Sunday, April 26, 2009

Furniture Forum and the Philly Shows

Unfortunately, Hollie was unable to join me for this trip, so instead, I was accompanied by Jeff Jeffers, the fearless leader (well, 1 of 2) of Garth's Auctions.

Because of the landmark exhibition Harbor and Home (see previous post), the annual Furniture Forum at the Winterthur Museum was moved from its usual early March to mid-April, so that the exhibition could be open. And conveniently enough, it also corresponded with the Philadelphia and the Armory Antique Shows. What a week!

Forum is only two days long, but is chockablock full of intellectual stimulation. Many great lectures by some of the leading furniture experts in the country. This year, appropriately enough, FF was focused on coastal New England furniture. Lecturers included Brock Jobe, Derin Brey, Jack O'Brien, and Gary Sullivan, all from the H&H team, as well as other experts, such as Kemble Widmer, Dennis Carr, Tom Kugelman, and others. My brain was full. And the exhibition....was fantastic. If you can get to Winterthur or the Nantucket Historical Association during its run, then you should go.

We managed to squeeze in some good food, a trip through the Winterthur collections, and a visit to my favorite museum space, the Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford, PA.

Then, it was north to the Navy Yard for the opening preview of the Big Show. Perhaps a smaller crowd than previous years, but I saw some red stickers. I also saw some reasonable prices...something you don't usually see at the Philly Show. Seems that some dealers are really working hard to make some sales...and that's good for everyone.

At FF, Jeff and I enjoyed spending some time with our fellow auction house reps, Steve Fletcher and LaGina Austin from Skinner in Boston. LaGina worked for Garth's a while back, so it was good to reconnect. And at the Philly Show, Jeff and I met up with our newest team member, Kelly Seltzer, formerly of Pook and Pook in Downingtown, PA (Kelly does our catalog and ad design, as well as some marketing work). So, after the Big Show, Jeff, Steve, LaGina, Kelly, and I went for dinner at a little restaurant on Walnut Street (and, interestingly enough, on the street outside the restaurant, we ran into Ron Bourgeault (Northeast Auctions) and Bill Stahl (Sotheby's)...small world). Here is a photo of us...just goes to show that despite the fact that we compete for the same collections, we are colleagues who respect each other and are friendly. Just one of the great things about this business!!

Saturday was the Armory Show, a small show with an even smaller crowd. Didn't see that many red stickers there, but plenty of great stuff at reasonable prices.'s a great time to buy. Get out there. Go to auctions. Go to shows.

I sought out younger folks at the Forum and the shows....FF had plenty, many of whom were students at one of Winterthur's two graduate programs, but there were other young scholars. Saw a few at the shows, but not as many as I'd like. So, next time you go to a show or auction, invite a younger person. Get them interested in the stuff!


Brooke Harlowe said...

Thanks for the quick review of the forum at Winterthur. I really wanted to go but couldn't justify taking personal days from work right now. Did you see anyone taping the presentations? I'm particularly interested in what Laura Feych Sprague had to say about Maine coastal furniture. She's been a hero of mine since "Agreeable Situations". Thanks.
Brooke Harlowe
Lock Haven, PA

Hollie and Andrew said...

Very possible that Winterthur taped the entire might check with the library there to see about its availability.