A happy marriage
New and old come together beautifully at two fairs in New York and London
SOMETHING new and something old: the first TEFAF Spring fair at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, and the 32nd London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy.
The Armory, built as the drill hall of the 7th New York Militia Regiment in 1880, has long been one of my favourite New York buildings. The regiment was known as the Blue-bloods or Silk Stocking Regiment because of the wealth of many volunteers, who paid for the building and commissioned rooms and decorations from designers such as Louis Comfort Tiffany. Over the years, it became very shabby, but the interior gloom gave it a wonderful atmosphere, a little like St Pancras before its restoration. Now, however, the Tiffany and other rooms have been refurbished by Herzog & de Meuron and glow as they must have done in early days.
This, incidentally, was not the venue for the famous 1913 Armory Show, which was in the 69th Regiment building, further downtown on Lexington Avenue. In any event, the renovations make the Park Avenue building particularly suited to this TEFAF venture, as, although principally devoted to Modern and contemporary art and design, there is an older component, especially with antiquities dealers such as Chenel from Paris, Charles Ede from London and both Phoenix and Merrin of New York. To illustrate how well this mix can work, one might select a 1st–2nd-century Roman glass cinerary urn (Fig 3) with Ede and the furniture by the architect and designer Pierre Chareau (1883–1950) with Vallois from Paris, including a standard lamp entitled Religieuse (Fig 1). One would choose one’s reading matter carefully with that behind the chair, but the urn would go well with it.
The private view is this evening, and the fair runs to Monday with 93 international exhibitors. Like Ede, Richard Green has already exhibited at the autumn New York TEFAF and at Maastricht; it will be interesting to learn how they evaluate their experiences.
Along with works by Brancusi and Caulfield, Mr Green is offering one of the Doric Light paintings by Sean Scully (Fig 2), a 28in by 32in pattern of rectangles in perhaps unexpectedly subdued colours. Mr Scully has called this series ‘a love letter to Greece’ and he also is proud to declare himself a Colourist. Born in Dublin and brought up and trained in London, he left for New York because that was the place for an abstract painter to be, rather than the London of Freud and Bacon. Now, he may be an RA,
Fig 3: Roman glass cinerary urn. With Charles Ede
Fig 1 above: Pierre Chareau’s Religieuse. With Vallois Fig 4: Le Salon de Mai by René Magritte. With Gilden’s Art Gallery
Fig 2: Doric Light painting by Sean Scully. With Richard Green