by Guy Apter Recently returned from the Winter Antiques Show in New York, we felt compelled to put pen to paper to give a short run down on our experience at the show and what that means for the market. As always, it is a delight to attend. The organisers were as keen as ever to ensure our experience went smoothly and create an atmosphere that is conducive to making sales. We achieved a great deal of publicity, with the highlight being the illustration of our Red Japanned Bureau cabinet in the New York Times and being featured in an article in the Art Newspaper. Business at last year’s show was certainly effected by Trump’s election and inauguration. However, this year the show occurred in far more favourable circumstances. Taxes are down, the stock market is up 25% on the year and people were keen to spend.
Apter Fredericks will again be participating in the Winter Antiques Show which is held at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. The opening night party is the 18th January, with the show opening to the public the following day. Visiting hours are: Open daily 12 PM–8 PM Sundays & Thursday 12 PM–6 PM Tuesday 12 PM–4:30 PM We have been featured in some media coverage of the Show by both The Art Newspaper and The New York Times. (Links to both articles). We look forward to seeing you there at Booth 28!
Several months ago, we were approached by Kathleen Morris, curator of decorative arts and acting senior curator at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She was putting together an exhibition called ”Orchestrating Elegance: Alma-Tadema and the Marquand Music Room.” The exhibition, and its accompanying catalogue, focuses on the famous music room designed by Alma-Tadema for the New York mansion of Henry Gurdon Marquand. The extraordinary suite of furniture made for this room, of which the Clark owns the grand piano and matching piano stools, was fabricated in London according to Alma-Tadema’s designs by Johnstone, Norman & Co.
by Alice Freyman As you may know, Alfred Fredericks first opened the doors to an antiques shop at 265-267 Fulham Road in 1946, in a post war Britain, when the country was still on rations. An awful lot has happened in the last 70 years, but the family have stood here steadfast trading and selling the best of eighteenth century English furniture. We wanted to acknowledge this land mark year in a number of ways. First our annual brochure was a special 70th anniversary edition with a front cover which (we believe) visually demonstrates how well-designed and well-constructed furniture can transcend time. A dedication was made to Harry and Guy’s parents – Bernard and Carole Apter – who worked tirelessly to further the business in the last few decades.
By Guy Apter In the British Museum lies a preserved duck billed platypus. In the eighteenth century, the descriptions of this absurdly unbelievable animal which were reaching London seemed so preposterous that its existence was fiercely debated and bet against. It was not until specimens started arriving in London in sufficient numbers that their existence was accepted. We use this example as a comparison to our current age of instant access, with a quick google search, to information about everything from everywhere. Have we lost the sense of wonder and excitement at discovering something foreign and exotic? Back in the Eighteenth century the Western world had already been trading with the East for over 100 years yet still it retained its marvellous sense of the mysterious, and was certainly still capable of inspiring some of the most exuberant and fanciful decorative art of any period.
Gallery Manager Alice Freyman asks Mark Fitzgerald, who specialises in the conservation and restoration of patinated surfaces, some basic questions about how to care for your antique furniture. Imagine the scene. Your Apter Fredericks dining table is laid immaculately, and the candlelight from your recently acquired candelabra is glowing magnificently on the warm mahogany table top. The flowers are fresh, the ambience is perfect. You are filling your water glasses as a finishing touch for your dinner party when suddenly, you lose your grip. Help! Disaster! You accidentally spill the whole jug of water all over your beautiful antique table. What do you do? The trick with any kind of spillage is to dry it up straight away, preferably with something like a clean dishcloth. When cleared up immediately, water is not usually a problem.
Guy Apter discusses the problems of provenance and eighteenth century English furniture. Some of our clients may not realise that the production of our annual catalogue takes months of preparation. The photography shoots, the wording of the text and the in depth research has begun already, even though the catalogue is not published until late spring. One of our greatest ongoing challenges in doing the research for our brochure is establishing the original houses that our furniture was made for. But why is this? There are various reasons. First, we look to eighteenth century house inventories. Paintings were often listed by title and artist, making them easily identifiable. Unfortunately when furniture was listed, it might have been described simply as “A Pair of Side Tables” or “Gilt Candlestands”. This vagueness and lack of detail is hardly conducive to later exact identification. Unfortunately, early auction catalogues are often no more help.
Alice Freyman represented Apter Fredericks at the annual Art Business Conference held in the stunning, and very circular, setting of Church House in the heart of Westminster. Here she writes about her impressions of the day. The well-attended conference included presentations from influential members of the art community here in London. As antiques dealers are in their own funny little world which bridges the gap between ‘art’ and ‘interiors’, not all topics were relevant to us. But the ones which were had been concentrated together in the afternoon. Most convenient, thank you very much. Hence a review of the afternoon sessions follows. First, we learnt about How to Protect our Art Business against Money Laundering. Essential really because as dealers we could inadvertently be caught up with someone undertaking a criminal act. Not something which is in our mid to long term business plan or goals.
By Harry Apter for Apter Fredericks Another July and the 6th edition of Masterpiece has been put to bed. Within two weeks of closing, the tent and associated structures have been removed from the Royal Hospital Chelsea site and all that’s left is an empty grass field in serious need of re-turfing. Exhibiting and organising Masterpiece, together, is a strange phenomenon. As an exhibitor your primary goal is simply to sell all of your pieces. Whilst you are happy for other dealers to also do business, you can’t help but also wonder if there was anything you could have done differently to ensure the client buys your bookcase, for example, as opposed to someone else’s.
There has never been a better time to deal with us directly. Taking into account that the commissions charged by auction houses can be up to 40%, add this fee to the charges for handling, insurance and photography, and the inconvenience of waiting for the next appropriate sale, it is no wonder that we are receiving many more requests to buy than at any time previously!