By Myles Ludwig
The shiny story is at the Convention Center, where the Palm Beach Show of glittering jewelry, particularly fine antiques, interesting artifacts and wonderful paintings is on display.
Opening night was a grand affair with an invitation-only VIP vernissage benefitting the Cancer Alliance of Help and Hope followed by a special preview opening party. The aisles are wide, the gallery goers cosmopolitan and sparkling, and the champagne flowing.
There is a nearly overwhelming display of riches from galleries represented from around the globe including China. There is a small section called Contemporary Focus and, in the second-floor gallery, a collection of work from craftspeople.
It takes a lot of stamina to take in this show because there is so much of quality to be seen and appreciated in a variety of media. I like to stroll through on opening night, a flaneur, saying hello to friends and stopping briefly at a work that impresses me. I return early the next day for a quiet chat with artists, designers and gallery owners.
A lovely young photographer, Safaa Kagan of Morocco, is showing a luminous collection of her joyful tribal portraits she’s made on location in villages in Africa, Tibet, Morocco and Myanmar, among other exotic places. Her subject is framed against a simple white or black seamless background she takes with her, a la Avedon and Penn, and the result is an almost three-dimensional quality.
“I focus on the eyes,” she said, “because that’s how people can see into the picture.”
We said hello to Harry Benson and admired his pictures at the Holden Luntz exhibit and JL Modern, part of the family’s expanding reach of photography galleries.
Martell Gallery of Miami is showing an assortment of pieces from furniture of the art deco period to jejune glass. We were particularly delighted with the cameo glassware, a process of cameo etching and carving two pieces of fused glass with sublime examples by Charles Schneider after World War I.
Marta Gualda is showing a large, magnificently moody portrait in oils by Armando Miravalls Bove of the famed matador Pedrucho and his retinue, humorously titled Pedrucho and His Gang. The enchanting gallerist Marta Gualda, also an expert on the architecture of Granada, explained it was a piece that represented a turn in the Spanish style from the romantic to the real and captured the gothic spirit of the corrida.
The genteel Antonia Miletto of Venice is showing her subtle and exquisitely carved wooden jewelry accented in gold and diamonds. I was particularly taken with her ebony collection. Her work is also available through Fred Leighton in New York.
We also liked the African-inspired adornments of the Shompole Collection curated by the adventurous Liz Gilbert who spent 20 years photographing traditions and cultures in Africa. She told me how she found her first collection of African beads through a text message advising her to “follow that pygmy.”
You’ll find much to like at the Palm Beach Show.
The Palm Beach Show runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, West Palm Beach. Visit www.palmbeachshow.com to buy tickets.