Monday, January 10, 2011

Washington Social Diary

Circa 1884 "Extraordinary Crazy Quilt" at Gemini Antiques of Lebanon, NJ. $9,500.
by Carol Joynt

For many it will always be known simply as the “antiques show,” but when the annual gathering of Washington’s most stellar young and old fogies occurred last week it was clear its reinvention was a good thing. There was the name change, from the 55-year-old “Washington Antiques Show” to the streamlined “Washington Winter Show.” But by taking “antiques” out of the name it was as if the organizers also blew the dust off what had become a neglected treasure, like that heirloom in the back of the attic.

The recognition of something new and better was apparent in the faces of the swarm of well-dressed patrons who showed up for opening night. In a comforting way for the old guard there were no radical changes. For example, no DJ, thank God, but jazzy standards from the Majestic Notes. And the signature crab cakes and Peking Duck rolls of Susan Gage Caterers had not been replaced by mashed potatoes in a martini glass. Phew. Then there was Hannah Cox, the event’s matriarch, greeting guests at the entrance. Nearby were the young co-chairs, Debbie Winsor and Kate Chartener. The trio smiled broadly. No, actually they beamed, because they knew what they had, to borrow from our hockey friends, was a “score!”
The name change and a younger crowd is what's new about the Washington Winter Show.
A dandy list of patrons.
The red carpet arrival at the Washington Winter Show.
Kate Markert, Ellen Charles, Hannah Cox, Leslie Buhler, and John Irelan.
The show's co-chairs, Debbie Winsor and Kate Chartener. Jean Perin and Elizabeth Powell.
The PR team led by Helen Burnett on the right.
Roxanne Roberts and Kevin Chaffee.
Jane Matz and Betsy Rackley.
Felicia Stidham. Well, how do you do?
Marilyn Montgomery, Gail Matheson, Mike Harreld, Hannah Cox, and Helen Brass Curtin.
The significant change came in merging the young and the old. In the past, the antiques show opened mid-week for the elders. Then, on the weekend, there was a dinner dance for the “young collectors.” But as the young collectors dwindled, the Saturday event became practically funereal. Bringing them all together made everyone happier; by association, the elders appeared younger, and the young appeared wiser.

What the Washington Winter Show achieved is a lesson for every venerable group trying to pull itself into modernity through the traps of tradition and less money. Tradition has to be respected but it doesn’t need to be a jail cell. Money? Well, it’s out there, and people will spend it, but they want a good party. They crave a good party.
The first floor bar. There were also second and third floor bars. The risotto cups were especially popular.
Dinner is served by the catering team from Susan Gage.
One of several buffet tables.
Crab cakes.
... and up close.
Taking a seat for dinner.
Flatbread with cheese, olives, tomatoes.
The roses were mixed with blooming cotton.
Green beans with yellow beets and goat's cheese.
Onion and cheese tart.
Coq au Vin.
Backstage, putting the finishing touches on dessert.
The Washington Antiques Show deconstructed last year under the weight of financial issues. It parted ways with its long time beneficiary, The Thrift Shop Charities. But as the Washington Winter Show it found new charities: THEARC, St. John’s Community Services, Starlight Children’s Foundation, and the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys. It also found a rich sponsor in PNC bank.

It will take a week or so to assimilate the results of the three-day emporium and to learn whether it was also good for the dealers. Opening night is not a barometer of buying, because most serious collectors return over the weekend — when there isn’t a cocktail in their hands — to look more closely, assess and bargain. They also immerse themselves in a series of adjunct events, such as a luncheon lecture by Verdura’s Ward Landrigan, dealer talks, guided tours, and a Sunday brunch featuring samplings from a group of Georgetown restaurants. Georgetown —“200 Years of Style” — was the show’s theme.

It will be interesting to see how the Washington Winter Show rolls out next year, when the White House is the theme. The chair is Bush Administration social secretary Amy Zantzinger. Who should be honorary chair? My amateur suggestion: a First Lady powerhouse consortium of Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, and Betty Ford. How could they resist?
The view from the second floor at the Katzen Arts Center.
An exhibition space.
The Katzen Center is a warren of nooks and crannies for the guests and exhibitors.
Headed up to the second floor and more antiques. At Russack & Loto Books of Northwood, NH.
An assortment of large French copper pots and pans at Busch & Fielding of St. Joseph, MO.
Also at Busch & Fielding, an early 20th C. carved wood West Point cadet. $2,500. At Fletcher/Copenhaver Fine Art, a circa 1870 carved eagle from New Hampshire. $9,500.
Also at Copenhaver/Fletcher, "Two Children," a watercolor/pen&ink/ink wash/charcoal by Alix Ayme, who died in 1989. $18,000.
Cock-a-doodle-doo, also at Washburne. Spotted at Charles L. Washburne of Solebury, PA.
Also at Gemini, a "Martha Chase" doll. $750. Attention yachtsmen: The New York Yacht Club "Commodore's Cup" won in 1900 by Henry F. Lippitt's 75-foot schooner Quissetta, at Spencer Marks, Ltd., of Westhampton, MA.
What a great Valentine's gift. At The Hanebergs Antiques of East Lyme, CT for $650.
A British presentation model lifebuoy for the 19th C. chaplain of the Royal Navy, Frederick Gibbins.
At Russack & Loto. At Malcolmn Magruder of Millwood, VA.
Also at Malcolm Magruder.
19th-century Nantucket lightship baskets and a framed schooner diorama at Cunha-St. John Antiques of Essex, MA. The berry basket on the left, for example, is $3500. Casting an excellent shadow, a rare 19th C. buck weathervane at Roberto Freitas. $18,500.
There's almost a whole service of these at Circa Antiques of Rockport, ME. The platter is $595.
An assortment of miniature portrait pins.
Taking a closer look.
Zeroing in on two Chinoiserie figurines at Earle Vandekar of Knightsbridge in Westchester, NY.
A closer look.
At Dawn Hill Antiques, a romantic late 19th C French flower painting, signed "Laval." $12,000.
From Grenfell Mission, "Nursery Mat," made from hand-hooked silk stockings, circa 1935, Newfoundland. $4,300, at A Bird In Hand in Florham Park, NJ. Also at A Bird In Hand, a charming early 20th C Navaho Boy Doll, $295.
Another Grenfell Mission work, circa 1930s, "Dog Team." $3,200.
Among those on the list for the party, Mai and Jim Abdo, Jay Adams, David Anderson, Brady Arundel, Susan Ascher, Ellen Charles, Elizabeth Powell, Amy Baeir, Jane Battle, James Beers, Robert Benton, Foree Biddle, Pamela Bolanis, Kate Markert, John Vogel, Joan Townsend, Ruth Buchanan, David Brock, William Curtin, Martha Crosland, Leslie Buhler, Christopher Cobb, Brice Clagett, Jacqueline Mars, John Irelan, Jake and Claire Farver, Morgan Delaney, Danny Korengold, Martha Dippell, Linda Donovan, Townsent Burden, Bob Warren, Deborah and Curtin Winsor, Anne Wise, Wiley T. Buchanan, Kate and Robert Chartener, Benjamin Dupuy, Elizabeth Edgeworth, Guy Dove, Jill Franzen, Izette Folger, Byron LaMotte, Melissa McGhee Keshisian, Pamela Jenkinson, Linnard Hobler, Gwen Holliday, Ted Gossett, Barry Graham, Julio Heurtematte, Leslie Hill, Revelle Gwyn, Gary Young, Glenn Reichardt, JoAnn Zuercher, Ellie and Temple Grassi, Michael A. Jones, Chris and Blair Kaine, Margaret Kavalaris, Betsy Kleeblatt, Maxine Riziks, Matt and Julie Rienzo, Angela Lancaster, C.F. Muckenfuss, James G. Randolph, Frederick Prince, Betsy Rackley, Pat Munroe, Jackson and Jane Ritchie, Malcolm Matheson, Howard and Rhonda Wilkins, Carrie Marriott, Frances Scott Thomas Montgomery, Michael Miller, Ward Landrigan, Camille Lepre, Stephanie Lilley, James and Christine Merrifield, Avery Miller, Keith Robertshaw, David Deckelbaum, Elizabeth Roberts, Julie Carter, Jim Roberts, Lynne Robinson, Kathryn Siendahl, Christopher and Laura Simmons, Allen Snook, Amelie Porter Stroh, Patty Spencer, Leigh Stewart, Sheila Shanahan, Amy and Richard Zantzinger, Helen Curtin, Richard Cleary, Jean Perin, Paul and Darlene Willliamson, Anne Halpern, Judith Stearns, Meritt Connell, Holly Bolter, Jim Bell, Kitty Dove, Neil Folger, Elaine Freeman, S. Allen Chambers, Thomas Husted, Ines Bustillo, H. Bartholomew Cox, Lindsey Drath, Michela English, Dorea Ferris.

Photographs by Carol Joynt. Carol is the host of The Q&A Cafe in Washington, D.C.

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