Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Walking Tour of Historic Westport October 3

The Westport Historical Society is hosting a walking tour, led by Edward F. Gerber, of Kings Highway North Historic District on Saturday, Oct. 3. The tour will be an opportunity for participants to learn about one of the town's oldest settled areas, some homes of which date to the mid-1700s.

Kings Highway North was established as a local historic district in 1972 and named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. It encompasses 106 "contributing buildings" – structures that add to the district's historical qualities – and four historic sites. Most of the contributing buildings are homes in the Colonial style. The historic sites include a small triangular green at the intersection of Old Hill Road and Kings Highway North that was used as a military drill ground, the adjoining Christ and Holy Trinity and Church of the Assumption cemeteries across Kings Highway from Old Hill Road, and an earlier graveyard, laid out in 1740, at the northwest corner of Kings Highway North and Wilton Road.
Originally, Kings Highway North was part of a postal road laid out between New York and Boston in 1762. Unlike the Post Road, which was built later, it followed a circuitous route through town, crossing the Saugatuck River over an old wood bridge just upstream from the present one.
According to the filing information for the district's National Register of Historic Places certification, "The two earliest houses in the district are the c. 1730 Lt. John Taylor House and the 1736 Daniel Freelove Nash House." The Taylor house was destroyed by fire in 1935 and replaced by a replica on the original foundation. It was the home of film and stage actor Arthur Kennedy during the 1950s and served as the model for the home of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo when the "I Love Lucy" television show moved to Westport for its final season.
Gerber will be accompanied on the tour by Edward Hynes, a specialist on the history of Westport during the American Revolution. Hynes will discuss the planned ambush by Continental troops under Benedict Arnold to fire cannons from the high ground on Old Hill down on British soldiers returning from a raid on Danbury to prevent them from crossing the river on the bridge below. But the British outsmarted the Colonials and crossed upriver near the site of present Ford Road.
"Kings Highway North Walking Tour," Saturday, Oct. 3, 3 to 4 p.m. Meet at the cemeteries across from the foot of Old Hill Road; park along Kings Highway North. There is a $10 donation. Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, across from Town Hall. For more information about the WHS, call (203) 222-1424 or go to

Monday, September 28, 2015

A trio of food festivals in Western Connecticut

The aroma of steaming chowder, the tantalizing scent of garlic, and the chance to sample the best specialties of Iceland await autumn visitors to Western Connecticut, home to three of the season's top food festivals.
Chowdafest, New England's largest cooking competition, will be held at Westport's Sherwood Island State Park on October 11, a new location spacious enough to accommodate the growing fan base, while another popular event, the tenth annual Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival takes place October 10-11, 2015 at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds. The following Saturday, October 18, the fifth annual Iceland Affair and Fire and Ice Music Festival once again will bring fans to Winchester, CT. for a rare treat, one of only two such festivals in the United States.
At this SOUPerbowl of festivals to benefit the Connecticut Food Bank, attendees are the judges as more than two dozen of the regions best restaurants compete in four categories: classic New England Clam Chowder, Traditional Manhattan and Rhode Island chowders, "creative" chowders that might be anything from sweet potato to Cajun shrimp, and bisque soups such as Butternut Squash and Golden Corn. Everyone receives a spoon, pencil and ballot and can sample unlimited chowder and soups, grading entries on a scale from 7 to 10. Winners are announced at the end of the event.

For tasting variety, samples are offered at the Cheese and Cracker Corner, at ChowdaMex featuring salsas and chips and at a beverage center stocked with beer and wine. The ChowdaKIDS area will provide samples of ice cream and milk as well as free chef hats, coloring books and stickers provided by Stop & Shop, the event sponsor.
Admission is $10 in advance for adults, $15 at the door on October 11. Ages 6 to 12 pay $5, children under 6 are free. Hours are 12 noon to 4 p.m. Proceeds from this food festival to fight hunger have provided over 100,000 meals for the CT Food Bank. For information, see
Foodies flock each year to the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival where they enjoy cooking demonstrations, informative food talks, lessons in growing garlic, plus free samplings of garlic dips, spreads, cheeses and oils from specialty food vendors. Visitors can buy farm-fresh garlic as well as other bounty from the fall harvest. All of that is the warm-up for some serious eating that includes treats like homemade roasted garlic sausage with peppers and onions, garlic marinated steak sandwiches, garlic roast pork sandwiches, deep fried garlic, and even garlic ice cream.

Live bands add to the festive feel, fine artisans are on hand offering hand made crafts and young visitors will find rides and games to keep them entertained.
The Garlic Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday October 10 and 11
at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds, Route 61 just north of town. Adult admission is $7, under age 12, just $1. Find more details at
One woman's love affair with Iceland was the spark that began this unusual festival. Gerri Griswold, a former chef and current broadcaster, visited the "land of fire and ice" and fell in love.

She has made over a dozen trips to Iceland since 2002 and in 2009, decided to introduce more Americans to their northern neighbor in what she thought would be a one-time event in her home town. Instead, the Iceland Affair keeps growing. At this year's fifth edition at Winchester Center's Grange Hall visitors will hear experts talk about Iceland's arts and amazing nature, see prize photography of the land's lavish geysers and waterfalls, and will be able to sample authentic Icelandic foods such as goat sausage, smoked and dried fish, sensational chocolates and licorice, the special local yogurt known as skyr, pure Icelandic water, and what Griswold calls the best hot dogs in the world. On the Winchester Center Green the public will meet Iceland's biologically pure animals including Icelandic horses, sheep, sheep dogs, and chickens. The event will be held on October 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All the day's activities are free.
 For details on the festival, see

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Family Nature Day at White Memorial Foundation

Each year, White Memorial Foundation and Conservation Center located in Litchfield celebrates the end of summer and the beginning of that time of year known as Indian Summer by organizing an annual event known as the Family Nature Day.  This year, this popular event is taking place on September 26 and promises to be full of family fun with a plethora of events that will please young and old alike.

Brain Bradley,  from Skyhunters in Flight will be at this event with his beautiful hawks and falcons. Creature Teachers will be offering "The Nature of My Backyard" that features a cavalcade of animals native to the Litchfield Hills like Woodchuck, Gray Fox, and even a Fisher!
Fair goers will learn about our imperiled allies as Gerri Griswold aka "The Bat Lady" teaches you about bats. Riverside Reptiles' with the highly regarded Brian Kleinman will bring many of his friends along for you to meet... including  the North American Porcupine!
There will be music by Robert Messore and the Switch Factory that will make your heart soar. The day is filled with live animals, guided nature walks, information booths, and even horse drawn wagon rides.  If you are a shopper, you won't be disappointed as you browse through the many unique items offered at the artisans market.

A highlight is the silent auction and the bake sale -- that is always a crowd pleaser.  There are lots of nature crafts for the kiddies too! This year's first prize in the raffle is a trip for two to  Iceland with Gerri Griswold in January courtesy of Krummi Travel LLC.
There is so much family fun on September 26 from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., admission is $6.00.  Members of White Memorial Foundation and children under 12 are FREE!

Photo credit: Katherine Griswold 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Night (1947-2015) at The Glass House

The Glass House, once the home of architect Philip Johnson was built between 1949 and 1955 and is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, Connecticut. The pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises fourteen structures, including the Glass House (1949), and features a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture, along with temporary exhibitions. Tours of the site are available in May through November and advance reservations are recommended.

A special exhibition beginning Sept. 27 and  running through November 30 called Night (1947-2015) has been guest curated by Jordan Stein. The exhibition is predicated on a statue that was never returned to The Glass House. Sometime in the mid-1960's, a rail-thin white plaster sculpture called Night (1947), by Alberto Giacometti, walked away from the Glass House and never came back.
One of very few artworks ever displayed in the Glass House, Night's rawboned figure was granted pride of place atop the Mies van der Rohe glass coffee table. Over time, the sculpture began to shed its outer layer and was eventually sent to the artist's studio for repairs. But Giacometti died before the work was restored and the sculpture never returned. Neither repaired nor replaced, its absence still lingers; a Modern ghost.
In place of a traditional artist-in-residence program, Night (1947 – 2015) is instead a sculpture-in-residence program; an unfolding sculptural exhibition held in the same spot where Giacometti's Night once stood. A series of contemporary artists will contribute works that contend with the legacy of Giacometti's sculpture and Johnson's architectural opus. On display for three to six months at a time, the sculptures in Night (1947 – 2015) will "disappear" after their run, making room for new work and new absences.
Although world-class painting and sculpture populate Johnson's property, Night (1947 – 2015) is the first formal art exhibition to be held on-site. The slowly unfolding exhibition places Johnson's collection in dialogue with contemporary sculptural practice while positioning the architecture itself – long a site of critical discourse – as both backdrop and collaborator.
Night (1947 – 2015) is primarily comprised of never-before-seen works by a number of mid-career and established artists. Special attention will be paid to artists who grapple with themes raised by Giacometti's vanished Night — themes that largely work in contrast to those of Johnson's transparent temple. Works will explore unreliability, looping, curving, transparency, reflectivity, and doubt. Additionally, works will have a significant relationship to architecture and design. For more information  
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photo by Robin Hill (c)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Schwenke Auctioneers Fall Anniversary Auction Oct. 4

On Sunday October 4th,  Schwenke Auctioneers will hold its anniversary fall fine estates auction with an offering of over 530 lots of freshly consigned estate property from estates throughout Connecticut and Westchester County, New York. The auction includes a broad selection of Asian decorative arts, Mid-Century Modern decorative arts, American, English and Continental decorative arts, folk art and American country furniture, English & other sterling silver, jewelry, fine art, miscellaneous decorative arts, and estate oriental rugs.

This anniversary sale is being held at 11:00 am in the firm’s auction hall at 710 Main Street South, Middle Quarter Plaza, in Woodbury. Preview times are Thursday, October 1st, 10am - 5pm, Friday, October 2nd, 10am - 5pm, Saturday, October 3rd, 10am - 5pm, Sunday, October 4th, 9am to sale time, and other times by appointment.

Flight of Europa

The lead item is the sale is a rare and important bronze sculpture by noted American sculptor Paul Manship. The sculpture, Flight of Europa, is a rare gilded example created by Manship in 1925. The captivating Art Deco group, depicting the Greek myth of Europa being abducted by Zeus in the form of a bull, is a well-known and iconic work, with copies held in a number of prominent public collections, including The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, and The Smithsonian. The example being offered by Schwenke Auctioneers was acquired directly from artist Manship by an ancestor of the present owner, and is being sold to benefit a charitable foundation. Conservatively estimated at $100,000-200,000, it represents an opportunity for a sophisticated collector or another American museum to acquire a sought after and dynamic work by this prominent 20th century American sculptor.

Several lots of American formal furniture are on offer in this anniversary sale, including a fine New England Queen Anne wing chair, circa 1740-1760, in early tapestry crewelwork upholstery; a rare Federal inlaid mahogany tall case clock, Philadelphia or Baltimore, circa 1795-1800; a Salem hepplewhite serpentine sideboard with bellflower inlays; two fine New York classical mahogany pier tables, circa 1820-25; a hepplewhite inlaid mahogany "D" shaped card table, probably Philadelphia, circa 1790-1800, 36" wide, 17 1/2" deep, 29 1/2" high; a fine Sheraton carved and inlaid mahogany sofa, having reeded detail throughout and inlaid panels, New England, early 19th century, 35 1/2" high, 75" wide, 25" deep; a fine Boston classical carved mahogany sofa, circa 1825, and a barn found Philadelphia classical mahogany center table, circa 1825-30, attributed to Anthony Quervelle. A number of fine Federal and Classical mirrors are scheduled to be sold, and there are five American tall case and mantle clocks slated to sell on October 4th.

A substantial number of Asian decorative arts items are also up for bid in this fall sale, most gleaned from a recent consignment which Tom Schwenke called a “treasure trove” of Asian items collected over more than sixty years. The auction staff spent Labor Day weekend cataloging the items, numbering over two-hundred lots, comprising Chinese hand painted scrolls, Chinese and Japanese cloisonné and champlevé urns and vases, Satsuma porcelains, Chinese export and domestic porcelains, Asian bronzes, Chinese wood carvings, Japanese woodblock prints, several Asian folding and hanging screens, and Asian furniture and architectural elements. Among the fine cloisonné and champlevé items is an early 19th century large size Japanese champlevé lidded censer urn, 27” high and 18” wide, featuring a bronze Shishi mounted and pierced lid and fine early patina. Also, a group of four Chinese Ming bowls, 1 1/4" high, 3 7/8" diameter, are expected to draw significant interest, carrying provenance from the Hatcher Collection, Christies Auction, Amsterdam 1984.  Two pair of Chinese carved hardwood arm chairs are offered on behalf of a Connecticut estate, as well as a Chinese mineral tree set in a fine Chinese cloisonné urn base and a Chinese carved and polychromed wooden Quan Yin figure, 49 1/2" high, 18" wide.

American and European fine arts abound in the sale. Among the more noteworthy lots are an oil on canvas by George Luks, View of Gramercy Park (1932); an elaborately framed Old Master portrait of a maiden; a William Ruthven Wheeler (Am. 1932-1894), "New England Seascape", oil on canvas, signed, dated lower left; Serge Ferat (Russian, 1881-1958) "La Famille Numero 2" gouache on paper, signed in pencil lower right; Jules Benoit-Levy (French, 1866-1952), "Cardinal and Parrot" oil on canvas signed lower left; N.B. Smith (20th century), "Beach Scene with Children" acrylic on board, signed, dated lower right "N B Smith '87"; Ettienne-Prosper Berne-Bellecourt (French, 1838-1910), "Soldier", oil on panel signed lower left; Lowell Blair Nesbitt (Am. 1933-1993), "Lily", signed and titled verso, oil on canvas dated 1964. Provenance: Galerie Jollenbeck, Cologne, Sothebys NY, 9/27/10, Lot 283, Private CT Collection. Exhibited: Andrew Crispo Gallery, NY "Lowell Nesbitt Flowers 1964-1979" Sight size: 77" high, 77" wide; Charles Gruppe (American, b. 1928), "New England Boats, Harbor Scene" oil on masonite, signed lower right; Water Koeniger (American/German, 1881-1943), "Winter Landscape" oil on canvas, signed lower right; Michele Cascella (Italian, 1927-1989) "Little Blossoming Tree", oil on canvas, signed lower right, label verso Galerie Juarez, Ital. Ref. No. 70-79/219 in the Archivo Generale del O'pera di Michele Cascella, compiled by Galleria Torcular, Milan. Sight size: 21 1/4" high, 10 1/4" wide; Keith Miller (Canadian, 20th century), "The Tug Boat Brian McAllister off Liberty Island with Statue of Liberty in Background", watercolor on paper, signed, dated lower right "K. K. Miller '83", with a portrait of the tug verso; Coll Josep Bardolet, Spanish, 1912-2007, "Grupo Mallorquin," oil on panel signed lower right "Coll Bardolet", titled, numbered, signed verso; possibly Josef Israels (Dutch, 1824-1911) "Testing the Water with Father", signed lower right, watercolor on paper, private Connecticut collection; Balcomb (John Wesley) Greene (Am. 1904-1990) oil on canvas of boats at harbor, titled verso "Water & Sunlight". Sight size: 44" high, 54" wide; possibly Edward Redfield (American, 1869-1965), European river landscape scene, with fortifications beyond, oil on canvas, signed lower right; and Nicola Simbari (Italian, 1927-2012), oil on canvas, "Boy with Wine Jug", 1964, signed and dated lower right. Sight size: 23 3/4" high, 13 1/2" wide.

Mid-century modern and contemporary items will also be offered. Notable lots include a modernist chrome Barcelona chair upholstered in blue wool, 27 3/4" high, 26 1/2" wide, 22 1/2" deep; a modernist chrome and black glass dining table marked Calligaris, 29 1/2" high, 33 1/2" wide, 51 1/4" deep; an original Saarinen design glass and chrome tulip table and four lucite chairs by Chromcraft, circa 1960's, chairs with Chromcraft labels on underside; a set of four Calligaris modernist chrome upholstered dining chairs, 32 1/2" high, 17 1/2" wide, 15 1/2" deep; a mid-century upholstered easy chair, possibly Jens Risom, with rounded back and low arm profile, Swedish, 1960's, 34" high, 33" wide, 32" deep; a set of classic eight Edward Wormley for Dunbar bracket back upholstered walnut dining chairs, in perhaps original upholstery; a Fiam molded glass occasional table; an Edward Wormley for Dunbar modern walnut dining table with two leaves, top with banding, sides with recessed apron on shaped straight legs; 30" high, 44 1/2" wide, 67" long; a pair of mid-century flared back upholstered easy chairs, with turned and canted walnut legs, probably Finn Juhl or Jens Risom, 1960's; an Edward Wormley for Dunbar easy chair and matching ottoman, in possible original fabric and finish; a rare pair of Finn Juhl designer sofas, settee form with turned and canted wooden legs, designed in the 1950’s by Finn Juhl for France & Daverkosen of Denmark; an unusual custom mid-century musical themed “bar” cabinet; and a Silas Seandel large cast stone and bronze coffee table, mounted on a square bronze clad pedestal, signed and dated "1982", 15 1/2" high, 25 3/4" wide, 17" deep.

Many lots of fine English and European furniture and related decorative arts will be hammered, most notably a Louis XV/XVI style mahogany and ormolu vitrine cabinet; a pair of French Provincial carved bergere chairs having shell carved crest rails, acanthus carved hand grips on cabriole legs, backs upholstered in floral tapestry panels, 38 1/2" high, 27" wide, 21" deep; a Georgian Revival mahogany and parcel ebonized map chest with two banks of fall front drawers concealing trays, 43" high, 32" wide, 18" deep; a Continental mixed woods inlaid secretaire a abattant, single drawer over drop front with bird and quiver inlay, two cupboard doors below on tapered legs, 57" high, 37 1/2" wide, 17" deep; a Louis XV style marquetry inlaid two drawer chest with marble top, 33 1/2" high, 36 1/2" wide, 18 1/4" deep; a French provincial walnut armoire, 58" wide, 25" deep, 79" high; a rare pair of Regency carved mahogany fire screens, with movable central panel, raised on carved and molded scrolled legs, 19th century, 36" high, 26" wide; a Regency inlaid mahogany and brass mounted breakfront side cabinet, in the Egyptian revival taste, with mirrored doors flanked by open shelved compartments, 19th century with alterations, 36 1/2" high, 95" wide, 15" deep; a French trestle base refectory style dining table 29" high, 35 1/2" wide, 9' 3" long; a companion Set of ten French baroque style needlepoint upholstered dining chairs, 43" high, 20 1/2" wide, 18" deep; and an English regency period drop leaf mahogany sofa table with rosewood crossbanded detail on top and a sabre legged base with casters.

Silver is also offered in some quantity, including traditional sterling silver as well as Mexican artist made items, including a Native American silver and turquoise ladies concho belt stamped "R. Peter Navajo"; a silver cactus form four strand necklace, unmarked, each strand 1/2" wide, 17 1/4" long; a Mexican sterling silver necklace and bracelet, both marked "ARY Sterling"; a Mexican 950 silver and malachite necklace marked TM 153 and a sterling stone pendant marked DK; two Tiffany & Co sterling silver bracelets including an 18K and sterling rope bracelet. 3/8" wide, 7 1/8" long to 3/8" wide, 7 1/2" long; a Mexican sterling silver tray by Juventino Lopez Reyes, 3 1/2" high, 12 1/4" wide; a Danny Martinez Native American sterling silver and turquoise concho belt, buckle stamped "DM Sterling"; an unusual pair of Spanish Colonial silver plaques, framed; and a Jacobi & Jenkins (Baltimore c. 1900) silver repousse rectangular dish 12" long, 9" wide, 2" deep.

Over two dozen estate oriental carpets will cross the block, including Persian, Caucasian,  Indian and Turkoman room and scatter sized rugs, together with other regional Asian rugs of varying sizes. Select among the estate carpets is a fine Caucasian gallery rug, 12' 1" long, 3' 11" wide; an early Turkoman rug, 3'7" by 5'7"; and a Persian Kashan prayer rug, 6' 5" long by 4' 1" wide.

The catalog for the sale is viewable at www.woodburyauction.com Internet, absentee and phone bidding are available for this live gallery auction by registering directly with Schwenke Auctioneers. The sale will be broadcast live through Live Auctioneers and  Invaluable. For additional information please call the auction hall office at 203-266-0323.

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