Bangle bracelets

Philadelphia show returns in person with art, antiques and design

A mahogany George II Irish gaming table, circa 1740 from Hyde Park Antiques in New York.

Courtesy of The Philadelphia Show

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Visitors to the annual Philadelphia Show at the end of April can once again be on the hunt, in person, for American art and design with stories to tell.

For the first time, the annual exhibition – in its 60th year – will take place on the grounds of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Located under a tent on its east terrace, visitors overlook the city and the 72 steps climbed by the fictional Rocky Balboa in Rocky III.

The museum took over the fair — formerly known as the Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show — in 2018 from Penn Medicine, the clinical and medical research group at the University of Pennsylvania. The show had taken place at the Philadelphia Navy Yard before the coronavirus pandemic forced it to go virtual for the past two years.

“The cool thing about an antiques exhibit is the stories you find there,” says Eleanore Gadsden, co-chair of the exhibit. It’s the hunt for interesting artifacts and the art of history that is often the biggest draw for collectors, says Gadsden.

Portrait of a Gentleman1807, John Wesley Jarvis

Courtesy of The Philadelphia Show

Hyde Park Antiques, a New York dealer in 18th and 19th century English furniture, for example, will have a George II Mahogany Irish games table from around 1740. The table looks like a normal piece of furniture, but if “you push this , the backgammon board comes up, and if you push that, there’s the checkers board,” says Gadsden. “Some collectors will be so intrigued by how they’ve done it without machines, or any type of modern manufacturing. “

Philip Bradley Antiques in Telford, Penn., has a “Philadelphia mahogany dressing table” dating from around 1770 which is attributed to Benjamin Randolph and includes carvings of Hercules Courtney. James Robinson, a New York dealer in antique jewelry, silver, glass and porcelain, will offer an 18-karat gold, turquoise enamel and pearl bangle bracelet made in England in 1865.

While the fair’s history is rooted in Americana and antiques, it has expanded over the years to include design objects and paintings up to the present day. The only guideline is that the artist or furniture makers must be represented in a major museum, explains Huntley Platt, the exhibition’s director.

18 karat gold, turquoise enamel and pearl bangle bracelet from the Victorian period, made in England circa 1865.

Courtesy of The Philadelphia Show

A number of more than 35 exhibitors will showcase work by local Pennsylvania artists, including African-American artists, Platt says. And, she adds, the late painter Andrew Wyeth, born in Chadds Forth, Pennsylvania, and the entire Wyeth family, still have a strong presence at the show.

Throughout the fair, individual dealers will offer “booth talks”, describing the works they offer, and visitors can take a pre-show tour each day. Some of these dealers, including Cooley Gallery, Jeffrey Tillou Antiques, Ralph M. Chait Galleries and SJ Shrubsole, have participated in the fair since its inception in 1962, when it was known as the University Hospital Antiques Show.

A centerpiece of the fair will be a loan exhibition entitled “Zero to Sixty” in honor of the sixty years of the fair’s existence and its sixty years of exhibiting art and design on loan from museums and collectors. The annual loan show was traditionally organized around a theme, such as “flights of fancy”, which centered on birds, or “clean and tidy”, which concerned boxes.

Historically, this exhibit numbered up to 80 objects, but for this year approximately 15 objects have been selected representing different themes over the years by Alexandra Kirtley, the museum’s curator, and Joan Johnson, a longtime collector and supporter of the museum. .

To represent the historical theme “patriots and portraits” – which was an exhibition of miniature portraits – the curators selected Portrait of a Gentlemanan 1807 painted miniature (3 ⅛ inches high) by John Wesley Jarvis of a windblown “dandy” which was loaned by collectors Richard and Ginger Dietrich.

Proceeds from this year’s exhibition will support the museum’s digital resources and content strategy division, a recognition that virtual programming brings the museum’s educational resources to a wider audience.

This year, for example, the fair is offering a series of virtual programs called “New Conservations with the Philadelphia Show.”

The second in the series takes place Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. EST, when museum curator Jessica Todd Smith and University of Pennsylvania professor Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw delve into a museum exhibit called “Elegy: Lament in the 20th Century.” . Their discussion will focus on “series and repetition” in Barbara Chase-Riboud’s Malcolm X sculpture and Robert Motherwell’s “Elegy to the Spanish Republic” paintings.

The Philadelphia Show runs from April 29 through May 1, with a preview on the evening of April 28.