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by Brook S. Mason
The Art and Antique Dealers League of America is aiming to launch a week-long, citywide art and antiques festival, anchored by a traditional show at the Park Avenue Armory and set to open next year on Apr. 27, 2011. The 100-member league has already secured the armory, and plans to enlist a major museum as beneficiary of the traditional opening-night gala. "The city boasts literally hundreds of dealers and we want to create an entire city celebration with the fair as the centerpiece," says Clinton Howell, the New York-based dealer in English and European furniture who serves as league president.

While the show will be comprised of U.S.-based dealers, participants need not be members of the league, according to Howell. Dealers already committed to the event include Dalva Brothers, Hyde Park and George Subkoff. "We’re also aiming to bring modern-art dealers on board, and tap into Chelsea dealers, too" says Howell. "New York City is such a spectacular resource, why not offer fair-goers the chance to hop downtown and take in the High Line and Gagosian Gallery," he says.

The Private Art Dealers Association is collaborating with the nascent fair as well. "With the demise of the Haughton May fair, we wanted a dealer-run uptown fair and this new venture fills that need," says Old Masters dealer Robert Simon, a PADA boardmember. In 2005, the Caskey Lees fair organizers staged the league-sponsored Connoisseur’s Fair at the downtown Armory. "Opening uptown on Park Avenue will ensure our success," says Howell.

Even so, can the market sustain another traditional fair? This June, no less than three such generalist fairs are on the schedule in London. They include Florida-based art-fair mogul David and Lee Ann Lester’s London International Fine Art Fair at Olympia (which boasts a special exhibition of early-20th-century British paintings from the collection of Bryan Ferry), the new Brian and Anna Haughton show Art and Antiques London and a new dealer-run initiative called Masterpiece.

Another new fair is set to join Miami’s resilient onslaught of art fairs in December. The Baltimore-based Rosen Group plans to debut the Objex Art Fair, Dec. 3-5, 2010, on the grounds of the Jackie Gleason Theater, which is just steps away from Art Basel Miami Beach. Upwards of 20 dealers will showcase art glass, ceramic sculpture, studio jewelry, metals and mixed media works in a tent.

"Our show will be very different and focus on high craft, work that is $5,000-$250,000," says Rosen Group president Wendy Rosen. She describes the Rosen firm as dedicated to the wholesale craft market, specializing with examples priced under $5,000. Artists represented in Miami will include Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra. She says several SOFA Fair regulars are taking part in Objex, including Habitat Galleries in Royal Oak, Mich.; Donna Schneier in Palm Beach; Ken Saunders in Chicago and Jane Sauer in Santa Fe. But Sauer notes, "I just returned from doing SOFA and I can’t imagine doing another fair shortly. They’re always exhausting."

Antiques Roadshow
heartthrob Leigh Keno launches his new auction house, Keno Auctions, at the Marriott Stamford Hotel & Spa in Stamford, Conn., with a two-day sale on May 1-2, 2010. Highlights, according to the Maine Antique Digest, include an 1825 self-portrait by William Matthew Prior and a nest of eight Nantucket baskets by R. Folger. Keno’s charges a buyer’s premium of 19 percent, and Connecticut state sales tax of six percent on successful purchases.

Geneva-based watch designer Romain Jerome is nothing if not up-to-the-minute. Design blogs were awash with the news yesterday that Jerome, who has previously issued one timepiece made with actual moon dust and another with steel from the Titanic, has produced a new watch inspired by the current volcanic eruption in Iceland. Titled Eyjafjallajökull-DNA, the macho watch features a face of blackened volcanic ash marked by a snaking, lava-red fissure. Price is so far TBA, but one of Jerome’s high-end Titanic watches is currently for sale on eBay for $81,000.

BROOK S. MASON is U.S. correspondent for the Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Financial Times and other publications.