By Laura Beach
NEW YORK CITY – When Arie L. Kopelman assumed the chairmanship of the Winter Antiques Show in 1995, he brought to the fair a mixture of corporate savoir faire and social elan. In an increasingly global market for art and antiques, Kopelman helped raise the show’s international profile and enhance its standing, working with its management team to broaden the fair’s content and refine its presentation, all while raising millions for the 126 year old charity East Side House Settlement.
After nearly a quarter century at the helm, Kopelman, who served as president of Chanel Inc., and remains the luxury goods company’s vice chairman, is passing the torch to co-chairs Lucinda C. Ballard and Michael R. Lynch effective January 2018, when he officially becomes the fair’s chairman emeritus. Michael Diaz-Griffith, named the 64-year-old Winter Antiques Show’s associate executive director, will continue working alongside longtime executive director Catherine Sweeney Singer. The 2018 Winter Antiques Show will open with a gala preview on Thursday, January 18, continuing through January 28 at the Park Avenue Armory.
“I’m a great believer in succession management. I’m now spending half of the year outside of New York, so the timing came together. Lucinda and Michael have known about this for several years. Everyone is in place, understands the show and is very dedicated. It is time,” Kopelman told Antiques and The Arts Weekly. East Side House Settlement will honor Kopelman in January at the show.
Few worry that Kopelman and his wife, Coco, who support a range of philanthropic causes and are fixtures on New York’s charity circuit, will absent themselves completely. As Kopelman told us, “I care deeply about the show and about the charity that it supports. I’m available as a friend and advisor. And frankly, the show has a pretty great foundation on a number of levels. It can go from strength to strength as a result of how we have planned its future.”
On the board of East Side House Settlement since 1986, Ballard has served as the show’s co-chair since 2015. She is also heavily involved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she marshaled the 1,250-member Metropolitan Museum of Art Volunteer Organization. Like Kopelman, her professional background is in advertising. A former vice president and producer-director of film and video at Ogilvy & Mather, she became better acquainted with East Side House Settlement many years ago after making a short film about the charity.
“The Winter Antiques Show is a gem. It has warmth and a family feeling, in part because so many exhibitors have been with us for such a long time. Beyond that, it has deep, rich, historical connections to East Side House Settlement and to New York City. I would not have lasted so long if I did not have great affection for it,” Ballard told us.
Ballard anticipates changes to the show over time. She acknowledged, “We have brought in an outside firm to help us with some strategic planning and some fundraising. The changes we are making will be more visible in 2019, which happens to be our 65th anniversary. I can’t say much more because the changes are all in progress.”
She noted, “The Winter Antiques Show has stayed relevant even as the business has changed enormously. We have expanded our datelines and subscribe to eclecticism. Our exhibitors are the best of the best; a wonderful, eclectic, interesting group.”
Ballard’s co-chair, Michael L. Lynch, collector, is vice chairman, investment banking, at J.P. Morgan. He was previous a partner at Goldman Sachs. “When he speaks, I listen,” Ballard says of her colleague. “He is steeped in the decorative arts, knows dealers, and is a wise man and great asset.”
Many of the show’s 70 exhibitors also know Michael Diaz-Griffith, the fair’s newly named associate executive director. Over the past three years, Diaz-Griffith, a recipient of the Wendell D. Garrett and Dewey Lee Curtis scholarships, has worked to develop the show’s following among younger audiences, often through the use of new media.
There are also roles at the 2018 show for design co-chairs Wendy Goodman, design editor of New York magazine; interior designer Thomas Jayne; and architect Gil Schafer. Goodman also chairs the Young Collectors Night Interior Design Committee. The opening night preview party on January 18 will be chaired by Fran O’Brien, division president of Chubb North America Personal Risk Services.
The 2018 Winter Antiques Show loan exhibition celebrates the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which will array highlights from its collection in the exhibition “Collecting for the Commonwealth, Preserving for the Nation: Celebrating a Century of Art Patronage, 1919-2018.” The presentation ranges from objects by Tiffany, Lalique, Schlumberger and Paul Storr to paintings by Henri, Stubbs, Sargent, Morisot and de Kooning.
The exhibitors list is nearly finalized. Antiques and The Arts Weekly is happy to report that Peter Eaton and Joan Brownstein are back in the show after a one-year absence. The Newbury, Mass., dealers are bringing a signature mix of early New England furniture, folk art and Modernist pottery to the show. We will share the full list of dealers when it becomes available.
Image: From left, Winter Antiques Show co-chairs Michael R. Lynch and Lucinda C. Ballard, with chairman emeritus Arie L. Kopelman.