Pretty impressive invite, huh? Actually, "Joe Shit the Rag Man" can score this. You want to be at opening night.
Last night I walked up to the Armory for the 55th Winter Antiques Show. My first one was in 2002 at the Hilton. The venue had been changed since the Armory was in use following 9/11. I attended the '02 show with a Brit and Scot who drank copious amounts of beer while insulting each other. Employees of an auction house, they steered me into their favorite NYC pubs and into their favorite stalls at the show. Our first stall was Tom Devenish. Just writing the name gives me chills and makes me smile at the same time.
Devinish scolded my guides and said the auction house they worked for was, "fookin useless, yea." The Scot hopped right in and asked what had happened. Devinish complained the auction house wanted to be paid right away and he needed time to sell the piece first. There was a moment of silence before the Scot firmed up his hunch, "You're telling me Tom that you wanna take the lot to your store, sell it and then pay us?" Tom replied, "Yeah, what's so fookin' hard to believe about that?" Tom looked over at me and added, "Who's this asshole. He gonna buy anything or just ask me a bunch of stupid questions." The first stall of my first Winter Antiques Show and I'll never fookin' forget it as long as I fookin' live. I later learned Mr. Devinish passed away just nine months after I met him.
This year was very different. Alone, I ambled slowly and noticed the Taylor Williams stall. Taylor passed away about four years ago after a fight with cancer. A charming man who I had the pleasure to work with on some odds and ends. We had lunch together a couple of times on the 4th floor at the Union League Club in Chicago where Taylor educated me about the antiques business.
You rarely sell for a profit. But when you do it can be massive and feed you for years
She's a generalist and a lousy one at that
This auction house asked me to appraise a large collection of enamels. It was like letting the fox in the hen house
I paused outside the stall and saw Taylor's partner behind the display case of English enamels. I thought about saying hello but couldn't. I had no idea what to say.
Across from the William's stall I struck up a conversation with a dealer from Malcolm Franklin Antiques. It was good to talk to someone from Chicago. There's a real decency about people from the Midwest that's crystal clear in a New York City antique show where money talks and shooting the shit can walk right out the door. Alan Flusser appeared and walked by. I thought of interrupting my conversation and excusing myself to chase Flusser down...but that would have been rude. Not many "Sold" stickers this year. Big surprise there.