The New York Season —
Samuel Gottscho’s ethereal 1930 photo of the New York Central Building and Park Avenue provides a suitably striking cover for an issue devoted to the New York Season. Taking as its starting point that New York is currently the centre of the international antiques scene –and with a suitably American focus in many of its articles- this bounteous issue offers a rich and dense diet of special features for serious devotees and armchair followers of antiques alike.
In amongst all on offer, there are numerous articles that jump out. Andrew Raftery’s article on Claire Leighton’s New England Industries plates for Wedgewood is just one example. Leighton’s particular style as an illustrator, which shows influences ranging from folk art through to Soviet social realism- not only proves an interesting story, but more importantly, resulted in some of Wedgewood’s most striking post-WW11 designs. The stunning plates capture the traditional industries of New England and strong sweeping lines depicting traditional rural industry in a style that we more often associate with socialist images celebrating heavy industry. William Keyse Rudolph’s article on Julien Hudson is also engrossing reading and a fascinating insight into a unique moment in the history of New Orleans. Hudson, the second earliest documented American artist of African descent, is known for his pre-Civil War portraits that both stand as document and silent witness to a society in which the race politics of the day prove far more complex than commonly understood.
Staying in the South, also of immediate note is David S. Shields’ article on the architectural jewels of Charleston where many of America’s regional post and ante-bellum vernaculars remain rarely intact, proving a delight for visitors who like to take in a city on foot.
The bumper issue is, of course, also brimming over with the multiplicity of short articles, news items and factoid features on practically every aspect of the antiques that make Antiques so successful.