Salon Fair, Still Focused on Decor, Now Back at the Armory

After a year off because of the pandemic, Salon Art + Design is back at the Park Avenue Armory with a display of fine art and designer furniture shown in themed booths alongside splashy decorative arts and ancient sculpture.

The work spans millenniums and dozens of cultural traditions. Forty-eight exhibitors from 11 countries are here, many of whom made it just under the wire as the United States lifted travel restrictions earlier this week and opened its doors to international travelers (and their art wares).

Now in its 10th year, this fair may not be the showiest mounted by Salon Art + Design and its producer, Sanford L. Smith + Associates, but it is solid and, more important, open. Here are some highlights from the aisles and the Tiffany-designed Library Room inside the Armory.

A specialist in early 20th-century American art and a stalwart of the fair New York gallerist Bernard Goldberg is stationed, as usual, just inside its entrance. He has brought with him a discovery: the American artist Renwick Taylor, about whom very little is known. He worked at Laurelton Hall, the Long Island estate and art studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany near Oyster Bay, which included gardens and stables.

Two floral paintings by Taylor in Goldberg’s booth reveal the influence of Tiffany’s famous stained-glass designs, but also, perhaps, the verdant landscape around Laurelton. “Jonquil” (1925) is a simple oil on canvas with a daffodil poking out of a purple keyhole shape painted into a field of white. Its composition is also reminiscent of the spiritual abstractions by Hilma af Klint, who has a show of watercolors at the nearby David Zwirner gallery on East 69th Street (if you can get in), which showcases her botanical drawing skills.

The New York dealer Lobel Modern has brought to the fair a wonderful hand-lacquered liquor cabinet by Tommi Parzinger, the Munich-born furniture designer and painter. Parzinger fled Germany in the early 1930s — he reportedly won a poster competition for a cruise ship and, therefore, safe passage — and set up his business in the United States, creating designs for a clientele that included Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. Electric bulbs installed in the interior of the cabinet were placed at a low level, turning the liquor bottles illuminated from below into a light show. The lacquered piece here has the perfect 1970s brown and orange palette. However, with its obvious, early 20th-century geometric motifs, it’s as if the Bauhaus got on a Braniff airliner.

On view at New York’s Onishi Gallery is a selection of metalwork created by “Living National Treasures,” Japanese artisans recognized in their country for achievements in preserving their cultural heritage. (Their works are designated as “Important Intangible Cultural Property.”) Among the artists here is Yukie Osumi, the first female metalsmith deemed a Living National Treasure. Her “Silver Vase Bakufu (Waterfall)” (2011) is on display: a hammered silver vessel inlaid with gold depicting a rocky seashore, not unlike the popular Hokusai woodblock prints Americans are familiar with. The booth at Onishi is also lined with metal wallpaper (yes, metal wallpaper) designed by Atelier d’Offard. The French wallpaper — a bit like a pressed-tin ceiling — is perfect for this decorative metal-themed booth.

The fair includes gallerists and dealers showcasing multiple artists and designers, and special exhibitions devoted to individual practitioners, including, for the first time at this fair, art jewelry. Silvia Furmanovich, a Brazilian jewelry designer who has collaborated with artisans in the Amazonian basin in Brazil, created an installation celebrating the makers of marquetry vessels, or objects with inlaid wooden designs. The craftspeople in Furmanovich’s display, who are not identified, were all trained by one master, Maqueson Pereira da Silva, who studied marquetry in Germany. The vessels here — including one with a colorful Bromeliad flower design inside — use wood from branches that have fallen to the ground, or remainders from the furniture industry, in an effort to recycle and help sustain the Amazon rainforest.

Credit…Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl and Hostler Burrows

Ceramics are well represented at the fair, including a good selection of contemporary Nordic and Scandinavian vessels and sculptures at Hostler Burrows, a gallery with spaces in both New York and Los Angeles. Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl’s bright yellow “Spatial Drawing #60” (2020) is a wonderfully expressive hand-built, glazed stoneware sculpture. These pudgy, wiggly lines in space (hence the “drawing” of the title) look organic, like worms or some kind of acid-colored organism wriggling on a pedestal on Park Avenue.

I’m never sure whether to highlight ancient artifacts and objects from colonized regions displayed in art fairs. How did they get here? Do they belong? But perhaps someone will buy this beautiful Aztec dog’s head and repatriate it or take it to a museum for safe stewardship. A wonderful Meso-American sculpture, carved from volcanic stone in the 13th or 14th century in Central America, it has been in a Californian collection for over half a century, according to the gallery. It depicts the guardian dog of a god who guided the souls of the dead through the underworld. The spiral designs on the ears signify water, and the tongue protrudes. Hopefully he will find his way to where he should be.

Salon Art + Design

Through Nov. 15. at the Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, Manhattan;