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NYC Winter Show: A treasure trove for hotel interior designers

NYC Winter Show: A treasure trove for hotel interior designers

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If you love beautiful things like jewelry, sculpture, lamps, art and antiques, there is no better place to get your “fix” of fabulous furnishings and jewels than at the annual Winter Show at New York’s Park Avenue Armory – now celebrating its 65th anniversary. The event is directed by Helen Allen.

Helen Allen, Executive Director of The Winter Show Laura Doyle, Vice President & Collections Manager of Chubb

The program is supported by Chubb North America Personal Risk Services, represented by Fran O’Brien, division Vice President and Chair of the opening night party.

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The 2019 show featured 70 of the world’s leading experts in the fine and decorative arts space. The collection of OMG works available for viewing and purchase mixes contemporary pieces with those that are classified as antiques.

Vendors present a wealth of opportunities to enhance a hotel suite that even c-suite executives will covet.  This is the perfect shopping opportunity as the event is virtually scam proof as each object is vetted for authenticity, date and condition by a committee of 150 experts from the US and Europe.

Lucinda C. Ballard, Co-Chair of The Winter Show

Not only will hotel guests be enriched by the objects available at the Show, the East Side House Settlement benefits from funds raised during the event. The East Side House is a community-based non-profit organization that serves the Bronx and Norther Manhattan where residents are able to access training and education with a technology focus. All revenue from the event’s general admissions and the net proceeds from the Opening Night Party and other special events go the charity.

Michael Harrison, Obed Macy Director of Research & Collections of The Nantucket Historical Association

The Collecting Nantucket/Connecting the World exhibit was a fabulous opportunity for historians and collectors to view 125 years of history organized by the Nantucket Historical Association. Nantucket Island is located 25 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. For over 150 years it has been important as a summer holiday destination as well as a center for whaling.

Nantucket followers were able to source sailors’ scrimshaw, journals from captain’s wives and paintings inspired by the hunt for whale and sea odysseys around the world. From Native Wampanoag sailors, to English settlers and from sea captains to business executives, the wide selection of portraits by such artists as Gilbert Stuart, Eastman Johnson, Elizabeth R. Coffin, Spoilum and James Hathaway were a historian’s orgy.

Because this is the 200th birthday anniversary of Herman Melville, the display included the only surviving relics from the 1820 tragedy of the whaleship ESSEX, whose destruction by an angry whale inspired many segments of MOBY-DICK.

Exhibition Curated

One of my absolute favorite lamps in the exhibit was the Kaleidoscope table lamp by Gabriella Crespi (1974). If the security was sleeping or I had a disposal $60,000 I would have acquired this lamp and placed it on my desk (where it belongs).

Crespi was born in 1922, and studied architecture at the Politecnico in Milan, Italy. Beginning in the 1950’s her work reflected a balance between design and sculptural abstraction. Her career as a designer started with steel moon-shaped sculptures and by the 1960s she had a relationship with Maison Dior in the production of home and table accessories. In the 1970s she produced Kaleidoscopes – combining sculpture with creative design.

Her clients included the Princess of Monaco, the Shah of Iran, the King of Saudi Arabia, Audrey Hepburn, Hubert de Givenchy, Gunther Sachs, Gianni Versace, Princess Marino of Savory, Queen Paola of Belgium and the Royal families from Persia and Qatar, as well as prominent business executives and influential individuals throughout Europe.

At the peak of her career she moved to India to live in a Himalayan village. After being there for 20 years she returned to Italy, reworking some of her early designs and producing new limited editions. Crespi died in 2017.

Another coveted lamp was designed by Edgar Brandt (1931). Born in 1880, Brandt studied at the Ecole Professionnelle de Vierzon. While his early career focused on the decorative arts, he was also engaged in making weapons and his company designed 60mm, 81mm and 210mm mortars used throughout and after WWII. He moved on to produce HEAT rifle grenades and warhead weapons for infantry anti-tank use.

In 1902 he started his own company to produce ironwork and light armaments in Paris.  The company was nationalized in 1936. He is noted for the Mollien staircase at the Louvre, several war memorials in France (i.e., the Unknown Soldier Tomb, under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris). Brandt is among the most recognized and appreciated iron workers of the Art Deco period.

I also felt strongly about a large South African Tsonga carved wood chain (from one tree) and wanted to take it with me. The Tsongas are from Central and West Africa beginning AD 200 and 500, migrating in and out of South Africa for over 1000 years. First settling on the coastal plains of Southern Mozambique and settling in the Transvaal Province and St. Lucia Bay in South Africa starting in the 1300s. The arts and crafts of the Tsongas is extraordinary

The Willian Hunt Diederich Aviary Installation presents an incredibly artistic and creative contribution to design. Diederich was born in Austria-Hungary in 1884. His mother, Eleanor Hunt, was American and the daughter of the noted Boston artist, William Morris Hunt. His father’s passion for hunting influenced young Diederich’s devotion to horses and dogs, making these animals the subject of his cut-out paper silhouettes that he started at 5 years of age. Animals in silhouette form remained a constant theme throughout his life.

Diederich was educated in Switzerland in the area around Lake Geneva. At 15, he and his brother were sent to study in Boston at Milford Academy. He traveled through Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming where he lived on his cousin’s ranch.

Because of his interest in art, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and traveled through Europe and Africa. In Morocco he studied ceramic techniques. He also traveled and studied in Paris with noted animal sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet and in Paris became friends with Elie Nadelman, Jules Pascin and Ferdinand Leger.

In 1921 Diederich lived at 50 ½ Barrow Street in Greenwich Village. His work was in high demand and exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum and the Newark Museum. He also created the iron signs and weathervanes for the Central Park Zoo and worked on commissions from the WPA program for the Bronx Zoo, the Forest Hills train station and a large sculpture for the Westwood, NJ Post Office (1938).

A perfect addition to a hotel suite (that caters to Wall Street tycoons), would definitely be the Robert Longo charcoal, “Suleiman.” Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1953, and raised in Long Island he was fascinated with mass media including movies, television, magazines and comic books. His early interests continue to influence his art and he is best known for his detailed photorealistic drawings of jumping figures, sharks, tigers and guns, drawn in charcoal, graphite and ink.

He briefly studied at the University of North Texas but dropped out without getting a degree. He studied sculpture under Leonda Finke, who encouraged him to pursue a career in the visual arts. In 1972 he received a grant to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. When he was back in New York he enrolled at Buffalo State College and received a BFA in 1975.

While in college, he established an avant garde art gallery, the Essex Art Center, originally a converted ice factory and became known as Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center. When he returned to NYC, he joined the underground art scene of the 1970s.

Getting Camera Ready

Putting together a show the size and length of the Winter Show takes many people putting the puzzle together. It is quite wonderful to walk the aisles as each exhibitor prepares for the opening night party.

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© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

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