Prestigious Art Fair Opening in New York
By Amelia Pang On October 18, 2012 @ 2:50 pm In Literary & Visual Arts | No Comments
NEW YORK—Organizing one of the world’s most prestigious art fairs should get easier after three decades. According to Anna Haughton, however, the job only becomes more demanding.
Anna and her husband, Brian Haughton, are the fair organizers and ceramic dealers for the International Fine Art & Antiques Dealers Show, New York’s first vetted art fair that was founded in 1989.
It will be a daunting task for the Haughtons to top their last 23 shows, but with the expected decorations and august exhibitors, it is almost certain they will.
This year, guests of the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Preview Party will dine amid an ancient ambiance, filled with elaborate hedges from a European garden parterre. Held at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, the garden will be designed by celebrated interior designer Charlotte Moss.
“The secret to a successful fair is that you walk into the armory, you look, and you say, ‘Oh my golly, it looks great. It’s different!’ But you don’t know why it’s different,” Mrs. Haughton said.
The fair will hold 65 of the world’s renowned dealers, with categories that range from furniture and paintings to manuscripts. The prices of the objects on display vary from a few hundred dollars to millions.
The works on display include a bust of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, adorned with cupids, and a very ornate gueridon table.
Haughton’s curiosity for art and culture began at a young age. Her great-grandfathers traveled profusely; hence, her home was filled with “all sorts of funny things,” she recalled.
Although she originally worked in London’s business sector, the enchantment of art never waned.
“I think I’m very lucky to be in the art world,” she said. “When I moved over into the art world with my husband, I loved it from the very first day and still feel very passionate about it.”
To Haughton, art is a vessel for learning. It builds windows of beauty for everyone, even for those who cannot afford to own it.
“It’s part of a lifestyle for many people, while some people don’t like it at all. But I think if you love it, you know you are thirsty for learning,” she said.
“Why is anything in the arts hugely successful? Because it’s important,” she said. “Important doesn’t mean it has to be worth lots of money, by the way. It just has to have beauty; it has to be the best of its kind.”
Apart from the going to various art exhibitions and porcelain viewings, the couple enjoys all forms of art—particularly opera.
Recently, they sat through 22 hours of Richard Wagner’s “The Ring Cycle,” the world’s longest opera. The opera consists of four movements that takes four days to perform.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” Haughton said.
But it can’t compete with Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” her favorite. “I love the music in the traditional ‘Don Giovanni.’ I don’t like when they modernize it. But it’s certainly one of my great favorites,” she said.
Apart from externalizing the appreciation of antiques, the art show also has a direct, profound benefit.
The Haughton Foundation will, once again, donate 100 percent of their Preview Party proceeds to the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center—something they have done since 1989.
“There isn’t anybody who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some form or another,” Haughton said. “I had, personally in my family, been touched quite a lot by [cancer] in a small space of time. I was more than happy, as was my husband, to work for anything to do with cancer.”
Haughton envisions the art show continuing to benefit the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “We’ve made somewhere near $20 million over the years,” she said.
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