For nearly 70 years, the winter show — formerly the Winter Antiques Show — raises funds for the East Side House Rules in the Bronx. This year, a late Covid surge pushed him from January to April and moved him from his usual home in the Park Avenue Armory (where he will return next year) to a unique residence in the former Barneys building. on Madison Ave.
This new location couldn’t be more appropriate, as visiting the Winter Show, despite its new, broader focus, still feels more like browsing through a luxury department store than attending a conventional art fair. Individual dealers have their specialties, but overall the event is a crazy quilt of offerings – from Tiffany lamps to 15th-century crossbows; photographs by Frida Kahlo (Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc.3-04) and books on Bob Marley (Art books by Thomas Heneage, 4-11) to the “water jet rings” of the 19th century (illuminations, 1-11); of a memorable tapestry by Sonia Delaunay (Boccara Gallery, 4-19)to the incredible “Diana Chandelier” by Nils Fougstedt (Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts1-17); by John James Audubon (Arader Galleries4-16) Chinese cards (Daniel Crouch Rare Books, 1-10).
So, instead of approaching it gallery by gallery, I savored my chance to encounter unusual objects rarely accessible to the public, like these 13 – listed from the first stand on the fifth floor (5-01) to the hall.
1. The first is a wooden Punu mask from Gabon (Tambaran5-01) with sharp features, a diamond of ritual scarification on the forehead, and hair styled with two round blades reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House. Although his face was originally painted white with clay, enough of the color has worn off to make him look like a sweaty actor through his makeup – a perfect balance of delicacy and passion.
2-3. Insect-shaped bronze by English sculptor Henry Moore “Working model for a slim elongated figure” (Archer Carving5-08) appears elongated in all directions at once, with horizontal legs, vertical upper body, and a protruding rectangular navel. Behind her, also in bronze, is a family of what looks like huge paper dolls come to life solid and sensual, with elegant faces traced in their flat heads, by Russian artist/sculptor Ossip Zadkine (1888-1967).
4. When they bought this 19th century Tiffany coffee maker in chiseled silver and delicate floral champlevé enamel, it had been polished to a high shine. But after finding a review of its debut at the 1893 Columbian Exposition that referenced the “understated tone of oxidized silver”, dealers SJ shrub sole (5-11) used”liver of sulfurto return the pot to a smoky gray.
5. Some may prefer Edouard Vuillard’s rosée des roses blush in this stand (Richard Green5-13), or the rosy mist that hovers around a landscape by Pierre Bonnard. But neither quite grabs you by the collar like the thick black outlines and stopped perspective Suzanne Valadon used in his 1932 painting “Bouquet of flowers on a small table.”
6. The intricate wooden carving of this 19th century Austrian hunting horn (Peter Finer, 5-14) shows the medieval trickster hero Reynard the Fox on the gallows. Though more than a dozen anthropomorphic animals are crammed onto a horn less than 9 inches tall, their histrionic expressions are all perfectly clear, from Reynard’s cunning to the lion’s somewhat dimwitted indignation.
7. To serve wild boar in style in 18th century Holland would have required a superb boar’s head earthenware terrine (Michele Beiny, 5-15) like this one, with delicately painted tufts of purplish-black fur, resigned eyes and a skull heaving at dinnertime.
8. This beautiful blue and white baluster flower pot, California. 1680 (Aronson of Amsterdam, 4-01), is one of only two known examples of its maker’s type. Be sure to look under the bouquet: each flower rests in its own separate hole.
9. In the early 1820s, an English silver company called Rundell and Bridge cast five editions of an “Achilles Shield” designed by John Flaxman. Each three-foot silver-gilt platter had lines of shepherds, warriors, cattle, and lions crowding around one rim, while Apollo himself raced out of the center in a four-horse chariot. A shield, purchased by George IV in 1821, has been a centerpiece of English coronations for nearly 200 years; this one (Koopman Art Rare4-03) belonged to the King of Hanover.
ten. Pre-Raphaelite painter John Brett’s 1859 portrait of his brother Arthur (Lowell Libson & Johnny Yarker, Ltd., 4-08) is remarkable for the dazzling specificity of its textures. The loose flop of young Brett’s bow tie, the starched white surface of his shirt, the fluff of his red hair, and the reflective sheen of moisture on his lazy left eye are all eerily vivid.
11. In a Cabin Full of Wyeth, Man Ray and Cassatt, It’s 1882 by John Singer Sargent “Portrait of Henri Lefort” (Adelson Galleries, Inc.4-18) which wins out with its unusually loose background, Lefort’s direct gaze, and the sharp strokes of red Sargent posed in its signature and the bridge of its subject’s nose.
12. A beautiful mid-century Necklace (Maclowe Gallery, Ltd., 4-20) with florets of green peridots centered in diamonds and colored citrines of cognac and yellow comes with a matching bracelet.
13. Before the carpet merchant Peter Pap (Oriental rugs Peter Pap1-03) rediscovered Frida Hansen “To the south” in Maine last year, the majestic tapestry, in which 10 red-headed maidens ride swans across a highly stylized Japanese-looking sea, hadn’t been seen since a 1931 appearance at the Brooklyn Museum.
The winter show
Until April 10, 660 Madison Avenue, Manhattan; 917-420-0669, thewintershow.org. $30 for a day ticket. The event benefits the East Side House Settlement.