Duncan Phyfe In NYC


“With the opening of the Duncan Phyfe exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past December, I thought it was high time I brought out some of my American classical pieces to be exhibited at the Antiques at the Armory Show.” So says Joan Bogart, a New York dealer in classical furniture, garden antiques, decorative arts, Victorian antiques and antique lighting about some chairs that have, in her words, “ a most interesting provenance.”

Bogart will be offering for sale at Stella Show Mgmt Co.’s January 20-22 26th Street Armory Show a set of six Duncan Phyfe dining chairs, New York, circa 1830. The chairs are identical to a set made by Phyfe for his daughter Eliza.

“In the 1980s, Page Talbott was commissioned to furnish the New Jersey governor’s mansion. ‘Drumthwacket,’ in American classical antiques,” recounts the dealer. “This set was purchased for the music room. There was other furniture purchased from a descendant of Eliza Vail, Phyfe’s daughter.

“As the story goes, the newly elected [Republican] Governor [Thomas] Kean’s wife disliked the furnishings in the public exhibition rooms and decided to sell them so she did not have to walk past them. The antiques community was shocked and outraged.”

Bogart says the Met exhibit has two similar chairs made by Phyfe and she is hoping that the exhibit will create new collectors of this important American cabinetmaker.

“Duncan Phyfe – Master Cabinetmaker in New York” currently on view until May 6 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the first retrospective on Phyfe in 90 years.

Bogart is one of 100 dealers exhibiting at Antiques at the Armory. Check out the chairs and other classical American antiques at www.americanclassical.net. Bogart shows Victorian furniture and accessories at www.joanbogart.com, while lighting is featured at  www.antiqueslighting.com.

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

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