James Sansum Fine and Decorative Art


Founded in 2002, James Sansum Fine and Decorative art is located on the upper east side of Manhattan. The gallery offers a diverse selection of American and European furniture and decorative objects, as well as Asian works of art and Old Master drawings, from the eighteenth through the twentieth century. In addition, James Sansum exhibits contemporary art and design, created by a select group of international painters, photographers and sculptors. James Sansum has been a fine art and antiques dealer for more than twenty years. He has written extensively on art and design, and has curated several critically acclaimed exhibitions on European boxes, textiles, and works on paper. With his extensive training and eye for the unusual, Sansum combines a scholarly background with a modern design sensibility to offer an array of truly exceptional pieces.

James states the following on the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show:
“The Fall Antiques Show is an iconic event; the oldest and finest antiques show on the West Coast. I am honored to be included as an exhibitor, and am always amazed by the caliber of beautiful and rare objects, at every price point, on display. In addition, the fact that the show solely benefits a worthy charitable organization, Enterprise for High School Students, makes it doubly important, especially with the glut of art and antiques fairs solely driven by profit.
I play a game at every art and antiques show, whether I am in a buying mood or not. Walking the aisles, as if on a treasure hunt, I look for my favorite pieces, and then, after some contemplation, choose my dream purchase. Sometimes it is a painting by an iconic artist and other times it is a humble object with extraordinary charm. It’s an amusing way to engage the eye and to hone one’s collecting skills. I also recommend that visitors take advantage of the concentrated gathering of experts in the various fields of the fine and decorative arts, namely the exhibiting dealers at the show. Questions are always welcome and free of charge!”

Highlights for the James Sansum offering include:

Shoolbred Cabinet, circa 1875

Made in England in circa 1875, this fine and rare Aesthetic Movement cabinet is ebonized with incised motifs and painted panels on gilded grounds depicting floral and foliate motifs in the Japanese taste as well as architectural motifs in the Pompeiian taste, all of the highest quality. The design is attributed to H.W. Batley (1846-1932), a well known artistic figure in the late nineteenth century. A pupil of Bruce Talbert, Batley produced designs with a distinct Asian influence for textiles and furniture for such well known cabinet markers at Collinson & Lock and James Shoolbred & Co. This cabinet, retaining its original Shoolbred label, is an important and documented example of the Aesthetic taste in England that influenced such American designers as the Herter Brothers and Louis Comfort Tiffany.


Avisseau Charger, circa 1850

Made in France in circa 1850, this rare large Palissy ware charger, depicting reptiles, amphibians and crustaceans, is attributed to Charles-Jean Avisseau (1795-1861). Palissy Ware is a nineteenth century term for ceramics produced in the style of the famous sixteenth century French potter, Bernard Palissy (circa 1510-1590), who popularized a rustic form of ceramic art that has endured to this day. Referring to his own work as “rustique,” Palissy created a distinctive style of polychrome lead-glazed earthenware (majolica) in a somber earth-toned palette, using naturalistic motifs in high relief. He is best known for the grotto he created for Catherine de Medici at Tuileries Palace. His distinctive style of pottery is characterized by three-dimensional animals, often aquatic, such as snakes, fish, lizards, frogs and snails, arranged onto large platters with each component modeled and painted individually. Palissy's slinking lizards, coiled snakes, and scaly fish inspired a bevy of European artisans to reinterpret his work, and energize a revival movement that would last until the end of the nineteenth century. The most important figure in the revivalist movement of the art of Palissy was Charles-Jean Avisseau, whose determination and skill led to the discovery in 1843 of Palissy's lost secrets for glazing and enameling, which created a new enthusiasm for ceramic rustic ware that endured for almost fifty years. His work influenced scores of ceramists across France and well beyond its borders.


Steiner Watercolor, 1810

A noted Swiss painter, draftsman and engraver, Emanuel Steiner first studied painting in Winterthur with J.R. Schellenberg. He also trained in Zurich as an etcher with G.C.F. Oberkogler. In 1796, Steiner moved to Dresden to study under the eminent painter, Anton Graff, at the Academy, where he remained for several years. In 1803, Steiner lived in Rome for some time before moving to Paris, where he worked for several years before returning to Switzerland. His collection of copper engravings was the basis for the Print Room in Winterthur, which holds two oil paintings and several watercolors and drawings by Steiner. This fine still life watercolor, in its original frame, is signed, dated 1810, and included in the artist’s catalogue raisonné. Considered one of Steiner’s finest works, this watercolor depicts flowers in a footed coupe on a stone ledge with many different insects, including butterflies, and a salamander, all drawn with assurance and finesse.


James Sansum Fine and Decorative Art will be at booth #50.