Philadelphia hosts two important antiques shows in mid-April, and free shuttle service between them makes it easy to see everything on offer. The Twenty-third Street Armory Antiques Show, now in its sixteenth year, opens on Friday April 16 and features more than forty dealers showcasing eighteenth- through twentieth-century American and European fine, folk, and decorative arts. A special exhibition entitled Patriotism: Red, White, and True, drawn from the private collections of exhibiting dealers, will include nineteenth- and twentieth-century objects displaying patriotic symbols.
The gala preview party for the Philadelphia Antiques Show also occurs on April 16. The show itself, celebrating its forty-ninth anniversary this year, runs from April 17 through April 20 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It includes fifty dealers, primarily from the Middle Atlantic and New England states, who consistently offer a wide range of formal and folk paintings and decorative arts of the highest quality. The loan show, A Call to Arms: Chinese Export Porcelain for the British and American Market 1700–1850, will showcase custom-ordered Chinese export porcelain decorated with coats of arms for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and American consumers.
A major fundraiser for Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania health system, the Philadelphia Antiques Show sponsors a number of events for collectors, such as guided tours before the show opens each morning, lectures, and, new this year, “World Collectors Night,” when dealers will offer participants special “found items” carefully selected for those who are inspired by their world travels to seek original creations and other distinctive pieces.
Visitors to Philadelphia for the antiques shows will also want to see a new focus exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Entitled Art in Revolutionary Philadelphia, this installation in the Samuel Powel Parlor will tell the story played by art and other decorative objects in the city when it was occupied by British troops in 1777 and 1778. Curated by Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley at the museum with guest curator Katherine Reider, the show will re-envision the parlor as the place where the British occupiers entertained themselves, and will explore the various layers of meaning objects took on during this tumultuous time.
Twenty-third Street Armory Antiques Show, Philadelphia · April 16–18 · www.barnstar.com/philfall.htm
Philadelphia Antiques Show, Philadelphia Navy Yard · April 17–20 · www.philaantiques.com
Art in Revolutionary Philadelphia · Philadelphia Museum of Art · April 16 to February 2011 · www.philamuseum.org
Photos: High chest of drawers carved by Nicholas Bernard and Martin Jugiez (w. together 1762–1783), Philadelphia, 1765–1775. Mahogany, yellow poplar, white cedar, yellow pine; height 96 ¾, width 46 ½, depth 25 ¾ inches. An inscription suggests that the high chest was seized from a Loyalist so ld. Philadelphia Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Henry V. Greenough.
Saucer with the arms of Tower, Chinese export, c. 1728. Porcelain, diameter 6 ½ inches. The Reeves Center, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.