One of my favorite fairs of the year is on right now in NYC, continuing through January 31st: the WINTER ANTIQUES SHOW which once again features an extraordinary booth by the early photography dealer Hans P. Kraus. The New York Times’ Ken Johnson reviewed the fair with special notice on Kraus’ booth, which I quote here:
“Most of the booths are built to resemble luxurious antiques shops, while some are like small museum galleries, and others seek to create more theatrical effects. Hans P. Kraus Jr., a dealer in 19th-century photography, has constructed his to evoke a room in Lacock Abbey, the 13th-century home of William Henry Fox Talbot, the photography pioneer. It has a false bay window with a misty view of a gnarly old tree outdoors copied from a photograph that Fox Talbot shot from one of his windows.
A glass-top case contains memorabilia borrowed from Lacock Abbey, now a museum dedicated to Fox Talbot’s life and work. It displays the print from which the tree in the window was copied; a surprisingly modern-looking color chart made by Fox Talbot; and a book of pressed botanical specimens that his mother collected, identified and dated.
Among Fox Talbot’s photographs of trees, buildings, sculptures and other subjects on the walls is a sweet 1840s portrait of one of his daughters, about 10. Unlike most portraiture from photography’s early years, in which scowling sitters seem stiff and angry because of the long exposure times, she appears unusually alive as she looks off to her right, as if momentarily distracted by some fleeting event.”
Brook S. Mason of ARTNET.COM wrote about Kraus’ booth as well:
“As if the antiques and art weren’t astonishing enough on their own, some of the dealers have gone in for presentations that are themselves simply show-shopping. Take early photography specialist Hans P. Kraus Jr., son of the famed book dealer. He has cleverly created an entire room evocative of the ancestral home of William Henry Fox Talbot (1870-1877), the groundbreaking British inventor of photography. There’s a replica of the photographer’s Lacock Abbey oriel window from one of his early images. On loan are objects from that 12th-century Wiltshire home. Abstract and conceptual art buffs will appreciate Talbot’s evanescent 1839 Roofline of Lacock Abbey. An image of St. Mary’s Church is tagged at $350,000, telling of its scarcity. “They are two of the finest Talbots I have ever handled,” says Kraus.”
To read about Kraus’ breathtakingly beautiful 2009 exhibit at this fair where he recreated the 1905 innaugural exhibit of the Little Galleries of 291, click here (Antiques Magazine). Last year was Kraus’ first time exhibiting and the first booth fully dedicated to photography at the Winter Antiques Fair. His participation allows us to step back into time and better understand the history and aesthetics of our medium.
Don’t miss the Fair!