Exhibition | Winter Antiques Show in New York to Highlight the PEM

Posted in Art Market, exhibitions by Editor on January 5, 2014

Press release (13 August 2013) from the Winter Antiques Show:

Fresh Take, Making Connections at the Peabody Essex Museum
60th Winter Antiques Show, Park Avenue Armory, New York, 24 January — 2 February 2014

Pair of carp tureens. 1760-1780, Porcelain, Jingdezhen, China, with gilded bronze mounts, possibly Spain. Formerly the collection of the Ochoa de Olza family, Navarra Spain. Museum purchase, 2006.

Pair of carp tureens, 1760–80, Porcelain, Jingdezhen, China, with gilded bronze mounts, possibly from Spain  (Peabody Essex Museum)

The Winter Antiques Show’s 2014 loan exhibition will celebrate the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts. Fresh Take, Making Connections at the Peabody Essex Museum is comprised of more than 50 paintings, sculptures, textiles, and decorative objects. One of America’s oldest and fastest growing museums, PEM was founded in 1799 and its collection showcases an unrivaled spectrum of American art as well as outstanding Asian, Asian export, Native American, African, Oceanic, maritime, and photography collections. The exhibition will be on view during the run of the Winter Antiques Show, from January 24 to February 2, 2014.

PEM celebrates its 215th year in 2014, and has recently embarked on a $650 million capital campaign and expansion that will place the museum among the top 10 art museums in the country in terms of gallery space and total endowment. The museum’s campus boasts 22 historic buildings celebrating Salem’s rich architectural and garden heritage and Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year old Chinese house that is the only example of its kind in the United States. PEM offers a vibrant schedule of changing exhibitions, a lively contemporary art program, performances, and an interactive education center.

Painted Side Chair. c. 1795,

Painted Side Chair, ca. 1795, Salem, MA, wood, paint, reproduction
upholstery (Peabody Essex Museum)

Fresh Take, Making Connections at the Peabody Essex Museum is a microcosm of the PEM experience. Works of art from diverse cultures and time periods are grouped together, uniting and contrasting objects of creative expression in unexpected ways. Highlights of the exhibition range from a spectacular inlaid ivory chair from India (18th century) to a mahogany dressing chest by Thomas Seymour (c. 1810); from an English brass mariner’s astrolabe used to determine time and latitude by the stars (late 1500s) to a stick chart used by Micronesian sailors navigating the Pacific Ocean (early 20th century); from a view of Salem Common by George Ropes (1808) to a Joseph Cornell collage inspired by Magritte’s surrealist landscape (c.1964); from a bronze Japanese reliquary from the Koki-ji Temple, Kawachi-gun, Osaka Prefecture (1679) to a Chinese bridal headdress made of Kingfisher feathers, silk, pearls, and semi-precious stones (c. 1800s).

One of the many highlights is a striking portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne by Charles Osgood (1809– 1890). The 1840 portrait was painted when Hawthorne worked in the Boston Custom House, ten years before The Scarlet Letter was published. It is the best-known likeness of the young author.

The founding organization of today’s Peabody Essex Museum was the East India Marine Society. A centerpiece of the exhibit is the 1803 sign painted by Michele Felice Cornè (1752–1845) for the original Society’s exhibition hall. The sign depicts Salem Harbor and a ship, probably the Mount Vernon, on which the artist emigrated from Naples to America in 1800. Banner and letters were added in 1825 by sign painter Samuel Bartol for the new East India Marine Hall, where it was placed over the door.

Spoilum (active 1785–1810). Portrait of Eshing. c. 1805, Guangzhou (Canton). Oil on canvas. Gift of Thomas W. Ward, 1809.

Spoilum, Portrait of Eshing, ca. 1805, Guangzhou (Canton).
Oil on canvas (Peabody Essex Museum)

A Spoilum portrait of a prominent Cantonese silk merchant is also included in the exhibition (1805). Spoilum (active 1785–1810) was one of the first Chinese artists to work in a Western style, and though he never traveled outside of China, his paintings often resemble early American portraiture. The artist is best known for his portraits of English and American merchants, so this portrait of Eshing (a Chinese merchant) is particularly rare. Eshing frequently did business with Salem merchants, and this portrait was acquired as a gift from one of these merchants to the East India Marine Society in 1809.

Demonstrating the wide travels of Salem’s wealthy merchants is a Brazilian headdress collected by Michael W. Shepherd on a trip up the Amazon River in 1847. The mid 19th-century headdress is made primarily of red and blue macaw feathers, an important expression of wealth for many indigenous people of South America. This type of headdress would have been worn by caciques (Native chiefs).

Jeff Daly, formerly senior design advisor to the director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will design the Winter Antiques Show’s loan exhibition and plans to create a modern kuntskammer to hold the many treasures from PEM, much like they were displayed in the original East India Marine Society exhibition hall.

The exhibition is sponsored by Chubb Personal Insurance for the 18th consecutive year.

About the Winter Antiques Show

The Winter Antiques Show celebrates its 60th year Diamond Jubilee as America’s most prestigious antiques show, featuring 73 renowned experts in American, English, European, and Asian fine and decorative arts in a fully vetted show. The show was established in 1955 by East Side House Settlement, a social services institution located in the South Bronx. All net proceeds from the show benefit East Side House Settlement. The Winter Antiques Show will run from January 24 to February 2, 2014, at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue, New York City. The Winter Antiques Show hours are 12–8pm daily except Sundays and Thursday, 12–6 pm. Daily admission to the show is $25, which includes the show’s award-winning catalogue. To purchase tickets for the Opening Night Party on January 23, 2014, or Young Collectors Night on January 30, 2014, call (718) 292-7392 or visit the show’s website.

About East Side House Settlement

East Side House Settlement was founded in 1891 to help immigrants and lower income families on the East Side of Manhattan. In 1962, it moved to the South Bronx where it serves 8,000 residents annually within one of America’s poorest congressional districts, the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. Among the initiatives that focus on educational attainment as the gateway out of poverty is the innovative and highly acclaimed Mott Haven Village Preparatory School.

Aronson Antiquairs Presents Puzzle Jugs at the Winter Antiques Show

Posted in Art Market by Editor on January 5, 2014

Regular readers may recall my irrationally exuberant affection for puzzle jugs. -CH

As noted at Art Daily (4 January 2014)

Delft Puzzle Jugs from Aronson Antiquairs of Amsterdam
60th Winter Antiques Show, Park Avenue Armory, New York, 24 January — 2 February 2014


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At the 60th Annual Winter Antiques Show in New York, January 23 – February 2, 2014, Aronson Antiquairs of Amsterdam will showcase an amusing collection of Suijgkannen or Delft Puzzle Jugs. “Delft Puzzle Jugs from the 17th and 18th centuries are among the most prized examples of the amusing novelty, but Delft examples were seen as early as 1650. The style gained popularity throughout Europe. Puzzle Jugs were designed with hollow rims and handles and diverting spouts and tubes. They challenged and entertained guests at both homes and taverns. You never knew if a dinner party would be a success and whether your guests would like the food and wine and have a good time. But with a variety of Puzzle Jugs on hand you could get a good laugh out of those trying their dexterity and luck by making a game of it,” says Robert Aronson, fifth generation Dutch Delft dealer of Aronson Antiquairs of Amsterdam.

92772034_oPuzzle Jugs got their name from their ingenious design which could include a perforated neck, and hollow handle and rim. Sometimes as many as five or six concealed tubes or pipes were incorporated into the jug, making it even more difficult to imbibe the liquid, most often ale or wine. The trick was to drink the liquid without spilling the jug’s contents all over your shirt. It was common for tavern-keepers to offer these jugs in various drinking games, with guests wagering on who would master the puzzle. It helped to be highly dexterous and clever—itself a challenge during a night of merriment.

The oldest known, the Exeter Puzzle Jug, was produced in western France around 1300 and discovered in England in 1899. It was given to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Devon. Many Puzzle Jugs had inscriptions on the body of the jug that ranged from simple to poetic, typically something along the lines of “Here gentlemen, come try your skill. I’ll hold a wager, if you will, that you don’t drink this liquid all without your spill or let some fall.”. . .

Highlights at the Aronson Antiquairs stand will include nine outstanding Delft Puzzle Jugs from a private collection including a Blue and White Delft Puzzle Jug from the Ten Tooren-Smith Collection, The Netherlands, which dates to 1760 and portrays an elegant couple on the body. The gallant gentleman is doffing his hat and approaching his sweetheart who holds a fan. The 22.8cm puzzle jug features a baluster-form body and panels of trellis diaperwork beneath the floral and foliate-pierced neck. The puzzle is in the tubular rim affixed with three nozzles which interrupts a flowering vine border continuing onto a hollow loop handle.

A second Blue and White Ring-Form Delft Jug dates to 1725–35 and features a circular body painted with a Chinese pheasant perched on a c-scroll forming the stem of a flowering leafy peony branch. It is pierced with three roundels, each centering a six petal flowerhead below three teardrop-shaped nozzles issuing from the tubular neck (24.4cm).

A third Delft Blue and White Puzzle Jug (23.4cm high) is from an earlier period, 1688–92, and was in Dr Gunther Grethe’s Hamburg Collection. Aronson says, “This jug has a GV mark in blue, probably is from Gijsbrecht Claesz, Verhaast. The spherical body is painted with a large insect and birds in flight above a chrysanthemum border. The cylindrical neck is pierced with three four-petal blossoms and eight dots against a foliate-patterned blue ground between floral borders, and affixed beneath the rim with a tubular device molded with seven blossoms, one of them pierced, and continuing into the flower and scroll-patterned hollow loop handle.”

Aronson says that the whimsical characteristics of Delft Puzzle Jugs appeal to collectors now because, “These are novelty pieces with amusing stories to tell that reveal how people lived centuries ago. Those who enjoy having a peek at what brought a smile to the face of our ancestors collect Delft Puzzle Jugs now. We are lucky to have acquired this collection of nine examples.” Prices range from $16,000 to $25,000.

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