Published: March 27, 2001
NEW YORK CITY – The 13th Annual Works On Paper Fair at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue and 67th Street, brought together 90 international dealers who showcased a wide collection of watercolors, prints, photography, Old Master drawings, posters and illustrated books. The fair, produced by Sanford Smith, opened March 2, continued through March 4, and brought a large number of purveyors to the spacious expanse of the armory
Conner-Rosenkranz, New York City, reported a very well attended show with serious buyers and good follow-up. Selling were three works by Olin Dows (1904-1981); three works by Jacques Schnier (1989-1988); and works by Hildreth Meière (1892-1961), including “Mural Study: Minds,” 1930, a fantastic oil on paper measuring 17 by 29 inches, depicting astronomers contemplating the heavens through a large telescope. Two gouache and ink studies by Meière titled “Ceiling Design,” and “Glass Design: Communications,” were rendered in the 1930s and illustrated a rare genius among the flowing figures and brilliant compositions.
Additional works included “New York Scene” by Rolph Scarlett, circa 1920, an 111/2 by 91/4-inch crayon study; “Baking Brick, Kingston,” by Miron Sokole, a circa 1938 gouache on black paper; “Jacqueline,” 1935, by Jacques Schnier, rendered in graphite on board; and “City Boys” by Louise Nevelson, 1930, a 10 by 8-inch line drawing. Olin Dows’ wood engravings included “Bread Sellers, ” 1933 and “Street Scene, Taxco,” 1932. Other artists represented were William Hunt Diederich, John B. Flannagan, Wanda Ga’g, Sam Glankoff, Rosella Hartman, Stefan Hirsch, Arnold Rönnebeck, and Louis Schanker.
Gary Bruder of New York City, specializing solely in original lithographic prints and posters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, exhibited “L’ Anglais Au Molin Rouge,” 1892, Witrock 2, a brush and splatter litho, printed in seven colors, is signed and numbered in pencil and “is very rare to find an impression with the colors in such fine, fresh colors,” wrote Gary Bruder. An extremely rare crayon and spatter lithograph, “Idylle princiere,” Wittrock 179, only edition 1897, was listed as “A very fine impression with very strong colors. Signed in pencil lower left, Gustave Pellet red stamp. One of the most sought after Lautrec lithographs. Edition of 16 impressions, seven in public collections.”
The clean distinct booth of Robert Henry Fine Art, Chicago, Ill., greeted attendees and a display of Moholy-Nagy, the Hungarian abstract photographer and Bauhaus teacher, added a fantastic exclamation mark to a collection defining American modern paintings, drawings and sculpture. Artists included Calder, de Kooning, Gorky, Hofmann, Motherwell, Neutra, Reinhardt, Roszak and Stoors.
Valerie Carberry replied she did well and many contacts were made with museum curators and museum professionals looking for stellar works. The regular client base was also dedicated and Carberry added, “Exposure in New York City is great, the opening night was very well attended. Though Friday was a bit slow, the crowds weren’t deterred by the reports of the ‘blizzard’ predicted to bury the East Coast as Saturday and Sunday were very busy. Overall, a strong show.”
Eric Baumgartner of Hirschl & Adler, Inc., New York City, returned to the Works on Paper show after a break of eight years and reported a favorable event with a strong inventory. “We picked a limited slice to exhibit and felt more people would like Modernist works and this was a wise decision as we pulled away from Nineteenth Century works.” Partner Joe Goddu stated, “What attracts people to the Works on Paper Show is the wide range available; great discoveries await on the floor and you can sense this. It is a neat show, alot of fun, and there is much latitude to bring a diverse mix- Bill Traylor can occupy one wall, Louise Nevelson, the other. The gate was terrific, Sandy Smith is to be commended for organizing and putting together such a high quality show. All the major museums were present and all the right collectors were around.”
Hirschl & Adler focus on Master prints and drawings of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries; works include George Bellows, Charles Burchfield, Mary Cassatt, Stuart Davis, Edgar Degas, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-August Renoir and Charles Sheeler.
Maeve Gyenes from Samson Fine Arts, New York City, felt the opening was busy and was glad the armory started to become very crowded at 2 pm on Friday. Samson Fine Arts focuses on contemporary paintings, drawings and photography and presented prints by Fernand Fonssagrives entitled: “Savior Faire,” “Sauté and Bateau, ” “The Dancer,” “Eye (Guess What),” and “Sitting Pretty.”
David Winter of Winter Works on Paper, New York City, concentrates on photographs, drawings, eccentric ephemera and botanical specimen pages and had a large exhibit. A set of nine black and white gelatin silver prints, depicting tree studies was priced at $1,800; a vase series of four chromo-lithographs, 1898, measuring 8 by 12-inches, $375.
Winter, the co-author of The Pressed Plant, a book narrating the art of botanical specimens, nature prints, and sun pictures, had a large array of botanical studies available, one gathered in the Himalayas in the 1880s. 16 by 20-inch silver albumen prints from the U.S Army aerial survey of Mt. McKinley, Alaska were priced at $900; presentations of color kindergarten studies, $1,500 for a set of six; a three-inch color image of comet Hyakutake framed with an eight-ply mat was marked, $200. Additional rdf_Descriptions included a 16 by 16-inch color image of Venus shot by NASA, for $1,200; a 16 by 20-inch hand-colored street scene taken from a plane in the 1950s; and two gelatin silver prints of New York City, 5th Avenue, 58th to 60th Street captured on April 16, 1926.
“Sales were a bit slow,” stated Winter as he felt the stock market had an overall effect on buyers and believed fewer decorators attended the show. Only photography sold this time and Winter felt the month of March can be difficult due to the sheer number of shows pulling shoppers in many directions.
Spanierman Gallery, New York City, presented a stellar array of works: Paul Cadmus’, “Quintuple Portrait, pastel on toned paper, circa 1970, 24 by 20-inches; an Alexander Calder, “Center Ring #1, ink on paper, 1932, 14 by 19-inches; a group of watercolors on paper by Childe Hassam depicting Montauk Point, San Pietro, Venice, and a sunset scene from Old Lyme, Conn. Pastels on paper by John H. Twachtman, included a circa 1885 “Dutch Landscape,” two circa 1888-91 renderings, “Late Spring in the Hills, Branchville, Conn. (painted at the retreat of J. Alden Weir), and “The Ledges.”
Additional works included: “Nude” by Alexander Archipenko, pencil on paper, 15 by 10-inches; watercolors and mixed media by Donald Evans “Achterdijk,” 1952, “Achterdijk (Tulips),” 1975, Sabot, 1917, Postes Maritimes,” 1975 and Walt Kuhn was represented by an ink on paper, “Woman on a Couch” and “The Harvesters,” a pastel and pencil on paper.
Additionally represented by the gallery are works by Jerome Myers, Louise Nevelson, Henry Roderick Newman, John Sloan, Joseph Stella, J. Alden Weir, George C. Ault, George Bellows, Carl Blenner, Oscar Bluemner, Michael Coleman, Arthur Brown Davies, Wilfrid de Glehn, Raoul DeLonpré, Henry Farrer, Sears Gallagher, William Glackens, Arthur C. Goodwin, Morris Garves, Philip Leslie Hale, John Marin, and William Matthews, among others.
Martin Wolpert of Papillon Gallery, Los Angeles and France, specializing in Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernist works from Europe and America, had a selection of gouaches by Vic from France, 1930s; a group by Chas-Laborde bearing titles, “Men’s Club,” “Train to Coney Island,” “Broadway,” “Gymnasium,” and Champ Elysee.” and a series by Anna Walinska, oil on panels, circa 1940s, one entitled “Odalisque,” oil on cardboard, 1947 was priced at $17,500. A charcoal drawing by Polly Scribner Ames, born 1908, listed for $2,500, and an oil on paper titled “Construction, ” $5,500.
Martin stated, “The show was busy, the mood was good. Like all shows some dealers did well and some not so well. I had a good show, not as good as last year, but it also depends on what kind of stock you have at the time. It is still one of the best shows of the year for me.”
The Works on Paper Fair attracted a large gate and this coupled with the high quality of rdf_Descriptions available made the event a resounding success. Dealers continue to respect the diverse mix of patrons- museum curators to the scholarly- and realize the importance of being part of a fair that carries as much stature as one produced by Sandy Smith. When all is said and done and the boxes are packed up and the checks cashed, reputation, will stand above all other criteria as perpetuating the next year’s promises. Not all sales are made today and with new contacts established, many are already casting eyes towards the next Works on Paper Fair.
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