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Guadalajara Antiques Show A Huge Success
"If you build it, they will come..."

by Gabriela Moran

The show that nearly everyone thought couldn't be done, the Primer Salon del Anticuario, in Guadalajara, Jalisco drew to a victorious close this past October 31. Twenty-six dealers in art and antiques convened within the Galería de Arte Moderno's two pocket-sized halls for the four day event. Arriving from Mexico City; Saltillo, Coahuila; Ajijic, Jalisco; Laredo, Texas; among other areas, the event's participants quickly packed the showroom floor and walls with an astonishing collection of colonial art and furniture, magnificent saltillos and textiles, sterling silver, pottery, porcelain, bronzes and a fabulous array of Mexican primitives.
The limited space lent the show an air of intimacy which encouraged customers to return day after day. Probing corners and nooks for augments to their collections were visitors from as far away as Los Angeles, California; San Antonio, Texas; Oaxaca and Mexico City.
Jonathan Williams and Kisla Jiménez, proprietors of Tesoros Trading Company in Austin, Texas, commented, "This show is very different from other Mexican antiques fairs we've visited. Usually the prices are outrageously high, but here we were able to buy almost immediately after walking through the door." Booth spaces at many shows range from $1600 to $2000 dollars for an eight by ten stand. The high rental fees often force vendors to raise their prices during such events. The organizers of Primer Salon del Anticuario, Eduardo Chavez and Ricardo Hecht, attempted to keep booth fees lower than the national average in hopes of attracting more mid-range dealers. Judging from the high attendance rate and brisk sales, their theory proved to be a tremendous success.
Chavez, owner of El Retablo Antigüedades in Guadalajara, also wanted to encourage participation from dealers who handle mostly Mexican art and antiques, another deviation from the norm. "A lot of the national events showcase European antiques. I wanted vendors who favor the extraordinary pieces from our country."
The Saturday evening auction-- held outdoors under a huge, billowing white circus tent-- brought close to three hundred visitors. Local Guadalajara headlines blared, "Three Accidents in One Night," the following morning-- not bad when considering the house was full and the cocktails free. Lots offered on the block included everything from retablos, exvotos, old Tonala and Metepec pottery to Dresden porcelain and Victorian living room suites. Prices were quite accessible on most pieces.
The Primer Salon del Anticuario, Guadalajara's first national antiques show, proved beyond doubt that collectors from central Mexico are eager to take part in the developing art and antiques show trend of the past few years. We look forward to seeing this event added to the growing list of annual Mexican shows.