New Canaan Historical Society holds first antiques show
NEW CANAAN — The New Canaan Historical Society was founded in 1889, but will be hosting its first antiques show this weekend.
“There hasn’t been an antique show like this because it will be indoors and everyone will have a booth in the room,” Executive Director Nancy Geary said.
Though there have been antique fairs, the idea for the indoor antiques show was months in the making.
Patricia Funt Oxman, the primary organizer of the show and a town resident, is a board member at the New Canaan Historical Society. Her extensive contract with dealers was key, as the idea steadily materialized into the first annual Art, Antiques and Jewelry Show.
“It takes time to make an idea like that work, but we looked at things carefully and this turned into an actual event,” Oxman said. “I like that it’s the ‘first annual’ show because it demonstrates that we want to put this as an event on the calendar.”
Oxman had a store — Patricia Funt Antiques — on Main Street in New Canaan for 14 years and prior to that, Patricia Funt Gallery on 78th Street in New York City. The New Canaan resident decided to put her more than 30 years of experience doing antique shows to good use in her hometown.
“I thought it would be a fun idea to get people to attend. People are stimulated when they see old things and we have a nice, diverse group of dealers for the weekend and it will be a great way to support the historical society,” she said.
One of the dealers who signed up for the event, Joan Beauvais, a Westport resident, has known Oxman for years, which is how she became interested in the event and the chance to introduce others to antiques.
“In Victorian times, people would have a cabinet of curiosities with all different types of things — things that no one else would have. Antiques are really unique in that way and collecting is a chase, but it’s a lot of fun,” Beauvais said.
An avid collector, Beauvais’ interest ranges from sculptures of 1930s celebrities by local artist Clark Hanford to sculptures of animals, particularly canines, a favorite of hers.
“When you have something that is handmade or painted, you have something that no one else has and that’s beautiful,” Beauvais said.
This weekend, the Westport resident will be selling Black Forest carvings, dog-related antiques and bronzes.
Gil Rodriguez, on the other hand, will be displaying his collection of books and manuscripts at the show. The Darien resident spent the majority of his life teaching in Connecticut and New York, including a two-year stint teaching Spanish at New Canaan High School from 1968 to 1970.
“I started collecting poetry in the 1970s, and through the years I’ve collected more and more,” Rodriguez said. “I have an extensive collection of (Canadian poet) Bliss Carman first editions and autographs.”
Rodriguez’ collection boasts first-edition cartoons and works from celebrated children’s book illustrators such as Dr. Seuss; Maurice Sendak, “Where the Wild Things Are”; Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “The Little Prince,” and Garth Williams, “Charlotte’s Web.”
“My collection has a lot of local artists and I’m really looking forward to the event,” Rodriguez said.
The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. According to Geary, revenue raised from ticket sales — admission is $5 and good for both days — will go to the Historical Society. Dealers will donate a small portion of the proceeds to the organization as well.
“We’re very excited and we hope the event is well-attended,” said Geary, who is nearing her one-year anniversary as executive director. “It sounds like everyone has different kinds of things, and it will be wonderful to see people come in and check out the Historical Society.”