Chasen Antiques has a new website!

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

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I’m writing this blog on the balcony of my lovely hotel on the island of Capri, Italy. My beautiful wife is with me, the waiter brought a tray with a bottle of local white wine, pistachio nuts, cashews, olives and crackers. The weather is perfect; the view is amazing; and the day is perfect. So what am I doing? I’m writing my blog. Is that dedication or am I nuts? You decide.

website-9-29-13

Back to business. As most of you know, I’ve been working on redesigning my entire website. I’ve asked you to check it out while it was in beta mode, but now it’s a done deal. Please take a look and let me know if you think it’s an improvement or if it needs some work. There also may still be some bugs, which I hope you’ll tell me about. http://chasenantiques.com I’ve added many new items for sale and will be adding many more. Just give me a little time until we get back from Italy. We’ll be attending the fair in a few days, so I’m hopeful we’ll be successful in buying a few nice items.

Plaster casts of some of the bodies recovered from the ruins of Pompeii

Plaster casts of some of the bodies recovered from the ruins of Pompeii

In the meantime, we have to investigate the Amalfi coast, which includes Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi. The ruins of Pompeii were special.

Wonderful 12" Daum rain scenic vase, just in

Wonderful 12″ Daum rain scenic vase, just in

Click here to view French cameo glass for sale. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. Look around my website. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

Sotheby’s may sell its Manhattan headquarters

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Sotheby's York Ave. headquarters in NYC

Sotheby’s York Ave. headquarters in NYC

Sotheby’s has hired two real estate firms to explore the possibility of a sale of their Manhattan headquarters. The first firm, Eastdil Secured, will look for potential buyers. The second firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, will search for a site to relocate.

Sothebys

Selling their Manhattan headquarters will not be new. After first purchasing the building in 1979, they were forced to sell it in 2002, after the collusion debacle with Christie’s. Sotheby’s continued to occupy the York Ave. building by leasing it back from the purchaser, RFR Holding LLC. Then in 2009 they bought the building back from RFR, after a substantial improvement in business. The pressure to sell now may be coming from Marcato Capital Management LLC, Third Point LLC, and Trian Fund Management LP, who collectively purchased 15% of Sotheby’s shares. They expect a sale would allow Sotheby’s to increase dividends and buy back shares.

Chelsea, New York City

Chelsea, New York City

So where would Sotheby’s move? Chelsea is one possibility because of the concentration of art dealers. Personally I’ll be sad wherever they move. York Ave. is far from midtown and very convenient. Christie’s move to Rockefeller Center made every move by car very difficult.

My new, totally redesigned website is almost ready for prime time. Click here to view it. Then look around, try the links and use the site as you normally would. I need your reactions, so don’t be bashful. Please write to me and let me know what you think! philchasen@gmail.com or use the CONTACT form on the site. I expect there are more than a few bugs, which I hope you’ll let me know about. We’ll fix all the problems and then roll out the new site. Thanks!!!

Wonderful Daum Nancy scenic blownout vase, in rare purple variation, just in

Wonderful Daum Nancy scenic blownout vase, in rare purple variation, just in

Click here to view French cameo glass for sale. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. Look around my website. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

What recession? There’s no recession in the art and antiques market.

Recently I’ve had more time to write about the interesting things happening in the antiques world. When there’s no one in my booth at a show, I keep busy by writing blog posts. So for the next few weeks, I will publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

This Gustav Klimt painting sold at Sotheby's New York for $40,402,500 on November 2, 2011

If you just listen to the news, you would think that the sky has fallen. The housing market is bad in many parts of the country, with many homeowners underwater. Unemployment is currently 9%. The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread. The financial troubles in Greece, Italy and the rest of Europe make stock market investors shiver.

But I’m looking out of my window and see that not only has the sky not fallen, but the sun is shining. There appear to be some good anecdotal economic signals. Sales of luxury cars are improving. Reservations are difficult to get at top restaurants. The antiques business is solid, with new auction records being set for art and antiques. Sotheby’s New York Impressionist & Modern Art sale realized a strong $199,804,500 just a few days ago.

Marc Chagall painting La Mariée sold for $1,022,500 at Christie's New York on November 2, 2011

Here’s my take on what’s going on– no deep analysis, just my observations. There appears to be a dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots — between two dimensions that exist together, but do not interact. On the one side are all the people in the news who are in trouble. They’re worried about the next mortgage payment, not about purchasing antiques. On the other side is a quiet group, not in the news, of successful entrepreneurs, business people and professionals. They aren’t suffering, rather they’re prospering. They have disposable income and are the ones who are actively involved in supporting the art and antiques markets — and they’re not just Americans. Chinese buyers are paying extraordinary prices to repatriate their treasures and are dabbling in other areas. Russian buyers are still active, but less so than a few years ago. Brazilian buyers are starting to flex their economic muscles.

Tiffany Studios Wisteria lamp sold at Christie's New York for $578,500 on June 16, 2011

The Tiffany Studios glass and lamp market is solid. So is the French cameo glass market. That’s not to say that all areas are doing well. For instance, in markets that I have personal knowledge, art glass shades, Steuben glass, Rookwood pottery, Louis Icart etchings and some others are soft. In the early 1990s, the severe recession in the antiques market caused prices to drop precipitously. In some cases, prices dropped over 50% from their peaks (but recovered smartly in the second half of the decade). Nowadays, prices are increasing in many areas. Some collectors are investing, hoping that fine antiques will be a good addition to a diversified portfolio. I’m frequently asked about investing in antiques, but since I’m not good at predicting, I try to restrict my advice to factual information about quality, rarity and condition.

The Pier Antiques Show will be held on the weekend of November 19-20. Sometimes it helps me gauge the health of the market. December is also a big month for auctions. Every major (and minor) auction house holds a 20th Century sale. Those results should be telling. For me, the best predictor of the year to come are the results of the big Miami Beach Convention Center Antiques Show in early February. Buyers fly in from all over the world, so it’s possible to take the pulse of the international market. Here’s hoping good business will continue.

A fine Martin Bros. grotesque vase from 1903

In the meantime, check the listings on my website, which I will update as often as I can. I’ll be photographing all my new Gallé and Daum purchases and listing them on my website. Recently I listed quite a few Tiffany, Handel and Pairpoint lamps and a very rare Louis Icart etching, Mardi Gras. There are also several fine Daum vases; a Daum lamp; several Galle vases; and several more Tiffany Favrile vases. Coming soon will be several wonderful European ceramic items by Clement Massier, Zsolnay and Amphora. Here’s the link. chasenantiques.com

Illinois art forger sentenced to 9 years in prison

Lots of interesting things have been happening in the antiques world recently. Since I have a bit more time to write about them during the spring and summer, I will be posting new blog entries twice a week, instead of once — Mondays and Thursdays for the next few weeks. So make sure you come back often and tell your friends about my blog!

Michael Zabrin. Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune

Over the years, I’ve had many opportunities to buy limited edition etchings, lithographs, etc., by big name artists like Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. I was always concerned about reproductions that I knew existed (and were even rampant). I didn’t have the knowledge to tell the difference, so I always avoided them. Reproductions of Louis Icart etchings also existed, but in that world I’m an expert, so I’ve dealt in them for over 30 years. Now comes news of the arrest, conviction and sentencing of one of the main culprits in the world of limited editions art — Michael Zabrin of Northbrook, Illinois.

Zabrin was first arrested and convicted in 1992, after pleading guilty to selling $800,000 worth of reproduction “limited edition” prints. One year after his supervised release ended in 1998, he was back at it. According the the grand-jury indictment, from July, 1999 to October, 2007, he and fellow associates, Oswaldo Aulestia-Bach, Elio Bonfiglioli, Patrizia Soliani, and Jerome Bengis, conspired to produce and sell these reproduction prints through various outlets, including eBay and dealers in Florida, New York and Australia.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the fake artwork was sold throughout the world in prestigious galleries in Paris, Tokyo, and Barcelona, for example. Of course, Zabrin included his home state of Illinois, with galleries on Michigan Ave. in Chicago.

Now he’s been sentenced to nine years in prison. That should cool his heels for a while. He’ll be 67 when released, if he serves the full term. One would hope that he will have learned his lesson by that time, but some people seem to have larceny in their genes, so I’m not optimistic. Hopefully, the fear of being imprisoned again will keep him on the straight and narrow.

Leon Amiel, Jr., 39, on right. Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune.

James Kennedy and Leon Amiel, Jr., were associates of Zabrin’s in the fake art schemes. On June 15th, U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall sentenced Amiel to two years in prison for his part. He faced a possible six years, but the judge was lenient, citing “his commitment to family as well as mental problems and a family history of emotional and physical abuse.” Kennedy is due for sentencing this month, after which federal officials will destroy 20,000 fakes. Those that have already been sold will continue to be a problem for years to come.

Rare Louis Icart etching Miss America

Check out my new acquisitions. I just listed a very rare Louis Icart etching, entitled “Miss America”, plus a gorgeous Daum Nancy pink floral vase; a rare Tiffany Studios desk lamp in the Spanish pattern; several fine Daum vases; a Daum lamp; several Galle vases; and several more Tiffany Favrile vases. Soon I’ll be listing a wonderful Tiffany Studios 7-light lily lamp with beautiful shades and a fine patina. Also coming soon will be several wonderful European ceramic items by Clement Massier, Zsolnay and Amphora. Here’s the link. chasenantiques.com