Two years ago in this space, I took a look at the ways that museums and other cultural institutions were coping with the Covid- 19 pandemic. At the time of writing, the coronavirus was still in full force. Vaccines were not yet available. Many museums were closed, as they had been for months, but all of them were desperate for the income that ticket sales bring and a few places had opened at restricted capacity, with requirements for face masks and social distancing and other measures. The results were better for some museums than others. Another place I checked on was Andalusia, a historic estate north of Philadelphia on the Delaware River that is the ancestral seat of the Biddle family. Andalusia’s biggest annual fundraising event is an autumn fete called “Cabaret by the River,” a black-tie affair that features cocktails, dinner, and top-flight entertainment. The 2020 edition was, alas, held virtually. Thanks to the savings on catering and other trimmings, the evening was a financial success, but like all virtual activities it rang a bit hollow. This year things were pretty much back to normal. The event was held live and in-person, and thanks to the great generosity of our columnists Pippa Biddle and Benjamin Davidson and Pippa’s father, Edward Biddle, I was able to attend. I enjoyed myself immensely. The remnants of Hurricane Ian threatened to wash out the event, but the worst of the weather held off. In the misty gloaming, Andalusia looked magnificent. The chief feature of the main house is a massive neoclassical portico facing the river, an addition commissioned by Nicholas Biddle in 1833 as part of a renovation overseen by Thomas Ustick Walter, the architect best known for designing the dome of the US Capitol. There was something almost cinematic about the
Editor-in-Chief Gregory Cerio. Journalism isn’t supposed to be fun. But it was a genuine pleasure working on our “Living with Antiques” cover story thanks to its subjects, Marc Brown and Laurene Krasny Brown, two remarkable people. They are warm, wise, generous, whip smart, intellectually curious, engaging, boundlessly patient—thank heaven—and they radiate creativity. Laurie is an artist whose primary medium is paper, while Marc is the creator of the Arthur children’s book and television series. (He also conceived the tableau of Shaker boxes for our cover.) You can see some of the Browns’ work on this page, and learn much more about them and their folk and self-taught art collection in Stacy C. Hollander’s excellent article, which is illustrated with superlative photos taken by Ellen McDermott with the help of Bridget Sciales. Patrick Bell, the proprietor, with Edwin Hild, of the esteemed folk art gallery Olde Hope Antiques, was instrumental to making this cover story possible, and my cup runneth over with gratitude. Thanks, Pat! Arthur Turns Green by Marc Brown. Word came in late May that a venerable member of our media tribe had passed away: Roger Angell, a longtime fiction editor for the New Yorker, who died at age 101. Though he blue-penciled the likes of Nabokov and Updike, most readers knew Angell chiefly for his sideline as the magazine’s baseball writer. At that job, he was the best—as most every other baseball writer will cheerfully tell you. Angell covered the game with extraordinary eloquence, insight, reportorial acumen, and—perhaps most importantly— with a fan’s passion. I am put in mind of a marvelous passage in one of Angell’s finest articles, “Agincourt and After,” an account of the epic 1975 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox. It is a rumination on fandom: What I do
The Magazine ANTIQUES booth at The Winter Show, 2022. As I write, events at this year’s pandemic delayed edition of the Winter Show art and antiques fair in New York are winding down. We at The Magazine ANTIQUES were honored and delighted to be given the use of an exhibition space at the show in celebration of our one-hundredth anniversary. We’re grateful to East Side House Settlement, the Bronx-based educational and social services nonprofit that organizes and benefits from the show, and our special affection and appreciation go to the fair’s executive director, Helen Allen, and her associates. Many thanks to the art and design dealers who helped us furnish our booth with pieces that represent the range of our magazine’s interests. Bernard and S. Dean Levy lent a Federal card table and pair of shield-back side chairs; Lillian Nassau LLC provided a Tiffany Studios “Begonia” lamp and a George Nakashima coffee table; a trove of loans from Maison Gerard included an elegant music stand by woodworker/ artist Michael Coffey, a Jules Leleu serving table, and a metal art deco fireplace surround; Hyde Park Antiques contributed a lovely George III worktable; Milord Antiques sent a commodious 1940s inlaid-wood cabinet; and Thistlethwaite Americana provided the centerpiece of our ensemble: an early nineteenth-century Windsor bench. Silver dealers S. J. Shrubsole and Spencer Marks lent us a Sheffield plate wine cooler and a silver fruit bowl, respectively, while Robert Young Antiques gave us the use of an adorable painted bentwood bride’s box. A tip of the hat to the New York framing company Lowy, which provided the gilded wood frame in which we displayed The Magazine Antiques: The First One Hundred Years, an original painting by artist Andrew LaMar Hopkins that became the fold-out cover of our January/February centennial issue. Andrew kindly flew
A scene from The Gilded Age, which debuted on HBO in 2022. Photograph by Alison Cohen Rosa, courtesy of HBO. Have you been watching the new HBO series The Gilded Age? As a reader of this magazine, you really should. You will eat it up. More than ten years in the making, The Gilded Age is the brainchild of Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey. The characters in the new show, which opens in the New York City of 1882, are arrayed in the same upstairs/ below stairs format. The engine driving the plot is snobbery. A family of the old Knickerbocker aristocracy, which lives in a staid brownstone town house off Fifth Avenue, is mortified by the presence of New Money—a railroad tycoon and his socially ambitious wife—in their newly built palace (designed by Stanford White, no less) across the street. While I’m no drama critic, I’ve enjoyed the performances of Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon, playing members of the Old Guard, and Morgan Spector and Carrie Coons, as the arrivistes. I even enjoyed Nathan Lane’s hammy turn as social arbiter Ward McAllister. The Gilded Age is not without faults: there are a few anachronisms, and the show tiptoes around the enormous economic disparities that beset the era (as they do our own). Still, come for the story and the acting, but stay for the costumes and sets—hats, bustles, and tufted chairs galore. The homes of the wealthy are decorated with swag curtains and passementerie by the bushel; they feature ornate plaster wall moldings and coffered ceilings; they are lit by gas lamps. The Old Guard favors John Henry Belter– style furniture and Hudson River school landscapes, while New Money goes for Louis—Quinze and Seize—furnishings and French impressionist art. The relative architectural merits of White, Richard Morris Hunt,
“Magazines are ephemeral, timely at the expense of timelessness. They evanesce. Each new issue displaces the last; a magazine molts,” historian Jill Lepore wrote in the New Yorker a few years ago, adding: “Magazines change or die; they are very rarely long-lived.” Lepore’s topic was the legendary feud between Henry Luce, the founder of Time magazine, and Harold Ross, the first editor of the New Yorker. Those two publications are among the exceptions to Lepore’s dictum on the lifespan of periodicals. The Magazine ANTIQUES is another. Time and the New Yorker, it should be noted, are our younger siblings in the world of publishing. The former first appeared in 1923; the latter in 1925. This issue marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the debut of ANTIQUES in January 1922. More than survive, ANTIQUES has prevailed. Today it remains, in print and online, a popular—indeed, a beloved—source of information and enjoyment for collectors and art lovers everywhere. A century of journalistic success stems in no small part from the fact that, from the beginning, ANTIQUES has strived to be an authoritative and trusted resource for collectors, museum curators, and other scholars of the fine and decorative arts. Over the decades, the magazine has served as a platform for new discoveries and fresh research in the arts, and, on the odd occasion, offered an arena for lively academic debate. Today, many scholars keep the entire back catalogue of ANTIQUES on hand for reference—as do a surprising number of casual readers. Another noteworthy contribution by ANTIQUES over the long course of its existence has been to build and nurture the art and antiques trade. The magazine has been a principal vehicle for fostering and broadening a wider interest in historical art and design. ANTIQUES and the antiques market grew up side by side, and
Editor-in-Chief Gregory Cerio welcomes us to the November/December 2021 issue!
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