‘The Salon: Art & Design,’ a Wide Range at Park Avenue Armory

The Salon: Art & Design,” the young fair at the Park Avenue Armory this weekend, is doing an amazing  job of splitting the difference between the auction-house randomness and white-cube-gallery control. As its title suggests, it is wide open in terms of material — art, craft, design, antiques from any period or place can be found here. It is up to the dealers to provide the focus, which they do. This means controlled diversity. You can bounce from concentrated views of French Art Deco to early Modern art to pre-Columbian ceramics in one aisle.
The initial impression is of contrasting phases and styles of Modern design. Left to right, just inside the entrance, there is a lineup of impertinent decorative objects in glass and ceramics from the 1950s by the restless Ettore Sottsass, arrayed on two startling consoles made of steel and birch-tree trunks (bark intact) by Andrea Branzi, at Friedman Benda. Across the aisle, Galerie Downtown — François Laffanour is juxtaposing Charlotte Perriand’s signature shelves and a great table from the 1930s with the low-lying, nearly abstract furniture in black wood with cowhide upholstery that the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer designed for his own home in the 1960s.
And a few more steps away, Galerie L’Arc en Seine has mounted an impeccable  white-on-white presentation of French Art Deco that includes parchment-covered cabinets by Jean-Michel Frank and a pair of small armchairs by Pierre Chareau upholstered in alpaca, announcing a theme of white fuzzy seating that has echoes elsewhere.
At Galerie Gmurzynska, modern, mostly European  depictions of the nude hold sway. A large painting circa 1937 of two women — a Picassoid exercise in black lines and stained-glass color — by Wifredo Lam is unusually strong.
Next door, at Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, it’s all early American Modern art.
Across the way, Phoenix Ancient Art rises to the occasion with a broad selection of figures and objects from Greece, Roman, Syria, Egypt and beyond, in glass, ceramic, bronze and stone.
For further excursions in the proto- or nonmodern, this aisle harbors an imposing display of African masks and figures.
Galerie du Passage and Modernity have both brought high concentrations of the handsome rustic-Modern pine furniture from the early 1930s by Swedish designer and architect Axel Einar Hjorth, a figure almost completely unknown in these parts.
Interesting art can be found at Vivian Horan Fine Art (Boetti, Balla, Andre), Connaught Brown (Dufy, Soutine, Leon Kossoff), Galerie Berès (a tambourine painted by Manet!); Galerie Zlotowski (paintings by Le Corbusier and an abstract pastel by Otto Freundlich from 1922 that looks 1960); and Galerie Boulakia (a weird, elongated Bonnard landscape, 1920.

For indispensable over-the-top contributions, Jean-David Botella has a large and rare suite of furniture by Carlo Bugatti and convex mirrors framed in resin by Line Vautrin.  
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