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One of the three early Tang dynasty camels sold opening night by T. K. Asian.
More than Palm Beach’s glitterati attended the well-publicized premiere of this vast show that featured 234 international jewelry, art, and antiques dealers in the new 100,000 sq. ft. Palm Beach County Convention Center over Presidents’ Day weekend (February 13–17). “I was impressed with how many major collectors went to this show,” noted exhibitor Alan Granby of Hyland Granby Antiques. From billionaires Bill Koch and Donald Trump and Fidelity Investments’ Ned Johnson to Virginia senator John Warner and Architectural Digest editor Paige Rense, the four day event attracted well over 50,000 visitors, making it perhaps the largest, high-end American show launch in history.

Five thousand people turned out for the opening night, including guests of the show’s sponsor, the financial firm UBS, and supporters of The United Way of Palm Beach County, beneficiary of the fundraising gala. In addition, nearly 1,000 antiques enthusiasts attended lectures held over the weekend, such as Christopher Forbes’s talk on collecting Fabergé.

New York art dealers fared very well with major sales such as an El Greco from Robert Simon Gallery, offered at over $1 million. In addition, Mark Borghi parted with several vibrant early modern Oscar Bluemners in the $40,000–50,000 range, as well as a lovely Cassatt head of a child for about $1.5 million.

Organizer Scott Diament (left) with preview party guests.
A strong contingent of dealers in American art from Boston’s Newbury Street included Richardson-Clarke Gallery, Childs Gallery, Haley & Steele, and sporting art specialist Stephen J. O’Brien, Jr. The bronze canine sculptures of contemporary artist Rosemary Cook, priced in the $450–4,200 range, were hot ticket items at Haley & Steele, who also sold a $70,000 Audubon.

Other crowd pleasers included a marvelous trio of early Tang dynasty camels anchoring the booth of T. K. Asian. These three-foot high pieces were snatched up on opening night for about $650,000. The gallery’s sales topped $2 million over the weekend, which director Michael Teller attributed to new interest, and to about fifty existing clients who visited the show.

A refreshing strength of the show was its decorative arts dating from 1850–1950. Art nouveau and japonist ceramics were shown by Jason Jacques; American Arts and Crafts, by Geoffrey Diner; and British Reform Gothic, Arts and Crafts, aesthetic movement, and art furniture were displayed by John Alexander. French art deco dealer Calderwood Gallery sold a pair of Dominique armchairs (read more in Noteworthy Sales, page 18), a Leon Jallot bookcase, and a Bergue and Daum torchere.

This circa-1840 Meissen plate was sold by Mary Wise & Grosvenor Antiques to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
While sales of small-sized objects were brisk throughout the show—both antique boxes from Sallea Antiques and Steuben glass from Jeffrey Purtell exited in droves—the final day saw a rush on larger works. During the final minutes of the show, European paintings were sold in the six-figure range by English dealers Haynes Fine Art of Broadway and Willow Gallery.

New to producing an antiques show, organizers Kris Charamonde, Scott Diament, and Rob Samuels proved that their experience as estate jewelers and entrepreneurs translated well into show success. With the goal of creating the largest show in the U.S. where exhibitors’ offerings are vetted for quality, the trio thoroughly researched the market and invested upwards of $2 million. A significant number of exhibitors were culled from premier shows such as TEFAF Maastricht, the Winter Antiques Show, and the Palm Beach Classic, and Charamonde hopes to further develop a roster of exhibitors at a consistent top-tier level.

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