The elegant and exclusive Preview Party of the 15th edition of the American International Fine Arts Fairin Palm Beach drew Newport Seen once again. and we returned again and again during the Fair for a closer look at the dazzling paintings, jewelry, furniture, photography, china, vintage furniture, suits of armor — and to hear the fascinating expert lectures, one on “Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Renoir and the advantage of old age“, given by Robert Ward, Chief Curator of the Norton Museum of Art. and repeated later in the week, by demand.
The attendees at the Vernissagewere greeted by stunning Graff models offering glasses of champagne, which decidedly set the mood, wearing exquisite jewelry by Graff Diamonds.Tiffany & Co., was there, along with art, antiquities, paintings and furniture. Dealers came from London, New York, Paris, Italy, Monaco….. The Convention Center in West Palm once again became an elegant architectural agora of fine shops, enclaves, dining areas, and interestingly spaced interior walls, its own evanescent Musée.
Newporters James (Jay) Serzan, and KSN (a media shy fellow) made the rounds greeted friends, studied the art works, and Mr. N. and was smitten with a Childe Hassam– like painting by John Henry Twachtman. Dress designer Annika, in her own “Black Swan” creation, and the elegant Charlotte Hamilton, author of “FitFace” added drama to the evening.
Several Fernand Botero paintings were on display from different dealers, and there was a small Van Gogh portrait. An enormous 18th century French clock by Pierre Philippe Threniere, from the Toulouse Gallery, gave new meaning to the word rococo. The lively jumble of French Moroccan café chairs, a set of 24, flanked the opening of Mallett Galleries, of New York and Bond Street, and attracted great attention.
Other lectures, interspersed throughout the week, and followed by caviar receptions in the VIP lounge, included “Fragile Beautry: Chinese Export Porcelain 1500-1900”, by Ron Fuchs II, Curator of the Reeves Collection, Washington and Lee University, and “Picasso: The Birth of Genius” by Marlene Strauss.
The Fair this year closed with record attendance of 42,500 and strong sales reported by a number of dealers. during 10-day event, with many dealers reported outstanding sales results. “We had the best fair in the 14 years that we have been participating in Palm Beach,” said arms and armor dealer Peter Finer of London. Italian goldsmith and jeweler Buccellati echoed these sentiments: “This was also the best year in our long fair participation as well.” In reporting multiple important sales, Jonathan Green of Richard Green Antiques commented “We were very pleased with our Palm Beach results this year.”
“The U.S. economy, the general mood of the attendees and our sales has clearly improved this year,” said Michael James of The Silver Fund. “All the right people were here this year”. One day we were processing three black American Express cards at the same time!”