ROUND TOP, Texas – While the nation slugged out the days before the election, a COVID-weary crowd pulled off a blissful and careful week at the Marburger Farm Antique Show. Gratitude ruled: “Thank you for wearing your mask!” “Thank you for coming!” “Thank you for bringing these beautiful things to this beautiful place.” And the ever-present, “Oh, I needed this show. Thank you!”
“Our other big shows have been canceled,” reported Colorado artist Dolan Geiman. “We were so grateful to be at Marburger and we did extremely well.” Geiman sold large and small examples of his mixed media and vintage assemblage art. Shoppers, he said, had tired of empty walls after months at home. They were eager to buy art. “I appreciate everyone being so careful and the staff pulling off the safety rules so professionally. I give them all high praise.”
At the essentially outdoor event, the rules included masks for dealers, staff and shoppers; open tent walls and extra air flow in the football-field-size tents; spaced-out booths and café options; contactless ticketing and ubiquitous sanitizing. Signs read: “Masks Required – Smiles Still Encouraged.”
Due to September infection rates, the show was rescheduled for late October. “Everyone was afraid, but we had a very good show, better than last fall,” said Belgian exhibitor Ronny Dumonceau of Vert de Gris. Doing the show after crossing the Atlantic required a two-week quarantine, which he and his partner suffered through brilliantly on the Caribbean beach of St. Martin. What did they sell? An 11-foot oak conservatory table, a large metal chandelier from a French hotel and a 9-foot-tall giant Moët Champagne bottle, a 1970s prop from a wine store. It went to a young woman from Texas for her kitchen. “I like to be in Texas. People are so kind here. We forget that in Europe,” said Dumonceau. His plans for the spring show? “We want a bigger booth.”
He wasn’t the only one whose travel was uphill. Italian shopper Reno Casasolo had been grounded in Mexico and made it from there to Marburger. “It’s awesome, an insane variety,” he said. “You have to look and it takes time. We are here today. We’ll be back tomorrow and the day after that.” Fortunately, one admission is good for all five days of the show.
Also shopping multiple days were two San Diego interior designers at the show for the first time. “We needed unusual items for projects and we’ve always heard that Marburger was full of the unusual.” Was it? “Yes, we found wonderful pieces and we’re very happy.”
“Everyone was happy to be here and we were so grateful to be able to work. It was refreshing,” said Georgia exhibitor Chris Gibbie of Halsey Dean Gallery. Gibbie sold an 18th century Swedish table and an Enrique Garcel 1970s center table with lacquer over red-stained cork. It looked like red tortoiseshell. His favorite sale was a 1900-1920 eglomise painted-mirror buffet with scenes of parrots and flowers, plus bronze details cast like nautilus shells. “It was my favorite piece in 35 years.”
The happiness had some tears in the booth of longtime Texas dealers Sally and Terry Holmes; it was their Marburger retirement show after 43 shows. “You think back how young you were when you started,” mused Sally, who had a record show. “We sold antique turquoise jewelry, 48 vintage western hats and they wiped us out of serapes.”
Others with record shows included New Mexico dealer Matt Hallum of Perspective, who sold re-purposed industrial lighting, a peacock antique taxidermy and reported, “Our best opening day ever.”
Atlanta’s Michael Moore of Artifacts had one of his two-best shows. “Traffic was good and people followed the new rules,” he said. Moore sold every French dining table that he brought, plus lanterns, chandeliers and concrete faux bois and other garden items to be used indoors. “Considering the hardships, this show came together with a lot of grace.”
Steve Rogers who re-creates his Kansas City store Prize Home + Garden on the Marburger pasture, was grateful that the show was outdoors under tents. “It felt so good to be there. He sold a set of eight 1950s Spanish wire chairs, a 10-foot French farm table and a 9-foot-tall French general store wood and iron rack. Selling right away were 18 pieces of contemporary art in a graphic black and white.
High-end contemporary art has grown in prominence at the show. Stacy Conde of the Conde Contemporary Gallery in Natchez, Mississippi, sold a range of realist and surrealist pieces by Madrid artist Pablo Santibáñez Servat and California artist Jeff Faust, plus photo-realism by Cuban-born artist Darian Maderos. “We didn’t know what to expect, but we couldn’t be happier. The open-air tent was brilliant and everyone was cognizant of the rules,” she said.
Never standing still, an inspiration for the show was a 14-foot-tall Calder-esque sculpture that spun joyfully in the wind, towering over the center of Marburger Farm. That is until it went home with a Fort Worth shopper. Exhibitor Jay Jacobson had found it in a Florida estate and had the grit to get it to Texas. “The Texans are so strong,” he said. “Everyone was in great spirits and nothing stops them from coming out to shop.”
Marburger Farm Antique Show’s spring event is scheduled for March 30–April 3, 2021. Contactless advance tickets and group tickets are available. See information on special events, travel, maps, vendors, lodging, on-site shipping and the Marburger Cafe at www.roundtop-marburger.com or call Ashley Ferguson at 800-947-5799. Follow show news on Instagram and Facebook.
# # #