Staged at the Park Lane Armory in the heart of Manhattan, it starts with a glitzy ticket-only opening night party, this year on January 19, and continues until January 29.
Mixing Americana, folk art and classic antiques, the high return rate of its exhibitors also testifies to the popularity of this formula. Of the 70 exhibitors who are standing this month, 61 were present last year.
American dealers may still dominate the roster but these days the WAS is also an event where you will find British dealers making the most of the fallow period in the UK and Europe to capitalise on all the activity stateside.
And while Americana is still a major plank of this event (reinforced this year by a loan exhibition from Colonial Williamsburg’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum), a gradual shift of emphasis to a broader mix of disciplines has taken place. These days you are as likely to find ancient Egyptian art or Contemporary ceramics as American folk art.
Commenting on these shifts, show director Catherine Sweeny Singer points out: “The show has grown in a very organic way.
“In recent years, we had been ‘courting’ certain top dealers from the UK in traditional English furniture and other areas. In 2015 we were thrilled to add Apter-Fredericks, H Blairman & Sons, Bowman Sculpture; Thomas Coulborn & Sons, Daniel Crouch Rare Books and Ronald Phillips.”
A lecture programme and Young Collectors night (pre-requisites for any fair of standing these days) are other elements to be found as part of the 10-day run at the Armory.
Pictured here and on the following pages are some of the elements that make up the show’s eclectic mix, plus interviews with two longstanding exhibitors on what makes them keep coming back.