Now a decade old, the Boston International Fine Arts Show at the Cyclorama building at the Boston Center of the Arts is brighter and tighter than ever. From the opening of the preview party on November 9 to the last sale on November 12, the energy was palpable. Sold stickers were much in evidence beginning in the preview, which was a “buyathon,” as opposed to the stately and static “see and be seen” of some other shows.
This year’s beneficiary of the show preview was Artists for Humanity (AFH), a program that provides young Boston artists from high schools across the city a forum for their creative talents. Students create and market their own artwork and are paid for their efforts. In its 16 years of operation, AFH has earned more than $2.5 million from the sale of students’ work and graphic services to individuals and corporations. The students maintained a booth throughout the show and attracted no small interest.
Five years ago, the 165-year-old Vose Galleries reestablished its contemporary art department after a hiatus of 40 years. Vose Contemporary Realism represents just that, contemporary realists. The gallery showed the panoramic cityscapes of Maine artist Joel Babb, including the 21-by-66-inch oil on linen work with enormous local appeal, “Arlington Street Church and Public Garden.” Babb and his wife, Frannie, were on hand for the preview party where they managed to chat with many admirers.
Vose also displayed “Berkshire Treasures” and the pastel “Interlude” by Virginia Strom Precourt and work by the new artist Carol Rowan, a drawing of whose sold early in the show.
Martha Richardson of the Boston gallery Richardson Fine Art was seen busily packing up buyers’ purchases and making sales of other paintings. One of the centerpieces of the booth, “Union Oyster House, Boston,” a 1931 view of the landmark area by Robert Strong Woodward, was gone early. The happy new owner had already taken it home. Richardson also showed a Milton Avery work “Tirca,” a crayon portrait of Tirca Karlis, who was his Provincetown dealer.
Richardson filled an entire wall with a dozen drawings of Isadora Duncan by Abraham Walkowitz that she rearranged as they sold. Speaking several days after the show, Richardson described the Walkowitz images as more about movement than the figural. She also showed a fine painting by Sally Michel, “Coastal Mountain,” and John Wilson’s arresting charcoal “Black Boy” that attracted a buyer early in the preview.
Show managers Tony Fusco and Bob Four had an enticing wall of lithographs by Cape Ann artist Vera Andrus that sparked interest and strong money. Karl Hagedorn’s colorful paintings of dynamism occupied several walls and attracted strong interest — and sales. A silvered bronze by Maurice Guiraud Riviere drew much inquiry.
St John, New Brunswick’s Peter Buckland Gallery had a solid show. Surprise of surprises, he showcased Canadian artists whose works proved to be big hits in Boston. Raymond Martin’s oil and canvas “Rose Blanche and feuillage” was a highlight.
A selection of painted pine pieces by the Swiss-born Canadian artist Werner Arnold drew the eye from across the building. His kinetically inspired mixed media featured bold color.
A compelling triptych by Suzanne Hill was visible from all corners and attracted serious interest. By the time of pack out, it had found a buyer.
Peter Buckland observed that the show was well organized, with good quality throughout; he was more than pleased with the results.
In the Spanierman Gallery booth an Impressionist oil on panel, “Boats at Anchor,” by John Henry Twachtman, was priced at $135,000 and was marked sold. Spanierman also showed N.C. Wyeth’s circa 1929 “The Gentleman Young and Fair and Good to Look Upon,” which was of great interest to show attendees, the autumnal “A Parisian Canal” by Louis Aston Knight, Massachusetts artist Edmund Elisha Case’s “Plum Island Sound” and the elegantly evocative “Ladies in White Dresses” by Edward Henry Potthast.
Spanierman also dazzled the Boston audience with “Fishing,” Norman Rockwell’s 1922 oil on panel maquette for a Waitt & Bond Cigar Company billboard.
Fernand H. Lungren’s circa 1882 “The Gardens of Luxembourg” greeted visitors at the main entrance to the show.
New York’s Jeanne Davidson Fine Prints showed Shin Hanga Japanese prints from the 1920s and 1930s and Sosaku Hanga prints from the 1950s and 1960s that included woodblocks by American artist Michele Papavsilou, who was the presenter of the lecture and demonstration, “Hanga: The Art of Japanese Printmaking.” The gallery was pleased with the strong sales it experienced, beginning at the preview.
Old Lyme, Conn., dealer Cooley Gallery brought a fine array of New England pictures by Old Lyme painter William S. Robinson, such as “Conway, N.H., August 1924;” “Jefferson, N.H., August 1924;” “Fishing Boats Gloucester, Massachusetts, August 1932” and Josephine Bartlett’s circa 1900 “Moonrise, Brittany.”
Show visitors were interested and Cooley had some strong sales.
David Hall Fine Art of Dover, Mass., specializes in Cape Ann paintings and filled his booth with the same. He showed the circa 1925 Aldro T. Hibbard picture “Loading On,” Emile Gruppe’s “Vermont Hills along the River” and the circa 1950 “Sunday Morning, Rockport;” as well as Elizabeth R. Withington’s impressionistic circa 1920 “High Street, Rockport.”
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, showing Nineteenth and Twentieth Century pictures since the late 1930s, was new to the show this year. Howard Rehs said he was exceptionally pleased; he pointed to a half sticker on the circa 1872 Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot oil on canvas “Souvenir des Dunes de Scheveningue” that indicated that a deal was in the works.
Vivid acrylic images of edibles by Kansas artist John Kuhn, “Lemons” and “Peppermints,” attracted buyers into the booth for closer looks.
Rehs mentioned that he is at work on the catalogue raisonné for Daniel Ridgway Knight, whose work the gallery represents.
Principe Gallery of Alexandria, Va., brought work by area artist Kevin Fitzgerald whose “Blue Sky Sound,” “Red Sky Waves,” “Snow Fields” and “Summer Waters” attracted interest. The gallery also showed two marine pictures by Christopher Ward, “America’s Cup, 1937,” and “Victoria Peak, Hong Kong.”
Greene Street, N.Y., dealer Arcadia Fine Arts mounted a wall of highly evocative silver gelatin photographic still lifes and portraits. The gallery also showed a group of portraits by Malcolm T. Liepke that sprouted red sold stickers early on.
Cape Cod’s Addison Art Gallery showed works mostly by Cape artists, including the vivid 2006 oil on canvas “A Tenuous Line” (on a fishing boat at the Chatham Fish Pier) by Paul Schulenberg. “Red Tulips with Assorted Fruit” by Pharr Schulenberg hung in juxtaposition to “La Promenade avec les Amis” and “On the Spree” by French artist Olivier Suire Verley. The booth was pretty busy throughout the show, but able assistance was rendered by 11-year-old Helena Thatcher, who was working the show for the fourth year in a row.
Sunne Savage Gallery of Winchester, Mass., which specializes in Twentieth Century, showed two hand colored pochoirs by Henri Matisse, “Le Clown” and “Le Loup,” and the 1962 color lithographed poster by March Chagall of the production of Romeo and Juliet at the Paris opera. The gallery brought along Jason Berger’s 1962 “The Canal, Xochimilco,” and the oil on canvas “The Rivals” by George L.K. Morris.
The gallery also represents Robert S. Neumann, whose oil on linen “Homage to W.B.” held pride of place. Neumann, who is celebrating his 80th birthday this year, is married to Sunne Savage. Their daughter, Christina, works in the gallery.
Carl Sprinchorn’s oil on board paintings “Dahlias” and “Woodsman’s Cottage” were on offer at Gleason Fine Art, the Boothbay Harbor, Maine, dealer that specializes in Maine artists. The gallery represented the estate of artist Clarence K. Chatterton, whose “Church in Kittery” was of high interest as was Genetta McLean’s compelling still life “Onion Sets.” Sold stickers were much in evidence around the booth.
“Off the Coast,” the 1877 oil on canvas by Lemuel D. Eldred, was front and center in the Alfred J. Walker booth. The Boston dealer also showed work by Gifford Beale, Aldro T. Hibbard and Lilian Westcott Hall alongside the 2006 “Deconstructing Liberty” by Bill Myers.