I used to work at The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston, full of Ancient treasures. Walking through it was like a dream for your senses, and it made you want to immediately go home and adorn your apartment with beautiful things. Coats of armor, enormous hand woven textiles, completely one of a kind hand carved and painted furniture, jewels from the 1500s that still sparkled like new, paintings of chubby cherubs and religious figures adorned almost every inch of this place. Walking up and down the aisles of the Young Collectors Night at the Winter Antiques show gave me serious deja vu.
Hundreds of people came out to sip champagne, enjoy mini boxes of gourmet stir fry and see what galleries and antique collectors from around the world have been up to these days. After checking out many of the booths, I couldn’t resist the endless sparkle coming from James Robinson Inc.. Craig Basmajian, who worked at the booth was kind enough to talk me through the pieces, explaining how stones from their specific collection were set beautifully, and were so flexible they felt like silk draped across my wrist. The designer of this piece, Oscar Heyman happens to be the one that invented the invisible setting, which is still used today. Craig also mentioned a growing trend he’s seeing in jewelry collectors and buyers in today’s market “People are getting back to being more eclectic in their taste” he said, pointing out an ornate almost priceless piece he has seen people wearing with t-shirts and jeans. “People are being more experimental.”
Antique pieces and collectors certainly made up the majority of the show. After living in sort of a contemporary art dreamland, I found this to be refreshing. So much craft and care was so obviously put into many of the pieces shown. I walked into a booth that had a beautiful hand painted table with unbelievable realistic sculptures of pheasants perched on top. “Really Good things are selling,” said Matthew Iberman of antique dealer, Kentshire “people are adding value to their collections by purchasing the finer things. That’s what we see driving big sales”
But I kept heading back to the Lost City Arts spot, which had some unique works by Harry Bertoia, best known for his “Diamond chair” design. Ellie Kim, who works at Lost City Arts, was kind enough to show me some of his pieces. “He was a clever, experimental artist,” she said, just before she demonstrated the use for his “Sounding Sculpture.” To my surprise, a piece that looked a little unwelcoming like stiff blades of grass, actually became delightful and full of movement when you touched it, making a sound akin to wind chimes. “Every time someone calls me to show me a Bertoia, it’s very exciting,” said James Elkind of Lost City Arts.
The great thing about this show was that while all of the pieces on show were beautiful and timeless as in a museum, they were not unattainable or un relatable. People came to discover what beautiful pieces they can add to their collections, and by taking pieces home they could add a moment of beauty from another era to their present day digs.