A Winter Show Q &A with David Schorsch
Each year, we curate a special grouping of objects to exhibit for sale at The Winter Show in January. Although the Show is taking place virtually this year, the uniqueness and exceptional nature of each piece in our “booth” remain unchanged. We are hopeful that you’ll find something—or many things—that resonate and excite.
This is our 20th consecutive year exhibiting at The Winter Show, and with this in mind, we’ve asked David to reflect on his experiences at the show and what Americana enthusiasts can expect this year and in the future.
What strikes you as the most different or challenging aspect of The Winter Show being online this year?
In the past, our challenges at The Winter Show largely centered around the design and arrangement of our booth, located in the center aisle of the Park Avenue Armory. All our exhibition designs have been bespoke and tailored to the particulars of each object. Over the years, our booths have made use of a wide range of wallpapers, both historic and contemporary, as well as dramatically-colored felt wall coverings that coordinate with a variety of carpets and custom-made display pedestals and bases.
This year, dealers must display and offer pieces through a new online platform. Our primary concern was to present our pieces in the highest quality of professional photography, and we worked with our longtime colleague, Gavin Ashworth, who is one of the most accomplished and respected photographers in this field. Gavin’s photography presents our pieces with images that are neutral, clean, and fresh. We are supplementing the photos with concise and carefully researched descriptive information that relates comparable examples, provenance, exhibition and publication histories for each and every piece, with the same attention given to the least costly and the most expensive.
The first time I attended The Winter Show I was a bit intimidated. I was there to learn but worried dealers wouldn’t want to talk to someone young and inexperienced, carrying a notebook and not a checkbook. I quickly realized the opposite was true and had some great conversations! What is your advice to newcomers, including those who do have the capacity to buy?
As a member of the dealer community, I can say that we live to share our passion and enthusiasm, especially with newcomers. I began my career by collecting band boxes as a boy and I started dealing when I was fourteen. I cherish the memories of the great dealers of that era who encouraged my interest and generously shared their knowledge. Dealers firmly believe in the future of Americana collecting and we are actively “paying it forward,” always delighted to discuss this subject with one and all, young and old. An end product in the form of a purchase from us is not a prerequisite to engage in conversation. We are also happy to discuss prices and how they relate to the fine points of pieces we have for sale. Learning about monetary value is another key component to a more thorough understanding of the field.
In some ways, this year’s Show is new territory for everyone. What’s a piece of advice, or a reminder, you can give to experienced collectors wading into this virtual buying experience?
We have chosen the same quality of objects for this virtual show as in previous years. In preparation for this show and all others, we prepare detailed condition reports for each and every piece on offer. These descriptions, in concert with our guarantee of authenticity and genuineness, instills confidence in buyers. Additionally, we are offering Zoom appointments that allow for “live” views of our objects and real-time questions and answers. We are always available to speak via telephone or email and welcome any questions.
David A. Schorsch – Eileen M. Smiles has exhibited at The Winter Show for the past 20 years. Would you be willing to share a favorite memory?
The Winter Show is a wonderful opportunity to meet new clients and friends. A memorable meeting occurred at the Show in 2003, when Rick and Terry Ciccotelli, private collectors from Pennsylvania, purchased an outstanding trade sign “Hudson the Tailor” from us. Within a short time Rick and Terry became dear friends and we had the pleasure of working with them in building a fine collection of American Folk Art.
Do you think virtual fairs will exist in a post-COVID world?
I believe that the new virtual platforms born out of Covid-era restrictions will live on, serving as supplemental marketing vehicles for all traditional shows. The internet opens up brick-and-mortar shows to an ever larger audience of collectors and visitors from around the world.
Visit our exhibit at The Winter Show Online now through January 31, 2021. CLICK HERE TO CONNECT TO SHOW.
Interview with David Schorsch by Laura Cunningham, Research Associate at David A. Schorsch – Eileen M. Smiles.