Editor’s letter, January 2009

Editorial Staff Opinion

Several years ago I visited the Reverend Peter Gomes, Harvard University’s chaplain and professor of Christian morals, to interview him about the way he had furnished Sparks House, the residence Harvard provides for its preacher. I was struck by the exuberance of his rooms, their voluptuous colors—golds, reds, and greens­—their antiques—Yankee, French, Scottish, English—the dramatic spiral stairwell lined with wallpaper …

Editor’s letter, December 2009

Editorial Staff Opinion

There is a great deal of fretting these days about the future of collecting and the dearth of young collectors. Were there ever many young collectors? Probably not. It takes the perspective of age (as well as the accumulation of capital) to do what the best antiques collectors do: value a folk art painting or a tall-case clock for the …

Editor’s letter, November 2009

Editorial Staff Opinion

Here is a point that had somehow eluded me until now: eighteenth-century American furniture—a John Townsend chest-on-chest, a Philadelphia tea table—was already bold, original, and world class while American painting was still struggling for stature and its own voice. This discrepancy dawned on me while reading Carrie Rebora Barratt and Barbara Weinberg’s article in this issue about the stories American …

Editor’s letter, October 2009

Editorial Staff Opinion

A few months ago Eleanor Gustafson and I spent a day as guests of Historic New England. We had wanted to see what I like to think of as the bookends of that organization’s historic houses­—the 1938 Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts, with its spare, modernist decor and bracing use of industrial materials, and the rambling, mysterious Beauport in Gloucester, …

Editor’s letter, September 2009

Editorial Staff Opinion

One of the things I admire about Electra Havemeyer Webb was her instinctive sense that the cultural designations of high-, low-, and middlebrow were silly.  I do not mean to suggest that Webb was a prophet of late twentieth-century multiculturalism or that she could have argued for the relative merits of a beautifully carved duck decoy vis à vis a …

Editor’s letter, August 2009

Editorial Staff

We have grouped a promiscuous array of things in this issue under the broad umbrella of “folk art”: schoolgirl drawings, trench art, manufactured advertising signs, as well as objects more conventionally agreed upon as “folky,” such as carved walking sticks and weather vanes. While it is common to worry about the vagueness of the term folk art, I am inclined …

Editor’s letter, July 2009

Editorial Staff

While withholding its authentic treasures for serious seekers, New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, makes nostalgia bordering on kitsch easily available. Fortunately, when we embarked on our own West by Southwest migration in this issue we had the benefit of some clear-eyed guidance from Laura Beach, who comes from Santa Fe, and Frederick Turner, who has lived there for thirty …

Editor’s letter, May 2009

Editorial Staff

I sometimes stop during the day here and look back at early issues of ANTIQUES. Recently I have been dipping into articles from the 1920s when a passion for rescuing our cultural past from the march of progress swept through the country. The opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American Wing in 1924 was only one sign of a …