From our perspective, as organizers, it went smoothly, with the notable exception of one missing speaker. Ellice Ronsheim, whose highly anticipated talk on interpreting landscapes and portraits from a decorative arts perspective, became ill and was unable to make the trip. Thankfully, northeast Ohio appraiser Kathleen Weischaus, stepped up and discussed her ongoing research into the enigmatic Ferdinand Brader, who drew immensely detailed portraits of Ohio and Pennsylvania farms in the late 19th century. She is curating an exhibition at the Canton Museum in 2014.
The other talks were fantastic! Wes Cowan (auctioneer) detailed the life of sand artist Andrew Clemens of McGregor, Iowa. Tova Brandt (curator) discussed Swedish and Danish immigrants and how they have chosen over the generations to decorate their homes. Ian Simmonds (dealer/scholar) gave a wonderful Midwestern Glass 101 lecture that taught even the very knowledgeable a thing or two. Amy Dehan (curator) discussed Cincinnati silver, which is the subject of a forthcoming exhibition and catalog. Hollie highlighted Midwestern stuff in the marketplace. And I blathered on about this and that. There was also a lively panel discussion about restoration and conservation, and whether you should or shouldn't.
For me, this event was very gratifying. As I told the crowd, I love what I do, but any job, no matter how great, does, from time to time, get to be a grind. And the MAF is one of my intellectual recharges. To be in the presence of such scholarship and passion...it really reminds me of why I do what I do. So thanks to those of you who were there. And to the rest of you....you only have about 12 months to register for the 2013 Midwest Antiques Forum (follow us on Facebook or keep tabs on the website).