The "US" is, of course, Rod Blackburn. I have been involved with art and antiques since I was a kid. My parents bought a three-part Sheraton dinning table on which I impulsively tested my birthday hunting knife. It cut smartly on the edge as did my father's paddle for the damage. I still have the tables, a lesson learned. Even before DeGuerre and I got married we were out buying antiques for a future home - something Federal since I was used to that. Well, I was in graduate school and ready to go to the field (Kenya, anthropological field work) when we found our house, but it was an old Dutch farm house in Kinderhook Village. Quite a difference but our life has been full of such dichotomous adventures. Two years of living with a hunter-gatherer tribe in the high forest of Kenya taught us a remarkable amount about how the early Dutch settlers must have adapted to their virgin forest.
Back home we began restoring the house, looking for Hudson Valley Dutch antiques. A stint at university teaching was useful if only to decide that preparing lectures consumed the time I preferred to put into research and writing. Appointment as assistant director of the Albany Institute of History and Art was the perfect ticket productive work, research, exhibitions and publications. For fifteen years I sought to meld the useful incites of anthropology to the discovery of Hudson Valley Dutch culture, resulting in a major exhibition (Remembrance of Patria, Dutch Arts and Culture in Colonial America, 1609-1776), two books and numerous articles on the subject.
Ready for another adventure, I opened The Pavilion Gallery in 1986 in Kinderhook, expanded to another site in antiques-hopping Hudson, selling americana with an emphasis on New York things. Did some shows from New England to Virginia, published more books and articles, even squeezed in some journal articles and more field work on my tribe in Kenya. I also decided to expand the antiques business to the largest of antiques, period houses, by creating R. H. Blackburn & Associates Real Estate (RHBlackburn.com). Yes, it is a three-ring circus here but I have long been convinced that to do well by your readers and customers broad but in-depth knowledge is useful and appreciated. My most-recent books demonstrate the importance of architectural context to appreciation of the art and antiques for Dutch and New England sites. With the real estate business up and running I am now putting renewed energy into art and antiques, hence this new website and new ads.
I write a magazine column on the real estate market (rhblackburn.com) which keeps me tuned into the general economy and, by personal interest, into the art and antiques market. All are indeed cyclical and interconnected yet it is instructive to see how the public usually does not perceive the causal interrelationships well enough to avoid the personal consequences of bear markets. Of course if they could, markets would become so volatile that they would fail completely, not cyclically. Broad uncertainty is actually essential to the health of markets. So when the sky looks the darkest and Chicken Little (and everyone else) has thrown in the towel, that is exactly when markets unexpectedly reverse. I think the conditions are ripe for a reversal, not dramatic, in the real estate and securities market this year. The emotional release following those reversals will impact the art and antiques market appreciably.
Lets us all have a great year. Best wishes, Rod Blackburn
Pavilion Gallery - American Art & Antiques in New York's Hudson Valley
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