Dazzling and Divine: Art, Antiques and Jewels at AIFAF in Palm Beach

A Graff model

Newport Seen traveled down to Palm Beach for the American International Arts & Antiques Fair, in its 14th year in, which consistently draws an upper tier international crowd of dealers and collectors. The exquisite jewelry included displays by Graff Diamonds and Tiffany & Co., art, antiquities, and furniture dealers came from London, New York, Paris, Germany and Argentina. The Convention Center in West Palm became an elegant architectural agora of fine shops, enclaves, dining areas, and interestingly spaced interior walls.


Experiencing record first-day attendance of 5100 and strong sales, AIFAF is an exquisite show in the finest tradition. Said British journalist David Moss, of the Antique Trade Gazette, “the buzz is back.” And so are the buyers.


Palm Beach and Newport collectors turned out for Vernissage (literally, varnishing), the elegant opening party, benefiting the Norton Museum, which was lively and social. A small, bucolic Van Gogh painting,  The Park of the Hospital Saint-Paul, an impressive  suit of armor, and a model sporting Tiffany diamonds greeted partygoers, who returned on subsequent days to shop, negotiate and attend lectures, events and the fair’s attendant presentations.


Mr. Bertrand du Vignaud, Chairman of the World Monument Fund, gave a fascinating talk on the organization’s restoration of interiors in Europe, attended by Mai Hallingby, and  WMF's President Bonnie Burnham. An exclusive reception for Mr. du Vignaud was held at Lars Bolander’s fascinating home, co-hosted by interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux, and attended by Arnold Scaasi, Grace Meigher, Prince  and Princess de Bourbon Savoya, and Mai Hallingby.


 Robin Sweet, Madeleine Calder , Victoria Albrecht, & Sally Crawford

Tiffany & Co. design director emeritus and author John Loring lectured on “Tiffany Jewels: A Tradition of Excellence,” followed by cocktails in the Tiffany pavilion, which displayed exclusive jewels, silver hollow ware, and watches. Newport Seen inspected a beautiful Japanesque shallow bowl in sterling silver ( $9,500), an intricately woven Frank Gehry mesh, pearl and diamond necklace ($750,000) and the exquisite Lucida star diamond necklace priced ($10,000,000), as well as beautiful items from the 19th century Audubon Collection. Heady stuff.


Glass art at AIFAF


AIFAF is the only international art and antiques fair in the United States rated 5-stars by The Art Newspaper, and featured more than 80 prominent exhibiting galleries from over 13 countries. Two other arts & antiques shows in Palm Beach within the space of a month, indicated the taste, interests, and purchasing power of those who winter in the fabled Italian Renaissance-style town. Newporters Dorrance (Dodo) Hamilton and Maureen Donnell were seen at the earler “All About Antiques” preview party for the West Palm Beach Winter Antiques Show, in earnest discussion with the vendors.

Ron  Fleming & Monique Ogilvie


At AIFAF's Vernissage, Newport’s Ronald Lee Fleming II attended with Monique Ogilvie, Robin Sweet toured with Madeleine Calder, niece of artist Alexander Calder, Mona Beitchmann arrived from Naples with Fran Ruh, and furniture and interior designers Lars Bolander and James Andrew (www.whatisjameswearing.com) spoke with dealers. The remarkable Iris Apfel was there with husband Karl Apfel, Robin and Alexander Gaudier (she a former Miss Rheingold and Today show personality) perused paintings, and champagne sippers congregated in the VIP lounge.


Tiffany's exquisite display


Said Francois Graff of Graff Diamonds,? “It was just like the old days [at the opening of the American International Fine Art Fair (AIFAF).

AIFAF was founded by  David and Lee Ann Lester, who also created the Art Miami show (see NS’s coverage at www.newportseen.com/archived-news/art-miami-and-art-basel-miami-beach-2009-major-art-venues-poised-for-collectors/).

Fran Ruh & Mona Beitchmann

From Buenos Aires, Eduardo Cohen, who shipped the Van Gogh, and Paola


Iris & Karl Apfel


A beautiful period room


Imposing suit of armor, from Peter Finer Antique Arms & Armour, London


Natalia Wolfrom & Michelle Newman

Dr. Connie Bradey and Arlay Pegueiro, of Havana

Magnificent antique editions from Imperial Fine Books, New York


Carolyn Whittey, William Drusett & Josephine de Fina Stetso


Tiffany Allison


Victor Figueredo & Tiffany Allison


Designer Lars Bolander & Nadine Kalachnikoff


Mona Beitchmann


Pondering a purchase in the VIP lounge

Sensational silver


Friend and Bobo McKenney


Ryen Baggett & Joshua Burcham, of The Silver Fund of London and San Francisco


Newport Seen's Linda Phillips & Mark Hollingsworth


Exquisite jewels by Sabbadini


Joseph & Carol Flanagan


Richard Guercio & Michelle Bernzweig


Dealer Peter Finer speaks to a client


Antiquities at the Royal-Athena Galleries, of New York & London

Ecostone of Doral Beach, dealer in Wyoming fossils

The Sushi Bar


The VIP lounge, evening












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