Washington Winter Show dazzles attendees with stunning products and iconic theme.
By Kirsten Obadal
Dozens of European and American art and antiques dealers convened with their choicest wares on American University‘s Katzen Arts Center in January for the Washington Winter Show, now in its 58th year. This makes it the oldest continuously running antiques event in the country, second only to the annual show in New York City.
This year’s honorary chair was Caroline Kennedy, and organizers included Chair Amy Zantzinger and Executive Director Jonathan G. Willen. The event was kicked off by a glamorous gala attended by 600 people.
The Winter Show’s executive board carefully vetted hundreds of vendors who applied for positions at the show, which this year occupied two entire floors of the Katzen Center. “There is always a significant waiting list of vendors,” Willen said.
Items included every imaginable type of antique: paintings, rugs, china, jewelry, furniture, and statuary. Early Americana was plentiful and popular at the four-day event.
DC–based antiques broker Hal Stuart displayed the piece de résistance, an original portrait of George Washington. Stuart explained that he will only sell the portrait to an “American institution” where it would be viewed by the public on a regular basis.
Stuart continues his research into the Masonic and Christian symbolism on the portrait’s frame, which features stars, Masonic all-seeing eyes, fruits, nuts, and other nature symbols carved into the gilded frame.
Great canes of London, U.K., displayed dozens of antique walking sticks. Their collection included gadget canes, sword canes, and canes of exceptional value including a Faberge-designed cane and one from California which fetched $25,000 at the show.
The head of this particular cane is 2K gold and it dates back to the days of the California Gold Rrush.
Several vendors had fine collections of early Americana, including Federal-style furniture.
Doug and Bev Norwood’s collection was highlighted by an iron eagle, which had in a former life been part of a weather vane on a federal building.
A number of fine pieces of furniture from the 1790-1850 periods were on hand courtesy of several vendors, as were china and silver also from early America.
The show was accompanied by an exhibit of items belonging to the First Families.
The White House Historical Association‘s Curator and Collections Manager Leslie B. Jones showcased the only surviving plate from the Kennedy Administration.
“The gold and yellow plate features colors that were favorites of Jacqueline Kennedy and which were used in some of the décor for the house,” Jones said. “She was in the process of selecting her china when tragedy struck the family.”