It’s the history behind The Collection that fascinates Doug Cutter. Yes, the paintings, sculpture, glass, furniture, and rugs are all gorgeous, but as Cutter says, “It is easy to find beautiful things, much harder to find value and history.” He is interested in not only the artist or designer, but where and when the item was made. The Spy stopped in at the grand opening of Chestertown’s newest gallery the First Friday of June and returned later in the month to speak with owners Susan Kerns and Doug Cutter.[slideshow id=143]
Describing the gallery as a, “…big city-style decorative arts and antique gallery with an emphasis on the rare and authentic, but with a Chestertown price point,” the two refer to it as a destination gallery. The space is not large, but impeccably designed; (Kerns, who founded and managed a highly successful design studio prior to moving to Chestertown, is also an artist; her botanical and landscape oil paintings are displayed in the gallery as well). Kerns commented that it was very difficult to hang the collection, as it consists of such an eclectic variety. A long hallway lined with prints and paintings, (don’t miss the James Grashaw 1986 woodcut commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty; note the individual faces in the detail), leads to a room where your eye immediately focuses on one of Cutter’s passions, art glass.
The glass, primarily 18th to mid 20th century European, includes a Lalique, a rare 19th century Venetian piece, and a Frederick Carder for Steuben. Cutter confessed that he has been, “…treasure hunting for many years….at shows, auctions, estate sales, and now over the internet.” Another shelf exhibits unique sculpture; this Spy was quite taken with Venetian artist Alfredo Barbini’s “Aquarium Block,” circa 1960. Cutter pointed out other rarities; an Austrian hand decorated and gilded portrait vase circa 1895 by Nikolaus Kannheuser, and a glazed ceramic by legendary New York City potter and teacher Margit Elsohn, who emigrated from Czechoslovakia on New Year’s Eve forty-one years ago.
Woven art encompasses rare 19th century Persian rugs to 20th century modernist; the gallery currently has the only weaving Matisse ever authorized, “Mimosa,” created in 1951, and one of a limited edition of 500. Cutter noted that they also offer hand washing and repairing of Oriental rugs, as well as art restoration and appraisals.
The discussion turned to Kerns’ work. One of her paintings, “Cabbage for Daumier,” was taken to the US Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, as part of the Arts in Embassies exhibition series in 2007. Kerns, who works predominately in oils, said that she likes the architecture of plants,” and while we were viewing her depiction of green peppers, that she, “…likes looking into the inner landscape.”
Stop in and support Chestertown’s newest shop, (all is not doom and gloom!), view the collection – the Spy did not have time to hear about the period Chippendale side chairs or the Italian desk – and learn the fascinating back story behind these items Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, or by appointment. A website will be coming soon.
Art & Antiques
112 S Cross St.
Chestertown, MD 21620
443 282 0040