The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair closed to healthy sales and good attendance in January, not a surprise given the beautiful objects d’art and antiques I’m using to illustrate this post, though it certainly is given the blizzard that took over New York City the weekend it debuted. Even slight foot-traffic would have been a testament to the fine specimens of ceramics and glass on display.
The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair
Thirty international dealers were on hand for the 17th edition of the show, which has attracted an impressive list of curators from prominent museums across the country since its inception that includes The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Ceramic Research Center at Arizona State University; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; the Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum, the Mount Vernon Museum, the Newark Museum, The Peabody-Essex Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Corning Museum of Glass, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, the Saint Louis Art Museum, Winterthur Museum, Historic Deerfield, the Yale University Art Gallery, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Museum of Arts and Design.
Notables spotted in the crowd this year were Ellie Cullman, Harry Heissmann, Ronald Bricke, Christopher Spitzmiller, Geoffrey Bradfield, Bennett Weinstock and Simon Doonan. Auction-house founders Lark Mason and Leigh Keno were also seen strolling through the show.
Fine Specimens of Ceramics and Glass
To illustrate the quality of the sales, here is a quick look at a number of notable pieces that exhibitors reported were either spoken for or had found new homes:
Robert Prescott-Walker of Polka Dot Antiques said, “The fair was probably the busiest I have seen it for a while, with the exception of the snow day.” His most important piece of Staffordshire, “The Death of Munroe,” circa 1820, is on purchase approval to a major New York museum.
Contemporary ceramic artist Michael Boroniec, a fair newcomer, reported numerous sales from his Spiral Spatial Series (including the piece shown above). “I was humbled by the strong reception to my work by so many top-level collectors and designers,” he said. “I depleted the inventory of work that I had on hand and was honored by several substantial commissions. My first time at the fair opened up a very valuable portal to the collector community, and I’m gratified to receive such a strong outpouring of recognition and intense interest by both private and institution collections. Additionally, the support and promotion provided by the event organizers was first-rate, and you can be sure that I will be back!”
Leslie Ferrin, who braved the snowpocalyspe to offer her outstanding wares, remarked, “This year we saw the growing interest in new work by international artists whose practice is inspired by history and who use this source material for commentary on social and political issues. Paul Scott’s artwork and funded-research project ‘American Scenery’ continued to attract attention as well as museum purchases as he re-contextualizes transfer-ware with prints of Indian Point, the New Jersey Turnpike and views of landmarks such as Battery Park. The Dutch ceramist Bouke de Vries [his work shown above] has been commissioned by the Peabody-Essex Museum for their Asia in Amsterdam exhibition [which opened in late February].”
UK-based dealer Martyn Edgell reported “loads of sales,” including many Mocha-ware pieces and English stoneware; while glass specialist Mark J. West, also from the UK, sold more on opening night than he did in all the days combined last year. “It was like the old days,” he noted. Designers and collectors were snapping up pieces made during the 18th– through the 20th-centuries. Among the various items sold were a collection of Venetian aquarium weights, a 90-piece service of Baccarat tableware and 16 large Art Deco vases.
Carrie Gustafson, a contemporary glass artist and first-time exhibitor said, “For those of us exhibiting contemporary ‘craft’ it was an extraordinary experience to have our work seen by an audience with a high appreciation for detail and an unmeasured understanding of the history of decorative arts. I repeatedly heard from attendees how ‘fresh’ and ‘exciting’ the contemporary work looked at the fair.” Gustafson sold numerous pieces of her signature glass “Embola” and “Thistle Bottles.”
Martine Boston, from Limerick, Ireland, was very enthusiastic about her first time at the fair and reported numerous sales of Royal Worcester vases, dresser pieces and a Royal Worcester moon flask. “We met many people who were genuinely interested in what we were offering,” she remarked.
“I always love doing the New York Ceramics & Glass Fair,” said Jill Fenichell, whose eponymous gallery is based in Brooklyn, New York. “In spite of the snow, it was an exciting week. I sold a lovely and impressive pair of Bohemian ruby glass covered chalices. I am already looking forward to next year.”
Let’s hope Mother Nature will give them a break in 2017 for time served this year! The fair is slated for January 19 through 22 with a preview on January 18.
Text of Ceramics and Glass Get Fired Up! © design blogger Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here, Stranded on the Road to Promise and Four Florida Moderns. She also maintains The Diary of an Improvateur as a platform for her literary travel and design adventuring, and is a contributor to Architizer.