Opening last night at the National Academy of Design on upper Fifth Avenue, the New York Ceramics Fair, Jan. 18-21, 2001, was filled with collectors and curators (including representatives from the Metropolitan Museum, the Winterthur Museum in Delaware and other institutions). This two-year old fair boasts 47 exhibitors from five nations (the U.S., the U.K., France, Morocco and Sweden) and an expanded lecture series. The impressive selection of highly crafted wares on view makes it easy to understand just how hot this collecting area is these days.
Among the top pieces on view is a mid-17th-century English Delft cat at Alistair Sampson Antiques ($100,000). Sampson has also brought a wide selection of ceramic genre pieces, including the Staffordshire couple drinking ale shown here, which was made in 1830 and is priced at $5,900. Perhaps the most expensive piece in the show is a pair of Chinese famille rose balusters, ca. 1740, at Cohen & Cohen. The price? $320,000.
Other examples are real bargains, considering their esthetic quality and age. The oldest item at Jonathan Horne Antiques is an 13th-century English green glaze jug that is $6,000. Horne also has a large selection of charming 17th- and 18th-century English Delft tiles that are only $100 to $500. And while you're at the fair, be sure to seek out the mid-18th-century Wedgwood at Lindsay Grigsby.
BROOK S. MASON writes on the fine and decorative arts.