Fig. 1: Image courtesy of

On Sunday, February 1, 2015, the 61st iteration of the inimitable Winter Antiques Show drew to a close at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Over the course of the ten-day event, collectors, first-time buyers, museum curators, interior designers, and dealers, took to the show floor to browse and snap up fine art, furniture, and decorative objects from antiquity through the 1960s (Fig. 1).

The show kicked off on Thursday, January 22, 2015, with an Opening Night Preview Party that welcomed nearly 2,000 attendees, including Martha Stewart, Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor, Arie and Coco Kopelman, Ellie Cullman, Thomas Jayne, Bunny Williams and John Rosselli, Sandra Nunnerley, and John Douglas Eason. The Preview Party, which benefited the East Side House Settlement, a community-based organization in the South Bronx, gave guests an opportunity to peruse and purchase works before the show opened to the public on Friday, January 23, 2015.

Fig. 2: Latham-Fishback Family Blanket Chest. Attributed to Johannes Spitler. Massahutten area, Shenandoah County, VA, circa 1800. Yellow pine, paint, iron. H. 24, W. 50, D. 21 ½ inches. Image courtesy of Kelly Kinzle.

As soon as the attendees started pouring in it was clear that American furniture was going be the star of the event. Peter Eaton, who sold thirteen pieces of furniture to thirteen different buyers, said, “During the preview night and the first weekend there was a lot of energy on the floor. Lots of sales were made in general, but the Americana dealers did really well.” Eaton, who is based in Newbury, Massachusetts, sold a Rhode Island butterfly table retaining its original surface; a pair of Connecticut banister-back chairs; a turned miniature armchair from New York (circa 1740s); a Queen Anne walnut dressing table; and a Salem Serpentine-front chest with the label of William King—one of only three known labeled pieces by King.

New York’s Carswell Rush Berlin, who sold a wonderful Boston sofa table, added, “It was one of the better openings that we’ve had in a number of years. The attendance was fantastic. The place was jammed over the weekend and there were a lot of new faces. So much of our business takes place with people that are already clients, but we spoke with and sent pictures to a lot of new people. I thought that was extremely encouraging.”

Fig. 3: Joseph Whiting Stock (1815‒1855), American, active New York/New England circa 1840‒1845. Full length Portrait of a Young Boy with His Dog. Presumably Porter Whipple, Age 5, circa 1840‒1845. Unsigned Oil on canvas, 47 x 38 inches. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Tillou Antiques.


Highlighted sales from other Americana dealers who fared exceptionally well at the Winter Antiques Show include, but were not limited to, New Oxford, Pennsylvania’s Kelly Kinzle, who sold an elaborately painted Johannes Spitler blanket chest (Fig. 2) and a decorated chest from Pennsylvania; Jeffrey Tillou of Litchfield, Connecticut, who sold fifteen items, including a Chippendale pie crust tea table, a carved horse with leather saddle, an index horse weathervane, a carved eagle wall plaque, a painting by Thomas Chambers, a painting by Joseph Whiting Stock (Fig. 3), and a rare diminutive-size Queen Anne tavern table (please click HERE to view images);  David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles of Woodbury, Connecticut, who sold a pair of pig weathervanes attributed to L.W. Cushing and Son of Waltham, Massachusetts (Fig. 4), a rare Shaker tin candle sconce with match rack, a watercolor trinket box, and a Comb-back Windsor armchair with rare original green paint attributed to Thomas Gilpin of Philadelphia; Elliott and Grace Snyder of the Berkshires, who sold an early Long Island gate-leg table (circa 1690) and a Northeastern valuables chest with its original green paint; Frank Levy of New York’s Bernard and S. Dean Levy, who sold numerous pieces, including a Federal carved and figured inlaid work table from Salem, Massachusetts (Fig. 5); and Nathan Liverant and Son, LLC of Colchester, Connecticut, who sold a Chippendale chest on chest from Eastern Connecticut,  a Chippendale flat top high chest, also from Connecticut, a Newport, Rhode Island, dressing table, a New York Chippendale ball-and-claw foot chest-of-drawers, and a carved and painted Gabriel weathervane. Noted Arthur Liverant, “This is the first time in doing the show where we had to send a truck back to the shop for more furniture!”


Fig. 4: Pig weathervanes attributed to L. W. Cushing and Son, Waltham, Massachusetts, circa 1872-1900. Image courtesy of David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles.

Todd Prickett of Yardley, Pennsylvania’s CL Prickett, said, “We were pleased with the show this year. We did more than I honestly expected. American furniture did well and we sold a couple of pieces that would be considered ‘quote, unquote’ brown furniture. Overall it was a positive sign for the market.”

The success of American furniture at the Winter Antiques Show is one of many signs pointing to an upward trend in the market. Frank Levy got his first inkling that tides were changing at last November’s  Delaware Antiques Show, where American furniture dealers had trouble keeping inventory in their booths because of the enthusiastic buying. “It was a real wake-up call,” he said. “People seem to be taking a broader interest in American furniture. It’s not an anomaly. The interest has been there, but the money hasn’t always—but it is now.” Kinzle, who also had a positive experience at the Delaware Antiques Show, mirrored Levy’s sentiment. “I think that the American furniture market is alive and well. People are realizing that it’s a bargain now and it’s a good time to buy.” American furniture dealers have also seen considerable success on, with Americana listings among the most visited and sought after items on the site.

Fig. 5: Federal Carved and Figured Inlaid Work Table, North Shore, probably Salem, Massachusetts, circa 1800. Primary woods: mahogany, flame birch, rosewood, veneer; secondary woods: mahogany, pine. H. 28 ½, W. 20 ¼, D. 15 ½ inches. Image courtesy of Bernard and S. Dean Levy.

The demand for American-made pieces carried over to folk art at the Winter Antiques Show and dealers such as Allan Katz were thrilled with the results. “It was a very nice and productive show,” said Katz, adding, “We are delighted. It was really terrific.” Katz, who debuted a new catalogue at the show reported many notable sales, including a William “Willie” Howard plantation desk (Fig. 6); a “tour de force” Noah’s Ark; the Bingham Family Civil War memorial secretary; an important rooster weathervane; an early decorated stoneware bulb pot; a P. Dean presentation cane made for Benjamin Franklin Taylor; a prison-made monkey bar diorama; and a Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company Trade Sign. “We had sales to museums, collectors, and people we had never met before who were just reacting to the objects as decorative art. It really crossed all spectrums, which isn’t always the case for us,” said Katz. Among the items folk art dealer Barbara Pollack of Highland Park, Illinois' Frank & Barbara Pollack, sold, was a rare painted diminutive serpentine-crest Windsor settee, probably from Baltimore County, Maryland, branded "D.How." David Schorsch, who sold around eleven pieces, added, “I can only speak to the Americana portion of the show, but it seemed as though those of us in that discipline had a very good year. Things were selling across the board. All of my colleagues had a good show.”

Ed Hild of New Hope, Pennsylvania’s Olde Hope Antiques reported an “exceptional number of fraktur sales,” which he attributes to the recent interest in folk art fraktur. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is currently hosting the exhibition Drawn with Spirit: Pennsylvania German Fraktur from the Joan and Victor Johnson Collection, the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library will present A Colorful Folk: Pennsylvania Germans & the Art of Everyday Life when it reopens for the season on March 1, 2015, and a fraktur conference is scheduled to take place in Philadelphia from March 5-8, 2015.

Fig. 6: The Bingham Family Civil War Memorial Secretary, Connecticut, dated 1876. Walnut, oak, ebony, poplar, pine, and maple. Other materials incorporated are metal, glass, muslin, silk, bone, horn and abalone. H. 95 1/2, W. 42 1/4, D. 19 3/4 inches. Image courtesy of Allan Katz Americana.

Hirschl & Adler had “good sales across the board,” according to Elizabeth Feld, who serves on the Winter Antiques Show’s Dealer Committee. “We sold paintings, decorative arts, and furniture to private and institutional buyers. The best part of the Winter Antiques Show is that it continues throughout the year—it’s the fair that keeps on giving. I suspect that we’ll have ongoing sales and inquiries for at least six months.” While the gallery had its usual prominent central location at the show, Hirschl & Adler was concurrently hosting, at their Crown Building gallery, the exhibition Very Rich & Handsome (December 18, 2014-February 13, 2015), which is a showcase of exquisite American Neo-Classical furniture, paintings, and decorative arts; a scholarly catalogue is available.

Of the Winter Antiques Show, Feld noted that not even a mid-show snowstorm could put a damper on this year’s event. “It was a mixed blessing,” she said. “The show was open and nothing else in the city was. It was a unique day. It was relaxed and dealers were smiling, enjoying each other, and enjoying the visitors. It has been up and down the past few years, but it’s nice to see dealers who have been doing this a very long time happy.”

Please click HERE to view Antiques and Fine Art’s Editor-in-Chief, Johanna McBrien’s, favorite things from the 2015 Winter Antiques Show.

The 62nd annual Winter Antiques Show will be held January 22‒31, 2016, at the Park Avenue Armory, with the Opening Night Gala on Thursday, January 21.