Published: December 14, 2004
Story by David S. Smith, photos By David S. Smith and Terri Garneau
Fans of Twentieth Century art who flocked to the chic and lavish Art20 show found a little slice of heaven in Manhattan’s Seventh Regiment Armory over the weekend of November 18. A wide range of “museum quality” works in a variety of mediums by artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Fernando Botero, Josef Albers, Picasso, Bearden, Hartley, Leger, Matisse, Rauschenberg and Basquiat were not only seen in abundance, but they were available.
Art20, Sanford Smith’s final event for the year at the armory, his third show there in as many weeks, seemingly set a high water mark for the show in regard to appearance and response from the art collecting community. Opening on Wednesday evening, November 17, with a gala benefit preview for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan that attracted more than 1,200 people, the show ran through Sunday, November 21.
Sold tags began appearing as the doors opened for preview and according to several dealers we spoke with, sales remained steady throughout the course of the fair. This show is on par with the prestigious Art Dealers show, but is inclusive of a great many European dealers. “That’s what gives it a little spice,” commented Smith.
“We are more of a Twentieth Century show without the cutting edge and we have a wider scope than the Art Show,” he said. “There are no Nineteenth Century Impressionists here and there are no Old Masters. It is like a boutique show that is concentrated with a date guide from 1900 right up to 2004.”
Upon entering the show, patrons were greeted by the front booth of Parisian dealers Galerie Fabien Boulakia and there they would sample the quality of art that would set the standard for the show. On the back wall of the booth was a Robert Rauschenberg abstract, “Palms Urban Bourban Series,” priced at $400,000, while the front walls featured Marc Chagall oils including “La Famille du pecheur” executed in 1968, and an earlier work, “Le Cheval vert,” done in 1956. Other highlights from the booth included a large Jean Dubuffet abstract vinyl on canvas titled “Scene episodique a deuv protagonists,” 1974, and a Georges Braque oil on canvas from 1917 titled “Verre, pipe et journal.”
David Findlay Jr Fine Art put forth an eclectic booth with Op Art pieces by Richard Anuszkiewicz including “Luminous,” a 1965 acrylic on Masonite, and “Transluminan – Star I,” a monumental painted wooden piece from 1986. The dealers also included several contemporary pieces by Harry Nadler including “Persian Labyrinth,” 1978, and “Return to Byzantium,” 1987.
Adam Gallery, London, offered a very nice Henry Moore sculpture, “Reclining Figure,” that was attracting a good deal of attention early on in the show. The bronze, a miniature of a larger version by the artist, was priced at $125,000.
The front wall of German dealer Galerie Thomas was filled with a large Jean-Michel Basquiat acrylic and mixed media on canvas titled “Alpha Particles,” 1984.
The work of Romare Beardon was seen in several booths in a variety of mediums with “Showtime,” a large mixed media collage of lithographs, wallpaper, colored paper and painted paper depicting a lively jazz scene, in the booth of ACA Galleries. Another collage, “To See, Go Into The Shade,” from Beardon’s “Rain Forest” series, 1973, was offered by Manhattan dealer Gerald Peters.
Riding a wave of popularity, the works of Fernando Botero were in several booths including Nora Haime Gallery with the offering of a large and colorful atypical oil on canvas titled “Homenaje a Cezzane,” painted in 1963. In the booth of David Klein, Birmingham, Mich., was a large bronze sculpture, “Hand,” priced at $245,000. Also in Klein’s booth was a Walker Evans two-panel photograph, 1936, “Shoeshine Sign in Southern Town.” Among the first rdf_Descriptions sold from the booth was a colorful “Landscape Mobile” by Roy Lichtenstein.
“Identical Twins” by Diane Arbus was a featured work in the booth of Alan Kopel, Chicago. The dealer explained that this particular image was one of the earliest ones printed by the photographer. “It has a MoMA label on the back of it from 1966,” stated the dealer, who added with a chuckle, “It also has a price tag of $50.” The piece has appreciated significantly, carrying an asking price from Kopel of $475,000.
Several pieces by Joan Miro were offered by Elrick-Manley Fine Art including a 1953 ink on paper “A la sante du serpant” and an oil on Ingres paper, 1931, “Le fumeur de pipe.” The dealer also offered a bronze by Miro, 1981, from an edition of six, titled “Personnage.”
Mark Borghi offered a nice assortment including a Marsden Hartley oil on board, circa 1938, measuring 24 by 18 inches and titled “Finnish-Yankee Wrestler.” The dealer also offered a selection of art ranging from a rare Louis Lozowick oil on canvas, 1927, titled “Detroit Urban Geometry,” a Willem De Kooning oil, 1937, “Mother, Father, Sister, Brother,” a John Storrs cast terra-cotta sculpture, 1917, titled “Two Horse Heads,” and a Robert Motherwell acrylic, graphite, printed paper and cardboard collage titled “Regie Francaise,” executed in 1967.
Aaron Galleries also displayed and eclectic mix ranging from a selection of Beauford Delaney oils to a Joseph Cornell untitled bird box. Delaney, according to dealer Patrick Albano, is the subject of an extensive exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Pieces in the booth were priced from $10,000 to $35,000.
Los Angeles dealer Jack Rutberg, owner of Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, put forth an exciting stand that featured a wide variety of work. Standing in the front of the booth was an impressive larger-than-life-size bronze sculpture of a native woman with a Serape wrapped over her shoulders by Francisco Zuniga. Titled “Mujer de Pie Rebozo,” 1983, the piece was priced at $300,000. The dealer has also mounted a major exhibition of Arshile Gorky paintings and drawings, several of which were on hand in the booth. Pieces included untitled drawings from Gorky’s sketchbook as well as a gouache on paper titled “Abstraction 1934.”
David Janis also offered some remarkable pieces that ranged from Tom Wesselmann’s “Sunset Nude with Abstract Painting,” 2003, oil on cutout aluminum, priced at $195,000, to two wonderful Morris Hirshfeld oil on canvas paintings, “Harp Girl II,” 1945, and Nude with Vase,” 1946, that were priced at $325,000 and $190,000 respectively.
The relatively rare weavings were done in limited editions with prices today ranging from $110,000 for the 1950 Le Corbusier tapestry of “Le Canape,” to $96,000 for “Ancien Constructeurs” by Fernand Leger. Calder, who was the most prolific, had pieces such as the colorful “Le profil qui desparait,” circa 1970, priced at $25,000.
Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, New York City offered a good selection of paintings by Marc Chagall including the oil on canvas “Le Luxembourg,” 1953, that carried a price tag of $750,000, the oil on canvas “Corbeille de Fruits aux Amoureux,” 1978-80, that was priced at $850,000, and an oil and pastel “Les Cerises,” 1956, that was marked at $280,000.
Other rdf_Descriptions of interest seen around the floor included a patinated bronze sculpture by William Kentridge, “Four Figures on a Bridge,” 2001, that was selling for $150,000 in the booth of New York City Gallery Schlesinger. Also offered was a Tom Wesselmann, “Study for Helen Nude,” 1981, at $220,000, and an Yves Tanguy ink, “Composition,” 1952, tagged at $45,000.
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