Works on Paper, a show that is truly defined by its name, provided the art community yet another prime opportunity to view stellar works of art either on or constructed of paper. The show, under the management of Sanford Smith and Associates, opened at the Seventh Regiment Armory to a large and enthusiastic crowd for a lively preview party on Wednesday, March 1, and continued for a four-day run.
The art market had been buoyed during the last week of February with excellent attendance and strong sales at the ADAA’s The Art Show, and good attendance and steady sales followed suit at Works on Paper.
Akin to Bubba Blue’s seemingly endless diatribe about the possibilities of the preparation of shrimp in the movie Forrest Gump, the varied types of art on paper seemed equally endless. There was three-dimensional art on paper and paper mache, there was two-dimensional art that wrapped entire stands, there was flat art in the form of original watercolors, pen and ink, gouaches, oils, graphite, temperas, crayon and collages, as well as prints lithographs, etchings, drypoints, posters and virtually every other medium imaginable.
This show offers collectors an opportunity to look for large, medium or small pieces, in both format and price structure. Prices ranged from the seven-figure mark to a mere several hundred dollars; sizes spanned from colossal to miniature; periods spanned from the Fourteenth Century to pieces practically created yesterday – the ink barely dry.
“There are a lot less dealers from New York City,” commented show manager Sandy Smith, “We have brought in a bunch of European dealers and American dealers from all around the country, some of whom have never shown at an art fair in New York City before.”
The dealers, first-time exhibitors and veterans alike, wereenthusiastic about their displays and virtually all of the boothsproved colorful, warm and inviting.
“I have always had wonderful watercolors and have known about this show’s reputation for quite a while,” stated first-time exhibitor Jeff Cooley of The Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, Conn. The dealer, who exhibits almost exclusively at antiques shows, stated, “I love the fact that I can bring some of my contemporary stock here. We have always had a works on paper show at our gallery, but we saw this as a prime place for exposure and to expand our customer base.”
Cooley was quick to point out a selection of botanical watercolors by Barbara Novak, an artist described as “a premier scholar of Nineteenth Century art and a highly important figure in the scholarship of the Hudson River School. All of her life she has loved: A) flowers, B) painting,” stated the dealer. Two of the Novacks were getting attention: “Iris, Lily, Alstromeria and Delphinium,” and “Iris, Lily, Delphinium and Yellow Wildflowers.”
Another of the new exhibitors to the show was East Hampton, N.Y., dealer Norman Brosterman. “I’m leaning towards art with a purpose,” stated the dealer who offered not only a compelling selection of science fiction illustrative art and architectural renderings, but also unusual large scale ski-resort panorama paintings that were ultimately used for lift guides.
“He goes up in airplanes and flies around the mountains photographing the ski area,” said Brosterman of artist James Niehues. “He then creates this wonderful art and sells a scan of it to the ski area, who kind of wrecks it when they put all the information, much of which is the stuff that keeps skiers alive. Black diamond trails and the lifts, parking areas and lodges,” he said. The artists “starts with the aerial views and then does a pencil study,” one of which was available in the booth, “and then he completes these dramatic paintings of the mountains with all of the trails; he paints each tree individually, houses, roads, everything but the lifts.” Brosterman offered two views of Heavenly with a study and a watercolor and also a watercolor of Killington.
From the old guard at the Works on Paper show, the traditional works of the likes of Albrecht Dürer were displayed in several booths around the floor. And, as always, Picasso was well represented, Calder, Miro and Leger were plentiful, as were the modernists and pop culture favorites such as DeKooning, Warhol, Werner Drews, Reginald Marsh, Diebenkorn, Johns, Lichtenstein and Hockney.
A perennial favorite at any art show are the watercolors ofAndrew Wyeth and two exquisite examples of the artist’s workappeared on the floor of Works on Paper. The first, “The Vestry,”was a watercolor depicting a young blonde topless girl clad in bluejeans seated on a white bench on the porch of a white house.Possibly a portrait of Helga at an early age, the watercolor waspriced at $400,000 in the booth of Michael Borghi, Tenafly, N.J.Other art of interest in the booth was “Harbor Sketchers,” a 1947watercolor by Milton Avery that was marked $85,000, a CharlesDemuth 1934 watercolor titled “Bathing Beach” at $65,000, and aJohn Marin watercolor titled “Lake George” that was marked$135,000.
A stunning watercolor by Andrew Wyeth was seen in the booth of Thomas Veilleux, Farmington, Maine. “Cape Forchu Light,” 1960, a shadowy interior scene of the lighthouse with a tattered British flag dominating the upper left of the picture, was stickered at $425,000. Also offered was a Jamie Wyeth watercolor, “Slayton’s House,” 1968, a foreboding portrait of a dark brown structure that was priced at $85,000.
Other notable works in Veilleux’s booth included a Marguerite Zorach watercolor titled “The Garden, Provincetown,” 1916, a graphite study by John Singer Sargent, “Study for Eurydice,” a Guy Penne du Bois watercolor and crayon “An American in Paris,” 1926, and several works by Carl Sprinchorn. One of the more unusual items displayed was a paper mache sculpture by Elie Nadelman, “Two Circus Women,” that the dealer was offering at $110,000.
An etching by Edward Hopper was among the featured artwork displayed by Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York City. Signed and inscribed in the lower margin “The Locomotive $30,” the 1923 etching was now being offered at $125,000. Also of interest in the booth was an Arshile Gorkey lithograph “Mannikin,” 1931, that was from an edition of 25 and priced at $85,000, and a portfolio of ten photogravures by Man Ray titled “Electricite,” 1931, that were offered at $65,000. Works by Childe Hassam, Louis Lozowick, Blanche Lazelle, Josef Alber and John Marin were also prominently displayed in the stand.
Winslow Homer’s watercolor “Shepherder Resting,” 1879, was prominently displayed in the booth of Manhattan dealer Gerald Peters. Offered at $400,000, the piece was attracting quite a bit of attention, as was the Maurice Prendergast picture “Bayside, Marblehead,” that was priced at $375,000. Other artists offered by the dealer included Ben Shahn, Arthur Dove and Milton Avery.
Always popular and plentiful at the fair are the works of Pablo Picasso. Oils, pencils, linocuts, prints and etchings were among the offering and they included Simon Capstick-Dale’s piece-de-resistance, “Nue couchee,” an exquisite pencil on paper done a couple years before the artist’s death in 1972. “This is the picture, it is so iconic and is such a statement about the artists work from this most important and exciting period,” stated Capstick-Dale of the piece, price on request. “Bull Fight,” a brush, ink and wash on paper from 1960 was also attracting attention and was priced at $395,000.
Other works from the booth included Fernand Leger’s “Personnage dans un interieur,” a watercolor and pencil on paper that was priced at $395,000, and “Femme a la Rose,” a 1952 gouache on paper that was initialed lower right and authenticated by Nadia Leger on the reverse was marked at $295,000. Other notable art included Pierre-August Renoir’s “Femme jouant du tambourin,” a black, white and sanguine chalk on tan paper, and several works by Joan Miro.
A prime selection of Picasso’s works were also offered byR.S. Johnson Fine Art, Chicago, including “Jacqueline Lisant,” a1964 linocut from an edition of 50, and “Figure,” 1948, from alithograph from a numbered set of 50. Other artists seen in thebooth ranged from Raoul Dufy’s 1925 gouache and watercolor “Fenetreouverte au Havre” to several works by Maurice De Vlaminck andAugust Renoir’s 1890s charcoal titled “Baigneuse.”
Works by Picasso were also featured by Ian McKenzie Fine Art, London, with “Tete de Femme,”‘ a linocut from an edition of 50, and “Buste blanc sur fond Noir,” a 1949 lithograph also from an edition of 50.
Participating in the fair for the first time was Parisian dealer ALFA Gallery. The dealer brought along an enticing selection of art including “Two Dancers in Profile,” a sanguine, charcoal and pastel on paper by Edgar Degas. The rare piece was marked with the Degas stamp at the lower left and the stamp “Vente at Degas” on the verso. Priced at $550,000, it was one of the pieces in the booth that was attracting major attention. Also offered was Edouard Vuillard’s “La Guinguette,” oil on cardboard, 1898, that was priced at $480,000, Vuillard’s “Young Girl with Cat,” at $180,000, and “Portrait of Fridette Faton,” $90,000.
Old Masters drawings are a major part of Works on Paper and a good selection of merchandise was seen at C&J Goodfield, New York City. The assortment included a nice a brown ink and wash, 1527-1585, by Luca Cambiaso titled “Sibil Seated in the Clouds, Reading,” and an anonymous Eighteenth Century woodcut engraving after Raphael titled “Raphael and His Mistress” that was termed a fine deep impression printed from four blocks in black and three shades of ochre.
While all of the major artists are well represented at Workson Paper, the true magic of the show is the opportunity fordiscovery. Quirky paper sculptures by Mary Bennett were offered byDavid Lusk Gallery, Memphis, Tenn. The unusual pieces used maps,newsprint and ticket stubs for backdrops with accordioned printedpages from books forming the sculptural presence. Outsider art byTim Crowder was also featured in the booth with naive paintedscenes on cloth of English homesteads sporting some realestate-oriented advertising about the property and a price,appropriately in English pounds.
Interesting paper sculpture by Miguel Zapata were offered by Valley House Gallery, Dallas. The artist’s early Twentieth Century Spanish roots keep his subjects returning to ancient themes, yet, according to the dealer, “he expresses them in a very modern way.” “Casula,” a mixed media on paper sculpture resembling an ancient toga on a coat hanger, was vividly decorated with red and black paint while the white interior of the robe was exposed around the edges. “San Miguel,” another mixed media on paper playing on ancient themes, depicted a winged Holy Wars warrior with a halo around his head. The sculpture had been disfigured by the artist with a large “X” deeply carved across the subject.
“Fashion – Art – Passion” was the theme in Robert Henry Adam’s booth. The Chicago dealer offered a suite of hand colored offset lithographs of shoes from Andy Warhol’s 1955 series “A la Recnerche du Shoe Perdu.” The entire set, two shown, was priced at $200,000. Several works by Dudley Huppler were offered from the booth with an ink on artist’s board “Snow Bird and Snake Weight,” circa 1950, having been sold during preview, as was another ink on paper titled “Guinea Hen.”
The art of Will Barnet was displayed by Babcock Galleries. “Study for Cat and Canary” was priced at $48,000, while “Color Abstraction,” circa 1952, was marked $20,000. A Norman Bluhm oil on paper titled “Abstraction, 1974” was also attracting attention and was priced at $22,000.
Japanese prints from numerous periods were offered by Carolyn Stanley Fine Japanese Prints, Seattle. “Odorn,” a print from the “Ten Types of Female Nudes” series by Ishikawa Toraji, 1935, was attracting attention, as was the more traditional work of Toyohara Kunichika from 1888. Also displayed was “Suzie no ne,” another print from the “Ten Types of Female Nudes” series by Toraji.
Making their way to the show from Germany was Jorg MaasKunsthandel, Berlin. The dealers specialize in German Expressionistart with artists such as Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner andMax Kaus featured. One piece in the booth that was attracting quitea bit of attention was a pen and India ink and wash over pencil,1918, by Otto Dix, that was titled “Explosion” and was priced at$65,000. Kirchner’s “Sich Anspritzende Manner Im Schilf” lithographon yellow paper, one of three known impressions, was stickered$45,000, while Kaus’s watercolor over pencil titled “Badende amStrand” was marked $24,000.
David Findlay Jr, New York City, was one of several dealers that featured the work of Charles Burchfield. Several choice examples were featured in the stand with the watercolor “Fallen Tree in the Woods,” 1943-1945, taking top billing. Burchfield’s “The Window by the Alley” was also attracting attention from the booth, along with several works by John Marin including “Birch Trees on Jordan’s Delight Island, Maine,” a circa 1936 watercolor.
Bernard Goldberg Fine Art, New York City, also offered a nice selection of Charles Burchfield works including a gouache on paper titled “Fanciful Landscape,” 1912-1916, displayed in the original octagonal frame.
“A lot of people coming through this show turn their noses up in the air when they get to our booth,” stated Justin Schiller, Battledore Ltd, Kingston, N.Y. Yet for fans of illustration art, especially children’s books, the booth is a haven. Beatrix Potter illustrations, along side of those by Walt Disney and Maurice Sendak provide endless entertainment. Not just for kids anymore, Maurice Sendak’s 1988 ink and watercolor executed for the 25th anniversary of Where the Wild Things Are was marked $850,000. Two ink drawings of rabbits gathering apples by Beatrix Potter were priced at $75,000, and Richard Doyle’s 1869 illustration for In Fairyland was marked $85,000. A charming signed gouache of Mickey and Minnie Mouse on a moonlit walk, circa 1932, by Walt Disney was also attracting attention with it priced at $65,000.
The preview for the show was a successful fundraiser for the Citizens’ Committee for Children, a New York-based operation that has mobilized New Yorkers to make the City a better place for children and prepares young people to be leaders through its YouthAction NYC program. The next show on the Sanford Smith and Associates schedule will be the New York Antiquarian Book Fair April 20-23. For further information call 212-777-5218 or view www.sanfordsmith.com.