The International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show

in the New York Times

The International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show

Park Avenue Armory

643 Park Avenue, at 67th Street

Through Thursday

Do you need a narwhal tusk? Well, then, hurry over to the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show, where Hyland Granby Antiques, which specializes in maritime art and artifacts, is selling two that were harvested in the 19th century: one just over five feet long, the other almost seven. With their tapering profiles and helix structures, they look as much like modern sculptures as like natural wonders.

An immersive cornucopia of rare and precious aesthetic fruit well produced by Haughton International Fairs, the show is loaded with sumptuous works of art, craft and design. Offerings from more than 60 participating dealers include furniture, clocks, suits of armor, tapestries, jewelry, illuminated manuscripts, paintings and sculptures.

You won’t find any major multimillion-dollar works by masters like Rembrandt and Picasso. What that says about the still fragile art market would be interesting to know. But the beauty of this expo is in its countless “minor” works and offbeat curiosities.

At the Silver Fund, for example, there is a bowl carved from a large agate into the form of an abalone shell, with a handle representing the horned head and fleecy neck of an ibex, cast in gold and studded with diamonds. Produced in 1968 by the Parisian jewelry firm Chaumet, it is a marvel of unnecessary luxury.

From one booth to another, leaps across time can be breathtaking and uncannily connective. Phoenix Ancient Art has a wonderfully graceful, iPhone-size dish carved from ivory in the form of a trussed duck by an Egyptian craftsman around 1400 to 1300 B.C. Down the aisle at Galerie Lefebvre, a whimsical pair of chairs shaped like abstracted storks made from white marble panels by François-Xavier Lalanne in 1974 testify to the enduring appeal of animation in art.

As for fine art, Wienerroither & Kohlbacher has a fine show of erotic drawings by Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, and weird cartoons by Alfred Kubin. Jill Newhouse presents a luminous small painting by Pierre Bonnard depicting his imposing grandmother playing cards by lamplight. (Note the sinister yellow-eyed, black-and-white cat on the table.) Among bronze sculptures at Sladmore, a neo-Classical Modernist standing nude woman made by Aristide Maillol in the early 20th century talks to a late-19th-century expressionist figure by Rodin, a contorted, bony nude woman who looks as if she were being swallowed by the earth.

A small early-19th-century study of wind-blown clouds against a blue sky deftly painted by Constable (at Agnew’s) looks fresh enough to have been made yesterday. Trinity House has a dark, rich painterly study of an exotic woman with complicated earrings by John Singer Sargent, then young and precocious, who would go on to waste his extraordinary talent cranking out portraits of rich ladies in Europe.

And Tambaran features a squat wooden Maori deity who glares fiercely with nacreous eyes, as if to rebuke modern gawkers for their godless ways. KEN JOHNSON

: 22.10.2010