens this Friday, January 20, and runs through Sunday. For show information, www.stellashows.com or 973-808-5015.

-Andrea Valluzzo

Weathervanes Proudly Flying Above

Weathervanes are highly appealing forms of Americana and collectors who pursue these folky artifacts per highly individual collecting tastes (whether one collects horses only or all creatures great and small or  made by a certain firm, rest assured there will be plenty of great examples to choose from. And at Stella Show Mgmt Co.’s Antiques at the Armory show, at the 69th Regiment Armory January 20-22. , several dealers have already highlighted some prime specimens.

Chuck White Folk Art and Antiques, Warwick, N.Y., will showcase a gamecock weathervane (shown at right) in wonderful verdigris surface, attributed to Cushing & Sons. In 1883, the company catalog offered a 17-inch tall example of a gamecock vane for $12 while a full-bodied version at only 9 inches was but $8.

For more information, www.chuckwhiteantiques.com or 845-544-2612.

Folk art specialists A Bird in Hand Antiques, Florham Park, N.J.. will feature this sheet metal weathervane of a folky folk of four ducks (shown below)  that retains its polychrome paint. The vane measures 28 inches long and dates to circa 1800s.

For more information, www.abirdinhand.com or 973-410-0077.

Michael Whittemore Antiques & Folk Art, Punta Gorda, Fla., will show this “St. Julian” sulky and driver weathervane, manufactured by J.W. Fiske, New York City, gold leaf and verdigris surface, circa 1880, 23 inches tall and 42 inches long. Racing horse vanes were popular in the 1800s and were modeled after Currier & Ives prints of famous racing horses.

For more information, call Whittemore at 860-428-1135.

For show information, http://www.stellashows.com or 973-808-5015.

-Andrea Valluzzo

20 Reasons To Love Americana, Day 19

Today’s blog in our series showcasing standout examples of Americana that will be offered at the Winter Antiques Show January 19–29 at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory looks at a fine example of silver.

This circa 1770 piece surely ranks high among the best examples of Connecticut silver and was made circa 1770 by Samuel Parmelee, a renowned silversmith in Guilford, Conn., which in its heyday was the home of two talented silversmiths,  Billions Ward (1729–1777?) and Capt. Samuel Parmelee (1737–1807).

Jonathan Trace, Portsmouth, N.H., who specializes in antique American silver and American furniture from the Seventeenth to the early Nineteenth Century and Seventeenth–Eighteenth Century American and European art, will feature this item in his booth at the Winter show.

While coin silver spoons attributed to Parmelee are prevalent, a 2007 exhibition at the MFA, Boston, featured several standout works by Parmelee. According to the exhibition catalog, the Congregational Church, Guilford, housed a massive baptismal basin and a beaker marked “S. Parmelee.”

Captain Parmelee was well known around town and received his title of captain in 1775, and served active in the Revolution, according to the museum.

For more information, contact Trace at 603-431-1197 (not during show hours). Make sure to visit the dealer’s booth at the Winter Antiques Show to see this and other fine American works of beauty. For show information, www.winterantiquesshow.com or 212-987-0446.

-Andrea Valluzzo

A Tale of Two Chairs

Two unique chairs from a singular visionary dealer will be offered at Stella Show Mgmt Co.’s Antiques at the Armory show on 26th Street, January 20-22.

Joshua Lowenfels, a New York City dealer in folk art, Americana and works of art, is known for his unique eye and talent for finding uncommon and beautiful objects, as evidenced by the two chairs he will be bringing to the show this weekend.

A buffalo horn chair and talisman with wood, iron nails, trade cloth and trade tacks, circa 1890-1920 (right), was made by the Cree Indians of Great Falls, Mont. The chair measures 45 by 22 by  26 inches, and Lowenfels has a photograph of the chair that shows a Cree with it strapped to his back.

From folk art to centennial, Lowenfels will also show a 58-inch-high “Centennial Throne” (left) – an original, lavishly upholstered wing back arm chair with carved legs on ball and claw feet, Syracuse, N.Y., circa 1876, that is loosely based on the Chippendale style.

Lowenfels is one of 100 dealers at Antiques at the Armory . Show hours are Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm; Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm. The 69th Regiment Armory is at 68 Lexington Avenue at 26th  Street.

For more information on Lowenfels and his collections, visit http://www.joshualowenfels.com.

For show information, www.stellashows.com or 973-808-5015. – W. A. Demers

Red, White & Blue Unfurls At The Armory

John Sideli’s display at the Stella Show Mgmt Co.’s Antiques at the Armory show on 26th Street, January 20-22, will get patriots’ blood stirring.

Sideli of Wiscasset, Maine, is known for his folk art, and much of it in his booth this year carries a patriotic theme — stars and stripes, carved eagles, weathervanes and his own assemblages from vintage pieces abound.

And reminding visitors that conservation of national resources is not a new idea, the dealer is bringing along a collection of World War II posters on conserving energy.

Sideli is one of 100 dealers exhibiting at Antiques at the Armory. Check out his inventory of folk art and assemblages at www.johnsidelifineart.com.

For show information, www.stellashows.com or 973-808-5015. – W. A. Demers

20 Reasons To Love Americana, Day 18

Today’s blog in our series showcasing standout examples of Americana that will be offered at the Winter Antiques Show January 19–29 at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory turns its attention to the Berks County, Penn., clockmaking tradition.

C.L. Prickett, Yardley, Penn. will offer this fine Pennsylvania tall case clock, circa 1800, from Reading, Penn., inscribed by master clockmaker Jacob Diehl. The Chippendale cherry and birch clock has a broken arch top with dentil-work scrolls, carved rosettes and retains its original turned finials.

Also noteworthy is the flower, leaf and vine carved scroll-board with a punch-work field, enameled dial with moon phase above a shaped waist door flanked by fluted quarter columns on original ogee bracket feet.

The clock has been well conserved over the years and has a warm yellow glow and is all original except for the rosettes and fret around the collar and one of its foot facings. Making a commanding presence in any room, it stands 7 feet and 11 inches.

This clock was published in Pennsylvania Clockmakers, Watchmakers, and Allied Crafts by James B. Whisker, pages 172 and 173, figures 35 and 36, and shown in the 1995–96 exhibition, “Berks County Tall Case Clocks, 1750–1850,” put on by the Historical Society of Berks County.

For more information, www.clprickett.com or 215-493-4284. Make sure to visit the dealer’ booth at the Winter Antiques Show to see this and other fine Americana. For show information, www.winterantiquesshow.com or 212-987-0446.

-Andrea Valluzzo


A Trifecta Of Fine Americana

J. Howard rooster, Deep River Antiques

We continue our pursuit of standout examples of Americana and today’s blog entry focuses on a trio of fine objects that will be shown at Stella Show Mgmt Co.’s Americana & Antiques at the Pier Show January 21–22 at New York City’s Pier 92.

Dennis Robida of Deep River Antiques, Essex, Conn., will showcase a J. Howard rooster weathervane, zinc and copper, in his booth. J. Howard & Co. of Bridgewater, Mass., began making weathervanes as early as 1854 and is known for its craftsmanship and elegant forms among its vanes. This example has fine detailing on the metalwork and claws seen in this example.

Weathervanes often were modeled after animals forms, and fine examples include horses, whales and cows. Rooster vanes are especially prolific, and their roots have strong Christian symbolism. Early examples were placed high on the steeples on Christian churches where all could tell which way the wind was blowing, and symbolically, how easy faith, like the vane, could bend. The rooster itself is also symbolic of the apostle Peter, who the Bible says denied Christ three times before the rooster crowed.

For more information, contact Dennis Robida at 860-575-6742.

Detail image of lithograph, South Road Antiques

Susan Wechsler of South Road Antiques, Stanfordville, N.Y., will offer, a hand colored lithograph of George Washington in its original gilded frame in her booth at the show. The American print measures 26½ by  32½ inches and dates to the mid to late Nineteenth Century.

Many prints were made depicting Washington in the style of the iconic Gilbert Stuart portrait painted in the Eighteenth Century. “This striking portrait is unusual for its stark black background and overpainted areas of black ink that highlight the details of his coat. Washington’s piercing blue eyes increase the intensity of his gaze,” Weschler said.

For more information, www.southroadantiques.com or 917-903-8077.

'Faces of folk art" courtesy Firehouse Antiques

Firehouse Antiques, a group shop in Galena, Md., will mark its 15th year of doing the Pier show with a  focus on the “faces of folk art” in its booth. From cast iron to a face jug, to a carousel horse, painted wood carvings and portraits, the booth will offer an appealing presentation.

For more information, www.galenaantiquesdistrict.com or 410-648-5639.

Make sure to visit the dealers’ booths at Americana & Antiques at the Pier to see these and other fine Americana. For show information, www.stellashows.com or 973-808-5015

—Andrea Valluzzo

20 Reasons To Love Americana, Day 17

 Today’s blog in our series showcasing standout examples of Americana that will be offered at the Winter Antiques Show January 19–29 at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory looks at a work on paper that details one of the defining moments in the country’s history.

A wonderful piece of Americana is this circa 1820 engraving offered by The Old Print Shop, New York City, titled “The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a party of y 29th Ret….”

The Paul Revere (1735–1818) engraving contains three columns with three rhyming couplets each along with a well-executed drawing of the attacking solders and the resulting bloodshed. Wonderfully detailed with superb draftsmanship, the billowing cloud of gunsmoke over the British solder’s heads cannot fail to obscure the exacting details contained herein, such as the clock on the building in the background, the precise architectural lines, and even the little spotted dog in the foreground. Ironically, one of the shops shown among the surrounding buildings is titled “Butcher’s Hall.”

The 1770 engraving, measures 7 15/16  by 8 3/8  inches (image size) and 10 inches tall with the written inscription. Three prints were produced in 1770 of this event. The first by Henry Pelham, the second by Paul Revere and the third by Jonathan Mulliken. The Revere version is the most famous of the three and is a historically important document of the Revolutionary War.

For more information, www.oldprintshop.com or 212-683-3950. Make sure to visit the dealers’ booth at the Winter Antiques Show to see this and other fine Americana. For show information, www.winterantiquesshow.com or 212-987-0446.

-Andrea Valluzzo