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Date: Fri 03-Jul-1998



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Date: Fri 03-Jul-1998

Publication: Ant

Author: LAURAB

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Wilton Outdoor Antiques Marketplace


WILTON, CONN. -- Except for prices, which range from $25 up, little is

moderate about the Wilton Outdoor Antiques Marketplace, which celebrated its

fifth year at the Meadows north of Wilton High School this past June 20-21.

For those who love the indoor fairs organized by Marilyn Gould, the

Marketplace offers considerably more of everything: more exhibitors, more

buying, more selling, more diversity, more shoppers, more traffic, and

definitely more weather.

Heat and humidity were cheerfully tolerated by Gould's troupe of 200 dealers,

who found business at its most robust. Reports from all surveyed were

excellent. Vigorous pre-show trading was followed by two days of healthy

retail sales of everything from boxes to breakfronts.

"Garden and architectural items sold very well. I could see them being carried

out," said Gould, sheepishly admitting that the complex logistics of

engineering a large field fair kept her from her private passion, shopping the

show. "Furniture sold in all categories. The usual country things did well, so

did polished furniture."

So what makes the Marketplace so different? It offers quality and variety, of

course, but shoppers also love its paradoxical nature. The Marketplace

combines earnestness of purpose with a sense of fun, five-figure blockfronts

with strawberry shortcake.

Here it's not unusual to see Christmas ornaments dancing under a scorching

sun. Nor is it uncommon to find rooms of furniture squared off in the grass.

Massachusetts dealer Doug Jenkins brought nothing but furniture. Highlights

included a Tiverton, R.I., grain-painted four-drawer chest, $12,500; a Boston

bowfront card table, $7,500; and a transitional Virginia desk and bookcase,


The essential nature of the Marketplace was exemplified by Wayne Pratt, who

combined lazy summer seating with furniture classics. The Woodbury, Conn.,

dealer and his associates devoted their outside wall to lawn items. Inside

their tent was a Boston oxbow desk, $12,500, and a Boston Chippendale corner

chair, $12,500.

Refreshing on a hot summer day was a collection of blue paint at Jeffrey

Tillou. The Litchfield, Conn., dealer offered a superb stencil-decorated

dressing table in powder blue and architectural elements dating to the 1840s

in a deep turquoise.

After spending most of its life in New Paltz, N.Y., a New York kas came to

Wilton with New Paltz dealer William Lohrman, who asked $10,500 for the

casepiece. The rarest item in his booth, however, was a Massachusetts hutch

table dating to 1700, $24,000.

More than anything else, Wilton is known for its rich aggregation of American

folk art and country furniture. One place to see it was in Ron and Penny

Dionne's chock-a-block full booth. Among several outstanding weathervanes

offered by the West Willington, Conn., dealers were a large St Julian horse

and sulky, $19,000, and a horse and jockey, circa 1880, $15,500.

Wilton's infinite possibilities were suggested by Tim Hill, a Birmingham,

Mich., folk art dealer who placed a door and frame at the center of his

display. The weathered artifact in old black and white paint was a bargain at

only $700. Hill's architectural metaphor carried through to a marvelous

miniature house model, a 1920s item in vivid gold and turquoise, $3,400.

One of the most coveted pieces on the field was a zinc Diana with great

stature and beautiful patina. Robesonia, Penn., dealer Greg Kramer was asking

$16,500 for the sculpture signed Fiske.

A large paint-decorated Victorian birdhouse displayed by Kramer provided

counterpoint to a stunning Greek Revival dovecote on view at Marna Anderson.

The New Paltz, N.Y., dealer had a tag of $6,500 on the architectural work

found in Dover, N.H.

Susan Parrish was as cool as her creamy cucumber-green bed, $1,500. The New

York dealer dressed the four poster with a colorful Midwestern appliqued quilt

of circa 1875, $2,500. On her back wall was an exceptional friendship album

quilt by Sarah Coy of Livingston County, N.Y., $5,500. Appliqued with baskets

of flowers, the extensively researched piece dated to 1865. A rare, early

broderie perse quilt made in the South, circa 1830, was $4,800.

Among the handful of art dealers on field was Clarke Galleries of Stowe, Vt.,

and Palm Beach, Fla. Grier Clarke, a specialist in New England Nineteenth and

early Twentieth Century paintings, is shown on these pages with "Guitar

Players," $7,800, a 1917 Nassau view by Harry Hoffman.

Another varied stand belonged to Louis A. Dianni, a marine arts dealer from

Sherman, Conn., who included a desirable 1899 New York harbor scene by Antonio

Jacobsen. The work illustrating the Brooklyn Bridge cost $22,000.

"This is a very different booth for me," said Leah Gordon, a New York dealer

in early Modernist ceramics and metalware. "I call these Pasadena colors --

very warm and sunny." Joining an ochre and russet sunflower jardiniere by

Weller was a Roseville piece of circa 1920, $950, and a copper Art Nouveau

bowl, $525. A Picasso bird water jug was $3,600. An owl, also from the line of

ceramics Picasso made late in his life, was $600.

Extraordinary pre-show sales sent exhibitors into the weekend flush with

capital. "We sold across the board," said J.B. Richardson, a satisfied

Westport, Conn., dealer. "We sold well and bought well," agreed Melissa

Greene, in partnership with John Sideli. The Massachusetts dealers featured a

Pennsylvania walnut cupboard of about 1830; a nine-foot-long table with

tapered legs in salmon paint; and a primitive winter scene. "It sold

immediately, I think because it was so hot," Greene confessed.

An influx of new exhibitors, about 20 in all, made the Wilton Outdoor Antiques

Marketplace more interesting both for buyers and for sellers. "I found it

refreshing to see some new faces," noted Greene. "From a dealer standpoint, it

was great to meet new dealers and to see merchandise from other areas." The

newcomers included specialists in French and Chinese furniture and

accessories, as well as dealers from England, the South, and the Midwest.

"We import Qing Dynasty pieces from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth century. It

has simple elegance and deep rich colors that we love," explained Lynde

McCormick of Chinese Country Furniture, Boston, Mass. Lynde and his wife,

Andrea, developed a taste for the handsome, vernacular designs while living in

Hong Kong, where he was an anchor for CNBC.

"We had a friend who had been dealing in these antiques for about ten years,

and we started working with her. We brought experience and real fondness to

the business," continued McCormick. Chinese Country Furniture is participating

in fairs in Salem, Mass.; the Berkshires; and the Hamptons in New York.

"Friends of the Family," an exhibit at the Peabody-Essex Museum last year, has

invigorated the market for what was once a little known speciality.

Carolinn Pocher and William Woody of Darwin Antiques, Objects & Art of

Philadelphia, were happy to fill in at the last moment after another Wilton

exhibitor underwent surgery. "I had just written to Marilyn, and she was kind

enough to call me back. For us it worked out very well. I have never seen a

show that runs so efficiently."

"We strive to find the exceptional, quirky thing," said Pocher, who featured a

turn-of-the-century carved and painted walnut goat, a lodge piece from Lehigh

County, Penn., $2,500, and a tiger maple two-drawer stand, which sold for

about $4,550. "We love carving, and things that are handmade and eccentric,"

Pocher explained.

Another new exhibitor -- Stuart Cropper of East Sussex, England -- was

referred by a prominent New Jersey collector of dolls' houses. "He was

delightful. I was so pleased to have him," Gould said of the dealer in English

and European toys and games, artists' manikins, biscuit tins, dolls' house

miniatures, and "all manner of funny and unusual collectors' antiques."

"It all worked out pretty well," the manager said following the fair,

admitting that a glitch in the set-up of tents had caused her more than a few

anxious moments. "We finally got them up, and in the end we were lucky with

weather. There was no rain whatsoever." Aided by additional advertising in the

Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, but perhaps impeded by the coincidence of

Father's Day on Sunday, attendance at the Wilton Outdoor Antiques Marketplace

was over 5,500. Next year the manager hopes for 6,000.

Comments are open. Be civil.

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