Fairs USA

Modernism and Art20 fairs combine

Joint event was well attended but dealers report patchy sales

new york. Fair organiser Sanford Smith combined his 24th Modernism fair with the eighth edition of his Art20 held at the Park Avenue Armory from 13-16 November. The hybrid fair was well attended, but dealers reported patchy sales. Overall attendance totalled 6,800, up on the separate Modernism and Art20 fairs last year which drew 5,500 and 4,700 respectively.

“I applaud putting together the two fairs as I’ve seen more serious collectors, including Whitney Museum board members,” said Manhattan art dealer Bernard Goldberg who reported a reserve on a Gustav Stickley 1905 desk for $60,000.

“I sold a Carlo Scarpa 1938 glass vase for $12,000 to architect Lee Mindel, and other examples are going out on approval, so sales look like they will happen,” said design dealer Brian Kish who also reported two reserves on a Carlo Scarpa 1938 glass chandelier for $24,000, holds on a Guglielmo Ulrich 1936 pear-wood table for $16,000 and a Pierluigi Colli 1934 oak credenza for $22,000. New York and Chelsea art dealer Gary Snyder red dotted Steve Wheeler’s Untitled, 1942, for $35,000 and said: “Things are moving for me.” While Stockholm design dealer Paul Jackson also reported good sales including Berndt Friberg 1950s ceramics up to $15,000 each, Josef Frank mid-century furniture and a pair of Poul Henningsen 1930 hanging lights in excess of $20,000, other dealers witnessed skimpy results.

“I’ve told clients I would buy pieces back at 100% the cost paid and, in some cases, I have cut prices by as much as half, but I just can’t pry money out of people,” said LA dealer Peter Loughrey who is a US “Antiques Roadshow” regular and sits on the board of Lacma decorative arts committee. He showcased a large custom Philip Lloyd Powell 1966 walnut armoire for $165,000, but his clients went for lower price points, buying a Georges Roualt intaglio and two Richard Pettibone pictures, including a 1986 silkscreen of a Warhol still-life for $14,000.

Philadelphia Nakashima specialist Bob Aibel had a similar experience. He sold an Albert Alcalay 1960 oil for $10,000 and small items like ceramicist Victor Spinski’s 1980 Box of Bones for $4,500. “Furniture is not selling here but in my gallery within the last three months, I’ve sold 16 pieces by Nakashima, among them a 1976 walnut room divider for $60,000,” he said.

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