Meet Tom Noonan
By Angus Wilkie
My friend Tom Noonan, an ebullient man of refreshingly unpretentious manner and taste, announced the other day he was closing shop — and no one could quite believe it. “This is a disaster,” lamented a fellow antiques dealer. Without doubt, Tom’s imaginatively tumbled, effortlessly stylish shop at the top-end of Hudson’s fabled Warren Street was one of the most time-warmed and judiciously layered emporiums in town.When Tom started trading in Hudson more than two decades ago, a mere handful of antiques shops graced a sleepy street. An early fixture with a golden eye for layering myriad styles, Tom’s particular furniture medley was always his hallmark. Window displays on Warren welcomed footfall with an alluringly lighthearted Romanticism; inside, the misty glow of darkly lit rooms invited some serious sleuthing. The muted colors of Scandinavian and Italian painted furniture, a glint of Asian lacquer, well-worn English Arts and Crafts, honey-colored Biedermeier, and unexpected African pieces (“So appealing because they’re primitive,” he reminds me…) co-mingled happily with Neoclassical bronzes, Piranesi prints, 19th century European paintings, Chinese export reverse glass pictures and embroidered Turkish Suzani textiles. The enticing mix seemed an entirely plausible backdrop to a draughty English country house retreat. Tom defers to the inspiration of past masters such as David Hicks and Albert Hadley as well as an influential Irish ancestor, his aunt, Miss Kitty. Born in upstate New York, Tom was raised in Southern Arizona and thereafter attended The Art Center School in Los Angeles where he studied painting and illustration. He moved to New York, worked as a freelance advertising artist and illustrator of children’s books, and also apprenticed with an antiques dealer for several years before striking out on his own. Like the best salt-of-the-earth pickers, Tom got his start culling goods at Brimfield and The Pier Show back in the 1980s before setting his sights on Europe. Buying trips to the south of France, Holland and Amsterdam kindled a spectrum of appreciation ranging from Baroque to Modern, Islamic to Chinese. The common thread throughout his career has been one of discovery — a fusion of styles chosen with a carefully honed eye – that has kept clients like Bunny Williams and John Roselli, Michael Krieger and Michael Smith coming back time and again. Another shop signature, an offshoot of his art school training, are the contemporary mirrors and faux-finish lamps that Tom has designed and fabricated to great popularity.Just as a well-worn house, or favorite shop, becomes a friend over time, one cannot help but feel that the streets of Hudson have now lost a charm. The end of an era, perhaps, although Tom says, “I may be a dreamer but I’ll always stay involved.”
On Saturday, May 17th, Stair Galleries is delighted to offer a single-owner sale, Confluence: The Collection of Tom Noonan.