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New York Winter Antiques Show Features Rare Garden Antiques from Barbara Israel Garden Ornament Collections




Tomorrow
is the first day of the 59th New York Winter Antiques Show.
The
annual show at the Park Avenue Amory in New York City is the
“Most
prestigious antiques show, providing museums, collectors, dealers, design
professionals, and first- time buyers with opportunities to see and purchase
exceptional pieces showcased by 73 renowned experts in American, English,
European, and Asian fine and decorative arts.
Every object
exhibited at the Show is vetted for quality and authenticity. All net proceeds
support East
Side House Settlement
a non-profit
institution in the South Bronx that provides social services to community.
The Winter
Antiques Show’s 2013 loan exhibition celebrates The Preservation Society of
Newport County, Rhode Island. 
Newport: The Glamour of Ornament showcases fine and decorative art from eight
of the historic Newport Mansions.
Newport and
glamour works for this Garden Glamour blogger: my husband and I honeymooned in
Newport and well; glamour is a fundamental design element… 
Garden Design
Garden Design
Antiques are front and center and represented by a premiere garden historian,
expert and author, Barbara Israel.
Today being a
crazy, day-before the show schedule, Barbara was kind enough to provide an
interview. 
I know Barbara
from my career at The New York Botanical Garden.
And from the
research I do for my garden design clients. 
Her
contributions to the three area-antiques shows she showcases her art at are
memorable. 
Her knowledge
and her collections are extraordinary.
She is an
acknowledged expert and has written two books on garden antiques.
Here is an excerpt from the Q&A in advance
of the 2013 Winter Antiques Show
:
Q.  How
did you get started collecting garden antiques? 
Being a Garden State Frelinghuysen, I assume you grew up surrounded by
such art…
A.  I grew up going to both of my grandmother’s
gardens— one in Far Hills, New Jersey (Mrs. Frelinghuysen).  The other in
Islip, Long Island (Mrs. Lawrance).  My grandmother Frelinghuysen lived
near the Louis XIII style mansion in Peapack, NJ called Blairsden. 









Garden Glamour knows this Garden
State property well. 
An
early-in-my-garden-design career, fellow enthusiast, Barry Thompson, would
take the time to share his garden and estate home history knowledge and
pre-internet network connections to other passionate garden enthusiasts for my
burgeoning garden history curiosity and writing. I cherished his keen research
and undying devotion to grand estates and historical landscape architecture.
Thompson
wrote the acclaimed book on the stunning Blairsden estate that so beguiled and
influenced Barbara: New Jersey Country Houses –
The Somerset Hills
   
Back to Barbara:
As a
girl I would sneak onto this property with my siblings and was in awe of the
ornament there— including 12 monumental busts of Roman emperors that lined the
driveway.  These excursions peaked my interest early on.  
Also,
my grandmother Lawrance took me to visit the Gould estate in Lakewood, NJ
called Georgian Court (now a college campus).  There I saw opulent marble
fountains and urns.
Q. Why exhibit at the Winter
Antiques Show?
A.  The Winter Antiques Show is really the best
showcase in the country for art and antiques of the finest quality— you’ll find
the rarest, most coveted objects here.  
We are
the only garden ornament dealer at the Winter Show.  
The
Delaware Antiques Show in November, a benefit for Winterthur, (www.winterthur.org) is another great show
on our schedule (though smaller, more regional), but the Winter Antiques Show
is sort of the grand dame of antiques shows.  
And,
one of our favorite events of the year is the art and antiques show at the New
York Botanical Garden (www.nybg.org) in
April— where all the dealers are garden dealers.  That’s a gorgeous show,
just in terms of aesthetics.   
Q.  How do you determine what you will show at
the Winter Antiques Show – given the size of the garden art, how many pieces
can you get to a show, plus the cost…?
A. We
set aside objects all year for the Winter Antiques Show.  
This is the
venue where we show our rarest acquisitions, our finest pieces.
 Connoisseurs come from all over the country looking for the best, so w
e
make sure to put together a really fine collection for this show.  



We like
to have objects marked by rare makers, or statues of particularly fine quality,
pieces with an unusual and desirable provenance, objects of grand proportions,
for large estate gardens.  
We
also try to have a range of pieces and a range of price points.  
We
also like to bring pieces that make sense with each other— we sometimes have a
theme, like a woodland, where we’d bring mostly animals, etc.


We
generally bring anywhere from 20-36 pieces to a show.  
Some
of these pieces will not be on view right away but instead in “vetted storage,”
meaning they’ve been approved by the Vettors, or experts, but are being held
back to be put in when something else sells.  
This
year, we are bringing pieces of such monumental size that the number of objects
was a bit lower than usual.
Yes,
it is expensive to move these pieces, but luckily we have a very experienced
and knowledgeable team.
Q.  Do you promote or advertise or alert the show
attendees prior to the show so that the audience comes knowing what you will
offer. Or do you unveil and surprise with your offerings?
A. We
do a fair amount of advertising and promotion. Generally a couple of ads in
antiques magazines and/or newspapers.  
We
send out a postcard to people on our mailing list.  
We
send out an e-blast to our email mailing list.  
We
send a select number of photographs via email to particular clients who might
collect this or that.  
We
have clients who like to know in advance so that they can make plans to be
there early on opening night.  That said, we don’t let everything out of
the bag— there have to be surprises in the booth.
Q. Do the customers come
pre-disposed to your collections or do you meet new fans all the time?
A.
Many of our clients are long-term clients whose taste we know and understand
and of course we have them in mind when we acquire pieces.  
But we
also meet new people all the time— every year brings new clients and new
enthusiasm for antique garden ornament.  
Working
with clients to find the perfect piece for their garden is one of the best
parts of the business.
Q. How have tastes changed over
the last 10 years?
A.
 Tastes have certainly changed a bit through the years.  
We are
seeing more people responding to modern pieces now, or pieces that are rustic
enough to be at home in a spare modern landscape.  
But
there will always be clients for classical, traditional ornament.  
Q. What are trends? What’s “new”
in garden antiques?
A.
  Classical garden ornament mostly defies trends— the desire for
exceptional examples of classical ornament remains steadfast. Sometimes we have
a flurry of requests for armillary spheres, or a wave of interest in simple
stone benches, but generally I wouldn’t even define these as trends.  
Fairly
recently, many clients were interested in a more rustic look, but this is not
across the board. 

Q.  Where do you source from and does that impact
“style?”
A. We
do most of our overseas buying in England— with occasional pieces coming from
the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, or France.  
We
have favorite sources that we are in contact with in those countries.  
We
also do a lot of buying here in this country— we receive photos every week from
people looking to sell beautiful things.  
It’s
hard to say how it impacts styles.  So many of our pieces can fit well
into a traditional English garden or an Italianate one.  
We
usually advocate working with the architecture of the home— finding ornaments
that work with the style of the client’s house.
Q. What’s the future of garden
antiques – in pieces and interest?
A. We
see interest growing in garden antiques.  
And
just when we wonder whether we’ll be able to continue finding great pieces,
something truly magnificent comes along.  
Also
we’re just getting going on our research— even after writing the book and the
guidebook, there are still so many new discoveries to be had.  
This
makes it all a great deal of fun.
Q.  Who is your “typical” customer?  Young/older? Do people buy garden antiques as
gifts?
A. Our
typical client is probably 35-65, but really a vast range of people. Yes,
people do buy garden ornaments as gifts!
What
the recent buying interest, especially given the recent financial downturn that
we now emerging from?
A. The
last four years were certainly difficult for everyone and we definitely felt
the downturn.  However we have started to see the market pick up
tremendously.  
We
were aware that garden ornaments were bound to be one of the last areas to
recover— since people tend to focus more on the interior of their homes when
times are uncertain.  But we have turned the corner.
Q. 
Tell us about your books – are
they still in print and continue to sell?
A. We
are still selling the 1999 book.  It is out of print, but we buy them up
where we can and you can find it on Amazon.  
And
with a Forward by the legendary Mark Hampton makes this book a favorite in my
Garden Glamour design library.  
Hampton’s
daughter Alexa has picked up the family’s design magic wand to much success. 
Don’t miss out.
The
guidebook, A Guide to Buying Antique
Garden Ornament
, is self-published (2012) and there has been a lot of
interest.  I’d like to think it’s required reading— I hope designers would
agree!
Q.  Where can the public see some of your garden
antique art?
A. Clients
who would like to visit our Katonah, NY location can make an appointment by
calling 212.744.6281 or emailing Eva Schwartz at eva@bi-gardenantiques.com.
Q. What category of garden
antiques are your best sellers or most popular?
A. Probably
the hardest to keep in stock, as good antique ones are so rare, are armillary
spheres.  
Exemplary
figural statues and benches are probably the things we are asked about the
most.
Q. What is your favorite piece or
category?
A. I
would say that the pieces I get most excited about are the really good figural
statues.  They are so easy to connect with, there is usually a fabulous
story to tell, whether it’s a mythological figure or historical…the faces
tell the best stories, too.  Over the years, I have owned some truly
exceptional figures.  
Having
a great Winter Antiques Show sets the tone for the whole year.  We look
forward to this year’s show being truly stellar!

Thank
you, Barbara.  
What better way to spend a
cold, cold winter weekend in New York? 
Inside, at the Amory, with antiques that are sure to warm your heart…
Barbara
Israel Garden Antiques:
The Winter
Antiques Show:
 Do you have a garden antique or vintage story to share?  

2 Comments

  • Our wind chimes please the eye and delight the ear, keeping you in touch with the subtle variations in your surroundings and marking the changes that take place throughout the day. For some of us these sounds are company, to others they act as calming, meditational notes. garden ornaments

  • Great post, It is very helpful to buy the right garden ornaments.

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 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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