Published: November 17, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy NY Satellite Print Fair
ONLINE – The 10th edition of the New York Satellite Print Fair was, like so many these days, a virtual event, viewable online, initially from October 16-26, and later extended to November 8. A total of 27 exhibitors, 25 from the United States, one from Canada and one from the Netherlands, exhibited a broad range of prints and works on paper, from Old Masters to Contemporary. Two weeks of the fair overlapped with the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) Fair, which was online on Artsy from October 7 to November 1; both fairs saw more visitors online than would likely have visited the fairs had they taken place in person.
The NY Satellite Print Fair has served as an adjunct to the large IFPDA Fair, providing a show venue for IFPDA members for whom the cost of a large Convention Center fair is prohibitive, as well as for well-established print dealers who aren’t members of the IFPDA, and therefore not eligible to participate in its shows.
“The presence of satellite, shadow and other adjunct fairs has been an established feature of the antiques, arts, rare book, and other collectible trades for a very long time, and serves to create a vibrant milieu around the primary show, to everyone’s benefit. In this regard we have had cordial and mutually satisfying relationships with the IFPDA, the Editions / Artists’ Bookfair (E/A B), and the other entities that mount shows during Print Week,” said managing exhibitor Edward Pollack. “The platform which IFPDA uses for its Virtual Print Fair is very large and some users have reported difficulties navigating it. The NY Satellite Print Fair’s virtual show was designed specifically so each individual work, and each individual exhibitor, would gain the same exposure. Our simple browsing structure, and themed features, are meant to make it easy for the visitor to stroll down one artistic avenue, and then another. We have found that many virtual fairs make spontaneous and organic browsing purposefully inaccessible. We have a different take on what the public wants. We believe art collectors like to open their eyes to new experiences, and we believe our simple platform makes such an approach intuitive.”
According to numbers released after the fair by Pollack and fellow managing exhibitor Bernard Derroitte, the platform welcomed more than 10,000 visits to the 2020 Virtual Edition. Of those, 8,250 represented individual visits and more than 1,500 people visited more than once. In total, 94,000 pages were seen by visitors over the length of the show. Traffic was busiest in the first few days after the fair launched, with another bump in visitors after October 26, when many dealers added additional inventory to their booths. Sales reported were dependent on dealer transparency but at press time, approximately 75 works had been reported selling, for an overall sales total of between $250,000 and $300,000.
“Based on visitor and sales activity, as well as responsiveness to the ease of navigation of the site, and its appearance, we consider the show to have been very successful,” Pollack said. A dealer in prints and other works of art on paper for more than 30 years, he focuses on American and European art of the Nineteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. He made sales to both new and existing clients, from the New York area and farther afield who he did not think would have come to the fair if it had taken place in person.
Chicago-based Derroitte was showing in two different booths of varying character and price point. Armstrong Fine Art specializes in late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century works on paper from Europe and the United States, though the gallery has a specialty in French prints from the Belle Epoque to the Early Modern era. Mesh Art Gallery, his other booth, deals in works by independent contemporary artists. Derroitte noted he sold to both existing and new clients, with a handful of works sold through Armstrong that went to clients around the country, while works offered by Mesh appealed to clients in the New York area, all of whom were new clients.
“I’ve been delighted, very happy with the show,” said Georgina Kelman of Georgina Kelman Works on Paper. “It’s done much better than I expected it would. The virtual fair doesn’t replace a real fair but under the circumstances it was the perfect solution and a big success.” Based in New York City, the dealer of mid-Nineteenth through mid-Twentieth Century prints and illustrated books noted several sales to longtime as well as new clients, both young and old. Among her sales was an etching by Eugen Kirchner that a new customer purchased with the intention of donating it to a museum.
Kelman, who is one of a few dealers who participates in both the IFPDA and Satellite Print Fair, observed that the Satellite Print Fair “fills an important niche for collectors,” offering works in a broad range of price points and styles that provides a good compliment to the range of works featured in the IFPDA Fair. “Both have fantastic things, fantastic dealers, but this is a little more accessible. Having them together is very nice for collectors.”
Conrad Graeber of Riderwood, Md., also does both fairs and said he had sold more things with the IFPDA Fair, both to new and overseas clients, but noted that clients visited both virtual shows “to see what we had.” Sales from the Satellite Print Fair included an etching by Ryohei Tanaka and an etching by Werner Drewes.
Jim Goodfriend of C. and J. Goodfriend Drawings and Prints reported three “good” sales of works by Adriaen Van Ostade, Roeland Roghman and Lucas van Leyden. The New York City dealer, who trades in Old Master, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century works by European and American artists, sold to existing clients outside of the New York area.
Artist and printer James Stroud of Center Street Studio, Milton Village, Mass., participated in the Satellite Print Fair in 2019 and was happy to return. He said the show had done “very well” for him, with a half-dozen sales with all but one to new clients. When asked what was selling, he said, “Oddly enough, four were birds and animals,” including Cyrus Highsmith’s “Crow Suite” from 2020, of which Stroud said he’d sold two sets.
Canadian dealer Jan Johnson, who specializes in Old Master prints, said “with regard to the NY Satellite Print Fair, I was glad to participate in it, and the organizers did a superb job on short notice. Clearly the online version can’t compare with mingling with collectors and curators one knows at a live fair, but hopefully this kind of fair will grow on people. My sales were to collectors that I already knew, and I think this reflects the confidence that collectors of Old Master prints need to have in the dealer’s knowledge and the accuracy of her descriptions. There is far more variability in quality of impression and condition with this category of print, and it is hard to judge online. My sales were to both the New York area and the southern states.”
“Sales were excellent. I’ve sold as much as I did last year in face-to-face fairs.” The secret to the success of Paramour Fine Art’s Ed Ogul was the result of extensive self-promotion, reaching out to clients both before and during the fair. He reported sales to clients throughout the United States, with works by Leo Meissner, Margaret Patterson and Grant Wood.
Norm Stewart, Stewart & Stewart, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., used Zoom to sell three works to an existing client, which he said, “was a lot of fun.” He noted that while sales were not as strong as he had hoped, he saw a lot of people go to their site and become familiar with their inventory, which may translate into sales down the road. He was complimentary of the show and website, acknowledging that online fairs were likely to be par for the course through 2021 and into 2022.
“It’s been okay; not the volume you’d get in a live show,” Southbury, Conn., dealer Marc Chabot said, reporting five sales to both new and existing clients. He particularly misses the excitement of a live show and the spontaneous conversation fostered by face-to-face interaction. Fairlawn, Ohio, dealer Thomas French was optimistic and pleased to have reconnected with a client who he had not worked with for several years, as well as existing clients who are located across the United States.
The final days of the fair overlapped with election day and the wait for the results to be announced. A few dealers commented that some clients seemed hesitant to buy and attributed some of this to an uncertain political climate. Myrtle Beach, S.C., dealer Keith Sheridan, who specializes in midcentury American and European prints and works on paper, was one to note this, saying, “Things were very active before the show opened but it’s slowed. I have the feeling that people are reluctant to commit, because everyone is waiting to see the results of the election.”
A few dealers noted trends towards works by women artists or artists of color. Larry Warnock, Warnock Fine Arts in Palm Springs, Calif., who was doing the Satellite Print Fair for the first time, specializes in contemporary prints from European, American and Latinx printmakers and reported a modestly successful fair. He sold works by both Latinx and European printmakers, all to new clients, both from the New York tri-state area and throughout the United States.
“I’m excited about the online fair,” was the pronouncement by Daniel Lienau of the Annex Galleries in Santa Rosa, Calif. He specializes in American prints from the Nineteenth through the Twenty-First Centuries and was part of the core group of dealers who started the Satellite Print Fair. He said the online version was good, noting a few sales to both new and existing clients. He also was another dealer who reported getting inquiries about African American artists, Latin American artists and women artists. “There’s an interest in inclusivity.”
Marjorie Van Dyke and Deborah Freedman of VanDeb Editions were returning after participating in the Satellite Print Fair for the first time in 2019. “We are very proud that more than 50 percent of the work we publish is work by women,” Van Dyke said. She noted lots of interest and potential clients. Sue Oehme of Oehme Graphics in Steamboat Springs, Colo., reported sales to both new and longstanding clients, including a work by Sol LeWitt.
New exhibitor Douglas Frazer of Art of Japan in Medina, Wash., has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic as their business is as much focused on acquiring collections as it is in selling works. While Frazer had not made any sales the day before the fair closed, he reported that the website was “really good” and the show was “very well managed.”
Pollack’s view towards the future of online print fairs is optimistic. “Under the umbrella of a newly organized entity, PrintFairsUSA, LLC, the fairs will be held virtually this year. The NY Satellite Print Fair was the first of these. It will be followed by the West Coast Fine Print Fair, 2021 Virtual Edition, which will encompass the Portland (Ore.) Fine Print Fair, The Bay Area Fine Print Fair and the Los Angeles Fine Print Fair, spanning the usual dates that those fairs are held over three successive weekends in late January through early February. We expect to have a virtual fair in April in lieu of Washington, DC’s Capital Art Fair, and another fair in summer to track the Cleveland and Minneapolis shows.”
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