the tales a table could tell

by:Gewinn     2020-06-04
Margaret frudjan
1994 this is a digital version of an article from The Times Print Archive, before it starts online in 1996.
To keep these articles as they appear initially, the Times will not change, edit, or update them.
There are occasional copywriting errors or other problems during the digitization process.
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On a Tuesday night in January 1991, Sotheby\'s held a cocktail party to unveil the biggest auction of American antiques this year.
200 people gathered in the second place.
Drink white wine in the floor hall, eat snacks, and shuttle through the antiques that compete for attention.
The carpeted floor is furnished with paintings and quilts hanging on the carpeted walls, and porcelain plates and silver tea pots are placed on shelves inside bright glass boxes.
The most prominent item on display that night was a card table, which stood on a platform in the main exhibition hall of Sotheby\'s.
The top of this table is folded so that it can cling to the wall, and a piece of paper placed on a dark, smooth, shiny surface says: \"Please do not deal with it.
\"This table is an unusual thing.
The lush vine drips down its legs, and its claws cling to the wooden ball.
If you stare at it for a while, the table is almost alive.
Sotheby\'s posted a guard next to the table to clarify any ambiguity on the note, which may not be able to prevent guests who touch something without handling it.
Experts at Sotheby\'s estimate the table will bring more than $1 million at an auction next Saturday.
Great antiques are almost always known for the people who once owned them.
While the manufacturer may get lost in time, those who own this object will add its luster in the process of it from mother to daughter, from dealer to dealer, gradually gaining legitimacy through a new assessment of the market.
American furniture in the 18 th century is rare-
Part of the reason is that its constituency is small and its practitioners are relatively small, gathering in the main urban centers of a small colony at that time.
This is also rare, because American furniture in this period has been underestimated for such a long time compared with European counterparts, so that there are few ways to systematically calculate and evaluate these furniture.
Dealers and collectors often have to rely on aesthetic judgment. -
The rotation of the capriole leg, the proportion of the chest-
And academic speculation.
Although many things can be speculated or rebuilt, they cannot be known at all.
The special table, which happens to be famous for a Philadelphia businessman named Thomas Gander, is believed to have commissioned it in the 18 th century.
Judging from the selection of wood and the quality of carving, it is clear that this table begins its life as a rare and fine object.
A craftsman is made of solid mahogany and is decorated with the best brass that was provided by Birmingham, England at that time.
Its two front corners have become half.
It is recommended to build the round of the castle turret, and this construction method will certainly annoy any sculptor who wants his vines to flow effortlessly around the castle. Turret-
The top table is as hard to make as the best high school students, and when the new table is available, the price is almost the same.
By the 20 th century, few people survived.
Companies that are almost never listed.
The man who brought this table to Sotheby\'s was William W. Stahl Jr.
Stahl is a 43-year-old handsome man whose face makes him look younger than his age, but his hair turns gray too early.
Through the combination of hard work and good luck, Starr was appointed as the head of Sotheby\'s American furniture department at the age of 22, and within a few years he occupied a seat on the board of directors of Sotheby\'s North America.
Today, he is in charge of all American decorative art at the auction house.
Like many people who have gained great authority at a very young age, Starr also has an attitude that some people may mistakenly think of themselvesimportance.
In January, advertising firm stahl took part in his first big auction.
American furniture auction by Parke, 1971-
Bennett, the predecessor of Sotheby\'s company in New York.
Although he was only 19 years old at the time, Starr thought he knew very well about antiques.
His mother handled what he called the \"general route\"-
American and British furniture-Oriental carpet, glass-
He often helps her in business.
This life taught Stahl a lot of knowledge about cabinets, boxes and Windsor chairs, but it didn\'t prepare him for the charm of Parke\'s sales room --Bernet.
The country\'s most important dealers and collectors were packed with rooms that day.
The auction is a self-driving tour like a celebrity.
However, what Starr remembers most is that shortly after the auction began, a dealer in Philadelphia had a heart attack and died on the spot.
\"The man was taken away and the sale started,\" recalls Stahl years later . \".
I said to myself, \'This is for me.
\"For a long time, when asked to explain how long, he could only say,\" I have always liked things.
\"As a new student of Hartford Trinity College, he decorated a piece of Chinese carpet on the 18 th in the room. century oxbow-
Antique photos of the front desk and some sports scenes.
When he became an auctioneer, Starr felt that it was a benefit for his job to ask him to check tens of thousands of items each year.
When he left town and spent the weekend at his country house in Milbrook, NY. Y.
Starr was most relaxed under the tent of the country auction.
As an auctioneer, Stahl spends only about 10 days a year actually selling goods from the podium in Sotheby\'s main house.
He spent most of his time on the phone talking about items or traveling to see them.
The object pulled him to the lawns of Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island, and took him further ---
California, Georgia and Florida.
He keeps making lists in his head: lists of items he has seen and may sell one day, and lists of items he has only heard.
Sotheby\'s occasionally mentions remembering where things are, or the business he has heard of where they are, calling it \"tracking dead bodies \".
\"One day in 1982, a dealer in Philadelphia approached Stahl and told him of a very good Chippendale table, which the dealer believed would eventually enter the market.
This is Stahl first heard willing to credit card.
If this table fits the description of the dealer, such an object will highlight a major sale, so the card table becomes one of the more important bodies for Stahl tracking.
Fortunately, a colleague from Stahl happened to be a friend of a family with this table.
Whenever the colleague comes back from Philadelphia, after visiting the house at home, she stops at the door of Starr and tells him, \"it\'s still there.
\"This table will stay in the House in Philadelphia until one day in the summer of 1990, Bill Starr was able to pick it up in a Chevrolet jacket and drive to New York City.
Now, on the evening of the Sotheby\'s cocktail party, from where he stood in the exhibition room on the second floor, Stahl could see the card table bathed in a yellow beam in the overhead spotlight.
He sent invitations to his most reliable clients, mostly couples in their 40 s and 50 s.
These men are wearing blue trailblazers and ties, just like the ones that Brooks Brothers sometimes write down after Christmas, and these women are wearing dresses that are not popular at the moment but may return to fashion.
They are suitable for a class of customers that Stahl sometimes calls \"$25,000 range ---
An amount that represents the amount they can pay on a single object.
Like Stahl, these people know a lot about antiques.
When someone says \"something I \'ve always liked\", they get it.
\"While many of these people are covet tables that are willing to swipe their cards, none of them can afford it.
The actual number of people spending $1 million on a piece of American furniture is about 10.
Starr knew them.
They include Dallas billionaire Robert Buss, who once paid $12 million for a Newport secretary. bookcase;
Former chairman of Congo Inc. Eddie Nicolson and Bill Cosby.
However, knowing that these people themselves do not ensure their presence at the Stahl auction.
In fact, in the world of American antique furniture, it is well known that each of these 10 collectors has reason not to spend millions of dollars on the card table.
Stahl believes a collector has completely stopped buying.
He knew the other had a turret. top card table.
A third person is rumored to be divorced.
\"I wouldn\'t say I was lying awake at night and worried about it,\" Starr later recalled . \".
\"As long as friendly people hold the saw, I am most happy when I go out at the end of my limbs.
But we don\'t know exactly where to play.
\"Advertising considerations for competition have led Stahl to get in touch with Alan Miller, an acquaintance who runs a small furniture repair business in a shop in rural Pennsylvania.
Miller does not go to Manhattan as often as possible.
Calling Miller\'s business a small business is unfair in any sense, except physically.
His shop is located in a dusty, choppy plaster building in a small town, mainly characterized by a bright, green, choppy pasture.
But Miller\'s studio occupies a very special position in the American furniture world.
Because of his superb skills as a craftsman, and because he is good at having some of the most valuable antiques anywhere, it is fair to call Alan Miller one of the world\'s leading furniture repairers.
That summer, as soon as Starr got the table, he called Miller.
In addition to being a knowledgeable craftsman, Miller is also one of the top scholars in Philadelphia\'s Chippendale furniture.
When Stahl\'s heart brought him to his million-dollar list
He knew there was at least one dollar collector. -
Maybe three or four more. -
I won\'t consider buying it until Alan Miller checks the table.
He believes that the table may not be sold without Miller\'s blessing.
Alan Miller made his business no less than Bill Starr\'s business of tracking the body.
For a while, rumors about the table floated into his messy shop.
Miller heard about the table and hoped to see it one day.
He believes that this table is not only one of the most beautiful furniture forms in the United States, but also the most difficult to make.
Miller got excited when Stahl told him about his acquisition.
Few things in life can bring so much joy to Alan Miller like checking the recently discovered Philadelphia table.
He plans to visit New York immediately.
Miller is not an enthusiastic person.
As Starr remembers, when Miller saw the table opposite Sotheby\'s, he casually said, \"That\'s Gavin Kaver.
Stahl found this information particularly interesting.
American furniture scholars believe that the man known as Gavin Kaver is an outstanding craftsman.
Miller knelt at the table to study it.
The auctioneer asked Miller some questions about fixing a leg, but Miller seemed to be in deep thought.
Alan Miller began to be interested in carpentry repairs.
When he began to repair the furniture of the colonial period, he found that he needed to work in many different styles.
He collected a series of impressive engraving tools to mimic the different engraving tools he encountered.
Some works require further knowledge of the Philadelphia sculptor and his technology, which led him to the research library around the Northeast.
Miller has accumulated very little knowledge of American furniture through careful study.
He has contributed an important scholarship to the work of the Philadelphia sculptor whose names include Hercules Courtnay, James Reynolds and Nicholas Bernard.
One day a few years ago, Miller visited Mount Pleasant, built in 1761, and was considered the best Chippendale --
Time house still stands in Philadelphia.
Walking into a room upstairs, he stumbled upon a senior worker who showed the work of a particularly skilled sculptor.
From the nature of the work and the design of the work, Miller can see that it was made in Philadelphia in the 1760 s.
He thought the carving was very delicate. he wanted to know who made it.
Other works, apparently by the hand of the same sculptor, appeared in Miller\'s workshop.
He stumbled upon a short man who used the same shape vocabulary as him at Mount Pleasant.
Miller realized that everything he saw was like a set of furniture in the famous Maybell Brady Gavin Furniture Collection at Yale University.
The same was found by others, but Miller began to identify other works of \"Gavin Kaver.
Miller believes that although this person is not named, it is the greatest American.
The born Kaver has worked in this country.
Learning about Gavin Carver is like learning a beautiful new language for Miller.
The man was interested in Miller as every leaf and Vine of his seemed to be moving.
Every petal seems to be turning.
Every leaf and every petal seems to want to return to itself.
These images come to life.
For Miller, the vocabulary of shapes is not exactly the same as the natural world, but \"they are completely clear and easy to understand as carved.
His leaves are his leaves.
His vines are his vines.
As Miller became familiar with Gavin Carver\'s style, he began to discover the different stages of his work.
1750 the carving made in the early days had the imprint of a new genius, so Miller concluded that the sculptor at that time must have been in his early 20 s.
Miller also began to believe that a high school student built in the 1760 s was the final work of the sculptor;
He distinguished the parts of Gavin Kaver\'s work from those done by others.
The man did not find anything later.
Gavin Kaver-
A man in his 30 s-
Work has stopped.
The work of Carver on the table of cards attracted Miller\'s special interest, and in his pursuit of him, Miller came to the famous Vaux table, a collection at the Colonial Foundation of Williamsburg, another is in Kaufman\'s collection in Norfolk, Virginia.
Miller believes that the most important thing about Vaux tables is that they were made in the early days of Kaver\'s career.
In a museum in Houston, Miller found a card table that was made a long time later.
The evolution of the Kaver talent has never stopped, which surprised Miller.
By the middle of the age of 17, Gavin Kaver had mastered his style completely.
The curve of his vines is getting longer and his balls look longerand-
The feet are ripe.
But Houston\'s table is delicate, but there is no small carved skirt or railing commonly used by Miller\'s most ambitious table to find.
This carving is one of the most difficult carvings a person can try.
Miller saw carved railings on the table early in the sculptor\'s career, like Vaux pairs.
But he was eager to see the railroad made in the most glorious period of the sculptor.
In Miller\'s words, he wanted to see the sculptor when he became more active.
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During a visit to Sotheby\'s, Miller found the table he had been waiting for, and he would auction the work on January.
He immediately discovered that it did have carved tracks.
\"When I walked in, for me, it was like something I had been waiting to see for years,\" Miller recalls . \".
\"Then I saw it all of a sudden.
It just puts me in a state of aesthetic shock.
Every Philadelphia table in the 1950s S has this basic design, but this one is a model.
There are parts that not only summarize the potential that appears to be inherent in this form, but seem to go beyond them.
What really is great seems to be more than just the sum of parts.
This is the table.
\"Thomas Kenne, the man who wrote his name on the card table, likes beautiful things.
He loved the new silk suits and men\'s wigs that had recently come from France.
He lives in Georgia-
A mansion of style, he thinks, is not so much a house as a box full of treasures.
He sat down at the table.
It sits in a room with crimson curtains and seven bronze statues hanging on the wall.
There is also a marble in the room.
Table on top, gold plated
It is equipped with matching scones and frame glass of two red wooden coffee tables.
There is no problem in offering such luxury goods.
He runs one of the largest trading companies in North America and is a partner in one of the largest insurance companies in the continent.
He owns 3,000.
The acre indigo plantation in western Florida, along with half-sized plantations along the Mississippi River, as well as houses and other properties inside and outside Philadelphia.
Willing to decorate these houses
Like many gentlemen of his generation, he follows the latest fashion and constantly needs new furniture.
In the autumn of 1759, Ken entered a cabinet store in Chestnut Street and ordered a new table.
Alan Miller said he thought it might be the biggest cabinet store in Philadelphia.
The person who owns it may have hired four or five people to keep up with the city\'s merchant orders.
The shop\'s floor was covered with sawdust and the aisles were cluttered with pieces of unfinished furniture.
Apprentices work from dawn until dusk, sawing boards, turning lathes, running errands to other shops on dusty streets.
Two or three workers spent their time in cabinets and chairs.
There\'s only one Kaver working there.
This person comes from a world very different from Willing.
He was wearing a leather hat, trousers and an apron.
He is about 30 years old, like Willing.
At the end of the 17 th century, ten to fifteen carved homes lived in the small world of Philadelphia\'s manufacturing industry.
Some of them work in the shop on Second Street and some work from home.
Since Gavin Kaver began his career, many of them have known him, and perhaps at the age of 14 he was an apprentice.
Miller said that it can be seen from the work of the sculptor whether he was born in Britain or the United States.
When the labor of a British-trained sculptor first appeared on a piece of furniture in Philadelphia, it showed evidence of someone who was already very skilled ---
As Alan Miller says, a man \"wears running shoes.
\"Garvan carver\'s work first appeared on an object of about 1750 m, and its appearance revealed a young hand learning its craft.
In order to make a living in carving, a person needs a skill, a way to solve a technical problem ---
Just like the railroad is bent outward at the same time that the table knees are connected in the ogee curve.
As Alan Miller explains, \"because he has to act as fast as any piece-worker to make money, he needs a way to attack these things.
\"All the carvers have developed an image vocabulary that does not belong to others.
These images are like very unique sounds, and a sculptor may recognize the work of another person from a crowded room ---
Just like Miller recognized Gavin Kaver when he walked into Sotheby\'s office.
With the improvement of Gavin Kaver\'s skills, his vines soon became less like others.
His claws became his own.
In this world of sculptors, every leaf looks like it has gained weight from the summer rain, turning to the sun.
His flowers seem to have just blossomed.
Every image seems to have a purpose when you double check these images.
His world makes sense.
Gavin Kaver\'s work developed so quickly that his opponent soon began to imitate his distorted leaves and vines.
Miller found a technical replica of the sculptor in other stores.
He even found a replica of the sculptor\'s design in his shop.
But Miller said the copy was \"meaningless \".
\"This is incoherent.
His outline is to have a leaf flip in one way and then start flipping itself in some way.
If a sculptor doesn\'t understand this, it takes up the same space and can take a long time, but it doesn\'t make any sense when you look at it.
\"By the end of the 17 th century, Gavin Kaver may be considered the best in the city.
He is the only one to meet Willing\'s desire for the most luxurious table ever in Philadelphia.
This table will begin to be formed in a sketch made by the sculptor.
Its execution requires every skill he has learned.
It will take a few weeks for everyone to organize this table.
When the sculptor finished it, the table was a near-perfect object.
It flows gracefully from the turret and knee to the carved railroad that stretches along the front.
Its leaves and flowers grow.
Perhaps in the fall of 1759, the table arrived at Thomas Kenn\'s house.
On those cool nights, ladies and gentlemen drift in his living room, where the silver service of Willing reflects the light of hundreds of burning candles, his Chinese teacup and other perfect surfaces that no one seems to notice, but somehow everyone admires their effect.
Like all good hosts, be willing to entertain and help others forget.
His House blocked the muddy and unpleasant world of Philadelphia business.
Each party has created a place where his friends may feel suspended, even if it\'s just one night, as if they have entered a stage.
Most of the things that make up the world are the latest in fashion, but none of them are more stylish than his new red wood card table.
Advertising is attractive to new things.
They seize the spirit of the moment and connect us with our time.
This card table keeps Philadelphia alive with its exotic claws and vines, and helps its owner understand where he is in the world.
What\'s more, this table has the possibility of immortality.
George Kubler, an art historian, observed that \"objects are part of the arrest.
\"They are fragments of human energy and industry, genius frozen by time.
Long ago, the merchant had turned to dust, and the Philadelphia he knew became a distant memory.
These echoes live in the flowers and twisted vines on the Thomas Kenn card table.
A large wooden box forgotten for 60 years, standing in the moldy basement of a building owned by Penn\'s first company.
About 1898 of the people at the famous Philadelphia Bank put it there.
Over the years, its records of existence have been misplaced or destroyed, so the only clue to its source is the two names printed next to it.
In 1964, a man entered the basement through these coincidences that often affected life.
Although he is dead now, his old picture depicts a tall gentleman who has a noble nose, a square chin and eyes that convey his reputation for being rigorous and honest
He came from an old family in Philadelphia and, apart from marriage and death, he did not like to see its name printed in any context.
As a person interested in the Philadelphia Maritime Museum, he led the search for new and larger spaces to collect the museum\'s marine paintings, scrimshaw, whales, forks and boats in bottles-
He first entered the building and then into the dark and dry basement, and the crate on the Thomas Kendall table had been standing for half a century.
To his surprise, he saw in the inscription on the side of the box \"Faber Barron willing Newhall \".
\"It made him feel interesting because Faber Barron wanted Newhall to be his grandmother.
When he opened the box, the contents of the box surprised him even more.
He saw a treasure trove of paintings, silver, tin paper, jewelry and furniture.
He happened to have a collection of antiques, but it was not necessary for an expert to see that what was inside was made during the great colonial period in Philadelphia.
The man immediately understood that their value was amazing.
He can see the beautiful paintings of the chasing silver plate and the people he may have a blood relationship.
A large object of particular interest to him.
Although most of them were covered with blankets, he could see a ball --and-
Committed to the claw feet of some of the furniture objects of Chippendale that have not yet been determined.
Like most collectors, this person appreciates antiques because they are able to relate him to the past.
He likes to travel to Pennsylvania, Netherlands with his wife.
They went to New York City so he could walk around in the shops that shipped the ocean lines
Related souvenirs
Antiques connect the couple with the rich past, but always with the uncertain past, always with the uncertain owner.
Nothing can give the collector this pleasure, and when he finds a set of objects that link him to a particular past, the man experiences this joy in the basement of Walnut Street ---his own.
Although the goods in this crate attracted him, he did not remove them.
He was cautious and did not even peek under the blanket.
After consulting with the bank, he handed the crate to the American Department of decorative arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he sat on the board for 10 years.
When the staff opened the box, he found the gorgeous Chippendale card table.
The table was covered with a blanket for more than half a century and was not affected by time.
In those years, no one bit its claw feet, and no one put a sweaty glass on top of it.
This table is like in a suspended animation, waiting to restore its life.
Of all the things in the box, the most impressive thing about this man is its beauty.
In the course of his research, he dates back to his ancestorsgreat-great-
Grandpa Thomas was willing, and from the design of the things in the crate, he was sure they belonged.
He learned that Willing died on 1821 at the age of 89.
At the time of his death, the executor had counted Willing\'s property, including the portrait of Robert FEK\'s mother, now at the wintertour Museum.
Next to each piece, someone has listed its value.
The inventory for each portrait is $2.
A $1 Madeira wine.
An item in stock is described as \"1 mahogany card table\" with a price of 50 cents.
Philadelphia has gone through the 19 th century as a place that dreams of the past.
New York replaces Philadelphia as the international financial and business center of the United States.
Fashion starts somewhere else.
In Philadelphia, the table of Thomas Gander, which is no longer popular, remains in the carriage house or in the servant quarters of his descendants.
Before the death of Phebe Newhall\'s mother, in 1898, she packed these things into a crate and stored them in the basement of the bank, where her grandson found them one day in 1964
Since the table began to live in crates, many things have happened in the American antique industry.
Although this table has not been seen for more than 60 years and does not even know its existence, it has gained the status of a beautiful thing.
About the beginning of this century, American talent began to appreciate their historical relics, probably because they had not been interested in history until recently.
With the appreciation of the old things, their value is also growing.
At the turn of the century, an antique businessman named Sark, who immigrated from Lithuania, became the main connoisseur of American furniture.
He eventually opened a shop on 57 East Street in New York City, where he sold the country\'s most expensive antiques.
Isaac got an education of American antiques from these things.
He studied on the 18 th.
The construction method of the century, and learned to find the replacement legs in an instant.
The more he studies objects passed by hand, the more he feels that some objects have a stronger design than others.
When he sees a great work, he says, \"it speaks to me.
Sack bought what he wanted. -
There is a \"quality\" in something that people can spend a few years trying to understand \".
When he talks about \"solemn lines\", it is difficult to know exactly what he means.
He can show the customer what he thinks is bad taxi leg and what is good, his guest either grabbed the difference or responded or didn\'t.
Luckily enough people understood the Sack and his passion spread across the country.
Important collectors began to come to him.
His love for this material is so great that his knowledge is so rich that the market listens to him.
Henry Francis du Pont of Delaware has his own personal charm and the same magical talent, which verifies the taste of Isaac for Americans.
DuPont\'s family became rich in the manufacture and sale of gunpowder, and in 1902, his father sold his rights in the company to some cousins who later established great chemical concerns, the family of Henry Francis became very rich.
DuPont grew up in wintertour, a Swiss native.
Soon after his father died in 1926, he decided to build a museum with the house.
DuPont added a wing and began to import interior panels from the old house, each from a different place, each from a different era, creating a \"period\" room of history.
As Nelson Aldridge wrote, other wealthy heirs who built the museum also found in it \"the triumph of family history over time, \"wintertour will survive as DuPont\'s greatest legacy.
$ A version of this article appears on page 6006022 of the national edition of January 16, 1994, titled: a story that a table can tell.
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