The Winter Show, running from January 24-February 2 at the Park Avenue Armory, is the largest and grandest of the trade shows. Many of the 72 exhibitors celebrate the opening moment of the international calendar with offerings that reflect a history of cross-cultural trading.
Daniel Crouch Rare Books, for example, stages an exhibition of historic globes, including a pair by Willem Blaeu from 1648, offered for $1.5m. Measuring 2ft 2in (66cm), they were the largest globes ever made at the time and would have been luxury objects for a wealthy owner.
They were also the most advanced cartographic document of the age, representing the first printed depiction of a passage to the Pacific south of continental America.
Fellow exhibitor Cohen & Cohen offers a previously unrecorded Qianlong period Chinese famille rose punch bowl made for the European market c.1755-65. It has a scene after a 1749 print depicting actor James Quin as Coriolanus on the stage at Covent Garden.
Scottish poet James Thomson (1700-48) completed his version of Coriolanus in 1746, and Quin took on the title role.
However, Thomson died before it opened, and it was eventually staged by the politician George Lyttleton as a benefit for the poet’s heirs. It is possible that Lyttleton, also a patron of Alexander Pope and Henry Fielding, ordered the bowl in Thomson’s memory. Theatrical subjects are rare on porcelain, and this example is available for a price in the region of £45,000.
Meanwhile, Apter-Fredericks brings a George I ‘Japanned’ bureau bookcase, c.1725. It reflects the 18th century taste for Chinese lacquer furniture, a technique European craftsmen approximated by highly polishing surfaces and embellishing them with ‘Chinese’ motifs.
This lavish piece has a provenance to Jonathan Bulkley, president of the East Side House Settlement, who may have acquired it on a trip to the London during the 1920s-30s. It is offered for a price in excess of $250,000.
Elsewhere at the event an exhibition is planned with Carswell Rush Berlin from New York, which showcases US furniture from 1800- 40 alongside British painting and art of the China trade from Martyn Gregory.
Beyond the cross-cultural offerings are highlights such as antiquities from Charles Ede, Andy Warhol drawings at Daniel Blau and decorative art from the 18th and 19th centuries provided by Thistlethwaite Americana.
The fair includes a loan exhibition of works from the collection of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library spanning 4000 years of history, art and culture, including works by artists such as Diego Velázquez, El Greco and Joaquín Sorolla.