In the Mix

In the Vernacular

Design Miami

Americana Week goes online with virtual talks, tours, and sales

Manhattan’s annual Americana Week is happening next week, and what an epic time for it. The event coincides with the inauguration of our next POTUS and, quite possibly, the start of the Senate impeachment trial of the current one in the wake of the shocking insurrection at the Capitol last week. Set against this consequential backdrop, the art and objects at the center of Americana Week present a valuable opportunity to reflect on the US’s complicated history as embodied in its distinct material culture.

For the first time, most of the Americana Week events have moved online, with the fortunate result that antiques, decorative arts, and history enthusiasts alike can check out an array of virtual talks, tours, and sales without having to travel to New York. Here are a few notable platforms that will be presenting and exploring significant relics of American culture, some dating back to the country’s founding.

Sunday on Cane River by Clementine Hunter, 1955. On auction at Christie's, estimated $12,000 – 18,000. Photo © Christie's

Americana Sales at Christie’s

For Americana Week 2021, Christie’s is hosting a series of live and online sales: Outsider and Vernacular Art on January 21; In Praise of America: Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Prints and Broadsides on January 21-22; and the online-only sale of Chinese Export Art Featuring Property from the Tibor Collection, which closes January 20th. Highlights from the sales include a 1776 broadside edition of the Declaration of Independence and a selection of drawings by Bill Traylor, alongside an array of 18th and 19th-century furniture, silver, and ceramics.

Set if 6 Rosewood Nesting Tables by Duncan Phyfe & Son, 1841; estimated $50,000 – 80,000. Monumental Silver-Plated Centerpiece Epergne by Meriden Britannia Co., ca. 1876; estimated $10,000 – 20,000. Photos © Christie's

Americana Sales at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s is likewise hosting three sales for Americana Week: Important Americana: Furniture and Folk Arts; Important Americana: Silver, Chinese Export and American Prints; and Vineyard Dreams: Property from a Martha’s Vineyard Collection. These monumental online sales feature furniture, folk art, silver, Chinese export ceramics, prints, historic maps, books, scrimshaw, and more, all drawn primarily from serious Americana collectors. The Sotheby’s sales close on January 21st.

Important Stratton-Carpenter-Wheeler Family Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany Chest-on-Chest; cabinetwork attributed to John Folwell, carving attributed to James Reynolds, ca. 1770. On auction at Sotheby's, estimated $50,000 – 100,000. Photo © Sotheby's

The Decorative Arts Trust

For those who don’t know, The Decorative Arts Trust is a wonderful non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and fostering appreciation for the decorative arts through year-round programming, from symposia and site visits to trips abroad. For Americana Week, starting January 19th, the Decorative Arts Trust is offering a series of virtual tours, including the showrooms of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the Neustadt Collection of iconic Tiffany works, Hostler Burrows Gallery, and the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition Design: 1880 to Now. Each tour is led by notable field experts. Annual membership is included with registration.

Century Vase by Karl L. H. Mueller, 1876. Brooklyn Century Vase by Roberto Lugo, 2019. Photos © Brooklyn Museum

The Winter Show

Venerable art, antiques, and design fair The Winter Show is entirely virtual this year, presented through a new, immersive platform January 22-31, with VIP preview access starting on the 19th. Among the 60 exhibitors are Jonathan Boos, Menconi + Schoelkopf Fine Arts, Donzella, Lillian Nassau, Lost City Arts, Didier Ltd, Erik Thomsen Gallery, and Macklowe Gallery, each presenting collection-worthy objects, including works by Winslow Homer, Thomas Cole, Charles Tinges, and Tiffany Studios.

Jack in the Pulpit Vase by Tiffany Studios, ca. 1904; available through Lillian Nassau at The Winter Show. Photo © Lillian Nassau

Participating in the Winter Show’s 2021 virtual talks are panelists like Carol Cadou, the Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO of Winterthur Museum; award-winning designer Thomas Jayne; Sylvia Yount, Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator of the American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Jami C. Powell, Citizen of the Osage Nation and curator of Native American Art at the Hood Museum; David Pilgrim, VP for Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategic Initiatives and the Founder and Director of the Jim Crow Museum; Joanne T. Hyppolite, Supervisory Museum Curator of the African Diaspora, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian; and Texas-based collectors Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt.

As always, proceeds from The Winter Show’s VIP Preview and any additional donations will go to East Side House Settlement, a community-based organization serving the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. ◆