From the editor's desk | By Elizabeth Pochoda

Editor's Letter

March 8, 2016  |  

The American Revolution has a hit on its hands with Hamilton, the hip-hop musical currently lighting up Broadway. “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story,” the cast sings in its sly retooling of our republic as the story of Alexander Hamilton’s rise through the imperial city of New York (“History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen/to be in the greatest city in the world...”).

But wait. Wasn’t Philadelphia the cradle of liberty and our first capital? Wasn’t it in Philadelphia that Hamilton orchestrated the consolidation of federal power, and was it not, moreover, Philadelphia where his busy libido came to grief and scandal? Yes, but... Hamilton loved New York and lobbied hard for it as the temporary capital; Philadelphia was his third or fourth or fifth choice, so I guess you can say that at this late date he finally got his way. He usually did.

So we will stand up for the lesser-known glories of Philadelphia in this issue (timed in part to its April antiques sh…» More

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From the editor's desk | By Elizabeth Pochoda

A Bronx Tale: Exhibitors from the Winter Antiques Show tour East Side House Settlement, the show’s beneficiary

February 10, 2016  |   

East Side House Settlement (ESHS) Administrative Building, 337 Alexander Avenue,  in the Mott Haven  section of the Bronx, New York. Photographs by Ahron Foster. 

 

 

“Take the work that you love, whatever it is, and angle it towards justice.”               -Ta-Nehisi Coates 

September 29, 2015: On this beautiful Indian summer day two quite different communities came together for a few hours in the South Bronx: a group of exhibitors at January’s Winter Antiques Show boarded a van bound for the Mott Haven neighborhood to visit the folks at East Side House Settlement, the charity that established the Winter show some sixty years ago.

Back then, in 1955, ESHS was still located on the city’s Upper East Side, near enough to the show’s site in Manhattan to make the connection between programs for the disadvantaged and the buying and selling of Queen Anne high chests and antique diamond brooches slightly less remote.

In 1963 ESHS moved to the South Bronx, a world away from …» More

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From the editor's desk | By Elizabeth Pochoda

Editor's Letter, January/February 2016

January 14, 2016  |  We occasionally split the run of an issue of ANTIQUES with one cover for subscribers—an interior from Abbeville, Louisiana, in this case—and another for distribution at shows—Louis Lozowick’s 1930 lithograph of the Brooklyn Bridge. If this sounds like a North/South thing it isn’t exactly, but I’ll explain that in a moment.

The New York art and antiques season seems a good time to consider the Brooklyn Bridge, a potent symbol linking past and future, our perennial theme here. Its soaring Gothic arches held in the disciplined embrace of an engineering marvel have always beckoned artists, poets, filmmakers, and musicians, and I can’t be the only Midwestern adolescent who read Hart Crane’s The Bridge and fell in love with those cables and arches before ever visiting this city. Did I imagine a monument so powerful that, in Crane’s overwrought words, it could “lend a myth to God”?  I did. I still see it as a work of art, capable, on any given day, of transfiguring the landscape and …» More

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From the editor's desk | By Elizabeth Pochoda

Editor's letter, January/February 2015

January 12, 2015  |  When he was designing the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth the great American architect Louis Kahn said that he wanted it to resemble “a friendly home.” That might surprise anyone familiar with Kahn’s museums—the Kimbell, the Yale Center for British Art, or the Yale University Art Gallery—but I think he was simply saying that he wanted his building to wall out cultural intimidation. What he, or any museum these days, might want to wall in is another story.

At the newly reopened Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum—described in these pages by Frank Rose, who is always on the cutting edge of everything—they want visitors to come in and create their own twenty-first-century design experience. At Harvard where the art museums have also just reopened after six years, Ethan Lasser says they want visitors to listen in as the masterpieces talk to each other across continents and centuries, and they have arranged them to do just that.

And then there is the Newark Museum, subjec…» More

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From the editor's desk | By Elizabeth Pochoda

Editor's letter, November/December 2014

November 14, 2014  |  In the nineteenth century there was an oft-repeated tale about the young Thomas Coleentering New York from the far reaches of rural Pennsylvania and being met with hosannasfrom the city's artists. Like most oft-told tales this one turned fact toward myth (to beginwith, Cole had arrived from nowhere more obscure than Philadelphia), and yet it suggests somethingintriguing and durable about the artist: clouds of transcendent glory do seem to clingto him. Alexander Nemerov, in one of his aerial feats of art historical criticism that we are luckyenough to publish in this magazine, suggests why this should be so. "Thomas Cole's hat, or What is it to be an artist?" looks beneath the hat on display at the Thomas Cole house in Catskill, New York, to consider what we can and cannot know about a creative mind attuned to a different world while living in this one. The article is, if I may be oxymoronic for a moment, an effortless tour de force, so hang on to your hat and take the ride. It …» More

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by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton

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