Fit for a King or Queen – Art & Antiques in NYC in Spring

Start spreading the news, I am leaving today, I want to be a part of it, New York New York….

New York City (NYC) is a throbbing, thriving metropolis of some 8 million plus people, the most densely populated in the U.S.A today. Some 800 languages are spoken in this linguistically diverse city, which boasts five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island on which Lady Liberty stands holding the torch of freedom.

She’s one gorgeous girl, a colossal neoclassical styled sculpture designed by French sculptor Fréderic Bartholdi and presented to the city in 1886 by the people of France. She is a true example of the power of the people – over 120,000 contributed to her costs. Today at over 100 years old, by most international standards she is considered an ‘antique’.

Selection of Fine Antiques at the Art & Antiques NYC Spring Show

In New York city starting on the 28th April until May 2nd, 2011  the Art and Antique Dealers League of America will hold their annual Spring Show in The Armory on Park Avenue. The league is the oldest antiques and fine arts organisation in America.

This year the Art and Antiques Spring Show is highlighting works of art that its dealers believe are fit for a ‘King or Queen’ in celebration of the Royal wedding in England. So if you are on your way to Westminster you can stop by and pick up the perfect present, or otherwise if you have a penchant for majesty you can just indulge yourself.

All in all there are sixty-five top specialists from all over the United States at the heart of New York’s Art & Antiques Week. They are offering something for every collector’s taste, whether scholarly or decorative, including art, antiques jewellery and the best of both 20th- and 21st-century design.

The Armory where the exhibition is being held is in itself a landmark building. One of America’s finest with an address on Park Avenue NYC to boot.

It’s rich social and military history is laid out in an extraordinary ensemble of rooms, whose interiors were designed by masters of the Aesthetic Movement in America during the latter years of the nineteenth century.

It served as a military, cultural and social setting for New York Society at that time. However between the wars it fell into disrepair. Since December 2006 cleaning and restoration projects have been put in place for all its glorious rooms.

Today The Armory on Park Avenue has become a social profit arts organisation filling a crucial niche in the cultural landscape of New York City as a spectacular place to hold events.

Visitors to the Spring show will be lured into The Armory’s grand exhibition, former magnificent and huge military drill hall with a dramatic visual “mise-en-scene” created by Swedish born American interior designer Lars Bolander, who has become recognized for his signature style of mixing old with new.

There is a double portrait of King Frederick IV and Queen Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstow of Denmark by Gaspar Antoine de Bois-Clair.

Intriguingly they are both painted on slatted wood and the bride and the groom are only revealed when viewing the painting from opposite angles.

It is an extraordinary piece of work, highly original although apparently following a tradition in Scandinavia  – see Bois Clair information document you can download below.

All the royal families of Europe are related and this couple’s grandson Frederick V forged a marriage with Britain’s King George II’s daughter Louisa in 1743.

And then there is Victoria and Albert, perhaps Britain’s most famous romantic royal couple, who are celebrated in a 19th century sailor’s woolwork picture of the royal yacht the Victoria and Albert II.

A magnificent 18th century giltwood mirror bears the crest and coronet of William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford. History may have taken a different course with another family sitting on the British throne today if it weren’t for Wentworth’s father-in-law, the 2nd Duke of Argyll who played an important role in securing the succession of the Hanoverian Kings to the English throne.

A College of Heralds drawing of the Coat of Arms of Sir Robert Spencer perhaps would be the most appropriate as a gift for Britain’s popular betrothed couple. The bridegroom’s mother Lady Diana Spencer was a direct descendant of Sir Robert, who was reputed to have been the richest man in England in his day. The arms appeared on documents, bases for sculpture, and tombs. In short, they were official and spoke directly to the families official positions as peers of the realm.

In America, a nation without a hereditary nobility, a coat of arms today might be considered a quaint anachronism but until the beginning of the last century they were an integral aspect of English social structure.

What: Art and Antique Dealers League of America Spring Show NYC

Where: Park Avenue Armory

Dates & Times: Opens to the public on Thursday, April 28. Hours: Thursday, April 28: 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM; Friday, April 29: 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Saturday, April 30: 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM; Sunday, May 1: 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM; and Monday, May 2: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

General admission: $20 per person; a five-day pass is $40 per person.

Bois Clair Portraits Information Download

Carolyn McDowall, April 2011

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